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Monthly Archives: November 2016

5 Wedding Businesses to Help Couples

Anyone who’s ever attended or hosted a wedding knows that these events are big business. Engaged couples often seek out the best vendors in the industry to ensure their day is perfect — and they’re willing to pay a hefty price for it. According to the 2016 American Wedding Study, the average wedding cost of a wedding is $26,522, nearly as much as a year of tuition at some private universities.

Brides and grooms are (understandably) picky about the services they choose to make their nuptials special and memorable. These unique businesses help couples make their pre- and post-wedding plans as stress-free as possible.

Though not all couples choose to have one or both spouses change their last name after marriage, those that do often find the legal process intimidating.MissNowMrs.com makes it simple by streamlining all the paperwork you need in one place for one flat fee. Newlyweds looking to make the switch answer some questions about their current and married names and various accounts they hold. Then, these answers are used to complete the appropriate forms. Proofread, print and file, and your legal name change is well underway.

Kristen Rocco, founder of Love Notery, has always been a communicator. Her passion for storytelling led to a fruitful public relations career (even working with Gary Sinise, better known as Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump). Like any good romance, she took a leap of faith with Love Notery to tell great love stories. Rocco’s journalistic skills help her craft a customized “love story” through in-depth interviews with couples. The stories are then printed out as an heirloom keepsake.

This app is a multilayered wedding tool, with checklists for the engaged couple leading up to the wedding, vendor lists, ways to stay on budget, and tools to create a wedding site and registry, the site said. The Knot, which also published a print bridal magazine, even has answers to various social and etiquette questions answered by experts. In addition, the app provides a countdown to the day, so nearly-newlyweds can stay excited.

The quality of smartphone pictures has greatly improved, making collecting guests’ wedding photos worthwhile — and a pain. WedPics is a free app that aggregates wedding photos captured by guests. Users can keep photos organized with the albums feature, which is great for capturing photos of all wedding events such as the engagement party, wedding shower, rehearsal dinner, reception, ceremony and more, the site said.

Registering for wedding items often means signing up with multiple brands to create the best registry. Zola consolidates the process by allowing couples to register for a variety of brands, curated experiences and cash funds on a single page, the site said. Zola goes a step further by giving you autonomy with shipping: Each time you receive a gift, the site notifies you to ship now or later, or in the case of cash gifts, transfer to your bank or convert to a Zola store credit.

5 Businesses Disrupting the Online Fashion World

The world of online shopping is evolving, and a number of new startups are bringing new ideas and innovations to the online fashion business. Here are five companies taking a new approach to online shopping.

Fovo is a new, highly personalized website focused on changing the way women shop for clothes by focusing on body shape rather than size. Shoppers visiting the website will see a five-question survey. They are asked to click on a body shape closest to their own and to provide their dress, pant and blouse sizes. The site calculates a result from the survey responses, which is used to provide shoppers with a personal feed of apparel that will look good on them. This feed will advertise only clothes that are in-stock and appropriate for the customer’s body shape.

Lab No25 says its behind-the-scenes fashion content, which includes videos of fashion shoots and the process for selecting featured items, sets it apart from other e-commerce websites. The site showcases a mix of well-known and up-and-coming brands while also incorporating European designers, making them more accessible to U.S.-based shoppers.

Garmentory offers shoppers a boutique shopping experience in the comfort of their own homes. This website takes the work out of bargain hunting by offering a curated selection of sale items from a variety of boutiques. Once customers find a piece they like, they can make an offer on the website. The website then sends those offers to the boutique selling the specific item. Once offers are accepted, boutiques send the items to the buyer for free.

Fynd is a fashion search engine that makes online shopping easier and more enjoyable for customers. The website serves as the user’s personal shopper, making it easier for people to locate the specific items they want, rather than getting overwhelming with pages of content. Once a shopper has liked an article of clothing, a feed will show up with similar items.

Le Tote is one of the few fashion websites that charges customers a set, monthly price for unlimited clothing deliveries. Shoppers can add clothing to their “totes” to rent; the items then get shipped to them, and shoppers simply need to ship the clothes back once they are done. Customers can also choose to keep some of the clothing and be charged by the website. Each user also gets a personal shopper, who sends surprise additions to each customer’s tote based on previous orders.

8 Spooky Small Businesses Cashing In on Halloween

October 31 might only come once per year, but for many retailers, event planners, and costume designers Halloween is a full-time business. The holiday has grown into a multi-billion dollar annual industry, and while many companies are happy to simply seize on the marketing opportunity, these eight companies have built their entire business around the season of spirits.

“You have 60 minutes to escape the room. There is 1 hungry zombie chained to the wall. Every 5 minutes a buzzer sounds & the chain is released another foot from the wall!” That’s the description of Room Escape Adventure’szombie-themed escape room. You’ll have to gather the clues and solve the puzzle if you want to avoid being eaten by the undead.

Three Muses Clothing has been selling women’s Halloween costumes and accessories online since 2005. Four years later, owner Candy Keane opened a retail boutique in Florida to sell her one-of-a-kind sexy (but not NC-17) outfits year-round. In addition to carrying popular costume brands like Leg Avenue, Three Muses also sells handmade items from local artists.

This online store features made-in-the-USA items and vintage collectibles from Halloween past. Vintage Halloween sells party supplies, ornaments, clothing and accessories, stationery and other products related to the holiday. While the Arizona-based retailer sells throughout the year, special sales and giveaways are reserved for October.

Larry Kirschner owned and operated several haunted houses in the 1980s and ’90s before founding HauntWorld, the largest global database for Halloween resources and activities. Part discussion board and part directory, HauntWorld’s website and magazine allows members of the haunted house industry to connect and share their insights, while haunt seekers can locate attractions like haunted houses and trails in their area.

For more than a decade, The Horror Dome has been providing animatronics, props, masks and costumes for homeowners and Halloween attractions. The online retailer’s products have been featured on TLC, “Mythbusters,” Jay Leno, and even in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

Ever wonder how to get unnatural-looking eyes like you see on monsters, vampires and other Halloween characters? Try ordering special effects contact lenses from Haunted Eyes. Based in Wyoming, this e-commerce startup sells high-quality prescription and nonprescription lenses in colors, special patterns and even full-eye black (sclera) for that spooky, theatrical effect.

Halloween Adventure is a year-round retail store for costumes and accessories. A landmark for all costume and Halloween enthusiasts in New York City’s East Village, the two-story shop spans an entire block (it cuts through from Broadway to 4th Avenue) and sells a wide range of outfits, from pop culture icons to unique, offbeat characters.

This haunted house empire has been running for more than 20 seasons.SpookyWorld, which also owns Nightmare New England, operates seven attractions in New Hampshire, each more frightening than the last. Every year, SpookyWorld strives to change and refresh its haunted houses to keep its visitors terrified.

Find Your Dream Business Ideas

Starting a business takes, before anything else, a great idea.

Inspiration is everywhere, all around us just waiting to be articulated. Sometimes, that inspiration comes from looking at existing businesses and thinking about how they succeeded where others might have failed. New and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a lot from other companies, especially those who saw a unique need and filled it with an innovative product or clever service.

If you need some serious inspiration for your business ideas, then check out these stories. They profile companies in industries from food and travel to art and music, and everything in between. You may even find some to be quite out of the box, exactly the way you need to think to create a truly successful company.

For when you’re searching for holiday gifts for your clients and co-workers, shopping for the perfect birthday present for your boss, or just looking for business inspiration, here are five companies with unique business models that can help. From mobile gift cards to personalized sweet treats, these businesses put a whole new spin on gift giving.

Now more than ever, the best food often comes from tiny carts, stands and trucks. These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.

These companies don’t just give children and young adults something fun to do after school or when school’s out for the summer. They also help them learn valuable skills, develop their creativity, improve their health and further their education in other ways — keeping parents everywhere happy, too.

The legal cannabis industry is rapidly growing as more states adopt both medicinal and recreational cannabis laws. An industry research group projects that cannabis will be worth more than $20 billion in less than 5 years, meaning now is the time to get in on the ground floor of this fledgling business.

Back-to-school season isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of businesses out there that can help make starting a new school year a lot less stressful for students, parents and teachers.

From facilitating new ways to display art in your home or office, to giving artists new mediums to showcase and sell their work, these businesses put the “art” in “startup.”

Whether you’re looking for products or want to start a business that brings it back to basics, you need to check out these inspiring all-natural businesses.

Beyond record labels, major streaming services, equipment retailers and concert venues, there are a lot of ways business and music intersect, and these music businesses are really changing the game.

From virtual-reality sports platforms and game-footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love.

Fortunately for all you vegans out there, more and more stores and brands are dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, covering everything from food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories.

While many organizations do their part by increasing recycling efforts, sourcing local materials and using energy-efficient equipment, some have taken their eco-friendly efforts to the next level by basing their entire business models on these principles.

Ready to use some of your hard-earned vacation time? Don’t book your flight just yet. Check out these cool travel businesses first to make your next vacation even less stressful — and more memorable!

From afterlife preparations to unique burial methods and memorials, there are more businesses related to death than you might expect, including these seven totally killer businesses that will probably give you the heebie-jeebies.

Successful businesses all have one thing in common: They solve a problem for their customers. But some problems are less pleasant than others, and some are downright disgusting.

From the weird (bacon-flavored envelopes) to the inspiring (a food truck that gives back to the community), here are seven unique food and beverage businesses you probably didn’t know existed.

These breakup-inspired businesses know what it’s like to get dumped and are taking advantage of it. But don’t worry, unlike your ex, they’re not really taking advantage of you.

Whether they’re making use of a critter’s natural behaviors or pampering your pet to the fullest, these 10 companies have your four-legged friends in mind.

While most companies simply run Halloween-themed promotions during October, these eight startups have built their businesses entirely on the season of spirits.

Your wedding day should be flawless, and these services are here to help. To make sure your big day goes off without a hitch, take a look at these businesses that are dedicated to helping couples like you plan the best day ever.