What Amanda Sudimack Has Learned In The First 8 Weeks Of Starting Her Company Wedobo

by Tim Jahn on July 30, 2010

Besides having a really cool name, Wedobo is a cool idea for a site.  Think of it as the Groupon model but applied just to the wedding industry.  Every week, there’s a different deal for a wedding vendor or service.  And considering how much weddings can cost these days, the idea behind Wedobo is not a bad idea at all!

This isn’t founder Amanda Sudimack’s first company.  She’s been working in the wedding industry for 12 years and owns her own wedding photography and events company in Chicago called Artisan Events.

Wedobo was one of those ideas that Amanda just couldn’t get out of her head.  After many months of smoothing out the idea and development of the actual site, Amanda launched it barely 8 weeks ago!

Transcript

Amanda Sudimack:
My name is Amanda Sudimack and I’m the founder of Wedobo, which is the first original deal site for the wedding industry.  Right now, we’re only in Chicago.  Every week, we profile a different vendor in the wedding industry.

The deals range from 40% to 80% off goods and services in the wedding industry, and we have this community of brides, vendors, and planners, within the site, that are all using the site for different reasons.

Tim Jahn:
How long has it been now?

Amanda Sudimack:
8 weeks.  It’s an infant.

Tim Jahn:
8 weeks…8 weeks?!

Amanda Sudimack:
[Laughs] 8 weeks!  Yeah.

Tim Jahn:
Wow! That’s awesome.  How has it been in the past 8 weeks?

Amanda Sudimack:
It’s been great!  It’s been phenomenal.  It’s been fun to watch it grow, and it’s been slow and steady.  And like any business when you start off, you have to put a lot of energy into it, and having to focus and figure out where we need to put our energy into to build it up.

But, so far so good!  I think it’s great that we’ve already started building a subscriber-ship and we’re seeing sales and all these good things.

Tim Jahn:
What do you love about it?

Amanda Sudimack:
I love that it’s new.  I love the challenge it.  We’re creating a new community, so we’re starting from scratch.  You have to build everything.  I love coming up with ideas and I love seeing them become successful.

I adore the idea and I think it’s great for brides and vendors, and I think it’s great for planners in the industry.  So the challenge is just for me to convince and convert everyone else to think that it’s such a great idea as well!

Tim Jahn:
Have there been any specific mistakes you’ve learned from already?

Amanda Sudimack:
I think putting together the team that you work with is really important.  That’s something we’re constantly working on.  Having people work together, that’s an interesting thing.

It’s happening so fast, we’re making such rapid fire decisions.  I think really, if there’s one thing I wish I could do, it’s slow it down just a little bit.  But you can’t slow down a speeding train.  You have to get really good at making quick fire decisions and making sure those were the right decisions to make as you’re going through so rapidly.

It is sort of like a bullet train going downhill at 50 miles an hour.  [Laughs]

Tim Jahn:
So what are you most excited about for Wedobo?

Amanda Sudimack:
You know, I’m most excited about – well, it’s hard, because I’m trying not to get – we’re still in such the beginning stages, so I’m trying not to get too excited about anything.  I’m trying to focus on what needs to be done because there’s so much that needs to be done.

Tim Jahn:
Is that hard?

Amanda Sudimack:
It is really hard, yeah.  Because I am somebody that – I have ideas and the ideas are constantly like ding, ding, ding!  And I can’t keep up with them sometimes.  Because of everything that’s going on, I’ve had to try to slow my – [laughs] – my ideas down a little bit, so that I can refine what we’ve built.

And obviously what we’ve built, I think everybody – every entrepreneur who does any sort of website.  You have this idea in the beginning but then when you get through development, it’s a scaled back version of what you want to do.

So, I still have all these ideas of where I want to take it but what I’m trying to focus on right now is what we have right now, and refining that, and then piece mealing the additions slowly.

I think that’s probably, going back to your last question, like the biggest thing that I’ve learned is trying not to do everything at once.  Picking one thing, doing it really well, and then adding the next section onto it.  Because I think you, at least for me, I had this idea that, you know, we’ll do this and we’ll do that and we’ll do this! [Laughs]

And then you put it all on paper and it sounds easy, and then when you actually go to development and creating the application, it’s a whole other beast.

Tim Jahn:
So you have a huge background in the wedding industry.  How long have you been in it?

Amanda Sudimack:
12 years.

Tim Jahn:
12 years? Ok.

Amanda Sudimack:
Yeah, ’98 I started in the wedding industry.

Tim Jahn:

So whether you meant to or not, you’ve been doing research for a long time.

Amanda Sudimack:
Long time, yeah! [Laughs] I know, I had someone else ask me, what kind of research did you do?  Well, I’ve been in the wedding industry for 12 years!  [Laughs]  It’s a good chunk of time.

Tim Jahn:
I was going to say, why choose the wedding industry, and I know you’ve been in it for that long, but there must have been something that said, when you started to come up with the idea, that the wedding industry is the way to try this.

Amanda Sudimack:
For me, it is.  Yeah, for me it is, because I know the industry so well.  It was an easy entry point for me, but knowing the industry as intimately as I do, it allows me, in crafting the deals in and of itself, I’m already intimately aware of all these different vendors and how they work and how they operate.  Margin points, all that good stuff.

When we go to approach a vendor and we’re approaching them and we say, hey let’s do this deal, we have some background.  So for me, it was the logical choice to stay in the wedding industry.

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