Interview: Abby Larson with Style Me Pretty

We are beyond thrilled to share the Fabulous Interview we had with Abby Larson, Editor and Founder of of Style Me Pretty. Most of you are familiar with Style Me Pretty, one of the most read wedding resources on the web. For those of you who aren’t you must check out this amazingly awesome site filled with everything from gorgeous real weddings to the most elite wedding vendors in the industry. Abby truly does an outstanding job bringing her readers the freshest most chic and style centric wedding related content! Even if you are married and still obsessed over weddings like us,we can guarantee you will be hooked on this site for life.
Thank you Abby for giving us some insight into your fabulous world! Enjoy!

1. Abby, you have such an amazing, stylish, and inspirational wedding blog. Tell us how SMP was born and was creating a wedding blog always something you aspired to do?

Style Me Pretty was actually a bit of an accident. I had recently sold my invitation design studio, Abby Jean, and I was looking for a way to stay connected to the wedding industry. And I was seriously dragging my feet on getting a real job. So, during the transition of my invitation brand, I started blogging. It started as a very intimate environment where I would design custom inspiration boards for brides, chat about color palettes for specific dilemmas, things like that. Well, that sense of personalization gave way to some really loyal readers who ultimately helped me launch SMP into what it is today. When I started, I had no idea as to how big Style Me Pretty would be. I thought that I would be absolutely blessed to get to 5,000 pageviews a month. And when I got there, I thought it would be amazing to get to 10,000. Now we’re at about 7 million and I couldn’t be more stunned, more grateful and more excited for what the future holds.

2. What does your typical day consist of? We can imagine you have a pretty hectic schedule based on the amount of fabulous weddings you post each day.

My days were a blur until a few months ago when I hired, Erin, our first additional full time writer. We split the writing duties so that I can focus on other things like business development and growth. With that said, we’re a start-up thru and thru and every day seems to be a bit of an adventure. Especially with a wild 2 year old running around all day! Any given day looks kind of like this…

6:30AM, up with toddler. Breakfast, books, playtime. 8AM, sitter comes and we start work. My husband either at our office or at the dining room table. Me in a comfy chair. I write and edit until about noon every day. Noon, lunch. A big one because soon-to-be baby boy Larson is HUNGRY. 1PM, I work on biz dev, building out new SMP products, troubleshooting, sourcing weddings, finding content, managing the 400 + weddings we have in the queue on any given day. 5PM, work stops and it’s all about Audrey. My husband and I devote our evenings to our toddler and try to put our computers down. Try is the alternative word there. After she hits the hay, we pick them back up again and work until 10 or 11.
We have hectic, crazy, never-going-to-end days but we wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Abby hard at work with her Hubby, sweet daughter in the background and cute dog!

3. What do you love most about running SMP? Is there anything you dislike? It is hard for us to imagine there would be anything negative since we are obsessed with weddings and find so much joy reading about them.

I am constantly blow away by the creativity that’s out there. The amazingly talented brides, the vendors that are so thoughtful and design savvy it’s almost hard to believe. It’s so inspiring and so motivating to pore over images as beautiful as the ones we see and know that all of these indie designers out there are kicking some serious creative butt.

As for negatives, you’re right. There isn’t a lot to complain about in this household. With that said, we run SMP as a business thru and thru. This isn’t a hobby for us. So, just like any small business, we deal with HR woe’s, software bugs, vendor issues, business management, hiring, firing and everything else in between. Everyone, myself and my husband included, wear MANY hats so there will always be parts of the job that aren’t the greatest. But really, we don’t dwell on those. We just get them done and focus on the fun stuff!

4. It must be hard to choose which weddings you will feature each day since you receive so many gorgeous ones! How do you make your final decision?

It generally comes down to 2 things…the details and the photography. It breaks our heart a little when a wedding is so beautifully designed and yet the photography is not good enough for a feature. Hiring a great photographer is ESSENTIAL to getting a wedding on SMP. They don’t have to be the most expensive photographer or the most well known, they just have to shoot clean, unfussy photographs that allow the details of the day to really shine.

5. You must be an expert by now on all the latest trends in the wedding industry! Is there any on particular style/trend you absolutely love at the moment?

The best trend right now is the sense of intimacy and warmth that brides are infusing into their day. Ceremonies are more personal, receptions are more casual, details are more thoughtful. Brides and grooms are realizing that their wedding is the one day where they can really let the ones they love in and they are embracing that thru and thru. I love that.

6. If you were to design your dream wedding, what would be your vision and important elements you would include?

OMG, I have no idea! I would need to have like four dream weddings. I think that the most important thing would be a small but perfect guest list. Cutting out all those random people that just make the bill go up and the experience less personal. Next up, I’d get my dream team of vendors together…don’t want to play favorites, but I definitely have a few in mind that I’d book in about two seconds flat. Booking the right vendors is probably THE most important ingredient to a gorgeous wedding. Then, it would all come down to the details. Designing a wedding that really reflected my hubby and myself, that didn’t break the bank and induce wedding guilt, and gave our guests a window into our personalities.

Abby (isn't she gorgeous) on her wedding day!

7. Before SMP you owned an invitation company so you must adore and love paper (we do too)! Do you miss the invitation designing world and do you still dabble in that creative field?

8. We always love asking this question in all our interviews so here we go! Tell us how you balance and manage family life with such a hectic work schedule?

Not. Very. Gracefully. I’m always telling my husband that there are days where I can’t seem to do anything right. Audrey is a mess and is still in her PJ’s at noon or I didn’t spell check a post that went up so I appear to millions like a completely idiot. But you know what? Who cares! Audrey is beyond loved and our business is doing really, really great. So although I try to take the time each day to nurture both the business and our family, there are definitely days that I don’t succeed. And that’s perfectly fine. At the end of the day, we simply do the best that we can!Not in the slightest! I know that sounds terrible, but I’ve decided that I am much better at writing about other people’s talents than actually doing the dirty work myself. As much as I love getting creative and designing, I also found the process of owning a wholesale invitation brand incredibly stressful. I give huge props to the people out there that are doing it so well! Although I will admit, I do all of the paper goods for any parties or events that we have and a few for photoshoots so I do satisfy that creative craving every now and then:)

9. You are a huge inspiration to many women wanting to start and run their own business. Can you give us any tips you have followed throughout the years that have helped you along your journey?

My most important tip, and the rule that I live by, is that when inspiration strikes…jump on it. I have met so many women with SUCH great ideas, though the ideas just marinate and marinate, never coming to fruition. I know that life often makes it challenging to just drop everything and start your own business. In fact, one of my best friends is dealing with this as we speak. So make it your hobby instead of your full time job. Design flowers in your spare time for friends and family, create invitations for free for willing brides and grooms, assist a wedding planner to build your portfolio. Whatever your passion, make it happen. Don’t just dream about it.

The second best piece of advice that I have ever been given was this: know what you do…and do it really well. It’s the mantra that Style Me Pretty uses every time we decide to launch a new product or consider growth in a different way. We always stay true to the original goal and only do things that can make us better and better.

Those two little pieces of advice have literally guided every business move that I have made in my adult life….especially when it comes to Style Me Pretty.

10. Lastly, Are there any new and exciting plans in the works for SMP you can share with our readers?

The next six months are going to be FULLY devoted to honing the blog, making sure everything runs beautifully, weeding out the chaos and focus instead on the elements that really work for Style Me Pretty. We’re hoping to make the Style Circle a part of Style Me Pretty so that we manage one cohesive site rather than two. After the new year, we have a couple of directions that we are looking at…though we haven’t really made a decision yet. The forever goal is to create a site that really makes sense.  That runs easily and that can grow with gusto…all while retaining our simple, original intent: to bring wedding style to the masses!

Thanks again Abby for your inspiring Interview! xo Jenn