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Your Name: Kathy Cheng

 Business Name: Thankful Registry, an online gift registry service

 Type of Business: E-Commerce

 Business Location: New York, NY,United States

 Reason for starting: A few years ago, I found myself wondering why all my friends’ wedding registries were so impersonal and cold. That’s because big-box retailers completely dominate the category. It was really odd because everything else about their wedding was so personal, thoughtful and lovely. I thought it was a shame there wasn’t an option that was well-designed and customizable. Before I knew it, I had a name (“Thankful”) and I was on a mission to make a better wedding registry.

How do you define success? Thankful launched in March 2013 and I’m really proud the site has connected with so many design-minded and creative couples around the U.S. and also overseas. We have a pretty great conversion rate from trial to paid accounts. It’s usually around 24%. But what we do isn’t just offer an alternative registry option, we have a point of view that’s really rare in the wedding registry space. We care about mindful consumption and we focus on personalization. So whenever I have a customer tell me they’ve been searching for something like Thankful, that’s what success looks like. It’s how I know I’m working on something special.

Biggest Success: Getting the marketing right is really important for the brand, so a few months ago I started planning for the company’s first Thanksgiving. After a lot of hard work and collaborations, all of the marketing materials, site updates and Thanksgiving cards were executed, pushed live and sent out! The positive feedback has made it worthwhile.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Being in the wedding industry is tough because there’s a very loud echo chamber. I knew if I wanted Thankful to stand apart, I’d have to pay attention to what I say and where I say it. There are a lot of quick and easy ways to advertise, but building a brand is a long-term play. You can’t compromise on your values if you want customers to believe in what you’re doing.

Who is your most important role model? I love stories about creative people who’ve built amazing things. Like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David and Tina Fey. I also admire the work ethic of athletes like Kobe Bryant.

Twitter   @thankful_tweets

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