We’ve just closed a financing in Borrowed & Blue and Jason joined the board. Given that Jason is also on the board of Craftsy and Havenly, I’m going to bring up the idea with my partners today that we create and design a new theme around arts and marriage. See what I did there?
A friend of mine sent out a wonderful note (well – actually an FAQ) last night about eloping. He and his now wife are in Hawaii at an event and tied the knot over the weekend. I’m psyched for them as we talked to him recently about whether they should elope or not. Amy and I eloped so while we are a fan of weddings, we realize how stressful and expensive they can be.
Enter Borrowed & Blue, whose tagline is the ‘Smarter Way to Wed’. B&B is taking a content and data-centric approach to serving the wedding industry. B&B is focused on helping couples discover vendors through their work. Every photo on the platform is tagged with the relevant vendors whose work is featured, and links to more detailed information about that vendor. To build up this repository of content, the company publishes more weddings than anyone else online, adding 350+ new weddings a week to its platform. The company has doubled its audience in just the last four months, and already has 18,000 vendors actively engaged on the platform. Borrowed & Blue has also recently launched an iOS app available in Apple’s App Store.
On top of this foundation of content, Borrowed & Blue is building the first transactional marketplace for the wedding industry, so couples will be able to book their venue, photographer, planner, etc. on the platform. Borrowed & Blue’s goal is to provide vendors with a true pay-for-performance model, while offering couples a one-stop shop to both discover and book all their wedding vendors online. Our marketplace theme posits that technology can be the answer to galvanize the two communities of wedding vendors and planning couples, and create a highly attractive business. We were particularly attracted by the company’s product focus and data-driven model.
So – you can elope, stress out, or try out Borrowed & Blue. And, if you have a good name for our pending Arts, Crafts, Design, and Marriage theme, leave it in the comments.
Late breaking news: Ryan reminded me that fashion should be included in the mix, as Jason is also on the board of Betabrand.
I’m proud of my friends at Betabrand about a bunch of things, including a fundraiser they recently did called YogAID that generated over $85,000 for the Techstars Foundation.
Last week an email hit the Foundry Group EXEC list from Betabrand’s CMO Aaron. I asked him if I could share it because it was full of some enlightening stuff around depression that was prompted by the suicide of a friend of Aaron’s. He said yes. Aaron – thanks for helping eliminate the stigma around depression.
Following is the email Aaron sent to the Foundry Group EXEC list.
Hey everyone – I know that mental health issues have been discussed in this forum so I wanted to share something that surprised the hell out of me. TL;DR, a close friend of mine took his own life recently. None of his friends would have ever expected it or thought he was even remotely depressed.
Being totally taken by surprise, I shared a bit with our company via the email below just making sure no one felt alone or didn’t know where to turn to get help. As you can see, I sent this email 2 nights ago. So far, I’ve had 14 employees email me back sharing their stories of their own depression and that of their friends/family members that have also committed suicide. We have 76 employees, so that’s almost 20% of our workforce that has responded so far! I have no idea how many others have their own stories and just aren’t ready to share, but I can only assume that n>1.
Our little world can be lonely and isolating. This is just another reminder that you are not alone. If you’re like me and lucky enough to have never dealt with depression, understand that you can be the person that lends support to someone else. Make sure your staff knows what support you/the company offer and where to turn if they want/need help. You may be amazed at the response you get. Thanks for reading & have a great weekend!
PS – We may not know each other, but if you ever want to talk, you alway have someone to call 415-xxx-xxxx
Following is the email Aaron referenced that he had sent out to the whole company.
Hey all – Sorry for the heavy email, but this is an important topic to me. Some of you know that I lost a close friend recently due to suicide. We had no idea he was depressed and dealing with his own demons and dark thoughts. Had we known, of course we all would have dropped everything to help in any way we could have. In dealing with his loss and confusion that goes with it, I’ve had numerous people reach out to me talking about their own challenges and stories about what they’ve been through (directly and with family members). As someone that had never dealt with depression, I had no idea how prevalent it was and how many people deal with this struggle daily. It made me also realize that I didn’t even know where to turn people to in order to talk to a professional about this.
I asked P… what, if any, support Betabrand offers and it turns out, we have a really great benefit to help exactly with these needs. I’m sure many of you already knew this, but many of you may not. The LifeCare Work-Life EAP program for Betabrand employees provides free, confidential help with a variety of personal, work-life and concierge needs, including emotional, relationship, chemical dependency, financial and legal needs. Trained EAP staff are available 24/7: 866-574-7256. This information can be found through our ADP portal. Login into ADP Totalsource, hover over Myself and click on Benefits Resource Center, then Life Management, and the EAP information/portal is listed under Programs. Again, if you want to reach out to them, it’s 100% confidential.
I hope none of you are dealing with depression. However, if you are, please know that you’re not alone, you’re surrounded by people that really care about you and that you can call me at any time: 415-xxx-xxxx. Also, if you are like me, there is a good chance that you do know someone that is suffering and you just aren’t aware. Check in with people that are important to you. Ask how they’re doing. Then, ask how they’re really doing. Let them ask how you’re doing. Then, tell them the truth. Have the hard conversations. Life is too short.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Chris & James for being so supportive over the last couple weeks with me needing to be out of the office. I’m lucky to work at an amazing company that understands that sometimes, life happens and that can be more important than selling pants.
One of the super crazy fun companies we are investors in is Betabrand. At this point, half of my new wardrobe comes from them.
They are hunting for a new amazing UI/UX developer. But – to show how much they want someone, they’ve designed an incredibly hideous new look for their site.
They’ve got blink tags, Comic Sans, spinning boxes, Nyan cat cursors, Papyrus, an on fire Under Construction prompt, and really bad color overlays. It reminds me of a Geocities page I once created.
Help our friends at Betabrand out. If you are a UI/UX god or goddess, here’s what they are looking for. And – while you are at it – buy some new disco pants.
I’m a big fan of doing stuff while I work. When I created my first treadputer in 2006 it was definitely ahead of it’s time. Today, I enjoy the Walkstation from Steelcase.
Recently I’ve been exploring new options and with my friends at Betabrand came up with the idea for CanDo – The Lavatory Workstation. More about it in the video below.
It fits nicely with my general theme of bathrooms.