Prezola in brief
HQ: Bath, Somerset
Turnover: £10 million (2017)
The concept of a wedding gift list is nothing new and neither are the names that have traditionally dominated the sector, which is estimated to be worth £300 million to the UK economy.*
For engaged couples wanting to stock their wedded kitchen with the latest cast iron Le Creuset range, the big departments John Lewis, Debenhams or Selfridges have been the places to point their generous friends and family.
But there’s a new kid on the block. Prezola was co-founded in 2011 by married couple Ali and Dom Beaven with the aim of modernising the wedding gift market. In the seven years since, the website has grown to stock over 50,000 products and is now one of the UK’s most popular wedding gift list sites, providing ‘tens of thousands of wedding gift lists’ and hosting over 100,000 planning websites.
Growth has doubled annually, with revenues expected to reach £15 million by the end of 2018. After receiving a £3 million investment in 2017, the business is in the process of expanding internationally. MT asked the founders how has it been done.
Curation and experience
Dom explains how when Prezola first entered the market, it was a distinct focus on creating an ‘experiential brand’ that helped set the site apart from the very ‘dated analogue offerings’ of the big department stores.
Product curation has also been important. A flexible business model, based around buying product on demand from wholesalers, has allowed Prezola to adapt and regularly modernise the range to meet changing trends.
Ali, who is creative director, says this flexibility has allowed them to offer ‘fresher’ products like YouTube video subscriptions alongside the more traditional wedding brands like Wedgwood and The White Company.
'I think we were lucky that the high street was being sluggish at the time,’ says Dom. ’We were kind of a bright, new, modern way of doing something that was a bit boring before.'
But it's not all been about ‘religious’ brand curation. The growth has been accelerated by careful acquisition. In 2016, Prezola purchased the wedding planning website GettingMarried.co.uk (GM).
Dom explains that this was a data driven move - based on the observation that the majority of Prezola’s visitors were coming from wedding planning websites already - that not only allowed the business to access different areas of the wedding market, but also enabled it to engage with customers earlier in their wedding planning-cycle.
'We've got 30,000 consumers this year using GM, and one million wedding guests will travel through one of our sites this year,’ he says.
The challenge facing Prezola is ensuring that the brand remains distinct.
Dom believes that Prezola’s sole focus on the wedding industry gives it an advantage over heavily backed rivals, for which the wedding gift list represents a small part of the overall model.
‘The lovely thing about our market is that you get a really visible pipeline,’ says Dom. ‘So as long as you're filling the funnel you can be pretty confident that the revenues are going to be coming through.’
*This is a ‘fairly widely used’ estimate according to Dom, based on the fact there are around 300,000 weddings per year with an average gift list value of £100.
Image credits: Heart Full of Tea