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Moving from trends to being authentic!

Fail Faster

Episode 406


40 minutes

In this episode of Fail Faster, we sit down with Daniela Shuffler, VP, Head of Product Design at The Knot Worldwide.

In this episode of Fail Faster, we sit down with Daniela Shuffler, VP, Head of Product Design at The Knot Worldwide. Daniela shares her interesting and winding path of navigating the industry as a self-taught designer to leveraging human connection and emotion to drive great user experiences, at a leading global wedding experience provider. She talks about how this flagship brand has stayed relevant for decades. What has driven opportunities for establishing radical relatability with their customers and vendors as they look to the future of their brand and their business.

Podcast transcript

Vandana: Hi, Daniela. How are you today? 

Daniela: Good. Hi, Vandana. I’m doing really, really great today. Happy to be here. 

Vandana: Awesome. Happy to have you here. Let’s dive into your background, Daniela. Let’s give our listeners a little bit about who you are and how did you come about in this role, please. 

Daniela: Sure. Happy to. So I think like most folks in our industry of a certain age, we didn’t really have any kind of UX, right, formal training available to us. We came of a generation where the internet was really not even fully part of our lives, even in college and as we’re going through university. So my story is very much the same of a little bit of a crooked path to UX.

I studied at the University of Virginia and double majored in psychology and Spanish literature, which led me to a master’s degree at GW in DC, which was in media and communication. And from there, I got a first job working in communications at a nonprofit. What’s funny is I look back on this wayward path and all the dots start to connect, right, of how you end up in these roles and in this industry that many of us have chosen.

That first job, part of it was writing press releases and posting them to the website. And I didn’t know how to do that, but I said, you know, how does one post something to the website, to the internet? They said, well, you just go and you take an HTML class and you figure out how to upload and, oh, can you design a little banner for a conference we have coming up? Oh, sure. How does one do that? How do you take a Photoshop? Why don’t you go take a Photoshop? Great. I’ll go take a Photoshop class.

So all of those things started snowballing into this really interesting world of, of the web and internet and website, which I’d only had kind of a small taste going through college and grad school. 

I kind of translated that fast-forward thinking about, man, how interesting is this space where you really get to align creativity, design, I’d always been artistic, but it never really leveraged it as something one could do as a career, right? It’s like a bit of a light bulb moment when that happens. And really interesting in full circle, uh, I was getting married at the time and decided to throw myself into creating, designing and creating my own website for my wedding.

So I put all of that energy into my next job, which was to, to, I really wanted to work as a web designer is what, you know, we were called back then. And I found this small firm here in Alexandria or where I live and I kind of got my foot in the door as a jack of all trades, working as a website designer, as a front end developer, as an account manager, right? I was kind of picking up the phone and designing and coding and doing all those things.

So I was able to learn a lot through that experience, but ultimately I knew that the gig I really wanted was to go kind of wholesale on design. And at that time I saw a Craigslist ad back then of a startup here in the DC area that was based around weddings and how do we help users plan their weddings? Weddings are such a huge milestone in one’s life.

And it’s a moment where you have to go from novice, you know, knowing nothing about planning and executing a wedding to expert in about a year, maybe if your engagement is that long. And the stakes are super high, right? Cause you have to get it right. If you don’t get it right, your, your wedding day suffers. So it was just a really interesting kind of problem and area. And I just, like I said, I’d just gotten married. And so all those dots are just connecting for me. 

So I joined WeddingWire, which was that startup back in 2007 and starting in 2007, I joined them in 2010 and came in the door as UX designer number two, definitely still a startup culture back then. But what I like to say is it was, it had kind of come out of the scary part of startup and it was really on the growth trajectory of startup.

We were hiring and it was a really fast-paced, innovative time, but the team was still small, right? We were still having our all-hands meetings in like one room, which is now crazy to think about. And so that startup really was such a pivotal moment for me as I look back on my career in that I started, you know, as an IC there, translated that into management, translated that into kind of more strategic leadership. And now where I am now is executive leadership as VP and head of product design at the Knot Worldwide.

So I skipped a couple of steps in there in that story, but basically WeddingWire grew over time. We acquired a company based in Spain, which is Bodas. And then we, through an acquisition of private equity, we then merged with The Knot, which at the time was our number-one competitor in the United States. And so now we are this one big kind of global company that services wedding and engaged couples kind of across the globe.

But my story here is really one where I stayed at this company and been able to see all these changes, right? Startup, acquisitions, mergers, all the things I see in management, strategy, executive leadership. So I kind of run the gamut in my career here. But that’s a bit of my origin story in a nutshell. 

Vandana: Oh, amazing. And what a great way. You’re like, you make self-learning seem super easy, like, okay, I’ve done coding and then I went here today to do Photoshop. I’m like, wow. How do you teach yourself and hold a job? 

Daniela: But it’s all you can do, right? When it’s your normal, you know, you don’t know that at the time, you don’t know that it’s hard. You just know that it’s what you have to do. You have to put your mind to it and your energy towards it and figure it out as you go along. And only in hindsight, can you look back and be like, well, how did I do that? But, you know, we do it. We do what we need to. 

Vandana: Awesome. That’s such a great story of how you shaped yourself into, you know, into all those skills and then also were encountering a job that, you know, that your passions were lying where. So let’s, let’s talk about where the not worldwide is today and who you are, like what are the big, big mission and vision statements that you, you are feeling, feeling aligned to? 

Daniela: Yeah. So again, this story is just, it’s been so interesting and part of the reason why I’ve just been so kind of excited to, to remain and work with this company. Where we are right now is really the culmination of so many kind of groups and brands coming together to really solve a very core, very human, very universal global problem, which is that it’s not a problem.

It’s actually a wonderful milestone in life, which is to unite with the person that you love the most in that celebration that involves your family and your friends. But there’s so many little problems around that when you start to think about all the things you have to put into place. So what we do now as a global company, as a not worldwide, is that through our brands and across many countries, we serve over 4 million engaged couples.

One of the key things we do is we connect them to local wedding vendors. So again, we think globally that’s over kind of 850,000, I think is our number of wedding vendors that are kind of on the ground locally and are, are the real kind of heroes behind these weddings, right? If you think about who’s actually helping these couples bring their, their wedding date to life, it’s these vendors.

So right now, one of our key offerings is a two-sided marketplace where we help engaged couples connect with these wedding pros, connect with these local vendors, really make sure that we leverage that human connection, right, which is so critical for a wedding and that emotion to bring those people together to really create these amazing days. 

And we offer everything along the way too. So it’s not just the vendors, right? You also need to talk to your guests, communicate with them via wedding websites, via guest messaging tools, RSVPs, you need to send an invitation, you want to send a save the date, we have invitations and stationery, and a lot of the productivity tools that you need to really plan, right?

We all have to become project managers all of a sudden when we plan a wedding, whether we like it or not, we have to keep a lot of things in play, we have to track a lot of things. And so we offer a place again, across all of our brands and our countries, we have some flavor of our planning tools to think about like a budget tool or a tool that lets you track your guests, guest list tools.

So all of those pieces are really where we come in and we say, hey, there’s an easier way to do this all in one place digitally, right? Let’s think about how the kind of simplest way for you to make progress, we didn’t even know what to do. When you think about our editorial articles, and so many Google searches of how do I do this? Or what you’re gonna be thinking about when it comes to wedding? We’re there with the answer. 

So what we’re really trying to do is solve all those pieces along the wedding journey for our couples to make sure that whatever they want their wedding to be, we’re going to help them get there. And that’s really kind of our core mission. And our core vision is to really help couples celebrate who they are and what they want their union to be in a way that is very authentic to them, right?

We want to meet our couples where they are, and not really tell them what a wedding should be, but help them create that day with the help of vendors and with the help of tools and all those things that we can help provide. So that’s really the core mission of our work. And what we have been doing for over two decades now, and what we’ll continue to do in the future, and all the kind of exciting work that we see ahead. 

Vandana: How cool is that? And what a great space to be in. Yeah, I love how beautifully you put it, you know, it’s a celebration of two people coming together. And yeah, nothing should really take away from that. 

Daniela: No, but so many things do, right? It’s so hard. It’s such a unique, it’s such a unique user problem, because it only, usually, it happens once. 

Vandana: Yeah, 

Daniela: Very short, confined period of time where, and there’s so many things that play in the surroundings, you know, and we can’t help with your in-laws, and we can’t help with, you know, outside opinions and things like that. But we certainly can help you think through what you want, and kind of make sure all that stuff executes the way you and your partner want it to. 

Vandana: Awesome. Great, great. And I feel like you are the right person to lead this effort, if you kind of, because you started with planning your wedding and like, like way back when. So it’s been 13 years you’ve been here? 

Daniela: Yeah. So I have been with the company now for 13 years, which I definitely wear as a badge of honor, because that’s not, that’s not typical, right? In tech and in product design, staying one place for 13 years is a bit of a rarity. So it’s definitely something that’s really interesting and critical to my own career story. 

Vandana: Yeah. So what, can you shed some more light on what has happened for you that has kept you here for this long? 

Daniela: Yeah, of course. So, you know, I think when any of us think of making a move or changing, especially professionally, it always comes from a sense of probably stagnation, bored, you know, you’re bored, you’re not growing, you don’t feel valued. Like there’s so many reasons why we look for new roles.

And for me, I’m just really lucky and happy that I haven’t really ever reached that point here. Or if I’d have, I kind of found an opportunity and kind of reinvigorated it for myself, because the growth really has never stopped for me over those 13 years that, you know, I talked about at the beginning coming in as an IC all the way to where I am now as head of design. I mean, that’s a lot to pack into a 13 year career.

The fact that it’s all happened in one place is because the constantly changing landscape of my role and being able to see not only my company change, but our industry change. I mean, if you think about where our industry was 10 years ago, there’s so much massive change that’s happened just in design, what design does in terms of software development, where we sit, right, what we do, the expectations of our function, what leadership looks like, mergers, acquisition, man, I lived all the organizational change ever created. And I’ve survived to tell the tale on the other side. 

And it’s not bad. It’s all it’s all kind of good stuff, if you know how to think about it, and you have the right mindset. So all of that has just kept me on my toes. And I think around every corner, there’s been immense growth for me. And it certainly hasn’t stopped.

In fact, I would say that right now, the era I’m living is probably the one of the most growth maybe that I’ve maybe ever had in those 13 years with the company. So there’s just been a lot of personal growth, a lot of personal challenge. And when you put that against a backdrop of this really amazing user problem that we just talked about, right?

I kind of look at other problems out there to solve, and just none of them to me are as compelling as as human as universal, as as love and what that is to solve for that to solve for love and union and, and make sure that that’s a really wonderful digital experience. So there’s the user problem, the fact that we’re still solving huge challenges at this company, you know, by no means are we resting on laurels or have it all figured out.

We still have really ambitious goals ahead, really great problems that we want to solve that we haven’t solved yet, and this huge opportunity ahead. So again, I still see kind of growth for us as a company, for me as a design leader. The team here is like no other truly. I truly can say I have, I have the best team, I know a little bias, but we are a bunch of designers, writers, researchers that operate with a ton of humility and a ton of kind of fast paced hustle and nobody falls in love with anything.

We all do it in service of our users and really understanding that we know kind of we’re going after the right solutions. And so that’s just a really great, positive environment, right? To work in and design. Design can be, it’s not always that case, right? Design, design is not always full of humility. 

So it’s a good, it’s a good team. And then ultimately this company has had, even through our many change over the last 13 years from kind of when I was at that startup for WeddingWire now to where we are, our core values really haven’t changed as a company. Now we’ve named them different things, but generally, the values that this company is rooted in, which are very much around kind of our users, our employees, innovation, right? Humility, thinking, thinking big and broad, and working together. Those have really always been kind of my values and things that I center on too.

And so as a parent, right, as someone who’s also seen marriage go into kids and flexibility, that’s always really been at the core of our company as well. So you put all of those things together into a recipe and that turns into 13 years at a company hopefully going on many more where I’m still just as kind of enthused and passionate and excited to be here as I was, you know, those first couple of weeks when I joined that startup way back when. 

Vandana: How amazing is that? That’s very rare. And I congratulate you and commend you for, you know, for a long journey and a successful one too. And I’m sure you’re well taken care of and well appreciated. 

Daniela: Yes. Yeah, it is. It’s a two-way street, right? You build loyalty based on loyalty given, right? And I think it really has been a wonderful ride. Great leadership, great team, great company, great users. So yeah, so I’m here to count all of that and say that staying in one place for a long time can really pay dividends. 

Vandana: Awesome. Let’s talk about your users. It has been a long journey and yes, through that journey, trends have changed, you know, what is relevant, what was relevant then is probably not as relevant today. What have you guys done to stay relevant along those years? And give us a little bit of like examples, maybe trickle down some things that, 

Daniela: You know, it’s funny that you said trends because I’ve been thinking about that a lot. And we’re recording this on a day that’s actually extremely important for our company. When we put this date on the calendar, I hadn’t realized that we were connecting these milestones. But today, The Knot, which is one of our brands and our flagship brand in the United States has just unveiled a huge rebrand. We have a marketing campaign, we have a new commercial, we have a new visual identity and it all went out into the world today.

So it’s a super exciting day in our world. But one of the key things that you just mentioned, which I think is really the core of this change for us is about moving from trends to authenticity. And that’s been a really powerful mantra for us. So The Knot, if we just think about The Knot for a moment as one brand in our whole portfolio, The Knot has a 25-plus-year history in the industry.

We started very much in kind of the media and the inspiration space and moved more into this robust digital product. And you’re right that over that 25-year history, it’s hard to stay relevant, right? It’s hard to understand kind of what is changing and the landscape of weddings and so much has stayed the same. And so much has changed. 

And I think COVID, like most companies gave us this moment to like emerge from the dust and kind of dust ourselves off and say like, who are we? Like who are we? And the funny timing of COVID too, is that it happened right after our big merger with all these companies when we became The Knot Worldwide.

We did that and we operated like that for a year and then COVID hit. So we really had this, who are we moment coming out of that and saying like, who are we as this broader company and who are we as a brand for The Knot? And just post-COVID, we were all asking ourselves that question, right? So when we merged, we really thought, okay, we have an opportunity here to really answer that question.

And what really emerged from that was just what I said and what you kicked us off with was this move from trend to authentic. As we talked to our users, as we understood both from our consumers, our engaged couples and our wedding vendors, understanding that much of the wedding landscape is the same, right? People still want to get married.

They still want to celebrate their unions. But what’s changed? And I think what’s changed is that, you know, as we think about Gen Z coming up on the horizon and a younger demographic, we’re just not as tied to what one definition of a wedding is, right? Or what one definition of tradition is and that’s just not, that’s not relevant anymore. 

Things come and go and trends are things that people sometimes hold on to and sometimes don’t. But what we found resonated throughout was a desire to be authentic and authentic might be trendy, right? Authentic truly is, I want to be at the forefront of the most hip thing possible. So I want my wedding to be that way as well. But what we really wanted was this shift to authenticity.

Also a shift to standing out in the celebration. So I think also as we thought up to ourselves of The Knot and how we might want to think about ourselves and project ourselves in this rebrand that I told you is launching today, we thought too about, okay, what, what landscape do we have out there for, for users when engaged couples are thinking about how to plan their wedding? What are they seeing?

And what we saw was a very kind of like saccharine, sanitized version of weddings that was kind of hit one note, and everyone with a smile and the very stylized photo, right? And a very similar color palette out there and everything soft. And we just wanted to break free of all of that and say, you know what? That’s not who we are. We’re, we’re the brand of celebration. We’re the brand of joy. We’re the brand that wants to think with you, be there with you, whatever that means for you. 

And what you want probably isn’t what was happening 10 years ago or a few years ago. It’s probably something that we haven’t even thought of and that’s future on the horizon. So that really pushed us for The Knot to think about not only kind of who we are, but how we wanted to meet our users moving forward. And we really thought about those principles, that concept.

We talk a lot about radical relatability as we think about this rebrand for The Knot, which is weddings are amazing and they’re beautiful and they’re emotional, but they’re also a little messy, right? Like they’re also a little jumbly and just a lot of questions we have to answer them. But all of that takes you to a joyous day and all of that takes you to a joyous moment of celebration.

So how can we embrace all of it, right? How can we embrace every piece of that journey, knowing that all of it in the sum culminates in really this amazing, beautiful union? It’s not even the day, right? It’s the union that happens after a wedding. 

So that really pushed us into thinking of how we lead the industry and really how we start to paint a picture of weddings and traditions to generations that are kind of upcoming and users getting married now and users in the future. So it really drove us in this rebrand as we thought about all of those principles and really where it manifests itself maybe most obviously is in how we ended up with our new visual identity for The Knot.

So anyone who goes to The Knot now will see a vastly different look and feel. We have a very classic color palette, which is black and white based, right, as a nod to that very traditional classic palette, but boy, it is full of color. It is full of a very bright pink, which, you know, you might think like, well, that doesn’t really feel like weddings. And it’s like, well, does it need to? It should read as joy and it should read a celebration and it really should read as kind of the emotions that one feels as you’re planning. And so we’re really trying to capture that in our color palette.

Our logo took like a turn from what a very classic script and we kept some of the script thought, but we emboldened it, right? We made it kind of, gave it some more meat on the bones to give it more of that like assertive feel, which also ended up in a lot of our headline typography, which was really the, it speaks to the boldness of how we see our users now and how we see our users in the future of making bold choices that again, are really authentic to them and their decisions that they want to make, bucking tradition or not, right?

And that’s not to say that tradition is a bad thing. Like if you still love all the tradition and all the things, that’s wonderful. And we’re going to, we want to help you do that as well. And maybe my favorite, maybe my favorite piece that we’ve taken in, in this visual identity is our use of confetti. 

So throughout our new design system, we are using moments of confetti, either animation or sprinkled throughout and that just to me in one image or kind of one visual really embodies that we’ve been trying to do, which is to embrace the chaos, right? Confetti is beautiful. It’s a wonderful physical celebration of joy. You literally throw it and it, and it throws us into the sky and it lands beautifully. But when it lands, it’s a little messy, right? It’s a little messy when you, when it kind of ends up on the floor, but you’re okay with that. You’re okay with that because in the end you had that moment.

So to like very long winded answer to your original question, but I think what we’re really trying to do to stay relevant with our history, right? Is to really think, think of our users, think about what celebration means right now. Really question tradition and question things that may or may not be relevant, all moving towards authenticity, emotion, joy.

And we think that by kind of reinventing our brand for the not with all of those principles, we’re going to resonate with audiences now and in the future, understanding that they can see those principles that they probably have for themselves reflected in a product that can help them get to this, this big milestone in this big day. 

Vandana: How amazing. I love all the stuff that you said, how the users are changing and you’re bringing their boldness to the font. And that’s amazing. Like, yeah, I love it. I love all of it. Let’s talk about the challenges. Like this is not a small initiative and we have stakeholders across the globe to kind of get buy-ins from and tell the story of the brand. How did you guys do that? 

Daniela: Yeah, it was a big challenge. So I think, you know, on the outside, it’s such an amazing moment that we’re living. And then if we pop the hood, right, for everyone in the industry, that everyone’s thinking like, wow, rebranding, that’s a big word, right? That’s a big word to use when we think about digital product. And it was, it was an exciting challenge that we’re kind of on the other side now. I would say we’re more maybe in the middle of it.

But the first thing that was really critical and that will probably resonate with anyone who’s gone through this is the cross-functional partnership. And probably the cross-departmental partnership is really critical. This rebrand for The Knot really came forward from a lot of thinking done by our marketing team. We have a relatively new, although I think she’s been here now maybe a year, Chief Marketing Officer Jenny Lewis, who came in and did a lot of this thinking herself, right?

As she kind of got her bearings, was with her team, looked at the company, looked at her portfolio and said, okay, where do we see opportunity? And we kept circling this opportunity with The Knot, which I just kind of went through. 

So our marketing team saw this vision, had this vision and wanted to work through it. And I think one of the key moments of success was immediately pulling us in and pulling me in specifically on the design side to say, hey, we really want to embark on this reinvention of The Knot brand. Product design come along with us because obviously, you know, our product, it’s critical that whatever we do here, whenever we land is really going to work with inside the product.

So I was able to be there kind of day one as we worked with Kodo, which is a studio based in California. We worked with them on this visual identity. So I think having that really tight partnership was critical because there were a lot of challenges in terms of timeline. This was a very quick, we wanted to have this, you know, we’re in, we’re July 25th, the day of the recording here. 

And so we had a very kind of finite timeline where we wanted to get this out in the world, knowing that we wanted to have a campaign around and all these things. So if you imagine me sitting in my chair saying like, okay, so let’s rebrand a whole product in a couple of months, right? Let’s take everything. Let’s change everything about the product quickly. And that was a huge challenge, but an exciting one, right? So no risk, no reward, right?

Moving fast is a good thing. So we were enthused to do this and partner with our team in marketing really as a company because we all had to align around this investment because we were going to trade things off, right? We were going to say, guess what? That thing we thought we were going to do, we’re not going to do it anymore because now we think that we really should focus on this rebrand. And we all really believed and understood that it was a huge opportunity and the best thing we could probably do it in the moment. 

So I went back to our team, to our engineers, to our product managers, to our product designers, and really thought through a plan of how we might accomplish this across a very large website footprint, an app footprint, right? And all of those products had to work together and resonate and look like the brand that was about to go out the door. So like any, I mean, from there it becomes a little less interesting because it’s like any other product, you had to think in smaller units, right?

We thought about an MVP. What would this look like to get this out the door in day one? It’s not a redesign. You know, designers were like, new visual identity, great. Let’s run after that. Let’s redesign all the things. Let’s make it all look totally different. So we had to punt the brakes and say, no, that’s not what we need right now. What we need right now is smaller scope so we can get this out the door. So I started to have the team and everyone kind of in our build world, which we call build our product development arm, about reskin, think about a reskin versus a redesign, right?

And those are kind of two separate things. So we approached this as a reskin where we took elements, small kind of atomic units and variables and just flipped them. So we took a button that used to be red and we flipped it to pink, right? And we changed the, maybe the border radius. And we swapped the headline typography, like one-to-one without trying not to change the sizing so that our layouts wouldn’t break. We changed the background color one-to-one. 

And so we did these like small swaps. We called it foundation flips, dropped the whole product. And even that was a massive effort. It was a massive effort that took so much coordination and it took a lot of belief and investment from our teams, because again, we came to them and we said, Hey, we have this big initiative. You know, we say a lot of times you build the plane while it’s flying. That is like a hundred percent what we were doing because we didn’t have it all figured out.

I did not have all the answers to all the questions, but we were asking our teams to make this investment and to do this work as we were kind of figuring out the plans. But again, our team, all kudos to them. And I use that very broadly across, like I said, engineers, product managers, our QA team, the list goes on of all the people that were working on this coupled with marketing.

We all really just had to lock hands and say, okay, what do we need to get this done? Like what do we need to get this done by the state? That’s all we’re going to do because we have to put our heads down and focus on that. 

And so we did. The way we were thinking about this is like atomic units of a reskin, just use one-to-one flips was really how we approached it. The other interesting challenge was, which will be obvious again to anyone who’s gone through this, but man, rebranding something from one day to the next is a huge risk, right? Like you don’t know what that’s going to do to your site, to your performance, to your metrics. I mean, ultimately you have a belief that this is the right direction and certainly not something you are going to not do once you’ve made the choice to do it.

But we still wanted to be pretty eyes wide open going into this because there was a real risk here that we were going to hurt metrics. So that was another big challenge was how do we mitigate that, right? How do we, is there anything we can do to just help us understand what might happen if we flip this one day and we do see a hit to metrics? So we did also decide on an experimentation design, which was also challenging because, and I will kind of go into the details because they’re very nitty gritty, but a lot of our metrics don’t show up immediately.

You have to track them over many months, we couldn’t do that. Also which metrics among the many, many, many were we going to measure? We had to do it at the site level. So we couldn’t just test this on a page, right? Because we had to test a full rebranding. So we had to take into account that the user might be on any page coming from any moment and capture that and make sure that that metric was kind of measured in that environment.

So just the bucketing of users was complex. So in the end, we landed on something imperfect and a little maybe messy, but again, for us it was really important to just have some learning and some kind of progress over perfection, right? That’s definitely a mantra we live by. And so we decided to only measure two of our key metrics that we can measure within like a very short window of time on our site. 

And it wasn’t a, it wasn’t a no, it was a go, no go. It wasn’t a go, no-go experiment, right? Those experiments are when you A, B test, you have like a winner and you only launch the winner. We were going to launch the rebrand no matter what, right? It was, it was a company, it was a company decision that we had made and we were excited about it.

This experimentation, although challenging, also helped us have a little bit of a sense of what might happen when we flip the switch so that at least we could be kind of eyes wide open going into it. But I’m happy to report that when we ran it, the rebrand won actually, the metric lifted. So, and it wasn’t like a huge surprise because obviously that’s what we believe in, right?

We said, this is going to resonate, people are going to love this, this is going to actually ultimately help our conversion, but we weren’t sure. So, what was great about that experiment is, although it took additional time, right? It took kind of some additional effort, it really gave us the learnings we needed to proceed with confidence.

So we found that our two core metrics ended up being listed across the site through the rebrand and that just all gave us like a, like celebratory moment, like, you know, all hands on deck, let’s go, let’s launch this thing, we launched it early. And so we’re super excited of what that’s going to keep propelling us to moving forward. 

Vandana: How amazing and congratulations. Thanks. I can’t wait to check it out and especially the engagements like confetti and what you just mentioned. 

Daniela: Yes. Yes. 

Vandana: Awesome. Awesome. And what’s next now after this huge launch? 

Daniela: Yeah. So we launched it to the world, today is the day, it’s out, you know, everyone is seeing it or interacting with it across our product. What I see up next is actually the much more nuanced work of a redesign because the reskin piece that we went through in a product is easier, right? Because you can look at the variables and just replace them.

But now comes the work of really interpreting this visual identity and really interpreting all of these things that I talked about earlier, like our typography, like our color palette, like this confetti, like illustrations. And how do we really bring that to life now? How do we really express that brand to the fullest and that’s what we want to resonate with our users. So now for our team in design, we’re moving into the redesign, not just the reskin stage. And redesigns are trickier, right? You’re starting to change the user experience.

Different hypotheses of what the visual experience might do for users and conversion. And it’s more nuanced, it’s just not as obvious what the wins are going to be or why we would do something. And so it’s a little bit more of that tug and pull, you know, push and pull of prioritization of should we really change that? Well, it’s working, but could it be better? And really having a theme of creatives all interpret something the same way, that is super challenging right now.

We all now have a new paint palette and we’re excited to use it. But we can’t use it 30 different ways. If you add marketing into that mix, we can’t use it 50 different ways. So now we have to kind of centralize all of our creative talent to think about expressing this identity in the same way, leveled with a higher investment and energy towards the quality of that execution. 

So we’re now into this, I think it’s a little bit more business as usual now, right? We don’t have kind of the set project timeline of here’s the goal I date, here’s all the stuff that’s changed. And now it’s really, okay, let’s interpret this brand now.

What does it mean for us? Who are we? How does it start to look and form and change our UI? How does it change your experience? How do we start to change animation and micro-interactions? How does a confetti pop when you tap on it, right? It’s all these really interesting questions, but it’s going to be a longer tail change that’s going to take a little bit more maybe explanation or understanding as we go again to our cross-functional partners and start to think about this work.

Because again, it has to be prioritized against other things. So we end up getting a picking of where we spend time, but it’s important. 

Vandana: Awesome. It’s great. And it’s exciting. Looks like you are going to be busy for the next couple of years or so. 

Daniela: Yes. It’s exciting. 

Vandana: What is success for you, Daniela? What matters to you if you were to achieve those outcomes? I mean, this is already a huge outcome, but next, let’s say in the beginning of this year. 

Daniela: Yeah. That’s such a great question. Success to me will continue to be and is always around impact. And that can take so many different forms, right? Here in what we’ve just talked about. I want this work to have impact for our users. I want them to connect to what we’re creating, right? Weddings are creative, they’re beautiful, they’re emotional. And I think we are greeting the world with a visual identity that matches that.

And I want users to feel welcome and excited and know we’re kind of there to hold their hand through wedding planning. And so that impact in terms of the work, the tangible, physical work that we’re creating in the world, that’s what success looks like. For my team, success is a team that is doing the best work of their careers. That means work that’s challenging, work that’s valuable, work that they grow from in a supportive, amazing environment the way that I have.

I would love nothing more than every single person on my team to have the experience I’ve had, which is to grow a long time with a company and feel highly invested and passionate about the work. I think that really is kind of ultimate success. And I think if you put those two things together, which is a successful product being built by a successful team, ultimately you’re making a successful company, right? And so for me too, that’s where I see a lot of value and impact and is how have I been able professionally to drive that?

For this company, how have I been able to drive this product with a vision of our design and what it should be for users and help with a team, a supportive team that creates that ultimately laddering up into kind of the success of a global company professionally? That’s impact for me, right? But my impact is also in my own life, right? What impact has this work had on me? Is this work making me better? Do I love this work? Am I happy in this work? And I think as long as I keep saying yes, that’s success, that’s success, right? To build all of this.

And at the end of the day, know that I’m getting the most out of it maybe than anyone else when we think about a professional career. So that’s what I’m looking towards as I keep building and keep standing here. On to your 14. 

Vandana: How amazing is that? This was such a well-rounded conversation that not only gave us a little visual of how personally you’re bringing your purpose to the job that you’re doing, and you’re contributing towards not only your teams, but to a greater purpose of making people’s weddings special and making that impact both ways. So congratulations on your journey so far, Daniela. Wishing you all the best lessons and good luck for your launch and all that is to come. 

Daniela: Thank you. Thank you, Vandana. It’s been wonderful to talk to you and talk about this journey. So really appreciate you having me on. 

Vandana: Thank you so much. Well, why don’t you come back after the second launch or once we redesign, we’ll probably have you back. 

Daniela: I will. That sounds great. 

Vandana: Thank you. 

Daniela: Thank you. 

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