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The founders of wedding registry Zola have proposed an entirely new way to do ecommerce

The founders of wedding registry Zola have proposed an entirely new way to do ecommerce
Zola cofounders Ma and Nakaguchi help couples through the entire wedding process. [Photo: Aaron Richter]





Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi, both Gilt Groupe alumni, had seen firsthand the things that can derail an e-commerce company, such as excessive inventory and a cumbersome returns process. “We kept those in mind when we started Zola,” says Ma. More than 500,000 couples have since used the five-year-old service to create wedding websites, guest lists, and registries of products from more than 600 brands. Zola ships these items directly from the manufacturer, mitigating inventory. To minimize returns, it allows couples to choose when their gifts will be delivered, so they can exchange items virtually (through the website) before the presents even arrive. Last October, the company expanded to take on the $72 billion wedding-planning industry by introducing Real Weddings, a service in beta testing in 17 U.S. cities that lets users browse a database of thousands of photos for inspiration and hire local vendors tagged in the images. A Zola store opened in December in New York, where couples can test out gifts to put on their registry—and even get hitched.

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