Saturday, March 15, 2008 , , , , , , ,

The 27th participant is OurWishingWell.com

Founded by Joseph Renzi, OurWishingWell.com is an online gift registry that allows hosts of any occasion to list items that they need/want and invite guests to view the registry and request contributions toward these gifts.
Hosts can list any item – from home wares, honeymoons, a holiday or a house deposit. Guests can view the registry and contribute any amount towards any gift on the list. It allows multiple guests to contribute different amounts to larger/significant gifts that would otherwise not be possible.

This is Joesph's 2nd venture entry in this carnival, first one was SwapAce.com. He tells us bit more about this intriguing venture:

• How it started?
It started with his team in 2007. The successful site has now expanded into other sites such as; BabyWishingWell.com, BirthdayWishingWell.com and BestFundraiserWebsite.com.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
The site took less than 6 months to develop before it was fully functional

What stage of your start-up is, stealth mode, beta mode or fully functional?
Fully functional

What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
The main objective behind OurWishingWell.com is to provide a unique gift registry service to hosts and guests of any occasion.

In summary, a majority of people who are getting married have already been living together and already have the standard household items that they might receive for a wedding gift, so OurWishingWell.com provides them with an elegant way of collecting money towards other items (like their honeymoon or a house deposit).

What services it provides it for consumer or customers?

  • OurWishingWell.com is free for customers to set-up and personalise their own registry.
  • OurWishingWell.com provides hosts of events an alternative to asking for cash. As it is often seen as ‘impolite’ to ask for cash – OurWishingWell.com provides an alternative.
  • OurWishingWell.com is convenient to customers as you are not limited to a registry at one store and saves time as there is no need to go back to shops to return unwanted or duplicate gifts.
  • The site is also convenient for the guests as they do not have the stressful task of shopping for a suitable gift or spending money on wrapping.
What is unique about your venture?
OurWishingWell.com is unique as it allows guests from all over the world to contribute to any gift listed on the registry. Hosts can list any items they desire – from household items to experiences to pets and house deposits. Money can also be withdrawn from the registry by the hosts at any time, which allows them to use the money to help pay for the event.

OurWishingWell.com is unique as it offers personalised features for each event. Hosts can print personalised gift registry cards to be distributed to guests. Hosts also have the option of creating a personalised website for their event. The personalised website builder allows hosts to create their own event website and add photos, event details and their gift registry for their guests to view. The website builder is free when you create a registry.

What market segment verticals you are targeting for?
Marketing for OurWishingWell.com targets hosts of many events including; weddings, engagements, baby showers, birthdays, house warmings, fundraising events and Christmas wish lists.

What type of customers you are targeting?
OurWishingWell.com targets hosts of all events and the guests of those events. Events include: engagement parties, weddings, baby showers, birthdays, Christmas wish-li
sts, house warmings and fundraisers.

What age group of people will be benefited most?
Customers of all ages will benefit from OurWishingWell.com - as people of a
ny age can create or contribute to a registry.

How many users are using your services?

In less than 1 year, we have almost 10,000 people who have used our gift registry service.

What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
Online marketing is predominant and advertising through wedding websites. We also use public relations to create and maintain relationships with customers/potential customers.

How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are their any special mechanisms/tools are in place to monitor the progress?
  • Some of the key performance indicators are:
  • Number of members (new and existing)
  • Number of advertisements
  • Number of offers
  • Number of agreements
  • Number of hits to the website
  • Cost to acquire a customer

A majority of this information is provided to us through our own reporting system (attached to our database), but we also use Google tools like Google Analytics.

What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is their any new model, which is being tried?
  • It is totally free to set up a gift registry. We make our money by taking a small percentage of each transaction (like a credit card).
  • We also sell gift registry cards and we also provide a free website builder (for their event) which can be upgraded to a paid premium subscription (with additional features).
Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment? What are the main technologies used behind this start-up?
There are hundreds of both direct and indirect competitors in the gift registry segment. Direct competitors include: WeddingGiftsDirect.com.au, Wedding List Co., MelbourneWeddingRegistry.com.au, NotAnotherToaster.com.au,

What has been the most easy to use, out of box and helpful technology?
Our internal wiki (pmwiki) for our internal intranet.

Are you using lot of open source tool sets for this?

  • For development we use unix (for the operating system), PHP and cakePHP (for coding), mySQL, and postgresql (for databases).
  • Internally we also use bugzilla (for tracking software development), pmwiki (for an internal intranet), trixbox (as a VoIP server) and many other products.

What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
  • Unix, Windows and Mac.
  • mySQL, and postgresql and Microsoft Access.

How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up. Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
Networking functions throughout the city, small business activities, awards dinners etc

How much money is needed upfront to start a venture?
Depends on the type of business

What are the main barriers in general for people start their venture in Australia.
  • Limited access to funds (raising capital)
  • Building a committed team of people willing to work hard
  • Many competitors on the marketplace

What are your thoughts on the future trends of your service and market segment you are in?
The segment is expanding rapidly with an increasing number of competitors entering the gift registry market. Consumers are moving to online gift registries rather than traditional instore registries due to increased choice of items and ease of set-up.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
  • Never give up
  • Don’t take no for an answer
  • Find other people who share your vision
  • Surround yourself with other people who are in the same situation as yourself
  • The government offers a lot of support – you should utilise this options
  • The measure of success is not how many times you fall over, but how many times you can pick yourself back up again
Thanks Joseph for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hear from you in future on the progress of OurWishingWell.com. All the best for OurWishingWell.com and the competition in this carnival.

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