Founder and CEO, Everly
I was anxious to do something where I could break things apart and rebuild them and make them better.
Juliet Horton T’14, was in the midst of a planning a big, formal event while at Tuck—she was one of the social chairs on student board, so she organized one formal every term—when she realized how challenging it was to pull off an event of this size. She had to account for a couple hundred people, an open bar, a band.
“I jokingly called them my practice weddings,” Horton says. “I saw firsthand how difficult it was to get clear and transparent pricing information for large events and I started to identify what a frustrating process it was.” She had an inkling of an idea for how she could make the event planning process more efficient, but she was too busy getting an MBA to make much of it at the time. The idea would have to wait.
Besides, she was on track for a successful career in banking. Prior to attending Tuck, Horton earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount University, graduating in 2008. After college, she worked as an analyst at Wachovia in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then, after the bank’s merger with Wells Fargo in 2009, she worked for Wells Fargo in Philadelphia for three years.
When she decided to get an MBA, she picked Tuck entirely on a gut feeling. “I visited and I had this overwhelming feeling that this was where I was supposed to be,” she says. “I know as a business school student, I’m supposed to be more analytical, but it was an intuitive decision.”
At Tuck, she did her internship at Barclays Investment Bank and planned on continuing a career in banking, but by her second year, she started to have second thoughts. “I think banking was a great place to start my career, but I was anxious to do something where I could break things apart and rebuild them and make them better,” Horton says. “So I started looking at jobs at big tech companies.”
After graduating in 2014, she moved to Seattle to join Amazon in a finance role. “Amazon is a big tech company that still feels like a scrappy startup,” she says. “It moves really fast. It’s innovative. You get to avoid a lot of the red tape and bureaucracy.”
But in the back of her mind, she was still thinking about that idea from Tuck—how could she solve the problems associated with event planning? “The idea never really left. It was apparent to me that at Amazon, I was always going to be building someone else’s vision. It was not my product,” she says. “As I spent time there, I got more and more anxious to roll up my sleeves and do something that was more impactful and was building my vision.”
In 2017, she started working nights and weekends to lay the foundation for what would become her own startup. By that summer, she quit her comfy gig at Amazon. She called her business Everly—a wedding planning services site unlike anything on the market. The site launched in early 2018. “The wedding industry is ripe for disruption,” Horton says.
The idea? It’s overwhelmingly stressful and time consuming to plan your own wedding, but it’s absurdly expensive to hire a full-on wedding planner to do it for you. Plus, couples these days want a fun, beautiful, memorable wedding, but they don’t want to spend every weekend leading up to the big day planning for it. So at Everly, newly engaged couples fill out an online profile and a trained planner provides them with things like a budget, monthly checklist, regular check-ins, and targeted vendor recommendations for services like caterers, bands, and photographers. Everly’s flat rate: $750. The cost of a typical wedding planner? Upwards of $7,000.
“We provide a lot of the same personalized approach of a wedding planner but at a different price point,” says Horton. “We give couples the tools and resources to get through this efficiently and save hundreds of hours of work.”
Right now, Everly is available only in Seattle, but Horton, who serves as the founder and CEO of her six-person staff, has plans for a city-by-city roll out in other major markets in the future. “Five years from now, I want to be in every major market and have the reputation that this is where you go when you get in engaged,” she says.
She’s been testing the product on a number of fellow Tuckies and she still credits those Tuck formals, and her educational experience at Tuck, with giving her the idea—and the confidence—she needed to launch her own business. Says Horton, “While I gained a number of technical skills from Tuck, I really have to give credit to the confidence I learned there, from my peers and my professors, that I was worthy of doing big things with my career.”
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