Carmen Feliciano wants to make sure your wedding transitions seamlessly from inspiration to the perfect event. Carmen came to the U.S. from the Philippines to study at Wharton, with aspirations to make positive change, using technology. What could be more positive then helping couples enjoy stress-less weddings?
What problem do you help clients solve?
Wedding planning is a project management nightmare. You have finite resources (time and budget) to plan and execute a perfect wedding that you will hopefully only have once in your life. Current wedding websites just add to the feeling of being overwhelmed because they focus mainly on inspiration and retail. Our platform, Penny and Mary, helps clients to first organize what they want and then facilitate action using their “Plan”. Our visual and collaborative tool helps clients engage those helping them to make their weddings happen, whether it is mom, the wedding planner or potential vendors. Planners also love our tool because they want to know the couple’s vision of their wedding so they can execute it well. For example, I have a wedding planner as well, and I use our platform to communicate what I want for my own wedding.
How did you come to create Penny and Mary?
My co-founder was a maid of honor five times, and she was helping her friends to plan their weddings. It was so inefficient! She approached me about creating a solution in this space because of my experience in both technology start-ups and consumer products.
How has being a Wharton alum in New York City played a role in your life and startup?
I didn’t have family in the US when I moved here for my MBA, so Wharton plays a big role in both my social and start-up life. Specific to Penny and Mary, a lot of Wharton alumni have been instrumental to our success so far, and I try to take the call from fellow classmates on the same start-up journey. I mentor and interview Wharton applicants. The Wharton Alumni Club in NY also produces great entrepreneurship events that I try to attend whenever I can.
What is your dream from here?
My personal dream is to help others dream big. My journey from a small town in southern Philippines to Wharton, started with my love for reading. So while at Wharton, I founded a nonprofit called Kendii, which promotes writing and creativity among young people in the Philippines. Kendii awards students who submit good work in fiction, poetry and essays. Kendii also holds writing workshops in a few high schools. We currently reach over 20,000 students and have garnered support from local celebrities.
When you don’t have resources, how have you dealt with that, whether it be connections or capital?
You need to be bold. Cold emailing people is not exactly fun, but you need to just do it and be thoughtful when you do. If you don’t have a lot of money or resources, you need to work on selling your vision to the people who do – whether investors or early employees. I’ve also seen the power of simply telling people what you need. People generally love to help. Lastly, you do have talent. You need to be generous with it and give back as well.
You can reach Carmen at firstname.lastname@example.org.