Getting to Know Entrepreneur Chris Easter

Chris Easterchris-easter-headshot1, co-founder of The Man Registry, spoke with our Entrepreneurship Practicum class today about his venture as well as how to improve upon the current ventures that our class has been working on throughout the course of the semester. He offered useful tips and a new perspective on each of our projects thanks to his eight years as the entrepreneur of a successful online retail store.  Mr. Easter has gained a significant amount of expertise not only within the wedding industry but also in website design, SEO, and project management.

In regards to his business venture, Mr. Easter has created a successful website that exploits a small niche within the wedding industry. His company, The Man Registry, is the leading provider of content and gifts for grooms. It is designed for men, by men. It’s a one stop shop to help guide grooms in their wedding preparation. The Man Registry sells everything from shot glasses and cuff-links to Mr. and Mrs. Pillow sets. With the wedding industry placing a significant emphasis toward women, men have been left out of the equation entirely. Mr. Easter realized this and created a website focused on unique wedding gifts for men.

After discussing his background and how he came to start the company, he told the class that 75% of the website’s revenue was generated by men buying other men gifts (specifically for their groomsmen). He also shared the importance of social media in his company and the many changes he has made in order to adjust to overall business trends. In the beginning stages of his venture, social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, were the most prevalent ways to advertise. Now, he stated that he focuses about 40% of his advertising through Pinterest alone. Another social media platform he uses is Instagram. He discussed the possibility of using Snapchat in the future, but first he must decide how his company would use this platform in an effective way to gain a loyal customer base. The future will certainly be a challenge for Mr. Easter and his team as the wedding industry evolves, but his team is committed to staying on top of industry trends so that they can capitalize on changing customer demands.

In addition to sharing his start up story, Mr. Easter walked our class through some of the most important lessons he learned as an entrepreneur.  The first lesson deals with overcoming fear.  As a young entrepreneur just out of college, he experienced a great deal of uncertainty.  His advice to young entrepreneurs is to “never be afraid of being the dumbest person in the room.”  In other words, it’s okay to not know everything there is to know about your venture and its industry right out of the gates.  Continuing to learn from encounters with seasoned professionals and first time entrepreneurs alike will help to take away the fear of those uncertainties.  Second, in order to continue the learning process, networking is a must.  He encouraged us to “never pass up any opportunity to network.”  In his career, this advice led him to land a job as an author, television show guest, and guest speaker at numerous events.  Each of these opportunities garnered more exposure for his company and helped reach a new target audience.  The third lesson he shared was the value of keeping your finger on the pulse of industry trends. The dynamic marketplace can shape the attitudes of customers almost overnight and so making every effort to stay on top of the latest and most disruptive trends is one way to beat the competition. All three lessons are just as important in entrepreneurship as they are in life and Mr. Easter is an excellent example of that.  His venture is nearing a decade of business and he continues to delight in the fact that going to work everyday means working for himself on a venture he loves.

By: Chris Seitz and Taylor Grosjean