Jess Levin is the founder and CEO of Caratsandcake.com, a website that helps make celebrating nuptials a little less stressful.
The site provides an inside scoop for couples to find the best local vendors for their wedding receptions.
Before founding her website, which launched in the fall of 2012, Levin was a venture capitalist with Burch Creative Capital. She left to go to business school at NYU Stern in 2010.
Levin, 29, lives in West Chelsea with her boyfriend.
Why did you switch careers?
I’ve been surrounded by entrepreneurs my whole life — my family, my parents — so both personally and professionally, I felt like it was only a matter of time before I started my own company.
How did you get interested in the bridal business?
I was actually sitting in a business school lecture and we were discussing De Beers, the diamond company, and naturally diamonds led me to think about engagement rings, which led to weddings. So I started thinking about the industry for the first time as a business and not just the wedding industry.
Why did you pick it?
After spending a fair amount of time looking at the industry and talking to friends who both have been recently married and planning a wedding themselves, I realized that there was an opportunity to simplify the planning process. One of the biggest pain points for couples planning is being able to find and identify local vendors.
Why did you go the online route?
The industry was really ripe for digital platforms. It’s a real opportunity that a lot of people are realizing.
What was the biggest challenge in starting your new website?
I think the biggest challenge, to be honest, is taking that leap. Being able to say to yourself, “OK, I’m actually going do this.”
What is a pro and a con of your new job?
The biggest pro is being able to get up every morning and build my dream and the dream that I have with my team together. Probably the biggest challenge is sticking to that dream and executing what that vision actually is.
Do you ever use your skills from venture capitalism in your new job?
I think every experience that I’ve had up to this point has helped me build the business that exists today. I think one of the things that I learned working with is trusting your gut and learning that at this stage business is about listening to the consumer, but also at the end of the day being able to trust your gut and trust your instincts.
Do you have any advice for readers who are considering a career 180?
I think that two things really come into it. One [is] preparation. Before I switched up my entire career path, I definitely thought it through, did the research and made a very calculated decision. Once you make the decision to dive in you really have to go full speed ahead.