Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
DressRush Pitch Deck (dressrush.com)
239 points by tchae on Nov 4, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 91 comments

If I had this level of design skill, I'd be tempted to write a pitch deck like this for the SEO benefits alone. This is the best job I've seen of a startup creating something which pushes the buttons of a link-rich audience in recent memory. It is orders of magnitude easier to get links out of the techy crowd than it is to get them from brides, ushers, or the bridal-industrial complex (where virtually all coverage is pay-to-play).

(DressRush also benefits from the inevitable knockoffs since, if they get mentioned, it will likely be in the same breath as "The concept was, of course, stolen directly from <linky>DressRush's ridiculously beautiful pitch deck</linky>.)

They could improve SEO with HTML5 history. There's no direct link to each page right now.

The links show that each page has anchors, though as you pointed out, following the Javascript versions of those links doesn't actually change the current page location, making it difficult to copy those links other than via the context menu on the links. And the anchors themselves don't quite lead to the right place; the link for slide 5 took me to part-way through slide 4.


the landing page is http://www.dressrush.com/*ohhai*

@mikeryan (below) ;) we have a bad sense of humor over here

Am I the only one who doesn't get this UI? If I have to scroll anyway, what's the point of those next buttons? What is the purpose of page numbers at the top when there's already a scrollbar showing where I am? I think it does nothing but adds clutter and distracts from the message they are trying to convey.

A simple web page with the same infographics would tell me the same story, take less time to design, print well, work everywhere, and (in my humble opinion) look just as good.

I'm with you. The buttons on the top and the next are redundant. However, the worst bit is that if a point doesn't fit on the screen, you can't hit the down button on the keyboard to scroll down because the down button takes you to the next point. Painful.

Seems they're listening, as this no longer appears to be the case.

The buttons set up a clear linear path between "reading our slides" and "requesting an intro", with gentle animations showing your progress on that path. It's a simple but powerful metaphor. For me, far from distracting from the message they are trying to convey, the extra attention that has been lavished all over this page sends great messages about the competence of the people involved. Clearly to some this is going to come off as gratuitous; as usual it comes to down to how well they have judged their audience.

That said, as actual navigation I didn't find the buttons very usable. It would have been nice if there was a visual clue somewhere that the left and right keyboard arrows work.

Thanks everyone for the feedback - we ditched the next/previous buttons. I kept a 'start' button at the bottom of the first page because I wanted to set up for the user that it all scrolls down from there, plus I just had to keep a giant button somewhere on the page :)

And good idea about giving some sort of visual cue the keyboard buttons work. I think I might work on something to indicate that. Thanks!

I think the page numbers at the top serve as a nice progress indicator. I'm with you on the next / prev buttons. Ditch those.

The numbers for acquisition look way off.

$.17 per click X 33% conversion...

I just ran an experiment with google ads for dating keywords. There were a few gaffs with hugely expensive keywords but overall, $2.45 CPC. We spent $200 and ended up with 1 conversion. Totally amateur, I know.

From other research I've seen, I think conversions tend to be way lower than the double digits. Like people first click on your ad and then check out and pay you money. From the per click of your ad they are often in the single digits or fractions of a percent.

It's a great looking pitch deck. Im concerned that they skewed their focus a little too much on looks over sound information.

Edit: Seems the company is live and moving product to real customers? If those are the numbers they're actually acquiring customers at, I take it back however improbable from my limited experience.

They're trying to get a conversion to something free, which has an order of magnitude or two easier than getting a conversion to something paid. The typical offer in the deals industry is "Sign up for our free emails for deep discounts." You can get 33% conversion to that if you're pitching something to a fresh audience which doesn't have deal fatigue. (Quick comparable: BCC landing pages convert at 40%+ for some sources of traffic. I know a guy who pities my terrible stats.)

The business model is then "Most people don't buy anything and have LTV of $0, some people buy one thing, and a fraction of people make a habit of buying from you. You optimize such that the people who buy stuff subsidize cost of customer acquisition for everyone else and then some, then scale like crazy while keeping an eye on those metrics.")

See also AppSumo / Groupon / etc. This is why they're all very aggressive about getting email signups: this space runs on email.

Thanks for the comment - but we actually aren't using adwords at the moment. We did but targeting brides through FB has out-performed adwords CPC. We've been experimenting with tons of ads and think we can even drive it lower. Here's a quick screenshot from FB - http://cl.ly/2W2A113q2u353I0q2P0P

An "acquisition" appears to be an email address (or similar level of effort). Note that their life time customer value is "5x-7x the acquisition cost".

It's a really good example of picking the right set of numbers to highlight, which seems to be a big problem people run into when creating pitches.

Grandparents.com has a 30% conversion rate on their newsletter signup:


So this sounds believable actually.

Facebook CPC would be 50 cents to a dollar. A 33% conversion rate is unheard of.

anyway you could send me that data ?

31% conversion rate? That seems very high to me -- is this just in the bridal niche?

Also, the LTV is 5-7x the CCA, which it says is 0.55, so that means the LTV is about $3 ? That seems very low given their market. I wonder if they are counting "converted" as something other than "sold a product."

Their advertising costs are low too, wedding related keywords are more expensive than $0.17 and even on Facebook. A lot of retailers have got savy to the fact Facebook lets you target people who are engaged.

I'm not sure the figures add up.

I suspect they've counted "converted" as "entered an email address" or "signed up". That would then explain the long-term value: lots of value from a fraction of customers, and zero value from the rest.

Alternatively, given prices like those they put on the big price tag on the "Problems / Solutions" slide ($150), $3 sounds about right for the affiliate/kickback benefit they'd get from the retailer.

Ah, that's the "AppSumo" part of it, then. I assumed that since they had a "Buyer" in the core staff that it was more like Woot! where they'd have inventory themselves, but it looks like you are right.

I think Woot has a buyer too. Buyer, in retail, means more than the person who pays, it means the person who finds the products, makes sure they're up to the standards of their brand, looks for the best deals on the good, sources the deals, generates the PO, etc.

The design looks impressive, but at the cost of usability. When I reached the Team slide, I could see the first two people, but I'd have to scroll down to see the next two. But, I can't scroll the way I normally do, because hitting the down key scrolls right past the other people to the next slide. So, I had to manually grab the scrollbar and drag it down to see the rest of the "team" slide, then hit the down key again to see more of the presentation. I ended up giving up on the magic arrow keys and just manually scrolling through the pages of the presentation.

The "Market" slide makes a very effective point.

On the "Problems / Solutions" slide: "save ... up to 100% off retail" says absolutely nothing, except perhaps that the author doesn't know how percents work. "save ... up to 100%" means "save somewhere between nothing and everything".

On the graph in the "Customer Acquisition" slide, the "reduce customer acquisition cost through SEO" point implies a lower cost to acquire a customer, not a higher long-term value per customer.

The "Traction" slide provides four useful figures, attached to giant meaningless arrows made of up-and-to-the-rightium.

This pitch still sits on a webpage, so why don't the logos on the "Press Coverage" slide link to the actual coverage?

Their market slide: http://investors.dressrush.com/#slide4

Their math doesn't compute?

    2.7M weddings * (14+152) people per wedding = 
    445.5 million people * 28k $/wedding = 
    75.6B $
They probably mean:

    2.7M weddings * 28k $/wedding = 75.6B $
But surely they're not trying to pocket $28k per wedding just for clothes?

It certainly looks beautiful, but the information is lacking. Also, 31% conversion rate?!!

I think the bigger problem is 2.7m * .55 CPA * 7x ltv = a market oppty for THEM of $10.3 million if every bride in America signed up for their service, assuming knot.com and competitors don't try to copy them first. What's worse, they have to re-acquire their user base constantly. Weddings are like apartments or cars... It's totally point of need, and only one or two brands will be on people's minds.

It's unlikely that it's more than $1K for clothes on average (estimate based on: http://www.moneyunder30.com/how-much-average-wedding-cost). So the real market for wedding clothes is under $2.7 Billion.

I'm sure they are going to be going local and adding services soon. That way they can get at the whole 28k. Probably expand to babies and home to keep the customer after the wedding too...

My biggest problem with it was at the bottom of the fourth slide. The problem that they're solving is apparently that brides can't afford their perfect wedding, but their picture has Vera Wang dresses at $1500.

Nice looking deck though :)

Do these discount dresses come with the same rw social experience that tends to accompany bridal shopping? Glasses of champagne at (multiple) fittings, long lunches afterwards? Even where a bride doesn't have the budget for a designer dress, this experience can be replicated with off-the-peg versions.

I know that lots of rw shopping experiences have translated very well online, but this one is so social (indeed it is pretty much a rite of passage) that I imagine it is going to be challenging to replicate online.

Also, forgive my stupidity, but $90k of product 'moved' (sold?) / 2803 = $32 means not just dresses and if so, is the name totally appropriate? Plus with weddings taking 12 months+ to arrange, what is the rush...

Since I definitely don't fall in the target market, I have no idea whether you intended that as a comment on unrealistically low prices, unrealistically high bridal expectations, or that the company targeted the high end of the target market.

More the way that that picture came right after the $500->$150 sale tag and the "most brides can't afford...".

It seemed to me like the authors of the deck are trying to sell low cost bridal, but when they need pictures, they're going far more upmarket (that's $1500 after their discount, not before). That seems to me to be stretching the truth somewhat.

How familiar are you with the Wedding market? Your average wedding costs about 25k. 1500 is about average for a wedding dress, and cheap for a vera wang; high-end dresses are in the 2-5k range.

Up to 100% is basically because some deals are 50% off and some are 100% free. See Appsumo

One accuracy problem with the info...under 'Problems/Solutions':

> Our curated collections save brides up to 100% off retail.

So they give away dresses free? If they mean they cut the price in half, then it's save 50% off retail. That's a pretty common mistake.

Double going up, half coming down.

Edit: Btw, I think this presentation/slide deck is awesome.

I thought the same thing, but they probably give away a free product sometimes, which is technically 100% off.

I actually thought it was a good slide since I went, "WTF? ...oh wait, yeah, that could be right" - good way to wake up critical thinking type people and get them paying attention if they were zoning out.

It made me think they were either bad at math or exaggerating.

If it's used in the context you're suggesting then it's a meaningless snippet of information as it doesn't reveal anything about the typical user experience.

Agreed. It's bad math. Even if they gave away something every now and then, it definitely does not explain 100% off. They would have to give away everything and make money some other way (say shipping) - which could be plausible, but I don't see it explained here.

The average price of a wedding is $28,000? That doesn't sound right. I know many do cost that much, but the average?

While it's possible that Kim Kardashian's 17 Million dollar wedding might be skewing the average, that figure doesn't seem outrageous to me.

Just hiring a wedding photographer can average between 5 and 10 grand (and that's not to hire Annie Leibowitz).

I charge on the low end of that average and I'm "cheap".

And keep in mind that figure doesn't cover video, which nowadays for 1080p and editing to a finished BD is another tidy sum.

Some people are suggesting this number is too high. If anything, it seems low to me - at least based on my personal experience. Imagine throwing a big, elaborate party. How much would that cost you? Maybe $3k, including renting a space, maybe a DJ, a bartender, etc? Everything for a wedding is 10x what it should be. So if a reasonable price is $3k, you're paying $30k.

This is without the price of the ring and honeymoon.

My source is personal experience, and that of my friends, but also see: http://www.costofwedding.com/

Sounds right to me from both me and my friends and we're just barely middle class joes. The UK average is noted to be around £16k (about $25k): http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/jun/18/planningyourwedd... .. Admittedly, most of ours involved taking our extended families to the US for a cheapo Vegas wedding rather than the wedding itself ;-)

My own wedding? Justice of the peace and dinner, less than $1k. The last three weddings I've been to have easily topped the $28k average. One was way over the top, the other two were "average" for the Bay Area. It depends on where you are, number of people, etc. The two aspects of wedding planning I was happy to avoid -- the overall cost and the bickering that comes up in the process.

Where did we use the extra $$? Property.

It seems from their pitch that they're including the entire cost of the wedding party. So even if the couple isn't paying for the expenses of the wedding party, perhaps that figure adds them in. From personal experience, any kind of normal venue used to hosting weddings that would fit 100+ people in NYC is in the ~$10k range alone before you add anything else in.

I really want to find a way to refute this number, but I can't. The only mitigating factor I've found is that it appears to include people's crazy expensive engagement rings.

(Obviously, I'm biased because of how me & Erin got married).

More startups need to use the pricing anchor "How else could three month's salary last forever?" Seriously, phrase your software in terms of man-months and no matter how much you charge it suddenly seems cheap!

That's one of the bridal-industrial complex's best coups ever. (The entire notion of surprise engagements and diamond rings was pretty much created out of whole cloth by De Beers in the 1920s. See this excellent article by Atlantic Magazine -- one of the best pieces of journalism I've ever read, and as relevant today as when it was written nearly 30 years ago. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/02/have-you... )

I think there is a long tail of small weddings.

My wife and I did catered turkey dinner at a church hall for 130 people. DJ was a guy who owed me a favor. Total cost was about $11k.

If you rent a more expensive place and do a barebones dinner, you're looking at $45/head + a couple grand for the hall, plus dress, band/dj, etc. It adds up!

Could be skewing: a small group of couples may spend much more.

It's pretty, but this lacks substance on many levels. For example, it talks about how large the market is. That's cool, but less important than talking about your own addressable market. Also, some of the numbers need backing up (31% conversion rate from adwords? That's optimistic enough to require some explanation)

To be totally honest, I really wonder how long it took to create this and whether it was really a good use of their time. It is beautiful, full stop. But it also appears as if it took a ton of time to create and put all the bells and whistles in, which would make me at the very least question their judgement of how they spend their time.

The code that runs it is simple and the design assets would have been part of their ppt pitch deck. Definitely worth it.

It's a work of art!

Yeah, it only took about two days, but most of that time was spent on design that could have been spent on designing a PPT deck instead.

Is Flipboard that big of a deal? Why integrate with it? What have I been missing?

Is it strange that as potential investor my biggest concern about this deck would be that its for a bridal product with 3 Men and only one woman on the founding team?

Sara & I founded Weddzilla.com (Wedding expertise) and have an advisory team chock-full{edit} of women from the biggest sites in the space. Mike and I founded an earlier company and although he never plans on getting married, is never short on dates = a lot of female insight. Matt...well he's married so he's been through the drill. ;)

Not trying to be snarky, but why does gender matter?

Gorgeous. It looks like the bulk of the functionality here is made possible by jQuery Waypoints (http://imakewebthings.github.com/jquery-waypoints/). The custom script that contains the bulk of the in-page logic is pretty basic. I'll definitely have to check out this plugin at some point in the future.

The script is http://investors.dressrush.com/js/script.js. Would make a nice micro-library/framework.

Beautiful execution.

I'd give people a way to print out or download your deck so that associates can hand a hard copy to the investing partner.

Edit: Also really quick, not sure if this is the correct use of market size. What is your actual segmented address market? 28k is the average wedding but that must be skewed by 500k+ weddings. Next, I'd like to know how your 2.0 products are going to be able to capture pieces of the market you're not in already (maybe this returns better margins at a higher acquisition cost? not necessarily .55 flat).

A PDF is linked at the bottom with their contact information: http://investors.dressrush.com/Dress_Rush_Pitch_Deck.pdf

Start-ups need to be realistic with their market size estimates. Their provided number is too inflated after adding wedding guests to their market estimate. Wedding guests are not the ones paying for weddings dresses. Plus, under this assumption, the groups of wedding guests are mutually exclusive. A better estimate should not factor in the guests at all. Lastly, how is every person paying that much for a single wedding? That last calculation is absurd.

So how come 3 of the 4 people are on google bicycles?

That's because Mike can't ride a bike

Doesn't really answer the question... why are they on Google bikes? The beautiful design lacks in color so if I see a Google branded bike that's all I'm going to look at.

I don't get the market estimate where you include the guests. It seems like you're treating each wedding as an independent event. I'm attending two weddings in the next month. Are you counting instances as the same person at different weddings as the same person?

Otherwise, the presentation looks amazing and it's interesting to see a company be so open about their deck.

Counting each guest-visitation as a separate instance makes sense to me.

On one hand, the hosts will provide certain things for each guest. Invitations, individual decorations, etc. It's not like Rose & Billy can skimp on their flower budget because Marcie & John had nice bouquets at their wedding last month.

On the other hand, each guest will bring their own gift. In case of a themed wedding, they will probably buy something for that specific occasion.

A bit off topic but nevertheless important: The wedding is overrated. Plan and think about the marriage.

The bit that struck me is that they're asking brides to buy wedding dresses without trying them on first. I guess that Zappos has proven that free return shipping is a viable clothing model, but I'm not sure how well it's going to work for wedding dresses.

Don't brides go back for 3 more fittings after they pick the dress, including one just a few days before the wedding? I wonder how this fits in.

(Maybe a local tailor solves this problem though).

do people really want something like this. I would think investors would want a no hassle, no bs way to review a company. It looked nice, but the experience was no good , compared to a standard ppt deck with notes.

all it's meant to do is start the conversation. i believe this does that very well.

How were these slides created? Basically I'd love to be able to make a similar pitch deck for my startup.

A little embarrassed to ask b/c I'm guessing it may be obvious to those who use these tools every day (not me, though).

I thinks this is the clearest pitchdeck I have seen. it gives people the template to use to do theirs.

Lovely design.

The "500 Startups" Logo sticks out like a very sore thumb.

Nice pitch deck, but 100% off retail prices? free??

One thing to note: 4) says 444.5 million people x 28 k = 75.6 billion spent each year. The 75.6 billion came from 2.7 million * 28K.

Which seems wrong to me. Only ONE COUPLE spends 28k per wedding. The cap should really be $28k/wedding * 2.7mil wedding. Fancy design, flawed math.

2.7 * 28 = 75.6

The final number itself isn't flawed, but the graphical equation on the deck does have the math symbols in the wrong places.

Great iteration of the slide deck. If I were an investor I would prefer this over powerpoint any day. So much smoother.

Shouldn't "Sara Morgan" be the first person listed on the team as she has the most Wedding experience?

How many times has she been divorced?

Thanks for all the comments! I've already started implementing some of your feedback in the UI.

I'd like to see links to the team members' Twitter and LinkedIn profiles on the team page. :)

Really? Do you believe that founders and other team members would gain followers simply by virtue of being founders and team members?

That is one weird map of the US (the one where they indicate the US dress retail centers).

They filled in Lake Michigan!

Errr their market size calculation assumes everyone going to a wedding pays 28k??

That's what the graphical equation says, but the approximate arithmetic ($30k x 2.5MM weddings ~= $75Bn) is right.

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact