Prezola co-founder Ali Beaven spotted a gap in the market to combine old traditions with the ever-changing needs of millennials. She used her knowledge and passion for interiors to create an online wedding gift list company.
Prezola brings together the UK’s leading retail and homeware brands; along with cash contributions, honeymoon funds and donations, all under one roof. Ali launched Prezola in 2011 with her husband Dom.
When interior designer Ali Beaven struggled to find an online gift list that brought together her favourite brands under one roof she decided - along with her self-confessed ‘internet geek’ husband - to start her own. After both quitting their jobs, Prezola was born from Ali and Dom’s kitchen table. The award-winning independent wedding gift list provider is dedicated to reinventing old-traditions, bringing them up-to-date to help modern couples plan their special day.
Below, Ali talks us through her interior style, influences and top tips for budding entrepreneurs…
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Co-Founder and Creative Director at Prezola, the UK’s leading wedding gift list company. I set the company up in 2011 with my husband Dom to address the ever-changing needs of newlywed couples, bringing a centuries old tradition up-to-date for a millennial generation. I’m an Interior Designer by trade and, alongside Prezola, curate my own lifestyle homeware collection, Ali&Co.
Tell us about your online store
Prezola was the first wedding registry in the world to combine thousands of products from hundreds of brands alongside a honeymoon fund, cash contributions and charity donations; all on one list.
We work with most of the UK’s leading retail and homeware brands to curate an incredible marketplace of gifts for our style savvy couples. In the seven years since we launched, Prezola has gone from my kitchen table to UK market leadership. We’ve been crowned ‘Wedding Gift List of the Year’ no less than six times and will sell over £20m of wedding gifts this year.
What inspired you to start the business?
Birthday presents! On my birthday in 2008, friends and family were asking for suggestions for gifts. I wanted an online platform where I could choose all my favourite things from all my favourite shops, all in one place. Nothing existed, and I thought it should. It was a real lightbulb moment and we registered the name Prezola that very evening.
What kind of products do you sell? How would you describe your interior style?
We target mid to upmarket couples looking for stylish homewares in a mix and match way. Wedding gifts should be affordable luxuries; things you might not buy yourself. Kitchen and tableware remain very popular as do bedroom and bathroom products. Home accessories such as clocks are also in high demand, with Newgate leading sales of beautiful timepieces here at Prezola.
My style is relaxed, warm and informal. Although I’m loving the trend for all things black at the moment!
What's your favourite Newgate product?
An original, large black and white ‘Electric’ clock has graced my kitchen wall for as long as I can remember, and our entire household schedule has been run by it for over a decade. I love it!
We’re currently refurbishing the Prezola Townhouse, our central Bath HQ, and I have my eye on a large Mr Clarke in dark grey for my office.
What advice would you have for other would-be boutique owners?
Be brave, but not reckless. If you have a strong idea and you really believe in it, go for it. Always follow your instincts and, as soon as you can, hire the very best people. I have an amazing team of over 50 at Prezola, and they inspire me every day.
Who or what are you influenced by?
I just love interiors and have a huge appetite for knowledge and inspiration in this field. I keep a very open mind and look for inspiration everywhere. That can be obvious places like trade shows, magazines and brands, right the way through to the décor in a hotel, restaurant or even an airport lounge.
I also love to travel and that can influence what I’m buying as well. I’ve been to Thailand twice in the last year and I’m loving all things green and lush. The house is currently full of ferns and palms!
We love Prezola’s concept...can you create a list if you're not getting married?
Visit www.prezola.com to start your wedding gift list now!