Spotlight on Lucy Zhao

Meet Lucy Zhao - cofounder & CEO of Honeydew, a personal assistant that plans your wedding.

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What inspired you to get into your line of work?

I started Honeydew because planning a wedding is a magical and exciting time in a couple's life, yet it is also confusing, stressful, and time consuming. Most of the time, gender role expectations mean the woman is stuck with a lot of planning (300 hours over the course of a year). After watching my best friend, a busy, career-focused woman struggle through this process last year, I found it unacceptable that this problem is still unsolved.

I know I'm not alone among other women who have felt marginalized into default planners throughout our lives--whether that's coordinating the team event at work or being volunteered to take notes. While we value bringing people together, we shouldn’t be expected to bear the burden of creating those experiences. There should be an affordable, honest, fast alternative — someone to serve us for once. 

That's why we created Honeydew. It's a decision making engine for the hallmark events in your life. Starting by making wedding planning painless, we want to spread this to other other special moments: your honeymoon, first anniversary, birthday parties, retirement toasts, etc.

There's definitely not enough female entrepreneurs solving problems we know well that affect our lives. I wanted to make my voice heard and apply my skill set to solving a problem for me and my peers.

What are your best hacks for productivity?

One of the toughest parts of running a company is knowing what to spend your time on. There's a huge domain of what needs to be done--some of which you have expertise on and most of which you don't. You have limited time and resources, and it's not always clear what actions will have the most impact. On the plus side, you learn to be very efficient with your time. Here are my top hacks:

-If you have 10 minutes--waiting in line for coffee, during your morning commute--do a task that takes 10 minutes. Checking off one thing from your to-do list, even a small thing, sets you on a productive path. I usually take advantage of small spaces in my day to answer emails or reply to Instagram DMs on our company page.

-Set a regular cadence for starting and ending work. When you're your own boss, and it's just you and your cofounder, it can be tempting to get sloppy and work when convenient. We've tried this at times and find it always lowers our productivity. Instead, we set reasonable working hours and make sure to spend 80% of that time working together in person.

-Use time blocking to ensure focus. Scope how much time a task should take you. If it's longer than 2 hours, you likely need to break that task down into sub-tasks. Then, commit to finishing that task in that amount of time. Having smaller deadlines, even for a task as large as "growth strategy" will help you stay on track and prevent attention drift.

 If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and why?

I'd get this stanza from the poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens:

I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after.

I studied and write poetry. To me, this stanza speaks to all the anticipation in future wondrous moments and the sweetness in the memory of the moments that have just passed. It's about being in the moment but also being aware of where you came from and all the miles to go.

Breakfast of Champions: BEC with avocado on a jalapeño bagel
Best trip you ever took: Spending a month in The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India cooking yummy food
Spirit animal (and why): Otter--clever & playful

Haley Smith