Women in the wedding industry - Lead
Credit: Chudleigh Weddings

For Carats & Cake founder and CEO Jessica Levin Conroy, becoming a trailblazer for the wedding industry was an opportunity gained from an equal balance of natural talent, incredible hard work, and an undefeatable team. Having started her career as a Venture Capitalist, Conroy used her former business experience to create a leading company determined to fill a hole in the wedding industry. Committed to crafting a venture that could benefit affluent couples and premier businesses alike, Carats & Cake quickly became a trusted discovery engine for the wedding marketplace.

Working with over 23,000 local wedding companies, Jess and her team maintain a daily focus to empower each company and the needs in which they individually do business. Whether you're a company looking for a platform to help highlight the strengths and uniqueness of your trade, or a couple searching for a site that delivers an ecosystem of the industry's best vendors, Carats & Cake—under the inspiring leadership of its incredible founder—is a marketplace crucial to explore. We sat down with the fearless CEO to see just how she gets it all done, while still leaving time to explore New York City with her adorable family.

Women in the wedding industry - Embed
Credit: Chudleigh Weddings

INSTYLE: What was your first job and how did it ultimately inspire you to become an entrepreneur?

JESSICA LEVIN CONROY: I grew up around a family owned business and I can't remember a time when I didn't work. I have always loved to work.

What is it like to be a female CEO?

As the CEO of an early stage company, my biggest responsibility is to keep the team focused on our priorities. We have an open office to create a collaborative culture and constant communication, which is essential because the priorities shift a lot. On any given day, I touch almost every aspect of our business from sales and business development to design and editorial. No two days are the same, which is probably one of the things I love most about what I do.

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What experiences inspired you to start your own business?

Growing up around a family owned business and then beginning my career in Venture Capital, I developed a keen interest in working with entrepreneurs and small business owners. I saw first hand what it took to build a successful company so I wasn't under any illusions of what being an entrepreneur really meant.

What was it about the wedding industry that appealed to you?

The wedding market was particularly interesting because of its sheer size with over half-a million local businesses. I was really drawn to the business owners who are the foundation of this industry.

Women in the wedding industry - Embed
Credit: Chudleigh Weddings

What was an unexpected obstacle you faced while starting Carats & Cake?

It's really important to understand your business model and know how you are going to make money, especially early on. Your ideas will evolve but your focus should be on building a sustainable, profitable business. Companies waste too much time and too many resources trying to figure this out, two things startups don't have.

What have been your greatest professional successes since starting Carats & Cake?

At the moment, I am most proud of my team and their independent drive. Each of us is truly committed to empowering this industry and helping the half a million local entrepreneurs who make up the space. On a personal level, I'm committed to celebrating the small wins. In the last few months we have had some pretty amazing small wins and the momentum moves us forward in a large way.

Women in the wedding industry - Embed
Credit: Chudleigh Weddings

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

You can spend your life building someone else's dreams or you can go chase your own.

I love your posts on Instagram exploring the city with your adorable family. What is your favorite coffee spot in NYC?

On any given morning you can find me at Nourish Kitchen + Table or Mah Ze Dahr Bakery, sometimes at both!

Where do you see Carats & Cake in five years?

Our focus has been and will remain on the businesses and we will continue to build out Carats & Cake to support the industry.