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Sacramento Women:
On The Web Sacramento's Own Dot-Com Divas Are
Laying Claim To Internet Success

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Sacramento Magazine
October, 2000
By Jo Chandler
Photography by Roy Wilcox

 

As with many successful entrepreneurial endeavors, Your Registry was born of personal experience. "[My husband and I] were married on October 1997," explains Elsa Pinto-Melikian, who founded the company the following year with her husband, Armen. "In the course of preparing for the wedding, I realized there was a void with regard to the registry process."

What Pinto-Melikian had discovered was that only larger retailers, such as Macy's or Williams-Sonoma, offered bridal gift registries. "Nothing could offer things I really wanted, funny things like sod for my new back yard," she says. While honeymooning in London, Pinto-Melikian says, a light bulb went off in her head and Your Registry was conceived. "I knew exactly how I was going to do it," she recalls.

The concept is deceptively simple. Engaged couples in English-speaking countries around the world provide their confidential guests lists to Your Registry, along with the items or services they want and where they can be purchased. The registry then sends announcements to everyone on the wedding guest list. "People register for anything they want, at any store, anywhere," says Pinto-Melikian, adding that the service costs in the neighborhood of 80 cents per invitation.

Internet presence is a vital part of Your Registry, but not the whole of it. "We don't consider ourselves a dot-com company," explains Pinto-Melikian. "We consider ourselves a traditional service company that provides complete Internet service to our clients." This is especially important because not all wedding guests have access to computers.

The second segment of the business, launched earlier this year, is creating and managing bridal gift registries for smaller merchants, who otherwise could not afford them. Merchants who sign up for the program not only acquire professional sales and tracking system, they also appear on the company's website, giving them a competitive edge online.

For the first several months, Pinto-Melikian ran the business from home while balancing a full-time career as a manufacturer's representative. Today, she continues in medical sales and directs the new company's marketing and Internet efforts. Her husband manages the registry's daily operations at the customer service center in Sacramento. The goal, she says, is to build a midsize family business.

"It is not my interest to have my company to go public in two or three years, sell it and move on," explains Pinto-Melikian, who recently turned down a generous offer for venture capital. "My husband and I want a balanced family life and we want the kind of business that will provide that for us." A privately owned Internet business, she points out, does just that. "You can work anywhere you want," she says. "You can make choices about your life." For the Melikians, those choices include starting a family and being available to raise them. "My husband and I will not put our children in day care," she adds.

While Your Registry is still in the red, Pinto-Melikian expects it to show a profit by the end of this year—and that it will eventually serve some 10,000 brides annually and more than 5,000 merchants nationwide.

"We have taken some serious calculated risks in this business," says Pinto-Melikian, looking back. "But the payoff is a life we want."

© 2000 - Sacramento Magazine Corporation

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