Community//

How Brenda Shee & Lorraine Tan of HitchPlanner are Shaking Up How To Prepare For Weddings

Brenda: I want to help women to be the best version of themselves. Many times, women worry a lot, it’s normal, this is how we are built. But worrying affects not just the people around you, but your ability to perform at your best. I want to help build a network of women helping and […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Brenda: I want to help women to be the best version of themselves. Many times, women worry a lot, it’s normal, this is how we are built. But worrying affects not just the people around you, but your ability to perform at your best. I want to help build a network of women helping and cheering other women to perform at their best!

Lorraine: I want to inspire a generation of young people to adopt a mindset of giving back. Most of us have the privilege to have opportunities presented in our lives and we take it for granted. But there are many others who struggle with the basic necessities and just simply, the lack of opportunity. By having new generations get involved in volunteering and entrepreneurship, it could be a catalyst to improving the socio-economic system in the society and that would reduce the rising cases of depression and anxiety that we are seeing in young people today.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Shee and Lorraine Tan, co-founders of HitchPlanner to share their story. They founded a Wed-tech company in 2018 that aims to revolutionize and elevate the way couples plan their wedding. They also shared about how they’ve managed to secure funding during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Brenda is an ex-banker, entrepreneur and a kick-ass MuayThai fighter (with 16 professional Muaythai fights under her belt!). She is passionate about finding solutions to improve efficiency in work and life. With a background in Fintech, Brenda understands first hand the essence and role of brilliant tech in the world and has dedicated herself to improving the wedding planning experience of couples globally with HitchPlanner. Aside from work, Brenda is an active Security Auxiliary Trooper (SV1) in the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps and also has a Taekwondo black belt.

Lorraine is an ex-Big 4 auditor turned startup entrepreneur. Her personal mission is to inspire a thoughtful, inquisitive and determined generation of positive change-makers for the 21st Century. Currently based in Australia, curiosity led her to discover and combine business opportunities in the digital space, with a focus on borderless integration and international expansion. Having lived and worked throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia, she brings her experience in systems and business operations with a track record of success navigating regulatory complexities and a dynamic multicultural perspective to HitchPlanner.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Lorraine: Whilst planning for Brenda’s wedding in 2018, we realised there were multiple pitfalls in the wedding planning process. The existing apps and resources in the market did not fully solve the problems that couples face, it was too manual and time consuming like using excel to track your budget and guests list etc. Brenda and I decided to experiment with a couple of ideas in an attempt to come up with a solution.

Brenda: We spent countless nights in Starbucks drinking coffee while we were prototyping, building crappy wireframes and tried to come up with a version of MVP (minimum viable product). And when we were happy with the final result, we asked ourselves, “Do we actually want to do this?”. Hell yeah was the answer (laughs). The defining moment was when we realised that if we don’t, the chances are the wedding industry will still remain the same for a long time.

Lorraine: In the last decade, couples trying to book wedding vendors have struggled with a lack of transparency and inefficiencies in communications and contracts. We saw the opportunity to design and build a bidirectional SaaS solution to give couples the confidence to shop for reliable vendors and break down the silos within the wedding industry.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Lorraine: Our business model disrupts the traditional way of doing business in the wedding industry. With HitchPlanner, users can transact on our platform from searching vendors, bookings and even paying in installments! Our users have access to a directory of verified vendors within their reach, this in turn saves vendors thousands of dollars in their marketing costs. We also have a chat system where vendors can respond instantly to customers’ queries and generate quotations on demand. These time-cost savings are enjoyed and passed down to consumers, allowing wedding planning to be easy and accessible. This system that we’ve designed and built on HitchPlanner is the first of its kind in the wedding tech market.

Our vision became reality when we launched the first phase of HitchPlanner in just 8 months — with a waiting list of 500 users. And soon in our next phase, HitchPlanner marketplace will be launched in June 2020.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Brenda: We have had so many people who have lent us a helping hand in the past year. HitchPlanner is currently mentored by Startup O as part of their First Stop program. Anuj & Shalini has been instrumental in helping us streamline the business and branding.

Shoutout to David Yeng, Founding CEO of Insurevite. I met David at a networking event and he has been so selfless in helping me brainstorm and for dishing out free advice without ever asking for anything in return.

Lorraine: (continued) And because of Anuj and Shalini from Startup O, we’ve managed to secure funding in the midst of COVID-19 — just before the launch of HitchPlanner’s marketplace platform in June 2020!

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Brenda:

  1. “Screw it, just do it” — Richard Branson’s story of starting the Virgin empire.
  2. “People don’t remember what you say, but they remember how you make them feel” — This one stuck with me and I apply that a lot in my life, whether in business or personal life.
  3. “Consistency is a trait that all winners have” — It’s not about how much work you put in that 1 week, it’s all the small things over the year that accumulates and shows for itself in the end (on work ethics).

Lorraine:

  1. “Never mistake motion for progress”, you could be wasting your time running around fixing problems and troubleshooting but you could be stuck in the same place for a long time without realising it.
  2. “Be true to yourself in what you do”, this helped me stay grounded and the reason why I ventured into entrepreneurship in the first place.
  3. “Follow the curve of the tiny gains and the tiny losses and see how your choices compound after 10–20 years” — How 1% optimisation principle will change your life from James Clears’s book Atomic Habits.

How are you going to shake things up next?

Brenda: We hope to revolutionise the entire wedding experience of couples around the world. From searching to bookings and tracking progress, we have streamlined the whole process of planning a wedding. We want HitchPlanner to become the “Airbnb’’ of wedding planning and we are not afraid to promise HitchPlanner users the best wedding planning experience. Our mission is to allow HitchPlanner couples to explore endless possibilities when they are planning their wedding. And being able to do that in a quick, efficient and accessible manner, this is something that is new to the industry. We believe that weddings can be planned with less stress and more efficiently.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Brenda: My favourite book of all time is How to stop worrying and start livingby Dale CarnegieI used to be a worrier and just generally had a pessimist outlook on how I made decisions. This book put things into better perspective and helped me work through some of my issues such as self doubt, how to handle failure and finances before I made the decision to leave the corporate world to work full time on HitchPlanner. It became clear to me that worrying doesn’t solve problems, if anything — it affects your physical and mental state to perform at your highest level. So the takeaway is: Just stop worrying and start living!

Lorraine: “Less but better” from a book by Dieter Rams recommended by an old friend of mine — that was before the minimalist trend was considered cool. I was fascinated by his design principles of a good design: innovative, useful, aesthetic, understandable, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, thorough down to the last detail, environmentally friendly and involves as little design as possible. As we were creating HitchPlanner’s brand identity, our primary focus was on the customer’s experience on our platform. We wanted our brand to reflect as much of his principles so our users can focus on the services and products that we are delivering and actually enjoy their wedding planning journey.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Brenda: I want to help women to be the best version of themselves. Many times, women worry a lot, it’s normal, this is how we are built. But worrying affects not just the people around you, but your ability to perform at your best. I want to help build a network of women helping and cheering other women to perform at their best!

Lorraine: I want to inspire a generation of young people to adopt a mindset of giving back. Most of us have the privilege to have opportunities presented in our lives and we take it for granted. But there are many others who struggle with the basic necessities and just simply, the lack of opportunity. By having new generations get involved in volunteering and entrepreneurship, it could be a catalyst to improving the socio-economic system in the society and that would reduce the rising cases of depression and anxiety that we are seeing in young people today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Brenda: “Failure is the mother of success.” I am no stranger to dealing with failures. Most people fail to see the lessons behind each failed experience. All it takes is a change in perspective, that takes time and maturity. Quite frankly, I still don’t like failure but I remind myself to see every failure as growth, to reach my best self and eventual success.

Lorraine: “Be the person you want in your life”. I spent most of my 20s living in 3 completely different cultures and I don’t have the luxury of having my close friends and family to rely on for support. I wrote this quote down on my old notebook more than 10 years ago and that was what gave me the strength to be a better version of myself again and again.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

The best place to find us is on LinkedIn (Brenda and Lorraine) or simply sign up on HitchPlanner’s newsletter where we share more stories and updates regularly.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Brenda and Loraine
Community//

Womenpreneur: Young Entrepreneurs Brenda and Lorraine Talks About How Hard Work and Grit Helped Them To Launch HitchPlanner

by Sarah Olray
Community//

Female Disruptors: “Never give up”, with Brenda K. Swauger

by Ben Ari
Community//

Krishan Trotman: “If you love something set it free if it comes back to you, it is yours, if it doesn’t it never was.”

by Ben Ari

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.