Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth and Nora Sheils. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Rock Paper Coin was born out of a need by two wedding planners who grew tired of dealing with the same problems in the event industry. While running one of the largest wedding planning companies on the West Coast, co-founders Nora and Elizabeth recognized a gap in the market for software that brought together planners, clients, and other vendors into one clean, streamlined interface.
What started out as an idea for a “nice to have” solution evolved into a seven-figure business that continues to own the collaborative SaaS corner of the market.
Launching in July 2019, Nora and Elizabeth weren’t prepared to navigate a global pandemic within their first year of business. Instead of leaning into fear, they led with their hearts and focused on serving the wedding community. By removing subscription fees and providing education to the industry, they inspired event professionals to stay positive and work on the internal operations of their businesses.
Today, Rock Paper Coin remains the only industry-specific centralized payment platform to serve wedding professionals. With a women-led team dedicated to efficiency, they continue to add new features to enhance the user experience and provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to scale their businesses.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
With a pandemic impacting the very nature of live events, there’s no denying that the last 24 months have been difficult for the events industry. For a new startup that launched just before the onset of COVID-19, the challenges came in the form of funding amidst uncertainty and attracting event professionals whose revenue dropped to zero in a matter of days. There was also the issue of building a team and onboarding new hires remotely, as everyone adapted to working from home.
While many people may balk at such concerns, Elizabeth and Nora welcomed the challenge and led their team forward. Rock Paper Coin’s transaction revenue took a massive hit, operating at an 80 percent loss — and still, they persisted.
Nora and Elizabeth’s hope turned out to be fruitful, as the blessing in disguise was a significant uptick in new member sign-ups. It turns out that, due to the shutdown, businesses were taking the downtime during the pandemic to incorporate new technology to come back stronger on the other side.
As the industry transitioned to this “new normal,” they knew it was important to contribute to their community. In an effort to support fellow event professionals during this challenging time, Rock Paper Coin halted all subscription fees for users.
Just two years later, their unwavering determination in leading their team to success in spite of a global pandemic has helped Rock Paper Coin grow its revenue by 430%, expand its team by 220%, and set its sights on a successful future in a massive $90B industry.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
ELIZABETH: Outside of her family (which is the most meaningful to me), there are two things Elizabeth is most proud of: being a big sister through Big Brother Big Sisters for the past 13 years and Rock Paper Coin. After graduating from the University of Portland, Elizabeth wanted to start giving back to the community that did so much for her. She signed up to be a Big Sister and was matched with a spunky little six years old girl. Over the past 14 years, she has watched as her Little Sister faces challenges and successes trying to be with her to work through both. Supporting the good and bad, teaching her how to drive – problem-solving and cheering alongside with her. It’s been an amazing opportunity for Elizabeth. Second is her shared professional success of Rock Paper Coin with her business partner & sister-in-law, Nora. What began as wanting to solve a problem within their own wedding planning company quickly grew to a solution for many small to medium-sized business owners. Never in their wildest dreams did they think they would be where they are today. Yet, at times they both look back and think this is exactly where they should be today. Rock Paper Coin the perfect crossroads for Elizabeth. She gets to problem solve every day by running and owning a company, yet at the same time help other business owners in the wedding industry become more successful.
NORA: Family is first and will always be a priority to Nora. Being her own boss has provided her with the flexibility to truly have it all…work on something she is passionate about, be there for her kids and enjoy life with her husband. With all her many years of experience in the industry, Nora has taken my unique position to better the lives of those around her. Her close friends in the wedding space, fellow planners and wedding pros throughout the nation can now save time and resources by using Rock Paper Coin. Which means they can take the opportunity to work less and enjoy more – something Nora is very proud of.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
It’s incredibly important to have a co-founder. In the early days and still true today – Nora and Elizabeth burned the midnight oil. When working on building a startup, there are long days and late nights. By having a co-founder, you not only get to share the physical workload of the days but also the mental. Nora and Elizabeth early on saw this by being able to have someone help you through the peaks and valleys. When Elizabeth was feeling down about things, Nora was pulling her up and vice versa. Entrepreneurship can be very lonely and isolating. By having a co-founder to share the many experiences and lessons, burnout significantly decreases.
- Website: www.rockpapercoin.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rockpapercoin
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rockpapercoin/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEMweYm-URC1upgL2Ak4miA
Deyla Huss Amanda K