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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Bar Mitzvah Invitations Come of Age

Longtime friends Will Bernstein and Jess Wall have reinvented the Bar Mitzvah invitation for the digital age. Their Northridge-based startup Mitzvites is a website that allows users to build digital Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah invitations, and it holds the distinction as having technology that allows customers to include video in their invitations. “The major advantage is the personalization video brings,” Wall said. For $249, clients can send a save-the-date announcement, followed by unlimited email invitations with picture and video capability, coupled with RSVP tracking. The videos range from simple heartfelt messages spoken at the camera to elaborate music video parodies. But video isn’t the only thing that sets Mitzvites apart from the competition. Because the service doesn’t make money from advertising, their invitations don’t include pop-ups or banners. The two also hired designers with the goal of giving Mitzvites a more personal feel. “The features, function and design aesthetic give us the advantage,” Bernstein said. Doing business differently could give Mitzvites the edge it needs to compete in a crowded space, said Marc Schwartz from WSI Technology Marketing, an Internet consultancy in Woodland Hills. The startup is going up against industry standard Evite and popular newcomers like Paperless Post. “You have to get yourself out there and get yourself known,” Schwartz said. Wall and Bernstein became roommates in the mid 1990s and in 1995 started Interactive Talent Network, a defunct online casting agency. Mitzvites was born in 2012 when Bernstein asked Wall if he could come up with a platform to allow his daughter to add video to her online Bat Mitzvah invitations. “He called me on Friday and asked if I could have something ready by Monday. I’m lucky it wasn’t Sunday,” Wall said jokingly. The two are currently focused on making Mitzvites a success and have no intentions of becoming another all-occasions operation. They plan to eventually expand, but only for specific events such as quinceañeras and corporate parties. “We’re trying to fine-tune the technology so we can bring it to other niche markets,” Wall said. – Jon Nelson

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