Entrepreneur Jaclyn Shanfeld has been immersed in the fashion and entertainment industries since launching her career a decade ago. Her expertise in all things style and luxury has helped pave the way for her latest business venture, the socially inspired designer online marketplace, Shop Hers.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Nothing could have truly prepared me to jump aboard the spectacular roller coaster I'm fortunate enough to ride each and every day, but a few revelations along the way have certainly helped. I know it sounds insignificant but often I find that many type A personalities such as myself are afraid to admit to being wrong. I think admitting to failure and moving on quickly and efficiently is one of the most important qualities that an entrepreneur can possess. So much time is wasted making excuses for failure. I set out to create something special and never stopped to make excuses. Every bump in the road was met with more passion and more vigor.
Recently, I have started assigning themes to each month here at Shop Hers. This is something I've done in my own life since I was a child. My themes are not rooted in seasonal changes, financial projections, or even tactical objectives. I decide themes based on the overall mood of my team. At the first of the month we sit around our conference room and I announce the two or three major themes that I believe should define the month ahead. It's an exercise that seems to bring everyone together towards an approach to our days and eventually a common goal.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Shop-Hers?
My previous employment gave me a broad overview of how it felt to work for someone, among a team, and in conflict.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Shop-Hers?
There is never a moment that goes by that doesn't present a challenge. In fact, I'd probably be worried if things were suddenly in cruise control. But with challenges come major wins and like my mother always say's, "life is how you handle plan b". Shop Hers was created because I was facing a challenge in the way in which I re-booted and refreshed my own closet. That challenge gave birth to a solution called Shop Hers and I'm pleased to report that over a million woman nationwide agree that my brain child is a wonderful solution.
What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
While I truly attribute the early success of Shop Hers to my incredible co-founders, I will say that a few key differentiators in my process certainly aided in our execution. The concept behind Shop Hers was created out of personal need, not financial gain. I was looking for a way in which I could recycle and reboot my own wardrobe in a fashionable and simplistic manner. Everything that I did to get to where I am now was rooted in my own passion and organic need for change. I suggest starting a business that you are truly passionate about, where you are the consumer. Shop Hers is an extension of my own personality and sense of style. Sprinkling a piece of what makes you special is key. I also wasn't afraid to admit to what I didn't know. My mission was to surround myself with talent and, with every hire even now, I look for a person that brings something to the table that I do not.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
You mean lunch breaks? I don't take them. Vacations? What's that? Just kidding. In my second year an an entrepreneur, I started to understand the importance of a "time out." When I get out of the office and come up for air, I often think of some of our most successful features. Everyone needs a break to get out of their own way. I don't have a family yet but I imagine when I do, the fine balance between both worlds will become much harder to juggle. TBD.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
While we've come a very long way, there is still work to be done. In the tech world, female CEO's are a minority. I was recently at a CEO summit in San Francisco for one of our angel investors and for the first time in my life, the line to the ladies room was nonexistent while the men's room line was around the block. The issue is that there isn't enough of us out there paving the way and inspiring a new generation to fill our Louboutins.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
It's made all the difference. One of our early investors, the brilliant Shana Fisher is someone I speak to everyday. She is a super hero. A truly brilliant woman that I aspire to be like and I couldn't be more honored to have as a life line.
What do you want Shop-Hers to accomplish in the next year?
Shop Hers is in the middle of astronomical growth. My goal is to fuel that growth and get in front of every woman in the world. This next quarter will bring the launch of our mobile app and iPad app. With releases and features like our app, we are well on our way to helping every woman in the world to refresh and reboot her wardrobe.
Follow Laura Dunn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lauraemilyd