How did you start working in eCommerce?
I started my career in marketing. I was working for large brands like P&G and Kraft, and I was not satisfied with being a production designer of someone else’s vision. So, I ended up finding a UX job at a small digital agency in Chicago where I got to start working in strategy and usability. I quickly realized eCommerce is where I want to be because it makes it easier to use data and it’s clearer to understand which designs are successful. And it’s exciting, you really get to change and affect a business.
I started looking for eCommerce jobs and and I knew that I wanted to work in eCommerce for a company with women in leadership positions. I felt that, though I was recognized at my last company, there were certain opportunities that were not readily given to me, and I wasn’t really seen as someone who could be thrown in the deep end and figure it out. So I wanted to find a company where women were at the top.
At BVAccel at the time, there was a female COO and CFO, Annie Winger, and there were other women in leadership roles all the way down, so I could trust that gender wouldn’t be an issue there. That’s really why I applied to BVA, along with wanting to work in eCommerce. Since then, I got thrown in the deep end and it’s been amazing. It’s exceeded my expectations as far as the satisfaction of being able to influence the trajectory of a brand’s success.
What does your typical work day look like?
I start my day with a stand-up with my agile team, which includes our developers, our account strategist, and our project manager. After the stand up, I dive straight into the work. Right now, I’m working on clients like MVMT and Tommy John as well as others, and I also work across other teams, supporting where design work is needed.
I might be doing a large template for a new loyalty program or a small optimization. I get to work with our CRO team to try to figure out which tests we want to run. I might be creating an iteration for one of those tests, and then I get to talk to clients a lot, which I love.
I also have my own design team and we have our own design stand-up where we try to solve any problems we might be having at the departmental level. And finally, I work with designers in a mentorship set-up to help them, for example, figure out how to prototype or animate an interaction.
What do you love most about your job?
I love working with the clients and I love working with my team. It’s really the human interaction that I love. I like building things with other people and seeing a vision go from the very start of just a thought all the way through to the end product. And then the best feeling is when we have results from that, because it validates all of the hard work.
It can be very rare for designers to have so much connection with clients and sometimes even with developers. That’s something I love about BVAccel, that I feel very connected to the strategy. I care very much about my clients, so being able to speak with them, and work with them, and create strategy, and make suggestions, and hear their goals are all part of what allows me to do my job very well.
What advice would you give to others looking to work in the industry?
Don’t be afraid of not knowing things. Embrace that. I came from a UX background but not with a lot of eCommerce experience. I had to ask a lot of questions and I kind of just accepted that. I think if I were afraid to ask questions that might’ve made me seem like I didn’t know what I was doing, it would have really held me back.
It’s extremely important to see your team as a support system and to gain knowledge from them, and also see your clients as experts in their industry and their business. I think being able to ask good questions is really all you need. Do your work, read your articles, try to learn as much as you can learn on your own, but then ask questions.
What do you think is the next big development/trend that will define the industry?
I don’t think this is brand new, but I’ve been noticing more and more companies that are focusing on necessities and things that we use everyday that maybe haven’t been as great as they could be, or that haven’t been talked about as much in the past.
On one hand there are companies selling these necessities of life, things that are not sexy but that we need all the time. And on the other, these brands are selling things like feminine products and natural lubricants, things that are maybe less easy to talk about. And often they’re doing it through subscriptions, which is also very much a trend moving forward. Another trend I see growing is the push for personalized experiences online to make websites as much of a human in-store like experience as possible.
Are there other women in the industry that you admire & why?
I have four that come to mind, though there are definitely more.
Mariel Bacci, BVA’s Director of eCommerce Strategy, is smart as a whip and is an enormous source of knowledge and positive support from the most entry-level employees up through to our new CEO.
Alicia Radabaugh, the Director of eCommerce at MVMT — I know she’s already on the top 10 list, but I had to throw in my support of that, since she’s such a strong, clear-sighted woman.
Courtney Wall is an incredible designer and a rising star at BVA. She works across brands such as Kopari, Thrive, Tecovas, Boll & Branch, Caldera ,and more. She’s an incredible member of our team and leads a San Diego group called Lady Killas, focusing on interviews and events with women empowering women.
And Sally Kay, one of our most veteran Account Strategists, who has led the success of MVMT, Rebecca Minkoff, and more.