How did you start working in eCommerce?
I started my career in IT audit, but quickly realized that it wasn’t the best fit for me and my passions. My sister and brother-in-law were both product managers at the time, and they thought I’d be good at it. My brother-in-law worked at Orbitz in Chicago, and there was an opening there, so I applied and got the job. Right away, work didn’t feel like work and felt like something I was excited about. I had found my path in eCommerce!
When I was given the opportunity to move to LA to build a brand new website (that didn’t exist before) for NordstromRack.com, I jumped at the chance. Nordstrom had just purchased HauteLook and being able to do the rollout for a major brand website was incredible.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I start my day off with a stand-up with my team — 15 minutes every morning — where we do a quick update with everybody, discuss any roadblocks we’ve been working through, then say, “Alright, let’s do this.” I then move on to a ton of meetings, emails, and road-mapping. I’ll wrap up the day by reviewing designs across all of our awesome platforms (web, internal tools, app, and back office).
What do you love most about your job?
Beautycounter’s mission is what first drew me in. We’re trying to get safer products into the hands of everyone: that’s the type of mission that I can really get behind. Before I joined Beautycounter, I had no idea what kinds of ingredients are in typical products. Now, I’m extremely passionate about our mission to ban 1,500 harmful ingredients that are typically found in other products.
Not only are we creating safer, high-performing products, but we’re also educating people on safer skincare and makeup. Plus we have a big advocacy movement where we lobby for better regulation in DC. These days, work is super fast-paced, but at the end of the day, everybody rallies to get the job done because we all believe in the mission.
What advice would you give to others looking to work in the industry?
Understand your consumers. I, myself, am a huge eCommerce shopper, so I get it. I hear the user, and I can understand their frustration with a bad experience at checkout or with a feature not resonating with them.
And do what you love. Pick something you really believe in and your work will mirror your passion. Before my career in eCommerce, I was in some industries for which I wasn’t living and breathing excitement. Now, I’m doing a job that I’m really passionate about, in an industry in which I feel energized.
What do you think is the next big trend that will define the industry?
We’ve been seeing virtual reality experiences in the makeup industry, where you can see how the makeup will look on your face — I think we’re really going to start seeing more of that virtual try-on experience for fashion, pushing the boundaries of existing ‘fit predictors.’
Are there other women in the industry that you admire & why?
I admire people who do things that I can’t do, or that I’m not comfortable doing. I’m in awe of female founders in general — it’s so brave to constantly hear the word “no” and to just push through anyway. A great example is Beautycounter’s founder Gregg Renfrew. She’s fearless in the beauty space, and she’s so passionate about empowering women, lobbying for better regulation, and educating people. If we’re talking about women in general, though…there is no one I look up to more than my sisters (3), sisters-in-law (3), and amazing mother.