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My first full-time job after college was at an investment bank in New York.

I was a 21-year-old analyst getting my first experience in the corporate world. And even though my career would eventually go in a very different direction, my time in that role was a fantastic learning experience on multiple levels.

It gave me experience in a corporate structure. It exposed me to how a senior leadership team operates. And it taught me how I wanted to run a company — and how I didn’t.

In every role, you’re almost always learning more than you think.

Some of…

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After college, I worked as an investment banker in New York. And to be honest, I was pretty average at it. I definitely can’t say that I “excelled” at the job.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d do it all again if I had the choice. I learned so much in that role, and the job challenged and pushed me in ways that I’m grateful for now.

But I didn’t love it.

At least, I didn’t enjoy it as much as my first job after business school. I worked at Aeropostale and worked on new business initiatives and rolled out the…

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Many companies avoid underserved markets, primarily for three different reasons.

First, design and production are often more difficult.

Second, there’s the perceived issue of brand ethos. Some companies look at a market like plus-size clothing and decide it doesn’t fit with their brand image.

And finally, one of the largest challenges to creating products for underserved markets is that there simply isn’t a template to work from.

If no one has done it before, it’s difficult to know where to start.

Keep in mind, if a market has been overlooked, that also means there’s a lot of potential revenue out…

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I was recently chatting with the owner of a bagel shop in my neighborhood, and she told me her daughter had introduced her to ThirdLove’s bras.

She then told me that her mom had just started buying bras from us, as well. That’s three generations who are using the product, which is very cool to hear from a customer.

But it does bring up an excellent question: how do you manage to market one product to such a diverse number of age groups?

Truthfully, my co-founder and I didn’t start ThirdLove with age in mind. We wanted to have a…

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As a founder, I’m always short on time.

And if I’m being honest, time spent with friends has been the biggest casualty on my calendar since starting ThirdLove. I still love seeing my friends, but I simply don’t have as much free time as I used to.

If you’re in a similar position — working full-time and raising a family — then you know how easy it is to go without seeing your friends for months on end. But strong friendships are essential to a balanced emotional life. You need people you can connect with and talk to about your…

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One of the core values at my company is “make it happen.”

Our team chose this mantra as one of our values to encourage people to be proactive and thoughtful in their approach to getting things done.

No one else is going to do it for you. You have to make it happen.

That sense of independence has to be instilled, starting from the top and trickling down to every team member. …

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My company has been in six different offices over the past six years.

The first five were completely unbranded. If you walked in, you wouldn’t have been able to tell our office apart from any other busy startup. And that was intentional. We were growing quickly and moving spaces every year, so it felt like a waste of time to decorate offices that we knew were temporary.

That mindset changed when we moved into our current space — a three-story, repurposed warehouse in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco. …

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Most tough conversations at work tend to revolve around performance or business strategy issues.

While these discussions are certainly never fun, some people handle them better than others. A relatively calm and constructive conversation with one person might be tense and unhelpful with another. As a manager, you can’t always know what you’re walking into.

Regardless of how you think the conversation might go, you don’t want to imagine the worst and psych yourself up for battle beforehand. Instead, your preparation should be about how you’ll find common ground and end the conversation amicably.

As the CEO of a fast-growing…

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We all have little daily routines that keep us sane.

Whether it’s a cup of coffee at 8 a.m. sharp or a walk during lunch, it’s easy to feel stressed, anxious, and irritable when your schedule gets scrambled.

I hate getting out of my routines. I’m a creature of habit, so when I’m forced out of my groove it really affects my energy level. Just recently, my children’s nanny took a few days off, which meant my husband and I were coordinating and managing the day-to-day like she usually does.

Everything you do in a day takes up mental space…

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Whenever I’m speaking on a panel, there’s one question people tend to ask time and again:

“How do you let go of work?”

It’s a good question, but I’ve come to realize that in a sense, I don’t. I never really turn my mind “off” when it comes to the company. I’m always thinking about ThirdLove and what we’re building.

Most entrepreneurs I’ve encountered have a similar mentality. They’re all hyper-concentrated on their businesses and thinking about it to some degree.

Of course, that’s a pro and a con. When you’re constantly focused on your business, there will be days…

Heidi Zak

Co-Founder and Co-CEO @ThirdLove: Helping women everywhere feel comfortable and confident | Mom to 2 munchkins, lover of athletic challenges |

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