“I want to build a FitBit for smiles/kindness. How many smiles to a stranger can you give in one day? How many times can you say hello or the hold door for a stranger in one day? Let’s make the world competitive in a kind way!”
I had the pleasure to interview Anna Jensen. Anna is the Co-Founder and CBO of Snap+Style Business. At the Ccmpany, Anna leads partner relationships with top brands such as Cosabella and ELOQUII. Anna and the Snap+Style Business team are increasing the value of brand digital footprints and helping them deliver a curated experience to customers.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
One of my favorite things I’ve always loved to do is solve puzzles. Figuring out what works, what doesn’t, what to always do next time and never do again gets me really charged up. I enjoy each step of the process. There’s always something to learn and it always fascinates me that a lesson you learned in stage 1 can still be applicable in stage 5 and vice versa. I had a poor in-store retail experience and I was determined to find a solution for what I wanted. So I sourced a team and we built it. I also believe that you should always keep your eyes open. There are more serendipitous moments in life than we take advantage of.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
One of my investors was having drinks with a young male entrepreneur who was starting a business in the fashion industry. He called me and asked me if I was available to come meet up because he thought it would be a great networking opportunity. I met them and we started talking about our businesses and what stages of our start ups we were in. He was showing me his business plan and I noticed some gaps in what I was seeing. I started asking questions which led us to a larger strategy session. In the middle of the conversation he turned to me and said l “ you know, you’re a lot smarter than you look.” I suppose it was a compliment but I ended the conversation there. He didn’t get a new investor either.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Shortly after I moved to NYC to completely invest myself in S+SB we started aggressively interviewing to build our team. It became very real to me that the business was legit and we were growing. During this process the movie ,The Intern, with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro come out. “This movie was about me!” I told myself. I went by myself and ended up crying pretty much the whole way through it. Immediately after, I sent a frantic email to my very small group of investors stating that we needed to have an emergency meeting ASAP. Truth was I felt uncomfortable about a senior hire we were considering and instead of rationalizing the situation, I decided that I would go the route of the big screen. Long story short, it was a very rookie mistake. The movie makes me laugh and not cry now!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are bringing the art of conversation back into the retail industry and building real relationships between brands and consumers. I think there is incredible work being done with AI that is making the buying and selling process easier. I believe there is a time and a place for chatbots. When placed and used in the right context it’s a great experience. But our S+SB platform encourages dialogue between the brands biggest resource, human store associates, and their consumers. A chat bot can suggest items for you but you will never get that human emotion that tells you what to wear AND how it will make you feel do.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Always read a book that has nothing to do with your business. Most entrepreneurs are running on all cylinders all the time because their minds are constantly stimulated and thinking about their business. I love the passion for your business and I get putting everything you have on all levels into it but it’s fatiguing, physically and mentally. I find reading a non related business book to be an escape while still mentally stimulating. Plus, it’s great for conversation/ networking. Talking about your reading list can be a great ice breaker also.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try and talk with as many young people as possible. If I’ve inspired one person to go after their dreams and create something they believe in or the courage to do it, then that’s a success in my book.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“ I didn’t invent the rainy day. I just bought the best umbrella.” I love this quote and think of it often. Problems and issues all the time, in every aspect of life and business. The opportunity arises when you execute on a plan to solve rather than dwell on the situation.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
I love watching to see how the in-store experience is transforming and what these innovate brands are doing to drive that in-store traffic again. Our society has become so instant gratification focused but I believe people will get bored with that. There’s no excitement or meaningfulness in it. I recently went to the John Varvatos store in the East Village in NYC. It was the coolest experience! The store is in the old music club, CBGB, a NYC music staple. We are talking where The Ramones, Blondie and so many others started. The stage is still there. The posters all over the wall. They did such an awesome job with it. I want to hang out there all the time!
What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Be confident. Conduct yourself in a way that they ask you to be a brand ambassador for them.
2. Know your audience. Don’t show up to a meeting/interview obviously wearing the brand of their competitor (I.e. visible logos, a piece you instantly know who’s it is). Those details are noticed and go a long way.
3. Research. Read their analyst reports. What are their pain and growth points? What is their store/online experience? How do you perceive their brand?
4. Be open. Embrace their creative vision no matter how plain or funky you think they are!
5. Have fun. The fashion industry is so fun and has so many incredible fun and exciting opportunities. Take advantage of those moments. And appreciate that you are there, so many people want to be in your shoes.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
Accept and embrace technology. It doesn’t make you a sell-out. It revives you and innovates you. It attracts get younger talent that you will need in order to keep your brand alive.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I want to build a FitBit for smiles/kindness. How many smiles to a stranger can you give in one day? How many times can you say hello or the hold door for a stranger in one day? Let’s make the world competitive in a kind way!
Oh and something with puppies/dogs. Dogs always.
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