In 2011, after discovering that her personal fashion blog Venzedits was making money for the brands she was featuring, without making any for her, Amber Venz Box decided to set-up rewardStyle. An affiliate marketing channel it connects bloggers with brands, enabling them to make commission through sales generated from their content. Since launching in 2011, it has driven more than $1B in global retail sales. Fast forward five years later and the now 30 year-old Dallas based entrepreneur had the idea for LIKEtoKNOW.it app. A similar service for Instagram, when a user likes or screenshots an influencer's photo, users receive ready-to-shop product links based on items that influencer features or is wearing. Twenty million LIKEtoKNOW.it shoppable emails are sent each month, while four million screenshots have been matched since the app launched in March this year. Not bad for an idea thought up at her kitchen table right? Here Amber shares her tips for owning it like the ultimate #GirlBoss...
1. Work urgently. Timing can be everything. Don’t sit on an idea. When Baxter (Amber's husband) and I were working on the launch of rewardStyle we were totally heads down. Work on developing it urgently and once you have launched it keep working on it to get ahead of the competition. You need to focus on executing your idea and seeing it through.
2. Learn to delegate. Having two children has taught me this. I used to spend all day and night in the office but now I can’t. In order to accomplish all the things I need to do, I’ve had to learn to delegate. It’s a trait of a great leader anyway. It’s just something I was forced into. One of our investors told me if there is someone who can do something 80% as well as you, let them. And I thought that was great. She tries to live by it and sometimes even 60% because there is so much to get done. This has also helped to elevate my team and challenge them. I used to control every single detail of everything, whether it was a newsletter or an event and now it’s such a good feeling to come into the office and be greeted by little surprises or tweaks to products that they've done. Those are exciting moments when you see people taking control of their own goals. Allowing people to fly has been so important in earning and retaining top talent.
3. Take meeting notes. This is a really simple and practical tip. In a meeting I might have thought I said something clearly but then someone may have heard it in a very different way to what I meant. One way we have pushed through this is to require meeting notes. So after a meeting someone from the team will send back a list of notes explaining what was said and the actions that are going to be taken and then e-mails this to everyone. This then gives everyone time to respond if anyone disagrees or is unclear on a point. It helps track our progress and keeps people accountable. It has also helped improve lines of communications across wider teams.
4. Be a friend. For so long at the start we were heads down and just focused on getting the business stated. We were working in an industry we didn’t know and didn't have any connections in. I was in jewellery but I wasn’t living in NY and I wasn’t part of the wider industry. Baxter knew the tech industry but had no connections in fashion. So we were pretty insular for a time and just plugging away at what we knew we were building. But now we’ve grown, what I’ve realised is that even people outside your industry have so much they can offer you. It all comes back to friendship and advice. Something I’ve noticed is great leaders are great friends. And I hate it’s taken me five years to learn that but you’re part of a club and it’s like any non business relationship, you have to be a friend to have a friend.
5. Never stop learning. We're always reading. At the moment I'm reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek. He also does Ted Talks and I've watched his over and over. I'll even take notes. Our entire leadership team has also just finished a book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. It has really helped us to push through a couple of issues and become a much more highly functional team. I'm really intentional with my time. My life is very calender-ed. From personal time, to family time and reading time, I schedule everything.