Charese Embree - CMO and co-founder of Fynd.me

Making lists is key. And, in turn, sticking to them. We have devised a post-it note system in the office to complete tasks. It’s a great sense of accomplishment when you start the day with a ton of post-its on the wall and leave the day with little or none left.

Charese Embree is CMO and co-founder of Fynd.me. She has always had a passion for people and worked in the customer service industry for 15 years. She worked with luxury brands in the fashion industry including Valentino, DVF, Chanel and more, and served as a liaison between the consumer and the buyers for many brands. A leader by nature, Charese enjoys rallying people to get them excited and motivated for whatever task is at hand. As CMO and co-founder of Fynd.me, she is dedicated to bringing a personal shopper to the online space to create a fun and seamless shopping experience.

Where did the idea for Fynd.me come from?

My co-founder Adam and I lived together in San Francisco. I worked in luxury retail and he would listen to me voice my frustrations on how we had to compete with online retailers. After many months of brainstorming over glasses of wine, we knew we needed to change the way people shopped online. We started thinking of ways to bring our two different backgrounds of retail fashion and computer engineering/medical coding into one forum.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Life at a startup is ever-changing. As co-founders, Adam and I wear many different hats. We start each day by reviewing our analytics, answering emails and catching up on whatever tasks were left unfinished from the day before. After that, I shift my focus to adding new items onto the site. Most days I will have some sort of networking event or coaching class to attend. The best way to stay productive for us is to be in constant communication with each other about pressing issues and what needs to be taken care of right away.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We talk things out and think through the positives and negatives of all our ideas. Then we mock up a model of what we are thinking of doing or changing and talk through what could happen if we execute the idea.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

In the fashion world, the one trend that I’m super excited about is the color red. It’s my favorite color to accessorize with, and it really makes an outfit POP. It’s so fitting in summer and such a bright, vibrant color that makes you excited. In the tech world, the chatbot. It is such a fun and exciting new way to shop and Fynd.me created one! You can talk to Fyndbot as if you’re talking to a friend. It can do more than take commands one line at a time and is meant to mimic a personal shopper.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Making lists is key. And, in turn, sticking to them. We have devised a post-it note system in the office to complete tasks. It’s a great sense of accomplishment when you start the day with a ton of post-its on the wall and leave the day with little or none left.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

My last position as a sales associate in a luxury flagship store in San Francisco was by far the worst job I have ever had. The company was so unorganized and the staff did not work well together. I learned that a team’s ability to work well together is a key part of job happiness. What matters is being able to come together at the end of the day as a team and work HARD together, no matter the differences you may have. A team that enjoys one another’s company, respects one another and wants to work hard together, makes all the difference in the world.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

It sounds cheesy, but I would not want to start over because what we have done has made fynd.me who we are. We put our blood, sweat and many tears into this project. As friends, co-founders and people, Adam and I have grown so much. Business is ever-evolving, but we have done this together and we’re happy with what we have achieved.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

You have to be willing to adapt as an entrepreneur. Keep a goal in mind, but know the path you take to get there will often change. I recommend staying in communication, whether it’s business, personal, or whatever. Communication is key to keeping a business together and thriving.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

One of the best business strategies that we have used is networking. Using the power of people to get our name out into the community, be it either fashion or tech, has been extremely helpful. Talking to people and sharing our ideas and plans has been a grassroots way of growing our business, and it makes the whole process more personable.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Expectations. What we expected our customer acquisition to be and what it was were very different. We had grandiose expectations that we would have tens of thousands of users in the first month, and we were a bit off. At this early stage, it has allowed us to be more connected with our users, talk to them, get their feedback and really bring the personal shopper to the web. It helps bring a human aspect to our customers and show them that we are people as well and not just a website. We care about what they are saying and what we can do to improve.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We love the idea of giving back. In that vein, some at the company would love to start a monthly philanthropy subscription service. Users would pick a monthly price point and what causes they would love to donate to, and the service automatically handles the payment processing and sending the donation to the right charities. It would mean no more worrying if you’re sending your hard-earned donations to the most effective charities, as the company would continually monitor charities’ effectiveness.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 as a company and as a person was getting involved with a network of professional entrepreneurial women called SheWorx. It is such an amazing group of women who are so encouraging and have the same goal to grow their network and help promote each other’s businesses. I leave every meeting on cloud nine, feeling like I can rule the world!

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

We use Node.js, PostgreSQL, React and Heroku as our PAAS. We love our development stack as it allows us to use one language (JavaScript) on both the server and client, allowing us to share code and developers. The stack was easy to begin with and has a great developer community. We know that they will scale as we grow; we really are building on the backs of giants like Facebook (React) and IBM (Node). With Heroku we have a great platform that takes care of all the infrastructure complexity and lets us focus on making our product better and not keeping it running.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It has great insight and really amazing information about how to successfully start and run a business.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Elon Musk, the creator of Tesla and SpaceX. He has created some of the most innovative products of our time and is such an inspiring business professional. It would be an honor to meet Musk. And someone who has always influenced the way we look at, think about and love fashion is Yves Saint Laurent. He was a pioneer and leader for his time.

Connect:

http://www.fynd.me/
Fynd.me on Twitter: @shopfynd
Fynd.me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopfynd
Fynd.me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shopfynd/