Patience, patience, patience. Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither was your business. Success requires a steady stream of consistent work.
Estee Goldschmidt is the co-founder & CEO of ShopDrop app, a virtual GPS to sample sales. When working at Estee Lauder, Estee struggled to dress in designer clothes while on an Associate salary. After discovering her first sample sale, where $2,000 items were selling for $200, she got involved with ShopDrop – a single easy-to-use app to answer every sample sale need.
Estee grew up in Moscow and holds her MBA from the Stern School of Business.
Where did the idea for ShopDrop come from?
The idea for ShopDrop was born after we realized that there’s no easy way to find out about sample sales. Fashionistas had to follow a number of bloggers, sites and have personal relationships to get into these events. The goal of the app was to simplify and democratize the entire process.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Our day is split into three parts: Tech, User Acquisition (and retention) & Partnership Development. We typically start every day with a tech touch-base to ensure that all technical projects are proceeding according to plan: that includes new app features, bugs, website, coding, etc. Then we optimize curation and double check that our sample sale feed includes all relevant information. The third part of the day is focused on connecting with users: that includes covering sales on our instagram story, responding to the hundreds of messages from our users, setting up & tweaking facebook ads and planning fun interactive events for our ShopDrop users. Finally, we use the evening to network with brands, fashion influencers and develop partnerships that will benefit our users. This includes VIP events, PR initiatives, early access to specific sample sales
How do you bring ideas to life?
Our motto is trial and error. When we receive a request for an idea, we ask a few more people if they’d be interested. Then we figure out the cheapest way to test whether the idea is viable after all. Once we have the validation, we involve our technical team to build a beautiful, functional version of the new feature.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The rise of Mobile Payments – we are working in an industry that has barely shifted in the past twenty years, where the most advanced method of marketing is emails. Integrating mobile payments gives us the opportunity to bring the whole industry into the XXIst century, and offer users a simple, reward-based system to conduct payments.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Listening and trusting my team – getting the right people to work on an initiative is challenging – they have to be capable, motivated, understand the core of the product. Once you know that they have ShopDrop’s best interest in mind, you have to trust them to act and take initiative.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Patience, patience, patience. Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither was your business. Success requires a steady stream of consistent work. It took us two months to get the first 40 active users on the app. After that, the numbers kept on doubling.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Being nice for the sake of being nice is overrated. Numerous times in our businesses, brands or potential partners acted in ways that were less than exemplary. Instead of accepting the treatment ‘for the sake of the relationship’ we chose to respond with retaliation and legal measures. Most often, the response is respect rather than ‘relationship ruined.’
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build, test, integrate user feedback and repeat. Every concept, every idea, every step of the business needs to be validated with users and consumers before implementation. For us, that means building landing pages or basic services online – pushing them out to users, measuring response, and building the feature if so required.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The strategy that helped us the most was the Lean Startup methodology we picked up in the NYU Leslie summer accelerator. The strategy favors trial and error over extensive traditional research. We believe that we will learn way more from talking with consumers and watching their behavior than by reading books and researching the history of a certain industry.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure was focusing on too many projects at once. We had four events in a week and none of them turned out as well as we had hoped for. The lesson was to hyper-focus for future initiatives.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Vegan dinner subscription service.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 were spent on analytics courses for our teams to better understand and use our software.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
We love Facebook Analytics (for the app), that’s the best tool to measure growth of monthly, weekly and daily active users and to identify trends.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Made to Stick” – by Chip and Dan Heath. Excellent for anyone working on anything that requires virality
What is your favorite quote?
‘All beings live for as long as it takes them to accomplish their life mission. Perhaps that is why turtles live so long.” Russian Proverb
- The best cycle for product development is build, test, tweak and repeat.
- Remember to stand up for your principles even if it means coming off as aggressive.
- Have patience when it comes to growth.
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