Federico

Coach, delegate, empower and let go, especially when it comes to operational and executional stuff.

Italian born, Federico has spent most of his adult life in London. His career has been mainly in consumer market research (Kantar Worldpanel) and insights (Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal). He has worked on the side on various startup projects and in June 2016 he left his corporate job to dedicate himself fully to My Beauty Matches, the startup he co-founded. He is currently its CSO and therefore manages its marketing, product development and operations among other things.

Where did the idea for My Beauty Matches come from?

It was borne out of Nidhima’s (my business partner) frustration when looking for the right skin care and makeup products for her skin. It turned out that it was really difficult to get unbiased reliable recommendations – most of the time it would be an undercover sales pitch or the sales assistant in question wasn’t knowledgeable enough.

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

There isn’t such thing as a typical day. But there is a loose structure that I try to respect every week:
Monday: review the previous week’s performance; align the business priorities for the week with my business partner and decide which “hats” to wear and for how long; align the objectives/tasks of our Digital Content Exec, Operations Exec and Developer.
Wednesday: align and supervise the creation of the weekly newsletter.
Thursday: touch base with the team to ensure that we are all on track.
The rest is very ad-hoc, it could span from B2C marketing to B2B sales, HR and operations to product (i.e. website and backend) development.
This structure allows us to track and optimise our workloads. Also, we try really hard to limit brainstorming to Mondays and then stick to whatever is decided for the rest of the week – too much brainstorming means less implementation.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Brainstorm the key ideas/objectives with Nidhima on Mondays, align on a project leader and then we both review the proposed output and openly discuss it between the three of us (Nidhima, myself and the project leader). It goes without saying that we look at best practice from other categories and competitors and make our decisions based on analytics/data as much as possible.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Automated personalised product recommendations are becoming more and more popular and a spilling over into different industries, fashion being the first one that comes to mind.

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

Do not over-intellectualize issues, you need to get the solution on paper 80% right, then the rest is all about execution (speed and quality). Hence the point I have mentioned above about limiting brainstorming.

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

I interned for a short while with a political think tank which became more extreme in its views as time went by. As a consequence, some of the reports I wrote were spinned – I had produced (what I thought were) balanced analyses (as initially agreed) which the editors transformed into sensationalist/tabloid like articles. I learnt that you always need to understand the motives of your business partners and try to satisfy them (where possible and it is mutually beneficial) in order to avoid changes/conflicts down the line; and that you can reuse the same content for different marketing purposes if you are creative enough.

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

I think I would have cut down some of my holidays while at high school and got some more unpaid job experiences. The earlier you get your hands dirty and fail, the better it is.

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

Coach, delegate, empower and let go, especially when it comes to operational and executional stuff.

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

Partnerships with other companies that share your same target audience. If you do not want to pay, then you need to come up with an ad-hoc solution that gets you what you want (e.g. newsletter subscribers, social media followers, etc…) and gives in exchange something valuable to your partner. The value of the two should be more or less equal – it’s a barter at the end of the day.

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

Evaluating properly my business partners – in the past I got so excited by the business idea that I overlooked some character traits of the people I was “getting into bed with”. With My Beauty Matches, I spent a reasonable amount of time getting to know Nidhima both from a business and a personal perspective before getting involved with the business full-time.

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

Figure out an efficient way of substituting toilet paper, something less clunky than Japanese toilet seats. But the solution doesn’t necessarily have to be a new toilet – think about what hand sanitizing gels did to water and soap.

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

I will run a half-marathon on 13th November and I am fundraising for charity on the back of it. I persuaded my physiotherapist to give up the payment of one of my sessions (damned sciatic nerve!) and in exchange I am donating that amount (approx $100) to the charity I am fundraising for!

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

I like MailChimp – it makes email marketing reasonably easy, especially when it comes to targeting specific segments. Trello is another great tool to manage your and your team’s tasks.

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

I am currently reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman – it made me very self-aware about my mental laziness, the mistakes we tend to make and gave me a deeper insight into what influences people.

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

I am more a fan of content hubs rather than following specific people – I really recommend HubSpot if you work in digital.

Connect:

https://www.mybeautymatches.com/
Federico Cucchi on Twitter : https://twitter.com/MyBeautyMatches
Federico Cucchi on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/MyBeautyMatches?fref=ts
Federico Cucchi on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/company/2778574