Heidi Zak – Creator of ThirdLove

[quote style=”boxed”]I work out 3-4 mornings per week. By starting the day with a workout I clear my head, and sometimes even creatively solve problems, all while gearing up for the busy day ahead.[/quote]

While Heidi Zak was bra shopping a few years ago it dawned on her, that with today’s technology there had to be a better way. With this in mind she created ThirdLove to make bra shopping fun and convenient, and to help every woman find a flawless fit without the crazy price tags.

Where did the idea for ThirdLove come from?

The idea behind ThirdLove came to be about 2 years ago, when it was time to go bra shopping, and as usual I was dreading it. I disliked the whole process – finding time to drive to a store, getting measured by a stranger, and trying on lots and lots of overpriced bras. If I was lucky enough to find a bra that fit, it would often fall apart after just a few washes. I thought, there must be a better way to find a bra I love!

What does your typical day look like?

One of the things I love most about my day is that each one is different. I spend time every day meeting with team members about their priorities. The rest of the day is spent on marketing and partnership opportunities, product development, interviewing potential candidates and strategic planning.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We’re very visual in our office at ThirdLove. If we’re discussing new products that means looking at design inspiration and lots of samples. When we’re doing UX or marketing we print out potential user flows & visuals and put those on a whiteboard to fuel our brainstorm sessions.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

3D printing. As the technology becomes more affordable and spans across different retail categories, I think it will have a huge impact on the way we buy almost all products and the way retail operates, particularly eCommerce retailers. 3D printing enables companies to offer more variety and personalization which I think is really exciting.

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

I work out 3-4 mornings per week. By starting the day with a workout I clear my head, and sometimes even creatively solve problems, all while gearing up for the busy day ahead.

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

I was a waitress one summer in college (I even spilled a tray of beer into a customer’s lap!). While waitressing I learned how to juggle multiple things at one time and the importance of connecting with your customers and making sure they walk away as happy clients.

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

I’d listen to the sage advice that it takes twice as long & costs twice as much money as you think to launch a new business!

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

Hire people who are smarter than you. It’s all about building a strong, passionate and engaged team around you.

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

Listening to our customers has been the #1 driver of growing our business. I answer a lot of customer support emails myself, as it helps me have a better understanding of where we should spend our resources. Their positive feedback encourages us when we’re on the right track. Their negative feedback shows us how we can improve our product offerings and website & app experiences.

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

Originally we had planned to launch our bras through an E cup. When we received our first samples in the D & E cups it became apparent that the product wasn’t up to our standards. We made the decision to start over on those sizes and launch through our C ½ cups. The most important thing for us was to deliver high quality, perfect fitting bras to our customers and although it cost us more money and took us longer to deliver on that promise, it was integral to our mission at ThirdLove.

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

Develop a cost-effective and easy service to create photo albums — for weddings, kids birthday books, trips, etc. As a busy professional, I know this is always on my to-do list and never getting done!

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I’m an Ironwoman, Lake Placid

What software and web services do you use?

Google Apps, Asana

What do you love about them?

Google Apps & Asana are core to our internal communication at ThirdLove. We love the collaboration aspect of Google docs and that Asana makes keeping track of detailed tasks & project calendars so easy.

What is the one book that you recommend that business owners should read and why?

The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. It’s all about how to focus on the basics and constantly test your ideas and adapt your business.

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

Stella & Dot founder, Jessica Herrin, is also a mom (I have an 11-month old) and is a role model to anyone working to build a big business while raising a family.


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