Shefa Weinstein – CEO and co-founder of Shopetti

[quote style=”boxed”]I don’t think I would have done anything differently. It hasn’t always been easy, but each choice I made impacted the trajectory of our company. I had to learn my mistakes on my own in order to really understand them.[/quote]

Shefa Weinstein is an award winning entrepreneur with 11 years of web and business development experience. Previously, she founded and managed a web development firm from 2001-2012, becoming a leader in its industry. Shefa’s background in technology from Columbia University and her business skills put her in a unique position to lead Shopetti. Shefa is responsible for the business and product strategy. Shefa is also the proud mother of 4 young children.

What are you working on right now?

I am the CEO and co-founder of Shopetti. We make shopping online easier. Currently we have already released our universal shopping cart with sale alerts.

Where did the idea for Shopetti come from?

I am a NYer living in Israel for the past 12 years. After exclusively buying clothes online, shipping to my parents and picking it up during business trips I realized this had to be easier. Each time I would shop online I would have about 11 browser tabs open at a single session and praying my browser wouldn’t crash. I decided I needed a platform that would allow me to grab items from all my favorite shops, save it for later, tell me when it goes on sale and finally be able to buy it all from all the brands in 1 click.

How do you make money?

Shopetti has affiliate marketing. That means each time our user makes a purchase we make a very small percent from the brands as a thank you. Our goal is to lower the prices as much as we can so that our users keep coming back and using our system. That way they get a great deal and the brands pay us for our help.

What does your typical day look like?

I wake up about a half hour before anyone else in my house. Get through my emails and get ready for work. I wake up my family and get them off to school with my husband. I travel to work by train and get some more quiet-time work done. At the office I am on email and phone most of the time, if I am not in meetings. Unfortunately, I miss family dinner many nights of the week, this is why the mornings with my kids are so important to me. I can come home as late as 10 or 11p.

How do you bring ideas to life?

First it takes a lot of research before you build anything. I need to make sure I know exactly what the problem is that we are solving and how we are unique. I speak with dozens of women before a single line of code is written. Once I am sure this is how I want to move forward the rest is just implementing the plan I have already created.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Technology! I love seeing what is new and outrageous. I love reading TechCrunch and Mashable to see what new ideas are being built and how they are solving real problems.

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

One summer I temped for my parents business. I was 18. I was answering the phone, licking envelopes and other office tasks. I had great employers but I realized quickly I needed to be doing challenging work I loved, in order to make it through the day. Thank goodness, they only needed help for 3 weeks.

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

I don’t think I would have done anything differently. It hasn’t always been easy, but each choice I made impacted the trajectory of our company. I had to learn my mistakes on my own in order to really understand them.

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

Research. Know your product inside and out before a line of code is written. Make sure you are building the right product for your market and not a great product that is being shoved into the market.

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

I entered Startup Weekend, pitching a very early version of Shopetti. After 54 intense and fun hours it came to a end and I left with second place. I was really bummed. I was sure I would be first place. I pitched with 170 other people and from the beginning I knew I would win. When I heard my name as runner up I could not have been more disappointed. I understand how crazy that sounds but that is the entrepreneur. We know the odds are against us but we think, for some crazy reason we will beat those odds. It was easy to get over this, but till this day I still think about the lost 1st place position.

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

Everyday I come up with 10 “great” things the market needs. Everything from devices to services. Today’s idea was a way to GPS my cars parking spot to the floor of the garage (not just the address). I have no idea if this already exists, if it does please send me the link to the app 🙂 But ideas are cheap. It is the details and plan that makes each idea unique and successful.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

Children’s Hunger. I can not stand to see a child be hungry. It is probably the Jewish mom in me, but it kills me inside. I wish it was an easy fix. If you live in an area where this is a problem or a neighborhood close-by we could start a project where we send our kids to school with two lunches. It is so simple for us, instead of packing one lunch per kid we pack a spare. The school could pass it out discretely to the kids who need the help.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I am a closet crafter. I love to create projects. For a while I was creating jewelry and right now I am in the middle of a big afghan throw. If I have 5 mins of dead time you will find me on the Pinterest DIY section.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

LinkedIn – helps me find people using my own social proof.
Google Analytics – Helps me understand my users on Shopetti.
TechCrunch – I can see what is new and innovative in the startup world.

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

Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson is a great book to help understand the basic concepts to funding your startup.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@TechCrunch – see latest news
@bfeld – lots of great insights and news
@realsimple – great tips for running a household, from food to organization to costumes for the holidays.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

My kids make me laugh out loud all the time. Watching children grow and learn about life is such a fun part of parenting. Sometimes I am laughing with them and sometimes at them. Mostly we just really enjoy life together. This morning my son came into my room, nice and early, wearing a mash-up of a cowboy, ninja, farmer costumes, how could you not laugh?

Who is your hero, and why?

My Grandmother is my hero. She was a tough cookie! She was a deaf women who thought neither being deaf nor a woman would stop her from doing anything she wanted. She loved sewing and held 3 jobs at a time to help support her family. I remember sitting on her lap at the age of 5 and her teaching me to use a sewing machine. She shared her passions with me, and I could see the importance of having them in your life. She mostly taught me to work hard and never wait for anyone else to do something for you.

Does being a mom effect your being a CEO?

Being a mom, especially with 4 small kids, has a lot of traits used in business. You need to learn many skills like, multi-tasking, delegating, nurturing and more. Shopetti is my 5th kid. It is a baby and needs attention just like my real children. Sometimes you have to be strict and sometimes you can just have fun. I use my mommy-skills everyday.

Does being a CEO effect your being a mom?

Everyday. For the good and bad. I am home less and more stressed. But my children have never seen me happier. I believe that your children have to see you chasing your passions. I share my success as well as my failures with them (but not as to burdern them, rather to share the journey). I also help build their skills as the future CEOs. My 11 year old wanted a new soccer ball. Instead of just buying it, I made him pitch why I should buy it for him. He was really smart with his answer and got to work on new skills. I also spend better time with my kids now. Before I would let them watch TV, now if I am home, all screens are off and we spend quality time together. If you come to my house on a vacation day you will probably see me on the floor playing 3 games with 4 kids!