Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Our newest Digital Darling is Sarah Paiji, co-founder and CEO of Snapette. Sarah is not your prototypical start-up entrepreneur: With a background in finance and business, she co-founded Snapette after dropping out of Harvard Business School and has made it her mission to democratize fashion. Sarah shares with us her entrepreneurial journey so far, advice for aspiring founders, and what she loves most about fashion and tech.
What is Snapette?
Snapette is a shopping mobile app that helps users find great fashion products and sales available in nearby stores. With Snapette, you can shop the best stores, brands and local boutiques around the corner or around the world, right on your mobile phone!
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I was a student at Harvard Business School when I met my co-founder Jinhee and decided to work on Snapette, my first startup. I loved it and believed in the idea so much that I dropped out of Harvard to work on Snapette full time. We jumped right into it and fully committed. My co-founder Jinhee and I probably spent 80% of our waking hours together and working on Snapette that first year.
What’s a typical day in the life like for you?
As a co-founder and given our relatively small team size, I am heavily involved in all aspects of Snapette, such as product development, marketing, PR, business development, accounting, legal, etc. I spend a lot of time meeting with new fashion brands and retailers we want to bring onto Snapette or meeting with our existing retailer partners to plan campaigns to drive more shoppers into their stores. I also spend a lot of time with our engineers designing and testing new features. Some days are certainly more “glamourous,” doing an interview on TV on fashion trends we’re seeing, meeting with CEOs of top tech companies, going to fashion shows. But I’ve spent many long nights doing our monthly accounting, proofing legal contracts and putting together investor pitch decks.
Do you have any advice for other women working in the tech and startup spaces?
The unfortunate lack of females in tech at the moment creates opportunities for women to stand out in the industry. Even simply looking different has made me more memorable. Never a wallflower, I make clearly known my love of bold dresses, high heels and brightly colored nails. Tech circles run surprisingly small, and I’m easy to spot and reconnect with at the next event. There are also many great groups that are dedicated to supporting female founders and leaders in tech, from providing a community and advice. I’ve been the beneficiary of countless intros and meetings in the spirit of women and men helping women and myself have a particular soft spot for budding female entrepreneurs.
How has tech and startups changed fashion for you?
New startups in tech have made it easier than ever to discover great products, brands and stores. I frequently stumble upon new covetable items that I can buy online by following my friends and favorite bloggers on Pinterest, Instagram and The Fancy. Platforms like these have also lowered the barriers for small and emerging designers and boutiques to market for very little to no cost to a large and highly engaged audience. And of course, I’ve also discovered great products I can buy nearby and received alerts on my phone about nearby sales through Snapette.
Now that you’ve been recently acquired by PriceGrabber, what do you think the future holds for Snapette?
We’re very excited about how our new relationship with PriceGrabber will accelerate the growth of Snapette’s userbase and retailer base, as well as improve our service for both our users and retailers. PriceGrabber is a leading ecommerce site with over 20 million monthly unique visitors, and its strong online shopping presence is highly complementary to Snapette’s focus to-date on local shopping. And given PriceGrabber’s over 12,000 retailer partners, there’s a huge opportunity to provide mobile and local services for these retailers. So our users should expect more new great brands and stores on Snapette as well as the ability to shop both online and locally.
What are your favorite trends for fall?
I’m really looking forward to a super comfy fall! Love that oversize coats are back and excited about swimming in a new blanket-like coat. Also my feet will appreciate the comeback of roomy shoes with chunky heels and rounded toes.
Follow Sarah on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Paiji