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How a random TikTok video generated more than 800,000 signups for a bridal tech startup, with Leslie Voorhees Means, Co-Founder of Anomalie

by Female Startup Club
July 20th 2020
00:47:46
Description
A disruptive bridal tech startup that has more than 4 billion options to customise a wedding dress, for a fraction of the cost of regular gowns. Genius!  In this episode we're talking about the lightb... More
It's been a few months since I joined the hubspot podcast network and I'm so excited about the other shows in there that I'm learning from, especially the gold digger podcast hosted by Gina Kolata Jenna's show helps you discover your dream career with productivity tips, social strategies, business hacks, inspirational stories and so much more. I just finished listening to her recent episode about how she grew her show to 60 million downloads and was blown away by some of the insider tips she shares. And here's something else you should know on january 3rd, you're going to hear a certain someone in Jenna's show that certain someone being more, make sure you pop it in your diary because I am so beyond excited. I can't wait for you to hear it. Listen to the gold digger podcast wherever you get your podcasts. This is Leslie voice means for female startup club. Yeah. Hi guys, welcome back to another episode of Female startup club. I'm your host, Dune rasheen. And today I'm chatting to Leslie means the founder of anomaly, a disruptive bridal tech startup that lets you create custom dresses online for a fraction of the cost of regular gowns.

We're talking about the light bulb moment that led to her starting the business with her now husband. How her background in product development at companies like Nike and Apple became one of the biggest strengths of the company, Key advice for fundraising and the moment that a random Tiktok video went viral and generated 800,000 sign ups to their website in one month alone. This is Leslie for female startup club two, uh huh. Today's episode is brought to you by the lip balm that I use on my own lips every single day breeze bomb funnily enough, one of my very first interviews on this podcast was with Sammy Leo, an incredible entrepreneur who's taken her secret family recipe for lip balm and created a tiny tube that's packed full of goodness. It's a recipe that's been in her family for 70 years and uses minimal ingredients that actually work including 100% pure lanolin and beeswax.

It's got no nasties. It's completely cruelty free and the tubes are made out of sugar cane and recycled plastic on a solar powered plant. How cool is that? The best thing is that the lip balms are ultra hydrating and perfect for everyday, where I even put my on before I go to sleep each night, you can check out her range of lip balms at bree's bomb dot com. Let's jump into this episode. Female startup presence. You want to start by telling me the origin story of your business and what made you get into the bridal industry. Yeah, so um was not expecting to be thinking breathing, living wedding dresses all day every day. Um and was actually not even planning on pursuing a career of entrepreneurship. This actually emerged out of a personal frustration um when I was shopping for my wedding dress a couple years ago. So my background is in mechanical engineering and manufacturing.

I've spent my entire career on factory floors building products, worked at Nike for five years before business school and was at Apple doing operations for the watch when I got engaged and started shopping around at boutiques in America and realize really quickly how frustrating the experience was. You have to make appointments weeks in advance and there's um uh not very much pricing transparency so that everything is very expensive and it's hard to price compare and shop around. And then I had a very specific vision for what I wanted in my dress and just couldn't quite find it. So at the time I was traveling over to china a lot for Apple um mostly around in and around shanghai and did some research and found Su Zhou China which actually makes 80% of the world's wedding dresses. It's this crazy hub of expertise and manufacturing and uh silk heritage that goes back thousands of years and it's very well known I think in the chinese community, chinese women know to get their dresses made there.

But walking around when I ended up visiting, I was the only foreigner and I thought like this is a secret I guess that I've you know, potentially uncovered. And um had a really fun time working directly with workshops there. So the like the craft and quality um was really really really high and was able to pick out every single element that I wanted in my dress and they made the dress too, my measurements and was just really happy with the quality and the design and then ultimately the price of course. And I mentioned this to just a couple of girlfriends and almost immediately was getting bombarded with requests, orders I guess like when are you going to china next? My friends engaged, she can't find her dress, can I connect you with her? And then it was friends of friends and then friends of friends of friends. And it was like very clear the other women were feeling the same frustration as me and I thought maybe there's a business idea here and did a little bit of research on the industry and Bridal in the US is still 95% brick and mortar.

So it's like one of the last verticals that hasn't really been disrupted by an online presence. And there's also just one big player in the market. David's bridal and then all the rest of the market is independent, fragmented mom and pop boutiques. And so there's a lot of opportunity for consolidation. So it just, it grew and became more and more interesting as an opportunity. The other part which was super interesting to me as an operator was the first couple dozen orders or so women were saying they wanted something really special and really unique and different for their wedding dress. And they were ordering basically the same dress because wedding dresses look very very similar actually. The components like the core of the dress doesn't change much over time. It's white or ivory, There's lace or no lace, like the neckline and straps and sleeves change slightly over time. But really like the bulk of the dress doesn't change very much. And so, uh, using the dress as a vehicle potentially for figuring out a mass customization manufacturing model was like really, really cool and interesting to me.

And um, I could already see on the factory floor how like some of these components could start to be module arised and scaled hopefully at an efficiency of like what you see in mass produced garments. But there are just lots of really cool, interesting, um, you know, ideas that kept emerging early on when, when anomaly wasn't even, uh, wasn't even a business yet that was compelling enough for me to take a leap of faith. And um, you know, quit my full time job at Apple at the time and pursue this. And so you quit your job. You've had this light bulb moment, You've been to china, you've experienced it. You've got like a pool of people around you that are saying like, yeah, I want, I want to get one of these dresses like I'm in kind of thing and I imagine it costs like a lot of money to develop the tech was the tech developed in the beginning, like right from the word go, like, what was the process, you know, from quitting your job? Yeah, it's a good question about the tech because I think looking at other director consumer businesses, there's so many of them, many of them have grown astronomically over the last couple years and also have astronomical valuations and are getting tens of millions, hundreds of millions of venture capital investments.

And that was something that was pretty striking early on was like, there has to be, I guess, an element of defense ability to justify raising venture capital and um, and also trying to think about how we wanted to scale, uh, scale our operations long term was always something that was um, embedded in my mind. Early on. That being said, there was zero technology and in the early days it was hacking everything together. It was, you know, me on the ground in china. I mean, we got married, my husband and I, who's also my co founder, got married on december 31st 2016. The next day I hopped on a plane, flew to china and was basically like in china, all of 2017 on the ground, like shepherding all of the original dresses through. So no technology, no scale, no efficiencies, any of that. But I think, you know, for your listeners, like that's, that's how you have to start any company and you can have visions of tech and we hired people that, you know, some of our first stylists where quote unquote stylists where I would say extremely overqualified customer service agents that had operational mindsets and understood how had a vision for scale long term as well.

But the first year, couple years was really, really, really manual. So it's, it's talking to every customer, it's um, you know, documenting everything in a very manual way with the intent to, to have tech come and fold into the process eventually, which, you know, we've been slowly building technology like dress builder, which we, the anomaly team took over 30,000 hours. We calculated that detailing every single design element of any possible wedding dress and like codifying it and also creating a sketch. And so now we have this like amazing database that can formulate custom sketches and tailored recommendations for fabric and lace and all of that automated now, but it wasn't automated for a very, very long time. Right? I, I was playing around on it before, it's really, really cool and made like all sorts of different fun dresses. Oh good, I'm glad to hear that. So, in that first year, so I'm imagining that was then bootstrapped. It was before you went down the route of VC, it was like the M.

V. P. You were proving the concept, you were like, you had a, I imagine like a significant customer base and then you were like, yep, I'm gonna go and knock on the doors and raise some capital now. Like we're ready to take it to the next phase, Is that what happened? Yeah, it's the fundraising question is always, um, something I think that's on founders minds, I think you have to have a really compelling idea and really, really good demand with your customers before you can even start thinking about raising capital. I think a lot of founders will get in the trap of thinking about fundraising right away and we were pretty disciplined in terms of, let's make sure this is a good idea first, um, and established traction and ultimately for fundraising recommendations, which I'm happy to dive a little bit deeper into if, if you have the posture of not needing capital, it actually is like Kryptonite for, for investors, like they want in even more if, if you, you know, you have this posture that you don't really need it.

And so by being really heads down and scrappy in the beginning, not posting facebook ads or you know, all of our attraction and growth was organic because brides were telling other brides were telling other brides and that's, you know, the seeds of vier Aleke were there in the beginning truly, and and that allowed us to continue to be really scrappy with who we were hiring and um, figuring stuff out before even going after any capital. And then we ended up getting outreach from investors before we even had to go fundraise per se, um, to get our seed capital, which was, I think a pretty blessed fundraising journey for us. We had to work. We had to hustle for our series a which I can talk about two, but please do, please talk about it. Yeah, Well, but I think I think the scrappiness and testing your ideas in a lean and cheap way, especially with your friends and your network. If your friends aren't purchasing your product, strangers probably will not.

And so those early days are just the best time to really figure out your adoption. And if you know, I think other people have personal frustrations and that's what spurs, you know, starting a company. But you have to make sure that other people are feeling those, those same pain points and frustrations to, to make sure that there's an opportunity there. But um, yeah, so our series a, we raised a little over 13 million last year, spring of 2019 and I say this specifically to other female founders. I think there's, you know, a reputation that it's really, really difficult for female founders to raise money. And um, you hear horror stories about pitching an idea for us. It's wedding dresses to a bunch of mostly middle aged white men. Um, but I think, I think this is an amazing time to be a female founder raising capital is hard for anyone period. So there's no exaggerations about that.

But I think the market is good investors are looking for ideas that have been overlooked and I think recently companies paved by, you know, women like Katrina Lake, I admire so much the Ceo and founder of stitch fix who had, you know, talks about hard time fundraising. I think there's all these success stories that are around now that have paved the way for the next generation like me of female founders and now I think investors are listening and on high alert for these ideas. And so, um, ultimately, if the idea spoke for itself when we were pitching investors and ironically I had a harder time with female investors I think because there's also a new generation of female VC partners that are growing into new roles but maybe will not necessarily want to stick out their neck and take a chance on an overtly female opportunity like wedding dresses is kind of fluffy on the surface. And so ultimately our, our idea really stuck with investors that we're looking for consumer technology, not just straight due to see, but something with some operational chops, data chops, which worked out well for us, but it's still extremely challenging and hard.

And I, you know, don't wish the fundraising challenges on anyone. But there are, you know, ways that you can prepare a pitch and prepare a process that can be successful. So ours was thankfully one of those success stories. It's amazing. Congratulations. Thank you. And I read that you guys have raised almost close to $20 million dollars now, which is just phenomenal. Do you think looking back you have anything in hindsight that you would do or recommend women not to do like do differently or not to do it all from your own learnings? Yeah, I had a really good piece of advice given to me from a female partner at Sequoia, justly who has made this knowledge known and I want to pass it on as well, which is that the stereotypical male founder or entrepreneur is extremely hyperbolic with their pitch and their vision and she's seen lots of women take on a more conservative approach in terms of thinking about future revenue, opportunities for growth.

And so her recommendation is be as optimistic as possible, It still has to be realistic. Obviously a good investors can sniff out if it's some, you know, crazy hockey stick style growth, but she encourages to female entrepreneurs specifically to look at your future plans through rose colored glasses through the most optimistic hyperbolic view. Um just given that that's kind of table stakes for, for venture capital pitches and I think that advice was really helpful for me also, I'm, I mean I'm an introvert, I'm an engineer, I'm not necessarily, I don't think the most charismatic or um charming uh you know entrepreneur and so I really thought of going into pitches as potentially like a job interview where you have to to step into a role that's like a little bit bigger than yourself or play play a part that's like, you know, you plus plus and I think that also helped me in terms of being really energetic and energized coming into pitches was really like kind of putting on armor and taking on an even bigger role than myself also because you get a lot of knows, I mean almost every single pitch will end with the no.

And so um, preparing yourself mentally to, to take on that battle and like kind of be step into like having a little bit more presence than you normally would, I think protects also your heart at the end of the day because it's like someone telling you your baby's ugly over and over and over again. And so that also helped, you know, you have to constantly be convincing other people, your team yourself that was a good idea in order to yeah, in order to really make it. And so I think just mentally preparing for that too can really help when you have to go through that rejection. What did you do to keep your mental health like healthy, well, you know, I just imagine it must be really a shitty time until you get that. Yes. And then you're like, well until you get the term sheet and the money. Yeah, yeah, no, I I think um I think that's why expectation setting with yourself at the beginning is really, really important.

So expecting most people will say no, it's like with breakup, you can believe, believe the no, not the reason. People will give you reasons for not investing and you just can, you should just ignore those, believe that there passing. Um, and then for me, it was carving out a specific amount of time to this is for our series a which I would highly highly recommend for other founders as well, fundraising can take a really long time and it benefits you as a founder because your time is so precious. Um, and also in terms of momentum or interest in the deal to consolidate it as much as possible. But, uh, venture capitalists are, you know, they want to extend the timeline as much as possible to understand what the deal looks like and you want to condense it as much as possible. So for me it was, um, I knew I maxed out at about four pitches a day, so I would max out my schedule with four meetings a day and then almost nothing else, you have to be ready to hand off all your day to day activities to your co founder.

Um, you know, someone else at, at your company and just expect that it's going to be a full time job. And then I would recommend, um, just know what, what brings you energy or, um, feelings of like serene nous for me it's sleep. Like I need a lot of sleep. I think there's, there's this rumor that entrepreneurs don't get a lot of sleep. I needed like 8.5, 9 hours of sleep during fundraising. And that was my like escape. I think people, you know, go for walks or go with their family or do whatever, like can rejuvenate you. But that was my approach is like, I'm going to get nine hours of sleep every single night during that series, but then you're refreshed coming in the next day. So, um, yeah, it's hard. It's, um, it's one of the hardest things. Um, but again, if you go in expecting that venture funds are pitched, you know, five or six deals every single day, potentially more and they make a handful of investments a year. It's like, it's a numbers game.

So you just have to be ready to give that pitch a lot, dozens and dozens and dozens of times to find the right fit. Wow. That's incredible. Yeah. That's, that's definitely a full time job. Um, I want to talk about your marketing kind of after that initial phase where you had all of your, you know, the word of mouth customers and you started to be like, okay, now we're gonna scale and we're gonna start going beyond what was that time like, and what kind of strategies did you use to acquire people at scale? Yeah. We continue to see good organic word of mouth virology with our customers. We're lucky that we're in this really special event in a woman's life that's also like very photographed and very shared on social and so we really, really leaned into social sharing. And um, it also helps that weddings. Um, the pockets of vendors are like these little communities and so by posting a picture on our instagram page of a wedding, we could tag the photographer and the wedding planner and the hair and makeup artist and the venue and then they shared and so there was this great community of chirality just within these, like, local, localized pockets of wedding vendors, which worked really well for us.

And so, leaning into that early on, that was helpful. We've got this like great evergreen content machine to we, I mean, in the early days we didn't have any dresses and not any money either. So we hired are, we had some Soulcycle instructors that were beautiful and had amazing bodies that were like, hey, can you come where these samples? And like, that was our first photo shoot. But after that she started having weddings, we had free um advertising essentially and free models. And I think the beauty of it too is uh potential customers could see that they were real women. Like they, you know, some of the women were, you know, didn't have a model body, but like, you could tell that they're so happy. It's this like amazing day and our product is the centerpiece of this day and so really, really figuring out a social strategy, including posting a lot. I think some brands are hesitant, you know, only post like one post today or like have this beautiful curated feed.

We were like, We're throwing it all out there, like, and I think the good thing about Instagram is the algorithm works on, it doesn't punish you for posting a lot. So we post-5 or six times a day. We go on live, like Instagram live, we go post tons of stories. And so um using the content that was free, I think helped a lot and compounded our social presence. And then that also helped, once we wanted to start paying for advertising facebook and instagram continues to be a really, really good channel for us. Women usually identify with their relationship status is engaged, so they're easy to find and market to engage women, you know, want all of the content, they want to do research on Pinterest, they want to like squirrel through all the pictures, so they're great, they want to look through thousands of things. Yeah, exactly. So, um, so that continues to be a really good avenue for us. And then um the other thing I recommend is just through keyword sc oh, we started a wedding blog maybe within the first year and I was thinking if the world doesn't need another wedding blog, but it ended up being a really, really great way to tap into these local markets, so we would post about these local vendors and so it helped tie anomalies name too different cities.

And so when women are searching custom wedding dress Chicago or custom wedding dress charleston, like we can tap into those local markets with the, with the blogs. SeO keyword strategy. So that also helped and was a cheap way to, to advertise since um there's a lot of like tips and tricks with the keywords so you don't even have to pay for google ads. That's amazing. And I um I saw, I was watching that video that went viral on Tiktok of that woman that mentioned anomaly. And I think I read that you guys were getting like 20,000 sign ups that day after she posted it or something, which is just crazy. Did you know it was coming? No, we had no idea. We were actually just talking about this last night because it's the type of thing that you, I couldn't even pay for, we couldn't have like you can plant it. Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was truly a viral thing. So she posted and there was a viral event that happened in Tiktok and then the, The sound, I don't know if you, I've had to learn all about Tiktok and beyond there with all the teenagers.

The sound then went viral. And so it 10 x again. And so last month we had almost 800,000 people sign up in the, in the month um in one month it was, it was like getting to be 10 to 15,000 people a day over and over and over again with spikes of like 40 50,000 people a day just enough that like the engineers were going crazy. Our site was crashing everyone on Tiktok was like, it keeps crashing like we're giving everyone a terrible experience. But it was, it was a really good lesson for us just given a lot of the tick talkers are younger, so not even our customer, not engaged women, but the idea of having a tool to create a custom sketch and starting to plan out, you know, dream about your wedding dress was, I think it reinforces how compelling this idea is. Um, so it was, It was kind of exciting, terrible for our conversion rates are conversion rates plummeted by.001% or something now exciting to just, you know, feel a part of the excitement of the idea of like what dress builders like moving to with this visualization and custom sketches.

So yeah, and imagine it opens up a lot of ideas about like, okay, well what can we do for the younger woman before the wedding moment comes into her life. So whether it's prom or you know, those kind of events in a younger woman's life totally and you look at like the success of Pinterest, which has a massive market cap, they're essentially a wedding dress search engine and it's like why is that so valuable or compelling? There is something about this uh, you know, dreaming towards your future wedding or planning out different important garments in a women's life Quinceanera dresses or prom dresses. Um, so yeah, it's, it's uh, it's an important customer for us even before she's, she's technically engaged. Absolutely. Um what is your main piece of advice for women who have a big idea and want to start a business? Yeah, I think um, I would absolutely encourage women to chase after the idea that time is of the essence.

And so I think if you have, if you have an idea, there is no necessity to, I hear a lot like, well I'm taking this job because it's a stepping stone, I want to do this and then I can, you know, get the knowledge that will be required to start a company. I think absolutely not. Like the best thing you can do is try out something now because there's never a good time to quit your job and go all in on an idea. And I think the longer you wait, probably the less likely you are to chase after it. Um and then also, I would say again, back to the scrappiness point or the bootstrapping point is if you can test your ideas in a cheap way on your friends, ideally there are really good um, testing ground to figure out ideas and what works and what doesn't and figure out, you know, your biases for what you would want as a customer, but what would other people want and before even Bringing in capital to the equation, there's a lot you can do with $0 for instance, Instagram is an amazing tool to reach customers.

You do not need any dollars for your ads to, to reach people. And um, I think working with ways to be scrappy in the early days is the best way to test out ideas and then also, um, I would recommend, make sure it's something that you really love and are passionate about because you're going to be again thinking about it, dreaming about it. Talking about it all day every day. My husband and I joke, we're probably just insufferable with our friends. That's all, we always talk about wedding dresses, um, at dinner parties and when we're hanging out, you know, it's just, um, it has to be something that you live and breathe and be willing to think about a lot. And again, like convince, be ready to convince other people have this idea. And so if you're hesitant or like you have to be ready to go all in and make a big bet on on the idea because investors, potential, um, you know, people that you're recruiting for your team can sniff out if there's like any, you know, worrier being less compelled about this idea.

And so you have to be ready to just sing it from the mountain top. I love that. Get on top of the hills and shout about it, yep custom wedding dresses for us, custom wedding dresses for everybody. Um okay, we're at the part of the podcast where I ask you the six quick questions and number one is, what's your, why I would say I have 2. 1 is our customers. It's just such a happy event to be a part of. It's the most important garment arguably a woman will ever wear. And the most exciting fulfilling part of the job is when brides send photos either of when they try it on for the first time or from the wedding. So our anomaly slack channels like chock full of, like I got back, you know, wedding photos from my bride from a couple of months ago. And so it's, it's like the most fun thing to be a part of. I will never ever get sick of looking at wedding photos and happy customers.

So that's definitely a y and then another way. Um and that maybe people don't talk about this much is you can get a lot of financial gain, like you can do really well. It's a very, very, very small chance, but the hope is that this is wildly financially successful and um, you know, we're, my husband and I are committing our lives to this, so we're not diversified in any way, but the hope is that um, you know, this will really hit someday and we can hopefully retire early and explore other ideas. But it's a, it's a big bet on making it big as well, which I think is really Fun and exciting. I've been financially independent, um, and paid my way through basically everything since I was 18. And so the idea of total financial stability is also really compelling and interesting to me. So that's, that's also why we're trying to do something really, really big. I love that and I'm so on board for that as well. I think it's like so important to think about the money side of things and what you want for your life and we want for your future.

Um, potentially early retirement. Number two is what's the number one marketing moment that made your business pop And we probably already know that it was Tiktok thing. I'm trying to think of what it would have been before that, which is, we've been lucky enough that, um, influencers, we haven't ever had to do any sort of influencer strategy or partnerships because women love posting about the experience. If we can give her a really, really good experience, she will post about it on her own. Um, but then yeah, Tiktok, this Tiktok event where this woman just posted about, um, going through dress builder and getting this highly customized sketch that went crazy. It was so funny on the ground like with the team because half the team was the engineers figuring out how to like, uh, like our site was crashing and the data reliability and then the other half of the team was like, what the hell is Tiktok? What does this even mean?

Someone have a Tiktok account, like what is this? Because we're all, you know, over the age of 25. So it would take you to figure out that it was the Tiktok video because I imagine at first you're like, what the hell is happening? Like something's happened here? Well, we, it was such an uptick. So it was, it was over 10 x what we had ever seen before in terms of sign ups. So we knew it was something either pr related, like some article had come out or it was something was social. And so yeah, we dug around, we went to facebook instagram. Tiktok is probably the third or fourth thing that we, we looked at. But yeah, it took a little bit to figure out where this is all coming from. And I forgot to ask you this before, but I'm just going to slot it in here and break the format. How do you guys find your pr efforts because you guys have incredible press, You know, you're in the new york times, you're involved, you're in techcrunch, you're in these amazing places. Does that drive traffic that's significant for you? Yeah, Which was a little counterintuitive to me early on.

I was thinking we should push for, um, you know, press in consumer outlets vogue or vanity fair, you know, the bridal magazines. Um but what's really cool is the biggest lift we've seen is from our original Techcrunch article. Um and I think it just shows that our brides are smart savvy, they're looking for new cool ideas and probably like me are frustrated and smart enough to understand that the industry is really antiquated and so surprisingly the business and tech outlets have been the most successful for us. Yeah, that's awesome. Really, really cool. Um the New York Times piece is a really cool one. Yeah, that was, I remember when that came out, I was just sobbing. It was so cool. I was just thinking about my parents, like my parents now finally I think understand what I'm doing all along there. Like, are you sure you should have quit your job? Yeah, once we were in the Times, it was okay.

Yeah, they're like, okay, here she is. Show all the friends send it out. Um, question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? Ooh, that's such a good question. I have found podcasts recently have been obviously like physically you can't really hang out anywhere right now. But um there are so many interesting podcast and what I really like about that, I used to be a voracious reader and of course being a startup founder, you have very, very little free time, but I love having, I always have my phone with me and so the 10 or 15 minutes that I'm getting ready in the morning or whining that at night I can listen to a podcast and feel slightly more educated. Um there's a lot of cool founder stories, like how I built this, I really love hearing other other founder stories and then I'm a big radio lab fans with some like weird science see snippets, So um I do not really read the news.

My husband reads the news a lot and that's kind of how he gets educated, but I love, yeah, I love smart podcast, so I'm all on board with on the podcast. Ring. Yeah, podcasts are great. I feel like I can consume a lot of podcasts when I'm teetering around the house, like doing doing mindless things like cleaning. Uh Question number four is how do you win the day and that's around your am and your PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and fulfilled. Yeah, I mean I mentioned before I need a lot of sleep in the early days of the company, I was not getting a lot of sleep and I just feel like I can approach the day with so much more creativity and resilience if I've gotten a good night's sleep and so um P. M. Routine, I always take a bath or shower at night so my hair can dry when I sleep. So that's one productivity ac and then um also just having like a wind down time where I like do not talk about work after a certain time in the evening, which is hard because I'm married to my co founder and all we talk about is the business and so being really um purposeful in terms of like cutting off a time in the early days, it was impossible.

Like we talked about it all the time, but just more recently were able to like create a tiny bit of separation and then am routine. I am like just incoherent until I have at least like two cups of coffee. So I'm all on board with um having quite a bit of coffee and also not um when I was fundraising, I would try and put schedule all of my pitches in the afternoon because I feel like that was when I was most creative and powerful and so if you can start to track throughout the day, when, I mean, some people are morning people, some people are evening people, I'm like 12, like noon to eight, I'm like on fire. So that's like when I plan all of the hardest stuff and then in the morning I'm more checking emails doing, you know, uh like kind of grunt work when I'm not like, as in the zone. So I think the scheduling thing is real, like your body has cycles and so if you can understand and like at least be aware of what those are, you can plan out your days um to be the most productive.

Yeah. And that's definitely the benefit of um working on your own business because you're able to do these kinds of things. I also find that for me, mornings are just like not the best time and I'm like way better in the afternoons, like after lunch onwards. Yeah. Which I was laughing because this started at 8:30 my time. I was like, Okay, I'm gonna have to get really earlier coffee, so hopefully I'm bringing them, oh my God, I really want, No, no, no, it's the time something is real. I mean we usually, it's flipped because we have a team in Hong kong and so we have to really ramp up at night um you know, to be able to overlap with them at all. So that's usually when I'm, you know, like thinking the most about about time zones for me, I'm like, I'm pausing all the kind of Australian podcast because it's like really early in the morning and I'm going back there. So I'm like, I'm going to do all that when I'm like back in Australia, whereas now I'm like, focus on like this side of the world and America and like focus in the afternoon. I'm so sorry about that Question.

Number five is if you only had $1,000 left in your business, bank account, where would you spend it? Um I would probably, am I allowed to split it up. You can, it's a hypothetical question, I would do half too instagram and facebook ads are, have been absolutely wonderful. Like I said, once we started paying doing paid ads like that, it's just such an efficient way to reach customers. We've, we've tried other things like going to a wedding fairs or going to other routes and it's just on a dollar by dollar basis. It is so efficient for reaching real like really good customers. So I would do half, I'll do have to instagram and then the other half, I, I would probably give to our stylist team, which you know, is a bit counterintuitive for us because we're really, really tech focus, that being said, we can never automate away the interaction with the human for something that's as important as a wedding dress.

So we're never like, we're never going to have a completely tech, 100% tech experience. And so I would probably send the rest to our stylist team because uh those women hustle and like love talking to bride so I would, I would, you know, send it their way so we can continue servicing brides especially where we are now I joked because in the early days, everything so manual and now we're so tech focused, there's still a lot of manual components of our business and so being able to keep that up and running. Um yeah, that's where it would, that's where it would go. People, people in instagram, I guess. Yeah, I mean great answer. 100% good people are key question number six is how do you deal with failure? And it can be around a specific experience or it can just be your general mindset and approach towards it? Yeah, I think, I think this is a trait that's fairly common with most, if not all successful entrepreneurs, not not that I am one yet, but that you have to have such such thick skin and resilience to deal with failure.

So the ups and downs, I I can't think of any one particular moment because there's been so many, I mean how many this week, how many yesterday? It's like it's a complete roller coaster. So I think again, like acknowledging what's happening in your body when that when that happens, like giving yourself a break, like understanding that they're going to happen and continue to happen and that doesn't necessarily reflect on you as a founder or a leader or your business traction. Just being ready for that and bouncing back, which I um there's a lot of information out there. I'm trying to think of the book specifically, I I can follow up on resilience and how it can actually be a skill that you can develop too. I think there's a common misconception that you're like built as a resilient person or not, but it's actually something that you can develop over time and so there's nothing more humbling than being a founder but being ready for those ups and downs and and developing that resilience and being ready to just bounce back in because there's going to be after the low, there's going to be something happy that happens, receive a bunch of wedding photos or something, so you've got to be just ready to ride those um those waves.

So for sure, I'd love to get the name of the book from you after this sometime because I'll link it in our, in our resources. Um I love to get the recommendations of what people read and and all that kind of thing. And I also just wanted to say you just said a moment ago that you don't think you're a successful entrepreneur yet and I tend to disagree. I mean that's crazy, definitely are. I guess maybe that's the nature of startup is like you're always thinking about the next thing and you don't really have time to look back and reflect on how far you've come when we do do that an anomaly. It's like, oh man, things were really crazy then, but maybe we're doing okay now, but then I continue to look back and like no, actually things were really crazy then and hopefully things have like more steady state right now, but um no, I think I think we're just thinking about um our growth in our future and servicing more brides and so it's always like kind of what's next and we're not quite there yet.

But that's what's so motivating and fulfilling about, about having your own journey, being able to blaze your own trail as a founder For sure. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I have loved meeting you. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. Hey, it's just me here. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode of the Female startup Club podcast. If you want to hear more, head to my instagram at Dune rasheen to see my filmed interviews with incredible female founders like Erica from fluffy beauty Greta from drop bottle and Sammy Leo from breeze bomb. And if you like what we're doing here, visit our website and sign up to female startup club dot com to get all of the good stuff delivered straight to your inbox and lastly subscribe to the female startup Club podcast. Mm hmm. Now

How a random TikTok video generated more than 800,000 signups for a bridal tech startup, with Leslie Voorhees Means, Co-Founder of Anomalie
How a random TikTok video generated more than 800,000 signups for a bridal tech startup, with Leslie Voorhees Means, Co-Founder of Anomalie
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