Tuesday, August 21, 2012

inteview with shop it to me's tamra feldman.

One of my absolute favorite recent discoveries has been Shop It To Me. It's a shopping site that features the latest markdowns, secret promotion codes, and even VIP sale events. About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tamra Feldman, Shop It To Me's VP of Marketing, where she let me in on some great career and fashion advice while sharing some of her favorite items on Shop It To Me.

1. Can you tell us a little about Shop It To Me, and your role in the company?
Shop It To Me is basically your free personal shopping assistant. We ask for your favorite designer brands and sizes. Then your work is done! We check over 150+ online sites each day and send you emails (Salemail) that show you all the latest sales in your sizes.  Our members tell us that they've saved a lot of time and money by using Shop It To Me…and had a lot of fun while doing so!

I am the Vice President of Marketing and I also do quite a bit of Product work - which basically means that I focus on spreading the word about Shop It To Me, and keeping our subscribers happy through a variety of initiatives and new features.

2.  How did you start out in the marketing field?
I majored in marketing in undergrad so had a lot of formal coursework around the topic. What I think was even more important though was early work experience.  Even during college, my summers were spent interning at various companies within their marketing field. I think that this real-world experience helped me understand if indeed it was the right field and role for me, and also gave me some solid work experience!  I first worked for a minor league baseball team, then for Pepsi, followed by full-time roles at Gap Inc, and now I'm at Shop It To Me.

2. Considering the risks involved were you scared to join a start-up? If so, how did you overcome that fear?
Joining a start-up can definitely be scary!  There's a lot more uncertainty about what your role will entail, but I personally love that each day is truly different! You learn by doing and can't be afraid to try new things. From day one, I really focused on the positive aspects of what I'd be able to contribute by being part of a small team.

3. What's your advice for other women seeking a career in this industry?
My advice is to find a role that aligns with your personal interests, that you can be passionate about. In my case, I've always enjoyed shopping and focusing on consumer problems, so retail was a perfect industry for me to develop my career in.  I also think it's important to work for companies that you truly believe in. If you're going to put your all in each and every day, it's important to feel that you can really get behind what the company stands for and feel proud of being an ambassador and representative for wherever you are working.

4. Did you have a mentor or role model when you started in the field? If so, how do you feel they helped you in reaching your professional goals?
Throughout my career, I have had a few mentors and role models. These individuals were helpful for me to bounce ideas off of when I've considered changing companies or roles, and they've helped connect/introduce me to other individuals to learn more about their roles.  I've also always made an effort to connect with my direct manager on a personal level as well as professional and I think it has made a difference. Even when I've moved on to new roles, I've kept in touch with these individuals and continue to foster my relationship with them.  

5. Not only are you a successful woman, you're also pretty young. How have you worked to assert yourself in a professional world that is filled with high level executives that tend to be older men?
I think that age doesn't matter as much these days, and there are a lot of young people in the work force and in very senior positions.  That said, I've learned that people appreciate curiosity and asking questions, particularly when you aren't familiar with something or don't immediately know the answer. Instead of pretending like you know information you don't, it's much more well-respected when you show interest and learn.  It's important to be assertive and confident, and not be intimidated even if you are in a room full of people older than you.  I think attitude also goes a long way - coming to work with a positive go-getter attitude makes you shine!

6. How have you managed to maintain a good work-life balance?
I try to maintain a fairly regular work schedule, starting and ending each day around the same time.  This can be tricky at a start-up, as it's important to keep yourself available to troubleshoot any issues that arise, but overall, I try to block my schedule so people know generally when I can be counted on to be readily accessible. In my spare time, it's important to me to exercise regularly, see friends/family, and spend a lot of time with my husband. All of these are priorities, and although it can sometimes be challenging, I think making your workplace aware of other aspects of life that are important to you generally helps people to be more understanding. 

7. What style tips do you have for women in the workplace?
At Shop It To Me, we have an incredibly casual workplace, which is fun! We still enjoy putting together fun outfits, but it's much less restrictive than some careers - pretty much anything goes!  My main advice for women in the workplace is to find versatile items that you can make flexible and wear both to work and after-work/weekends, as I think you'll enjoy these items more. You'll associate them not just as "work clothes" but also with fun times.

8. What's the biggest fashion blunder you've seen at work?
I've worked at pretty hip places and around a lot of stylish women, so not too many fashion blunders!  Working in both San Francisco and New York, I've worked with quite a few people who walk or take public transportation to work…so I have seen a number of broken shoes from the commute, and people who have needed to do things like tape them together or borrow a friends extra shoes when they get to the office that don't necessarily match their outfit!

9. As a marketing executive, do you have any suggestions as to how the professional woman can market herself better in the workplace?
It's become more important to maintain a "personal brand". I think that to market themselves better, it's interesting to think about what you want to be known for/have a reputation in, and try to make your online presence revolve around this. Is there a particular industry you have expertise in? A particular role? Ensuring your LinkedIn, Twitter, and other profiles on social networks reflect this can help cement people's view of you. I also think that women shouldn't be shy about asking for introductions to people who may be of interest for you to meet with. People are often very willing to help share more information about themselves or their career - it just takes taking the initiative to ask, which all too often women don't do. There's a great book "Women Don't Ask" which I encourage others to read.

Tamra also shared with us some of her favorite work-appropriate items (Thanks, Tamra!).

Shoes, Bags and Accessories
Shoes, Bags, Accessories

L to R clockwise: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4


L to R: 1 , 2 , 3
Blazers and Cardigans
blazers and cardigans

L to R: 1 , 2 , 3

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