Find a partner. Starting a company is really, really hard. Not just from a workload or execution standpoint, but the emotional roller coaster is intense. Thank god that since day one, I have had an incredible partner to share the lows and incredible highs with. The day we launched (Nov 9, 2009), Rent the Runway was covered on the front page of the business section of the New York Times, an incredibly surprising and exciting moment. But, by far, the very best moment of that day was hugging, screaming and jumping up and down with Jenny when we came into the office. Every experience is better when it is shared!
Get your nails done. Yes, seriously! I was at a very important designer brand which shall forever
remain nameless, and the head of the brand pulled me aside after the meeting and said: “Jenn, I know you’re new to this industry so I want to tell you something very important. Your nails are RUDE and inappropriate.” (My three-day old manicure had a few chips). At first I was floored–like for real, the leader of one of the most prestigious brands ever is that superficial and has that little to do than to comment on my manicure?! But upon further reflection, I recognized and learned the lesson here: Know your audience and know your industry. The fashion industry is one where its leaders care a great deal for their personal brand – the clothes and makeup they use to present themselves to the world. If I’m going to play in their space, I have to play by their rules and respect what makes this industry fun, unique and slightly crazy :)
Sleep. One of my investors from Kleiner Perkins, Juliet de Baubigny, begins every conversation with me by asking how much sleep I got the night before. Not only is sleep important to stay healthy (and oh yes, to stay awake during intense days in the office) but the larger point is, create space for yourself to clear your mind. Some of my best ideas for how to grow Rent the Runway come when I’m not even thinking about the business – I may be at dinner with my boyfriend or at Physique or dreaming. Make time to sleep (and have a life) and the great ideas will come.