If you aren’t already a member yourself, we’re sure you’ve seen an influencer or even Lindsay promote it… She’s the queen of curation and put subscription based boxes on the map. Yup, we’re talking about the Co-Founder & Editor-In-Chief of FabFitFun, Katie Rosen!
Before FabFitFun, people like you and I had to pay full price for those ‘it’ beauty, fashion, lifestyle (you name it) products but with FFF, we were finally able to try them out (most importantly, see if we like them!) without having to pay the pricey $$ retail cost.
Katie doesn’t hold back on sharing the things her and her team did to make FabFitFun the major success it is today as well as the things that she would do differently. You’re definitely going to want to pause and write a few of these down…
LA: What is one interesting thing that people may not know about your career?
K: I am the queen of pivots. I was a double english and sociology major with a minor in art history and clearly no idea of how I was going to make any money. My first job was in tv production. I also worked at a talent agency in casting. I wrote scavenger hunts for team building, sold homemade cookies in Australia and a half a dozen other unusual hustles after college. But my original love was writing and I finally found my groove in my twenties freelancing for different magazines, websites, and newsletters.
What you may not know is that FabFitFun started as an online newsletter. In a world where media was ruled by glossy magazines telling women what they were supposed to look and act like to fill a very narrow definition, we wanted to be the opposite. Think of your best, supportive friend giving you tips and tricks to happiness, fun, and well being. We ran FabFitFun as a magazine for about three years. We built up a really nice online following but we wanted to continue to grow.
One thing I loved about my job as an editor was this idea of discovery. I would test and try amazing products to recommend the best to our readers. It really helped spawn this idea of what FabFitFun could look like if we gave our readers that same unique experience. Enter our biggest pivot – the subscription box. We launched it as a test. We didn’t hire anyone to help us get it off the ground. We needed someone to merchandise the box. We used my contacts in PR to launch the first box as a marketing platform for brands and suddenly I had a new job – head of merchandising. It was an amazing opportunity to learn an entirely new career at that stage of my life. And while I was certainly not perfect at it, my inexperience allowed me to test and try in ways I might not have otherwise.
These days I oversee all of our merchandising efforts at FFF, partnerships, sourcing, product development, PR, and brand. And we as FabFitFun continue to pivot and evolve. We don’t think of ourselves as just a subscription box service but a true shopping club where you can discover amazing new brands and exclusive products, make new friends, and of course get the best deals in the world.
LA: During your professional journey, what is one mistake you made that you learned the most from?
K: I think my biggest mistake when we started FabFitFun was thinking it was just easier and better to do it myself. And I would say the same is true for my co-founders. We are all definitely doers. In the early days of FabFitFun, it made sense. You want to keep costs down, the team small so it’s easier to be nimble and innovate. But at some point you need help. You need to hire smart and rely on your team’s abilities to get what they know done. I think that doesn’t always come naturally to founders. Instead of getting out into the world and asking for help, I really stayed in my own bubble.
I didn’t have a background in business. I often felt like I was faking it. And so I spent a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to make sure everything seem like I knew exactly what I was doing. But spoiler – I didn’t. And we needed to find the right team of people to help us. And that’s ok. We have spent the last 10 years investing in people who are far smarter and more talented in their areas of expertise. I trust them to help continue to lead us to success but it took me years to relearn that thinking. These days I make it a huge point to network and learn from as many people as I can – both in my category and just in the world.
LA: What are you most proud of at this moment?
K: Honestly, I am proud of a lot. I am proud of my family – I have 2 smart, independent little girls. I am proud of the team we have built at FabFitFun. I am proud of finding a bit more work / life balance over the last 2 years. And I am most proud of my tenacity. Starting a company is not easy and these last 3 years have been a roller coaster to say the least. I am grateful and proud of the resilience to keep getting back up despite the challenges we have been faced with.
LA: One thing you wish people would stop doing in business?
K: That’s a great question and I have a lot of thoughts, but it’s a tough one because I don’t know the depths of someone else’s business. I do think the best advice I have received, that we can all use, is to stop focusing on the short term at the expense of your long term strategy. When you’re faced with a challenge it’s easy to focus on the short term win, but for us it’s so much more important to think about the long term member experience.
Of course member acquisition is important but not at the expense of retention. One of our core values is that we see our member as a queen – and every decision we make is in her best interest. What will make her happy? How can FabFitFun improve her life? That means not cutting corners on the products we put into the box…making sure that our sales are providing true value to our customers…investing in content so that members understand why the products are the products they need to have and love…and finding ways to make the membership as flexible as possible so it works for everyone. We don’t make it hard for someone to cancel. We don’t make someone have to search for a customer service line – it’s easy. This can make it more challenging in the beginning but ultimately we believe it is the key to long term success.
LA: Your go-to beverage after a long week (specifics please!)
K: Ok I know I am supposed to say green tea but it is definitely a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, consumed in the bathtub while reading an amazing book or watching silly tv on my phone. It doesnt happen as often as I would like, but, definitely my favorite.
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