Tina Sharkey is a natural when it comes to building “purposeful communities” as a serial entrepreneur and investor. Tina shares with WINGS’ Melinda Wittstock how Millenials inspired her to disrupt traditional consumer goods as co-founder and CEO of brandless, where, as she says, “your values have value”. We talk about women in leadership, how to raise capital, how to manage your board, what she learned from her mom, and how her kids made her step up into the CEO role at brandless.
Tina Sharkey is a natural when it comes to building community. She did it first at AOL, then for women as a founder of iVillage, and now for Millenials with brandless. “Your values have value,” she says of the disruptive e-commerce company that sells natural and organic food and household products for only $3. They are saying: “Wait a second, who am I doing business with? Where does this product come from?”
Tina shares with WINGS’ Melinda Wittstock how her entrepreneurial mom inspired her success. She would hang out at her mom’s office at Anne Klein in New York’s fashion district after school. “Not only was I excited about making stuff, and selling stuff, and being engaged in it, but I also got the privilege to have an insider’s track on how business was conducted. That was a real privilege.”
She says she’s proud of the fact that when brandless launched with $50mm+ in venture funding, no one wrote about how it is being run by a woman. “They wrote about the fact that Brandless was disrupting an industry, and they wrote about the fact that Brandless looked at market and fundamentally tried to reimagine what it meant to recreate modern consumption and went after that…I don’t want to be evaluated based on my gender. I want to be evaluated based on my ideas and my output.”
Here are some of Tina’s tips for entrepioneering women:
- Make Time For Yourself: “The first thing I would say is make sure to drink a lot of water and always get a lot of sleep”, says Tina. “Don’t stop pursuing personal passions…your ability to have the stamina to play the long game requires you every day to take care of yourself.”
- Know What You Don’t Know: Tina says take stock of where you could use a collaborator, and when you’re building your team, supplement the areas that are not your superpower.
- Paint the Big Picture: “Women tend to ask for permission rather than asking for forgiveness,” says Tina. When raising money, women will talk about the execution pass in very literal terms and not the bigger, momentous opportunity that they’re going after. “You have to paint the big picture of the space you’re seizing, and then go back and say, “how here’s how we’re going to get there.”
- Mentors, Advisors, Networks: You need them! “One of the ways companies and teams can stay fresh, stay connected and keep cross-training at things they are not expert at”, says Tina, “will really help you scale over time. Everything for me is about the people and the ability to have the right people at the right time. Even better, have those people grow, and stretch, and learn, and create all kinds of exciting opportunities but always be in open dialogue with your team”.
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Read the full interview transcript here:
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Use the coupon HELLO – the code for first time buyers – so you can get $1 shipping on all the $2 and $3 products. When you do, brandless will buy a meal with Feeding America in your honor.
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