ALEX SHADROW // Founder of Relovv
Tell us a bit about your founding story?
It's funny, but I never set out to be an entreprenHER. In fact, I actually founded Relovv entirely "by accident." My parents own a metal recycling in Los Angeles, so you could definitely say sustainability is in my blood. In college at Boston University, I would sell vintage clothing to pay the bills and be more sustainable but the marketplaces to sell them were a ton of work. I had to share my closet thousands of times per week on Poshmark to make a single sale, and on Depop I needed thousands of followers for any visibility. As a sustainable shopper who only bought second hand, the other apps made me search, sort, or filter through millions of items to find what I was looking for. I wondered, why can't this work like a dating app where the app just matches buyers & sellers based on their preferences? I created a simple website to sell my own inventory to people who matched the exact size profiles of the items, and my sales skyrocketed. Other sellers began reaching out asking if I would sell their inventory and with that positive feedback, I resolved to build Relovv as the first platform that uses AI to match buyers & sellers. It is also the only platform where you can sell other people's items and make money - like Twitter when you 'retweet' something you like, on Relovv you 'relovv' items you like to your own profile and earn commission when it sells.
How did you know this was the right path for you?
On a personal level, I have always advocated for sustainability and ending climate crisis. Last summer I even earned a Certificate from Vice President Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader. This passion completely aligns with Relovv, where every purchase is 82% less wasteful than buying something new. My business goals became completely aligned with my advocacy goals: more items sold = more money for the business = more clothing saved from landfills. When I saw hundreds, and eventually hundreds of thousands, of women resonate with our mission to #ReduceReuseRelovv it was cemented as the right path for me.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome? [if you can share an action step or a few action steps, that would be great]
In business there's always a desire to control or micro-manage everything, but a good leader is the best delegator in the room. That was a big challenge I had to overcome when my co-founder of 4 years decided to move to Toronto. At first, it did not go over well. I did what many founders do and went into a panic: how could I "control" the work environment without my partner? What did this mean for the team? Ultimately we went back and forth so much that he almost had to walk away from Relovv, fearing that it was worse for the company for him to stay on than just walk away. That was until Anna Barber, my mentor and Managing Director of Techstars LA, asked me the simple question, "do you want Akshay to be your co-founder?"... "Yes." Off he went to Toronto. Oddly we talk more with the distance between us than we did in the same office, and it has allowed us both to settle into our own unique leadership roles - him as Technical Lead and myself as Marketing Lead. No matter what you're facing I think asking yourself this simple questions helps a lot: Am I operating out of logic or fear? Fear is not logical and business decisions should be made from a logical place.
What would you say to a FEM that is looking to launch a business or up-level one and she’s scared to fail or perhaps feeling that she is not worthy? Do you have a personal mantra?
Mantras and affirmations are essential when starting a business. My personal mantra is: if you don't believe in you, why should anyone else? I know that is much easier said than done sometimes. We all have our days where we feel not worthy, or that things are hopeless, but in my experience, numbers do not lie. My advice is to pick 3 "KPIs" (Key Performance Indicators) that tell you whether your business is healthy or not. These are often numbers or percentages by which you can measure your businesses success. Here at Relovv we measure 1) # of active members 2) % of sales growth per month and 3) the dollar value of items listed on Relovv. We set clear goals on what we want these three KPIs to be, then we prioritize and strategize around meeting these goals. With clear definition it becomes a lot less about how you feel and a lot more about what you're accomplishing! Remember you have to believe in you for anyone else to!
Final words of business inspiration?
You miss 100% of the shots you do not take. GO FOR IT!
How can FEMS find, follow or connect with you?
Join Relovv with invite code: FEMCITY or via the link relovv.com/app/FemCity for a mystery gift up to 100% OFF your first purchase!
LinkedIn: Alexandra Shadrow