Fearless Friday: Nina Alexander-Hurst
Familiar with BaubleBar? Who isn't right? Ever wonder what it was like to launch and how it all began? *raises hand* I always find these stories fascinating and today my friend Nina - the VP of Brand Marketing and also one of the original crew, is here to share the scoop on a day in the life of this accessory giant and what lies ahead. Take a seat...you're in for a sparkly treat!
Tell us a little about BaubleBar and the mission of your brand. How did you develop the idea further?
I started working at BaubleBar more than five years ago when we were super small. After having started an ecomm business of my own, I knew I wanted to work for founders who were razor sharp, inspiring people that I could learn from. When I met BaubleBar’s cofounders Amy and Daniella, I knew I’d found my home. Not only was I a huge fan of BaubleBar, but I also instantly fell in love with Amy and Daniella’s vision for the company, and I knew they would be successful. Their energy and drive are so infectious. They encourage us to constantly test new technologies, run after ideas, be as scrappy as possible and then learn from our successes and failures.
1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur let alone in the accessory industry?
Before BaubleBar, I had a business selling replacement parts for BlackBerrys and iPhones. I never expected to build an ecomm business from the ground up - but after my business partner broke his Blackberry a few times in a row, we realized we could solve a problem, and built a business around fixing that problem. I loved every aspect of building a business - from figuring out how to automate fulfillment to creating google adwords campaigns, and of course the most important aspect - helping customers! After successfully running the business for four years, I knew I wanted to branch out and I wanted to learn from entrepreneurs. At BaubleBar, I was hired to build our customer experience team, and I knew I wanted to focus on a high touch experience using technology to build relationships with our customers. Our SWAT Stylists (Service With Accessorizing Talent) aim to take the friction out of the shopping experience.
2. What was the most difficult moment in building your team? How did you get through it?
In the early years, we worked so hard to build the bones of the business. I can’t use the term “scrappy” enough when describing startup life. There were days when I knew I had a problem I needed to solve, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to move forward - whether it was figuring out how to launch a new contact platform for our SWAT Stylists or how to hire up for the holidays, I pushed myself to just get it done. Startups are full of problem solvers; we put out fires while also thinking about the big picture. It’s exhausting, but also incredibly fulfilling.
3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?
I’m not a morning person and I tend to work late, so I usually get to the office at around 9:30 unless I have early meetings. No two days are alike at BaubleBar. It’s a mix of meetings, pushing forward with new initiatives, collaborating with other teams, and whatever else pops up! I also love to take a quick break in our showroom and try on new jewelry. But do you know that feeling of looking at a clock and feeling like time is moving so slowly and you can’t wait until the day is over? I’ve NEVER felt that at BaubleBar. All of a sudden it’s 7pm and I can’t believe the day has gone by so quickly. I love my 30 minute walk home because it gives me a chance to wind down.
4. What’s one thing you learned about yourself in becoming an entrepreneur?
I’m capable of so much more than I ever realized. I absolutely love taking on challenges that I’ve never faced before and figuring out the path to success. Sometimes I fail, but those are the moments where I learn the most.
5. If you weren't in the accessory industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?
Professional karaoke star? If only . . .
After college, I wrote for the Jerusalem Post and I really loved it.
6. What's on your Spotify?
Top 40. I’m all about the pop music.
7. What’s your vice? Everyone has one...wine, chocolate, This is Us?
How do I pick just one? Sugar and maybe Grey’s Anatomy. I have no idea why I still watch it, but for some reason I can’t stop.
8. Wine or classic cocktail?
Depends on the evening. I am a fan of both.
9. What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Take time to learn the business. If you jump around too frequently, you miss out on truly building something and seeing projects, visions and ideas through.
And be patient. It takes time to grow and prove yourself. If you can figure out how to help those around you without them needing to ask, you’ll be given more responsibility, respect and opportunities to grow.
10. 5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?
Currently my apple watch is my must have -- I’m finally on time for all my meetings!
Instagram, accuweather, NY Times, Hulu and WhatsApp are probably my most-used apps.
11. Bonus question - What's next for BaubleBar OR do you have something new in the works?
We're always focused on finding new ways to be the go-to brand for trend accessories. Earlier this year we launched SUGARFIX by BaubleBar, which is sold exclusively at Target and allows us to reach a new customer at a lower price point, and we'll be rolling out new styles regularly. We also recently introduced trend accessories beyond just jewelry with the launch of our Boutiques. As we continue to curate and roll out new Boutiques, we will be bringing in new brand partners and exclusive products to keep the shopping experience fresh and fun. We're really excited for what's to come!
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