FIRST THOUGHT: The Future of Shopping
We’ve all been there: The pleather leggings we try on give us major Rihanna vibes when we’re in the fitting room, yet when we get home, we feel more like a pug playing dress up. You’re not crazy, and no, don’t even begin to go down the negative body image rabbit hole. Retailers have some tricky tactics, y’all; vertical lights along the sides of an angled mirror make you look slimmer. Some stores’ lights might even have a colored hue that makes you look like a fresh-faced baby.
To prove that stores are manipulative, one woman in Ireland took mirror selfies at a dozen store fitting rooms to demonstrate just how much ambiance matters. Bright lights seemingly washed her out and warm hues made it hard to resist a purchase. The moral of the story? Don’t let a fitting room disaster bring you down. I say all this knowing good and well that I don’t practice what I preach. As we know, shopping is changing.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 71 Percent
Online shopping is pretty much the gold standard now and I’m here for it. We can even be in an actual store and scroll on our phones for something better. Click here and there, get a box on my doorstep and try several sizes of said pleather leggings in the comfort of my own home? Yes, please. When women were surveyed about shopping behaviors, 71 percent of said they used their smartphones as a means for commerce.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Anna Zornosa, Founder and CEO at Ruby Ribbon
As the digital space evolves, so, too, does the experience of shopping. A brick-and-mortar store might have a replica version online, but a huge part of this industry consists of online-only retailers. The retail industry is competitive, though, so being quick to innovate is a must. That’s where today’s Woman to Watch, Anna Zornosa, steps in with her company Ruby Ribbon.
Ruby Ribbon is an intimate apparel company in San Francisco that offers body shaping and bra-alternative products as a way to provide women with support that’s unrestricted. It’s a site comprised of independent stylists who offer direct sales. Before starting her own company, Anna worked in the Internet services industry for 20 years, including her role as VP at Yahoo! She knows this space really well and she also knows what women, who have the majority of purchasing power, want.
Anna was shopping one day in 2011 when she realized her shapewear was super uncomfortable and that other women had the same problem. She knew women needed flexibility, as their work-life priorities multiply and change, and saw an opportunity for entrepreneurship. Ruby Ribbon was born, and it’s unique in that it has stylists helping each of its customers. These stylists are given training and coaching, as well as a starter kit of products.
The signature product offered by Ruby Ribbon is the camisole. When Anna polled 3,000 women, she found that women hate wearing bras. (Yeah, no kidding.) Ruby Ribbon’s calling this epidemic “BRAma,” and the signature cami is meant to replace the brassier as a wireless support that uses performance fabric and compression.
Ask any man what pant size he wears, and he’ll give you the exact numbers. Ask a woman and she’ll say, “Well, it depends on the brand…” A key to a company’s success beyond its stylists and products is funding. Anna has shared the difficulty of garnering investments because, well, men don’t have the same problem; in case you haven’t heard, men are usually the ones behind venture capital. Anna seed funded the biz at the beginning and was later able to secure $11 million from investors. That’s good news for the 2,600-plus stylists and thousands of women who are bidding their BRAma adieu, and a good example for women everywhere who want to someday secure investors of their own.
Starting your own business but don’t know how to actually, well, start? Check out our five tips on how to start your own business by clicking here or, if you’re listening via podcast, head over to OnTheDotWoman.com!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Canadian feminist and mayor of Ottawa, Charlotte Whitton, said it best:
"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."