Entrepreneur Spotlight: Syama Meagher
I was recently interviewed by the team at Socially Shoppable! Read their article below and click over to Socially Shoppable to see more amazing interviews:
” Meet Syama Meagher!
CEO of Scaling Retail and Co-Author of “The Fashion Designer’s Guide: Creating Fashion Websites that Sell”
Syama is a woman that lives for shaping modern fashion. By supporting the sales, production, development, and marketing efforts of E-commerce, and brick-and-mortar companies, she has been able to gain firsthand knowledge of how the fashion industry is constantly evolving.
Watch the video below to learn more about this amazing woman and her professional journey.
What got you into fashion e-commerce?
I got into fashion e-commerce back in 2007. I was really fortunate to be offered a position at Barney’s New York in their e-commerce division. Back at the time not a lot of people were venturing in that area, so I kind of consider myself very lucky.
Was it always your dream/plan to be in fashion e-commerce?
To be honest, growing up, I don’t even think I ever thought e-commerce was something I would eventually be working in. I always knew I would be on the business side of fashion and obviously brick-and-mortar was the only thing I ever really knew. As technology became more and more relevant around us, and all these new brands were starting to try e-commerce – yes, it slowly became a dream.
What does an average day look like for you?
I like to wake up about 7 o’clock in the morning. I do about 30 minutes of meditation in the morning, and then of course all of my morning rituals. By the time I get on my first work call, which is usually about 10 AM, I’ve already sat through and planned my day, done a little bit of personal reading, and I’m really focused and clearheaded. I think it’s really one of the keys to being successful.
What are your favorite pair of heels?
My favorite pair of heels are my snakeskin Guccis from 2010. They are bright gold and their caged. I had to get them resoled like three times because they are so fabulous.
What do you wear to work on a normal day?
Not unlike what you’re seeing me wear today. It usually involves some kind of loafers, black jeans and a silk button down.
What do you look for in an e-commerce platform?
There are so many things important to look at, most importantly I say it’s really important to think about what your budget is as a brand and then what your long-term goals are. My favorite things are of course how functional is the site, not only what it can be for you today, but what you need from it tomorrow. I also look to see how quickly you can actually upload and make changes to the site. And whether or not you need a coder to be holding your hand every day or every three months.
What do you believe MVP your no MVP?
If you were designing your own collection and you were on the maker side you de need definitely need to have an MVP – reason being you need to test market the product before you start to invest thousands and thousands of dollars on the maker side into samples and production and developing a collection. And furthermore, taking it to that really crucial e-commerce platform. If you were just launching a website and your sourcing other brands and you are coming from the position of a retailer you definitely don’t need an MVP. It’s all about going to big and going for it and really be first to market
In your recent General Assembly workshop you said that it’s good to look funded. What does that mean?
Well, I guess if you look at me today I look funded, but does anybody know what that really means? Essentially what that means is you look like you have it going on right now. I could be a homeless person but you have no idea because I’m polished, well put together – have the hair, the make up, and the clothes. That’s exactly what I mean for a website’s perspective. No one knows if you’re bootlegging your site. No one knows if you have nothing in the bank, if you can put it together to make a site that looks glossy and beautiful with great images – you’re going to look funded.
What are your thoughts on outsourcing?
Yikes, outsourcing that’s a sore subject not only from personal experience, but from seeing others go through really bad experiences, but also really good ones. The things that I think are most important when it comes outsourcing is to be really clear on what you want me clear on how much money you want to spend and get ready to pull your hair out a little bit at the end of the day when you’re working with someone who’s time zone is 12 hours I had of yours.
It’s really important to think about can you handle a relationship like this. Ask yourself – are you ready to micromanage this process? Do you need to be focusing on other things of your business? At the end of the day if you can’t afford to work with someone domestic to help build your site, then you have to get scrappy. So I’m a big believer in ‘you got to do what you got to do.’
What do you consider the most important sharing tool for social media strategy?
Well I’ve seen people start to use Instagram in really amazing ways. For example a lot of brands are starting to add things like shop social as a new tab on their website so people can start to see what their Instagram posts are, and furthermore, link it back to the product on their site. It’s been one of the most challenging things for brands to to really figure out how to harness the Instagram platform. Brands like liketoknowit.com just popped up to trying to harness bloggers and connecting them to products. At the end of the day you want somebody to buy. So you to build your brand and get them to shop while integrating your Instagram on your e-commerce platform, as well as feeding that online.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew in 5 years ago?
I wish I would’ve known how to let go of things. I feel like now as I’m older the idea of mastering something and moving on and letting it go is so important. We’re always taught so early on that we need to focus and be in charge of one thing and master something really really well and that’s what we’re going to be. But that’s a lie right at this moment, we’re changing our lives. I have no idea how I’m going to be in 20 years, so the sooner I get used to that idea, the better my life and the better I was able to perform at work because my ideas were no longer static. I wasn’t just fighting for one idea or one project, but in actuality as soon as I let it go, I was able to except and get more things in my life.
What’s your number one tip, or advice for fashion e-commerce start ups?
Develop your brand first. Often times brands start up spending money on developing their site. They’re spending money on developing their product, if they’re making their own products. But they have no ideas of the brand that they want to start and have no idea what they’re legacy is going to be. So very often you’ll see people start brands and create a collection and have an idea of what they want something to look like but that is very stagnant and it’s just for the season. You cannot build a brand around one season. You cannot build around one feature or benefit. Instead you need to build your brand over a long-term vision. What it is that you actually want to create?
Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
In 5 to 10 years I hope I’m still fabulous. That I have to say is my number one goal. Eventually I would like to see myself as a crazy neighbor lady that has a fabulous clothes and walks around with a couple cats or maybe dogs (laughing). But on a more realistic sense I’d say that in the next 5 to 10 years I’ll probably still be doing variations of what I’m doing now. I’m one of those few but very lucky people that gets to go to work every day knowing that they’re giving back. Working with my clients and working on their projects and helping them succeed, and helping them see their visions coming to fruition. It is a very regenerative process so some things. You’re always growing and you are always learning. Why would you want to do anything else?
What are your favorite sites to shop and why?
I really love to shop on sites that I randomly discover through Instagram and I do so mostly because I need to know what people are doing. So I’m kind of the wrong person to be asking the question. I want to shop brands that I’ve never seen before and often times I’ll buy a product and if I love it I’ll buy more. I’m not one of those once a shopper never again. I really like to build relationships with the brands that I purchased from and the other brands that I see doing it right. So I need to do a little hashtag searches and often times people do searches on “women’s blouse” for example, or “silk chiffon”, or “blogger style.” I hate the idea of copying and pasting these links URLs from Instagram, so I’ll just take a screenshot on my phone of the different bloggers of their different websites to check out later.
What were your most recent online purchases?
I bought an amazing yoga mat from a small company based in Southern California, la vie Boehme and they’re so beautiful. I think they cost way more than any regular yoga mat, but their designed so beautifully, and mine was like $80 and it’s so beautiful. I look good on my yoga mat so that’s an amazing purchase! The other two things that I bought online are from Etsy and sometimes I can’t find what I’m looking for on Google and when I’m doing the searches I will often times go on to Etsy to see if there someone else doing it across country.”