Christopher Bailey has been part of the Burberry brand for over a decade, and will continue to give consumers the creative luxury they crave. Bailey, who has had quite a track record of working with top people in the fashion industry, is back to concentrating on design only for the luxury brand. In 2014, Bailey took on the dual role of serving as chief executive office and chief creative officer for Burberry. A thing no one had seen done before, but with the blessing of Angela Ahrendts he was on his way. Ahrendts served as chief executive office for 8 years prior to Bailey taking the role. She left to lead retail for Apple. It has been quite a journey for Bailey who recently handed his second title over to Marco Gobetti. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on what continues to inspire Bailey in an industry that is forever changing.
“I’ve always had an intrinsic love for making things and seeing things made,” Bailey said regarding his start into fashion. Bailey has worked with big fashion names such as Donna Karan and Gucci before making Burberry his home. He realizes how that has impacted his steady climb to the top. “It gave me insight about how to do things properly,” he said. But, he doesn’t leave out that education definitely played a part. “Design school for me was kinda a real eye opener on what design meant not just the craft of design,” said Bailey. He attended the Royal College of Arts.
Bailey is not only passionate about design, but helping younger designers get their start. Along with Ahrendts, he established the Burberry Foundation which helps young designers hone in on their creativity. He describes Burberry as being an old brand with young energy. “We try to create an environment of people that stimulate each other,” Bailey said. So, nurturing those young minds is important to him. He also admits that he tries to stay open to new ideas and new thoughts.
Working the dual roles of CEO and CCO isn’t something that happens often, if ever. But, Bailey was up for the challenge. “My approach has always been whatever I’m doing it has to be 100 percent. It’s just ingrained in me in a way of work,” he said. His work day usually starts at 8:00am and ends at 8:00pm. His advice for young designers looking to get their names out there, “I think the important thing is is to always stay close to your roots, and make sure it’s your DNA that you put into your work while being conscious of other markets and influences. Don’t lose your identity because that’s the most fundamental thing that you have.”
As New York Fashion Week approaches, we were curious as to what Bailey prefers when it comes to fashion. “I prefer quiet luxury, and clothes that have a romance to them,” he said. Those are qualities that can be seen within many of the past seasons from Burberry. We can’t wait to see what new trends happen on the Burberry runway. If you can’t wait either or just need to refresh your closet, be sure to check out the latest on www.burberry.com.
Greylock is responsible for funding some of your most important everyday online sites including Facebook, Airbnb, Medium, Nextdoor and Pandora. Since 1965, they have been seeking entrepreneurs with product or service that would disrupt an industry. Joseph Ansanelli has been a partner at Greylock since 2012. Ansanelli is also CEO of Gladly.com, which focuses on creating and delivering customer services seamlessly across voice, email, chat, SMS and social media. Since being at Greylock and being an entrepreneur himself, Ansanelli has an idea of what makes a successful startup. MillionaireMatch got the scoop.
Ansanelli launched Shockwave, which become what most of us know as Flash. He didn’t set out to work for a venture firm, but has always been a creator. “I spent more of my time as an entrepreneur. I didn’t plan to get into venture. I didn’t come out of banking. I was coming up with crazy product ideas and eating pizza,” he said. Since he has been on both sides of the fence, now as CEO of Gladly.com, he has a keen understanding of the investor/entrepreneur relationship. “If you are thinking about starting a company, the thing you will spend your time on more than anything else will be people. The most important thing you will spend time on is hiring,” Ansanelli shared. He stresses that the most important people will be those sitting across from you. “People first, strategy second,” he added. It’s important that you create relationships with everyone from employees to your potential investors. He also mentions considering the culture of your business when bringing someone on, not just their skill set.
When you think you are ready to go out there to look for funding Ansanelli said there are a few questions you should ask yourself. “If you are thinking about looking for venture capital, ask ‘why you’. It doesn’t have to be that you’ve done it before, or started a company, but having insight counts,” he advises. “What insight, what experience or unique ability do you have in terms of what you are trying to build?” He says they are looking for the person who can answer the why.
And when he finds that person, it just may lead to funding. “If you want to raise venture capital, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a venture capitalist,” Ansanelli said. Greylock looks for companies that may have a chance to become a billion dollar company, which is most venture firms. That relationship is a two-way street. You want to find the best fit for your company. Ansanelli describes investors as special members of your team that you can’t fire. So choose them wisely.
He did have some advice for those entrepreneurs looking to be the next unicorn business. “I try to instill in entrepreneurs to stay humble and stay hungry. It reflects when you meet partners and customers. You don’t need to be cocky. You want to be confident.” he said. The humbleness should be spread from the employee to customer to your investors. He also advised to have a competitor. “It’s so important to have a competitor. Competition may not be another company, but just another way people do business,” he said. If you have no competition, he worries if you really have a problem that needs to be solved.
For more information on Ansanelli and Gladly, visit www.gladly.com.
While fans of the Bachelorette are still talking about the latest proposal, others from past seasons are moving on. No relationship exists without challenges, but being in the public eye while trying to make love happen is even harder. As the internet continues buzzing about the latest on makeups and breakups, we decided to focus on how some are doing now that the cameras are off. We got the chance to talk to Ben Higgins from season 20 of The Bachelor. The tall, handsome former bachelor told MillionaireMatch that he is focusing on helping underserved communities in Honduras. Here’s the scoop on his new business.
MillionaireMatch: Why did you decide to launch a startup?
Ben: I’ve been involved with a non-profit called Humanity Hope United for the last seven years. When I was in Honduras, a man who ran a nonprofit for 30 years challenged myself and my buddy to find a for-profit idea to supplement the fundraising for the non-profit. We then found a guy who started a coffee company five years earlier, but had to put it on hold because he got a promotion as an executive at a business in our hometown. The three of us decided to partner together to set up Generous International, which is a company setup to give profits back to nonprofits or social causes that are doing something positive for humanity. Our first branch is Generous Coffee because it’s what we know best. We will be expanding outside of that in the next 12 months. Our goal is to change the way people view consuming products. Instead of buying products, taking it home to consume, the goal is that people will choose Generous, because they know when they buy a bag of coffee all profits will be going into making the world a better place. We can all participate in a bigger story. For every purchase made, you are creating a story that will make somebody’s life better.
MM: What encouraged you to jump into being an entrepreneur given the challenges of launching a startup?
Ben: I think the challenge is one that excites me. I believe fully, because of my faith that when you do something with a pure heart, which is the accountability the three of us that started Generous have, that with every decision you do it with a pure heart and not out of greed. So, it is challenging, but it’s worth it. There’s a few things in life that can make someone feel alive. When you find something that makes you feel alive, you are passionate about it and it gives you purpose, it would be a mistake not to pursue it. Generous has been that for me. It’s been something that has given me purpose.
MM: What have been some challenges?
Ben: Patience is the biggest challenge. You get excited, and then you realize that there are so many small details. There are legal things, accounting, and setup that moves very slowly. It’s frustrating. I think the other challenge is finding the right people to support your business. We have outsourced marketing, sales and accounting. Most of it has been great, but we have had some hiccups along the way. Finding people who can buy into the vision, mission, and having the right skill sets has been challenging.
I think when I look back on all of this, it really is having patience and fortitude. So, when things feel slow and lagging you continue to grind, push forward. At some point, the wheel starts turning faster and the company starts moving at a rate that gets back to that exciting feeling you had at the very beginning.
MM: What are some tips on finding the right co-founder or partner?
Ben: One of us is an expert in operations. Another guy is an amazing storyteller. He has stories and shares in a really captivating and intriguing way. Then there’s myself. Details and small things are my weakness, but overall vision and mission are my strengths.
Find people with different strengths and skill sets. Find people that are willing to hold each other accountable. There are many times in meetings that I’m questioned. Not because of judgement or to belittle me, but because the other two founders see something different. When you get to that level of communication, conflict resolves as progress. Find people who are comfortable with conflict, and not offended by it.
MM: How are you funding your business?
Ben: As we grow, investment into Generous will be an option. At this point, we have agreed to try and do this without a lot of debt.
MM: What key advice could you offer an entrepreneur in the early stages of launching a business?
Ben: My advice would be to share your idea with people who are excited about the idea, and who will encourage you. Find people who are not going to question you on the idea with a thousand questions and tell you how it can’t be done. Those people will always be out there. Find those who say ‘wow, this is good. This is something you should pursue’. Get those people on your team. No one can do something like this alone. When things get stressful, you need people to lean on. Consider the pros over the cons. There will be a lot of cons, and a lot of things that could scare you.
MM: You were quoted saying that you are now “focusing on yourself”. Since everyone is talking about Lauren’s new love, did that push you to start this business?
Ben: Generous was started 11 months ago. It has been a great distraction from some of the harder things in life right now. But this is something that I started a long time ago. It’s more of a healthy way to focus on something I am passionate about. It’s given me purpose outside of my everyday 9 to 5 job. It’s a great time to have this in place. Life got a little rocky there for awhile.
MM: What have you learned from the whole process of going on television to find love to later losing it that could help someone with a breakup?
Ben: Just know you are never alone. One of the worst feelings you could feel is aloneness. It might be the worst feeling. I’ve learned through this experience that no matter if it’s the joys I’m celebrating, or the hard times when I am down and out there is somebody out there that can relate. There is somebody out there that cares. When you start to feel alone, know that it’s a lie. It’s just a thought inside your head.
MM: So, will you be the next bachelor?
Ben: I can’t say that I would never do the show again. At this point in my life, there are a lot of things in my life that are really good, and are taking up a lot of time and bringing me joy. I don’t want to push those things aside to do the show. I won’t be doing the show this year. In the future, I don’t know. I also don’t think I am ready to be in a position of proposing to someone. I don’t think it’s fair to the women who would give up their time to want to try this experience out. I’m just not there yet. If I ever do it again, it would be because I was ready. And I just don’t feel that way.
Well, we are cheering you on Ben and can’t wait to see how Generous Coffee grows!
You may have experienced being trapped in a group chat without your permission. What happens when it’s a work chat? Well, you end up with Slack. Founded in 2009, Slack is a communication tool that provides real-time messaging for work groups. CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield helped raised almost $540 million in venture capital for this platform that has changed the way people work. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on going from failure to failure, and finally success.
Butterfield was no stranger to investors once he and his co-founders started pitching to raise money for Slack. They had already been successful at starting another popular company, Flickr, which was later acquired by Yahoo for over $20 million. “When we started the company in 2009, it was easy to raise money. It was good times in venture capital economy. If you could get a million bucks for little effort, it makes your life a lot easier,” Butterfield said. His team raised $1.5 million for Slack’s seed round.
Not bad for a kid who taught himself how to code, and someone who had experienced several failed attempts at creating gaming software. Butterfield shared what keeps him motivated. “Fear of humiliation, and seeking approval. It’s tough. You’ve invested so much and you have to show up to win,” he said. “I’m very fortunate that we got very good, supportive investors. There’s actually a lot of wisdom there,” Butterfield explained. “One thing you have to do is tell a story that people want to believe in whether it’s investors, co-founders, employees or potential customers. You have to hope that the story comes through,” he advised.
After shutting down one startup, Butterfield launched a website called Hire a Genius to help his employees find a new job. This was one of the biggest and disappointing moments he experienced as a founder.
Slack isn’t just known for its rapid growth, but it has been identified as having a diverse work staff. “We can bring people in, but there is a limited number of people we can bring in. Where we could make a difference is making sure that it [Slack] wasn’t a horrible place to work for women or people of color. We also didn’t want people to exit the industry at our company,” Butterfield said. He wants others to be exposed to the same type of connections, and partnerships he has been able to make along his journey, which was one of the reasons Slack was started. “The thing that interested me was the power to connect people,” he explained. “One of the benefits of Slack is the transparency. People can see into other parts of an organization, and seeing what other things are doing,” he continued.
Butterfield was recently nominated by Forbes for Founder of the Year. If you want your team to get on the bandwagon, visit www.slack.com.
Twilio has been called the mightiest unicorn, and we think that may be true. Twilio is a cloud communication company that has attached itself to some of the biggest businesses that you use everyday. From Uber to Walmart, the cloud company is a developer’s dream, merging telecommunications, cloud and web services. Co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson has had an interesting entrepreneurial journey to creating a billion dollar company, and MillionaireMatch has the scoop.
Twilio is Lawson’s fourth company that he has started. In 1996, he came up with the idea to launch Notes4Free.com, eventually transforming to Versity.com. It was an online business that gave college students lecture notes. Lawson admits he was curious about the internet, so he started an online business. It went so well he dropped out of school, and moved the company to the Bay area after raising capital. He grew the company to a $30 million valuation and sold it later to a competitor. Unfortunately, the company tanked due to the dot-com crash. That’s when he went on to help with starting StubHub.
Lawson worked at StubHub as chief Technology Officer. After working 20 hour days for weeks, he realized he lacked passion for a company built around live events. He left the company and ran off to the Hamptons to brainstorm for a full year. He had a thousand ideas and twenty business plans. In 2008, Twilio launched.
“Trust is the number one thing you sell as a company,” Lawson said. This is one principle he believes Twilio offers: trust. “We started Twilio to really bring communications from that legacy of hardware to its future in software. Developers are going to build this software's future,” he said. They focused on connecting with developers and building their trust. If they could win them over, developers would bring Twilio in as a tool. “Friction is the thing that inhibits experimentation. Experimentation is the prerequisite to innovation.” Lawson said they wanted to remove friction for developers, because innovation leads to new customers.
“We haven’t changed our business model for years. We’ve been scaling up a similar model. For us, it was about was trying to align the pricing and business value to the audience,” Lawson shared. “As the founder you have the opportunity to control the values,” he continued. So why did Twilio go public? “I wanted to take the company to the next level,” Lawson said. “If you raise venture capital, you’re making a commitment to your investors that you are going to give them a return if the business works out. That means one of two things: get acquired or going public," he added.
His advice to younger entrepreneurs is simple. “Do what you say you are going to do. That’s how to get people on board,” Lawson said.
If you haven’t used Twilio, then head over to www.twilio.com.