Just this week, fashion vet Amy Shecter slipped on the CEO shoes at Glamsquad, the on-demand beauty service app that’s revolutionizing the beauty landscape as we know it. After helping to build major brands like C.Wonder, Diesel, Donna Karan, CorePower Yoga, and more, Shecter is prepared to propel the app into its next phase. She tells us how!
What’s your background?
I’m originally from Boston and I came to New York City for what was supposed to be a really short amount of time. My parents had agreed to two or three years. I went through the training program at Bloomingdales and it was a time when department stores were king. They were becoming meccas for branding, and they were positioned as the go-to place for consumers. I learned not only retailing from a great company, but also the importance of marketing. I spent the next 10 years working for brands in a marketing capacity and then a merchandising capacity, and learned how to drive a brand through amazing product. At many different points I was responsible for what today we call “omni channel” but then it was “direct-to-consumer” or “retail.” I started with brick and mortar, and learned that every part of the customer’s journey is critical to the growth and development of the brand…from the furniture and fixtures to the marketing materials that they receive in television, film, print or digital. Every single moment is creating intimacy with the customer. It really shaped and developed who I am as a brand builder. At the end of the day, I learned how to be a merchant. You’re as good as the product and service and experience that you send to the consumer.
What are some of the defining moments of your career?
I would be remiss not to talk about the amazing experience at C.Wonder. Starting a brand from from the ground up is an amazing opportunity. It gave me great experience in product development. I spent a great deal of time in China and in the factories, bringing an omni-channel brand to life in a way that was pretty explosive. When we opened our first store in Soho, people thought it was a brand that had come from someplace else in the world. They didn’t realize that it started in the US, because it was so comprehensive. Everything from the tissue paper in the bags all the way to the products and the consumer experience was so thought out.
What are memorable moments from working at companies like Diesel and Donna Karen?
One thing about Diesel, and even Ladies Footlocker years ago, is the passion for the brand. Those brands were obsessed with the product and the customer. Being part of the growth of a brand like Diesel really helped my understanding of the importance of a strong, passionate message of what the brand stands for, and how to deliver that message consistently. Staying relevant—modernizing and updating yourself as a brand—it’s not easy. When you have passion in a founder, it’s very easy to stay relevant. That’s true of Glamsquad, too. It has the passion of the founders behind it, and focuses on the needs of the customer. And it’s disruptive. When I was at Diesel, it was a disrupter in the marketplace. Denim was not being sold at that high of a price point in the US, the way it was in Europe and other places in the world. Glamsquad is a disrupter. What we offer our consumer is something that is unique and needed. We have a competitive edge. I was a competitive athlete when I was younger, and I have remained competitive, and ensure that we’re offering that best-in-class experience.
Is that what drew you to CorePower Yoga?
I was an equestrian, and I started competing when I was 6. I competed all the way through college, but I don’t ride anymore. It’s something that I really miss. But fitness is something that is really important to me. I of course love yoga and CorePower Yoga, but I also love spinning and running. I’m a vegan and being healthy is something that plays into being focused and conscious of the people that are working with you. At the end of the day, being nice wins. Being fair and having integrity is something that’s critical to being an effective leader.
Have you always been based in New York?
My home has always been in New York. With CorePower Yoga, I was basically commuting to Denver each week. If the headquarters was based in Europe or outside the States, it required me to spend a considerable amount of time in other places. Being mobile is something that comes naturally to me now. Also looking at the global landscape and business opportunities throughout the world.
Where else in the world has your career taken you?
Travel has been a big part of my career. I’ve spent a great deal of time in Asia and Europe. I also went to the Middle East, whether it was for licensing opportunities or partnerships. And I certainly spent a lot of time traveling throughout the US. Market expansion, brand expansion, and product development are reasons why I’ve spent a great deal of time earning miles as an executive. [Lauhgs]
Will your travel schedule change now that you’re at Glamsquad?
The fact that we are a digital, technology driven company affords us the opportunity to replicate with greater ease, because we don’t have to open stores. It’s applying our technology, marketing the brand successfully, and providing best in class beauty professionals wherever we go. It’s a model that replicates well.
What was your first introduction to Glamsquad?
It was a referral through a friend! Because of my rigorous travel schedule, I was going to brick and mortars and had short periods of time to go out, so I said, It would be great if someone could do it at home! MY friend was like, Well you know, Glamsquad will come to your home!’ I was hesitant…I think for the same reasons some customers hesitate, because it’s having someone in your home. It hadn’t been done before. But after the first experience, I knew that I was going to be hooked. I used the service for celebrations and parties that I was having, and for all the people coming to my daughter’s bat mitzvah. It completely integrated into my life well over a year ago. It’s great to have incredible passion and excitement about a brand and then be given the opportunity to run the company.
What attracted you to the company?
The quality of the experience and the expertise and kindness of the beauty professional. I always felt very cared for as a customer, and a brand and a business that cares about every aspect of how they make the customer feel is is poised for distinction in the marketplace going forward.
Why was now the time to take on this new role?
I think Glamsquad is at the point where it’s experiencing high growth, and it was ready to have a new kind of leader. My background is such a strong match for the needs of Glamsquad at this particular time. It’s ready for the next stage, and my expertise in brand building and creating the ultimate omni-channel business.
What’s your vision for the company?
One of the things that’s most important to me is understanding the why behind what we do. I’m a true believer in that people use us because we make their hair better, their nails better, their makeup better for an occasion. But really what we do is we make people feel good. And everybody tells us that. We make them be the best versions of themselves for that particular event. I believe we have the right, with great quality and expertise, to explore the other channels. We can start to build content and to be a place that women come to for advice and expertise. And we can give back. We provide a service that is a luxury, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be giving back to the community. I know our beauty professionals, as well as the whole team, is interested in making us a true 21st century brand.
We’re curious…what’s in your personal beauty arsenal?
I’m definitely a lipstick, lip gloss, lip crayon addict. I’m constantly refreshing. I think it’s our tie….men get to wear ties and we get to wear lipstick. I also have curly and straight hair, so I love products that transition.
You’ve experience fashion and fitness. Is beauty where you’ll stay?
This is going to be my category for some time. I’m excited to be part of a community that offers instant gratification and an in-home experience. I truly believe that consumer behavior is going to move toward instant gratification and shopping at home. When you went to Epcot Center years and years ago, there was that moment in Future World where you could buy from your television. We’re there in some ways, with shopping at home on TV or online, but isn’t it great to have services at home, and to not just be hanging in someone’s closet but to be actively engaged with the customer? That is an enormous strength of Glamsquad. Having that trust is critical, and it’s essential to me that we carefully curate the next step of what we do in terms of our offerings to our customer at home.