“This is going to be a big year for us,” JustFab co-CEO Adam Goldenberg said of his El Segundo-based VIP membership fashion company. And Goldenberg knows what “a big year” entails, as he has had quite a few throughout his career already: in 1999, he sold his two-year-old gaming network Gamer’s Alliance to Intermix Media. By 2006, he founded Internet brand incubator Intelligent Beauty and four years later started up JustFab.
The traction JustFab has gained in just four years is a telling sign that Adam’s predictions for 2014 are in fact correct. In 2013 alone, JustFab raised $55 million in funding and also acquired shoe discovery service ShoeDazzle. JustFab’s own celebrity stylist membership program is currently used in five countries outside of the US and is constantly expanding its offerings with new launches such as athletic brand Fabletics. Built In LA caught up with Goldenberg to pick his brain about JustFab’s best practices and hear how they have propelled the company’s growth:
What do you think other founders could learn from how you ran JustFab from the very beginning?
Because we have always been very metrics-driven, we have been able to learn quickly and adapt our business. We look at our numbers daily – sometimes hourly – which keeps us nimble. If we notice something isn’t working, we catch it right away and can make the necessary fixes. I have always been a big believer in full transparency within our organization. By sharing actual numbers, good and bad, with the whole team, it helps everyone understand the tactical changes we need to make and keeps us invested in the success of the business.
How big of an influence have JustFab's customers played on the company?
From day one we made customer feedback a huge part of our business. Some of our early mistakes came from price points for new product categories like jewelry and sunglasses. We learned pretty quickly that while our value proposition held up with $39.95 shoes and handbags, our members were not willing to pay that for sunglasses and jewelry. We have a team dedicated to understanding our members and use their feedback to guide our product and merchandising decisions.
What are some of your best hiring practices at JustFab?
Above all else, we look for passion. A candidate may look great on paper with an amazing resume and education, but if they don’t come with a passion for what they do or for our brand, they won’t thrive here. Our culture is a big part of our success and one of our mantras at the office is “Be Passionate.”
To keep our team engaged and focused, we also pay a great deal of attention to mentoring and working with our top performers. All too often managers spend time trying to grow their “B” team members to turn them into “A’s.” I would rather focus on seeing our “A” employees grow which means that we don’t keep employees who are performing at “B” and “C” levels.
In such fast-moving spaces such as fashion and e-commerce, how do you ensure that JustFab stays relevant?
A lot of brands focus too much time on how to sell their product as opposed to what they are selling. Our website could look great, our commercials could be catchy and our social media channels could be a lot of fun – but if customers don’t like the product, they won’t shop with us again. We design and manufacture the product ourselves which helps us maintain a great quality at a great value to our member. We are proud of the product we are selling and we know that’s why our members keep coming back.
How do you find the LA startup community?
I’ve loved watching the LA startup community grow over the past few years. To maintain the growth, the more mature businesses and leaders in LA need to invest and nurture the upcoming entrepreneurs and I would encourage Silicon Valley to pay attention to the talent down here!