What inspired you to start Verb?
We wanted to offer everyday girls and guys an option that sat in between drugstore and high-end haircare. There was nothing in the hair world that was easy to use and easy on your wallet. Simply put, people were outgrowing Herbal Essence and couldn't afford Oribe. Verb quickly became bigger than we imagined it would be. Turns out the the consumer wanting a high quality shampoo with a low price point was diverse and vast. We started in the back of a tiny barbershop in Austin and a few years later had national distribution in salons and retail partners like Sephora and Urban Outfitters. What is so neat about Verb is our client shops for hair care all over- salons, in-store, online. Learning how to communicate with them at all those points of distribution has been exciting and challenging. The demand is there and we are constantly evolving to meet them where they want to shop with formulas they want to use and prices they can afford.
What does your typical day look like?
Everyday is so different living between NYC and Austin, but I can describe what I would like a typical day to look like!! Coffee in bed, office early, gym at lunch, short and sweet meetings, drinks with my best friends, dinner with my partner and bed by 9! Realistically I am on a plane every few days or sitting in our printer room floor having one-on-ones with my team. Up until a few weeks ago, I had the best desk in the office that I never sat in, which seemed silly and like a waste. Our head of digital now sits there now and I am playing office nomad. We will see how long my team lets me sit on the corner of their desks.
What was the worst piece of advice you've ever received?
To slow down big picture thinking. Paying attention to details is really-really great but we are a young brand in a rapidly changing beauty industry. Verb has always been on the forefront of simplifying hair care through packaging and an omni distribution strategy. We have aggressive goals and sometimes that requires aggressive decision-making. Even when we delay big strategy changes about distribution, pricing, product, we almost always look back and think: 'we should have done that faster'. The fear of tough conversations or making the wrong decision is always smaller in a rearview mirror. I keep repeating, don't waste weeks we don't have to avoid five hard minutes.
What does success mean to you?
Success at Verb changes every day but right now my barometer for success is largely dependent on the happiness of my team. When they feel supported, like they are growing and are happy to come to work- we are winning and moving faster than ever. At the end of last year, we had a major space issue. We were hiring at lightening speed, and at one point had six people crammed into an office that was really meant for one person. I looked around and my first thought was 'wow this is amazing, look how many people are driving the Verb business'. It took me another minute (or two) to see that all the OG's were being less productive and felt too cramped. It went from being a creative space to stuffy. We reorganized, got standing desks and extended our holiday break. While we still have a space problem and our solutions were only temporary, it was an immediate improvement.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
I am so lucky to have a wonderful support system. Leaning on them is not always the easiest but reminding myself that they are there for that exact reason is what always gets me back up. Last week I booked a one way ticket to Austin to see my family. We holed up in the house for 4 days and it was the most rejuvenating getaway. I got to pick up one of my nieces from school and made a lemon tart, ya-no the simple things put it all into perspective. A quicker way to build up the self-doubt is to block time in my calendar to read through Sephora reviews of our best sellers. It is always amazing to hear from clients that love the product. To get to real feedback that reinforces exactly why our team did something is really special.
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
I never skip cleaning, toning and moisturizing my face. My partner calls it my "whatever it is that I do in there" routine. I don't think he gets it but for me that self-care moment is a perfect way to wipe the slate clean. A few years ago I got really into skincare and I have found it to be very therapeutic. I had this delusion that my skin would get better as I aged and less reactive to life but that is just not the case. You can see stress acne a mile away so while I find this routine meditative, it is also completely necessary.
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If you liked this interview, you might like our recent interview with Raissa Gerona, Chief Brand Officer at REVOLVE.