Comparison Will Kill You: Daniella Yacobovsky of BaubleBar
And everyone it's Rebecca. You're listening to superwomen and today's guest is the CO founder of Babur. Daniele Yakubovsky we talk about everything from how incredible business school can be for a founder to what she does to stay sane with her co founder. And how she relaxes. Take listen. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me so I would love to let our listeners. Now I'm sure they all know what Babo Bar is. Because how could you not know what has bobble bar? Yeah so bobble. Bar aims to reinfect cow. Women play with fashion experiment with style through the best assortment of on trend accessories out there in the market everything from fashion jewelry. All the way up to solid gold and diamonds so I feel like I see below bar. Everywhere Yeah and what impresses me is? You obviously have. What seems like a huge company. But I'd love to start with like when did you have the idea and then had as you grow it into this huge huge amazing success So my co-founder Indian. I have actually known one another for a really really long time. A lot of people think that we met in business school but we actually Matt in investment banking training. And someone said you guys have the same birthday which is August sixteenth. You should throw a party together And we did. It was epic. We've been best friends ever since and we happen to end up at business. School together seem school same year. Which was really fortuitous. In and just great timing and lock as many things in life are The summer between her first and second year at school we were at Saks. Fifth Avenue shopping for shoes and we just started having a really casual conversation about how you know. At that time we were working in finance and had nice finance salaries and Ford. Really Nice things and talked about how we wouldn't hesitate to go to saks avenue and spend a certain amount of money on a great pair of shoes or great handbag but never really go down to the first floor and spend you know huge amounts of money on a cool statement necklace or a great pair of earrings. And I think that for us was the initial sort of Aha moment you know. We loved accessories and we loved what they did for your outfit and your wardrobe and what you were able to do when dressing up But we felt like there was a little bit of a void in the market in terms of the right design at the right price point so we decided that we we really wanted to begin It was a at the time of very sort of big picture idea. I think we didn't totally know exactly how he wanted to approach what we wanted to do. What was so lucky as that? We had that idea right before a second year of business school to really able to use our second year of school to just do a ton of consumer testing field steady research and essentially turner whole class schedule into a big souped up project where we kind of just kept chipping away at the ideas that we were having until it started to look like something real and how did you know in those days like where to source and get your supply chain from. How did you do all that because I remember I mean? I think I started my company earlier than you did but like Google wasn't available. It was like catalogue. They had to order in the mail. So how'd you know I like unleashes supply chain that would get you those types of price point? I mean it. It took us a pretty long time to dig around and find the right folks and I think that we were really lucky on bolstered by the fact that we had a story that people were excited to be a part of so at that time we were meeting with a lot of folks whose parents had started companies abroad and they were first generation. You know kind of starting to take over the company for their parents here in the US and we're starting to see some of the new fashion brands and fashion companies. That were coming onto the scene. And we're really making a splash and saw that there was an opportunity for for a lot of growth. If you've found somebody who had a good idea and was ready to execute on it so we did a tremendous amount of research meeting with folks as I'm sure you know one of the things that was really challenging. The beginning is the industry can be pretty private enclosed off and I think folks at first were very reticent to open their doors and chat with us you know in the early days one of the things that really helped as we said. Hey were to students from Harvard Business School and were doing a study about the jewelry industry and we'd love to learn a little bit more about how it works and that really I think opened people up to chatting with us. Yeah you know. And then after we had sort of built a little bit of a relationship we were able to be like. We'll wait a second. We actually have an idea. How do you feel about starting this And we're really lucky. A lot of those folks and again I think those kind of universe generation children who essentially took over their parents companies were really excited to kind of build with us and a lot of those folks are still with us today. Wow and did you have to raise money when you launched so when we first launched aiming I actually self-funded okay For a little bit of your of Your cushy financial salary well we had just come out of giving literally all of business school so we took like the scrap. That was laughed. And we were like. Let's try it you know. I think we really believed in what we were doing. We were excited about it I think we didn't feel comfortable fundraising yet because I don't know that we knew exactly what the story was. An truthfully I think we also wanted to get some learnings of our own and do it on our own and see how far we could take it ourselves before raising external capital. That's refreshing. I must say with all the interviews. I've done anyone that has gone to business. School like comes out is is so good at building a business and then you see designers that like like the podunk like me and some of the people in the CFDA like struggling along you know as artists side. Who Never did the business school? And I just wish they would offer. They would offer both of these courses because everyone is a fucking solid who comes out of business school. There's no like I do. I cost us out or you know I think President. I think their different areas. I think you're really lucky that we had a finance background when it came to looking at business models building out the financial having an understanding for how that could gallon. What would look like that was something we were really familiar with? And then there were a million things industry. We had no idea what we were doing. Like what a merchandising I mean can you? Can you explain what that means for our listeners? Sure so our merchandising team which is now incredible run by wonderful professional people Spend a lot of time working on our products strategy. So we're we're going with the product. What are going to be. Our new product launches. When are the stories that are really going to drive our business over the future at work really closely with our design team and then they also have to be really thoughtful about what our product strategy is across our different distribution channels so we sell through Albar Dot com but we also sell through a really large toll sale network like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's as Rebecca? Minkoff does as well so. I'm sure you're very familiar with this. I'm so they spent a lot of time. Thinking about what our product strategy will be across all of those different distribution channels and then within the channels that we own Albar Dot com for example. They're really responsible for thinking about how a consumer would take in the product and move through the product. So a really. I heard someone describe this way and I thought it was so perfect which was think of your website as store shelves and the merchandisers stocking the shelves differently than they would be stocking an actual store and thinking about what products. It's where they do the same thing with our website yet. I must say having a merchandiser on on my side is extraordinarily helpful because it doesn't as a designer sometimes you can get lost in the fantasy and they bring you back to reality likely this will not sell. It's really pretty but no one's going to buy it okay. Tina exactly. What impresses me and I feel like a lot of designers or people who are starting out and I give this advice. I say pick one thing. You know one niche but you've been able to span everything from costumes you said fine. How have you managed to spend that that business because I feel like a lot of people have to pick one thing And stick with it so I think that there are a lot of folks who have built really extraordinarily businesses on a specific aesthetic or design or a look that they're really really known for and have then taken that an extended that to other categories. One of the things. We've really tried to do differently. Is You know. I don't know that we necessarily have or have to have a signature. Look so much as we aim to really bring folks you know what we think are the most important trends in design at the moment anything that has had a lot of legs and a lot of room for expansion across huge range of categories. So we really saw that. There was a natural inclination for folks to WanNa buy more from us from a material perspective pretty early on When we started introducing personalized pieces like monograms nameplates which we dead probably like two years into the business. I'm just because we think it's an important trend and accessories. You know that folks love to wear pieces with meaning and pieces that have personal significance to them and a lot of times that comes with customization and as part of that product. We really started to expand some of our material offerings. Let people choose within a classic nameplate? Do you want gold plated brass or would you like to buy a solid gold version? That's never gonNA turn and he kinda wear forever To consumers really smart. We've always known that we wanted to be able to offer a wider range. I think it's about being transparent in what they're getting for their money and what they should expect to get their money. And I think that's allowed us to really kind of expand beyond where we started so I'd love to explore the relationship between you and your co founder. You're still best friends. Yep you're smiling easy. Say this there's got to prepare for like sometimes when people say what's it like to work with your brother I'm like well. We fight often So what is it like and what do you do when you disagree? Yeah I mean as you know working with somebody that you're that close with is extremely challenging. I think that the world is littered with stories of it not working which is probably why. Ironically I'm kind of smiling as you ask the question 'cause I actually think and we've been doing this for quite a few years now. I would say the question I probably got. The most hands down is like how does it work? You know what's it like? It's honestly it's wonderful We love working together. We actually still sit next to each other so great on an open floor not offices. We like being married kind of run ideas by each other. You know but it's also you know it's challenging to work that closely with somebody that you are that close with a Hitler or a couple of things that set us up for success personally One is that we met each other in a work environment. We knew each other not necessarily in a social environment so even though we're extremely close friends it's not like that was the only background we knew we. We knew how the other would handle stress. We knew how the other would handle work. I think the other really important pieces that we both really gravitate towards different things. We have complementary skill sets. I don't think at any point in the business as either of US felt necessarily territorial over specific areas work product or projects or things. You know we really share well We know how to disagree and come back to the table and not hate one. Another which I think is very very important I think that a lot of people start businesses with folks that they don't know how to argue with right. You don't know how to argue together. It's GonNa be really hard to to run a business. I think that's a really good point. And I think that some of the issues may be my brother and I had is. We're arguing as brother and sister business partners and so you you act in a way that just like fuck you basically instead. We have to come to some sort of resolution but with your sister. You don't really have to kind of that resolution. You're like you're kind of stuck with me by blood we're going to be at the Thanksgiving dinner table together exactly so I'd love to also talk about like what we're what was the first big challenge that you guys face. And how did you overcome it or not? Yeah I think one of the first really big ones is when you're thrown into something like starting a company and you've you've never done it before. I think not really having an expectation for what it's going to be And Not really understanding. I think the veracity with which you experience highs and lows within the same day is something I know for me personally. It took a little while for me to not only get comfortable with that but figure out how to not let it affect my day so much Because in in the early days I mean you you know you get it all and you get it all fast. We'd have like our best moment and then like the worst possible news ever like an hour later. Anything that emotional roller coaster can really really take a toll. I also think then when you compound that with people who are very hard working type. A and don't naturally give themselves breaks. It's like a little bit of a recipe for just kind of beating yourself up And that really takes a toll say feel. I am looking into the mirror. A it's really hard. Yeah I also think that in general we have this culture where people really love to brag about like worked in eighty hour week. I five hundred emails in my inbox. I've I've been it's I'm working so I'm writing this deal. I now. She not mean just like got if it's taking you eighty hours a week. You're just being just straight up inefficient. I would like to Brag about getting my list done in like thirty five hours a week. Do you know but I dare to tell me how dare to dream? I mean I still try. But that's what I aspire to. Yep and I think that we should all aspire to get our work done more efficiently and faster than necessarily sort of glorify this idea of slept in the office. It's just I have so much to do totally I'm healthy. Now it's not healthy and then you just cranky and you have and then you have to focus on self care what you do your routine totally drives creativity and I think it's so important especially in our industry to have that time to just like be left alone and clear your head and thank so. How have you managed to maybe not a 35-hour-week but how have you managed to EEK out? I don't know forty five our week. Yeah we try to. We try to look for little areas of efficiency wherever we can You know I think it's really about setting very clear guidelines and goals for the team that you work with and make it clear what your expectations are to try to limit. We rework as much as possible if at all I also think that it's important to set boundaries. So what's been really interesting? Is that when we started? Bobble Bar Amy. I wor- I don't WANNA I don't WanNa age but we were much younger. We didn't have families. We were single And now when we look at the team you know most of the senior leadership on our team have children are married. We all have things that we WANNA do. You know any wants to go home and put her kids to bed. She doesn't want to be cranking in the office till eight nine PM. So you think it's about setting boundaries to say listen guys I'm GonNa leave at Xyz time. Because I want to go home and be with my small children and put them to bed and I'll be back online at nine o'clock so it'd be great if we could have X Y and z routed by then and I'll review it and then we'll get everything kind of buttoned up so I think setting some of those boundaries and being clear about the things that are important to you is something we we started to do a little later but I wish we I'm hoping that as there are more female founders. More companies will act that way and it won't just be this work till you're you're dead seriously. I found myself texting with my social media manager last night it was seven and I was like I was like. Let's stop texting. We can figure this out in the morning. And she's like that's so kind of you and I was like. Oh Gosh totally it. Just yeah it just changes the dynamic. I'll say I want to be with my kids. I don't WanNa be texting you about a an image. That's going up in the morning. Yeah we can figure it out them. So what do you do to lead your team? Did that come naturally to you. Has that been a challenge? How big is your team so our team now is about sixty five folks here in New York. We have our headquarters Actually just around the corner for where we are currently sitting and then we also have our warehouse facility in New Jersey where we do pick pack and ship for all of our own orders. I'm so that's a separate group of folks you own your own warehouse we do. That is really smart thank you. It's been a heart honestly on my warehousing. I could give it to you. We will be we you know it took us. It took a while to get up and running It's great to have it here. It's amazing to have the flexibility of doing your own warehouse yet. It's as you know it's a whole nother bag tricks that you have to figure out it's challenging yet. I'm it's also really nice to be able to control it and give inventory around and be flexible in that way but in terms of leadership. Yes he notes so interesting. In previous roles I'd had the opportunity to manage one or two people Obviously nothing close to the numbers that that were managing today on. Then I think there were elements that felt natural and there were a lot of elements. That really really didn't You know and we had to learn. I really had to learn along the way I think that the you know one of the areas that I certainly have struggled with in the past is finding the right balance of being direct an honest while not feeling like I'm being a total asshole. Yeah and recognizing that by being direct and honest. That's how you avoid being a total asshole ramp right because you have to give people honest feedback. Yes should be direct. It doesn't need to have emotion involved. You can give direct feedback and say what your expectations are without feeling like you're being a jerk or mean And that's only gonNA help everybody get better in the team. Get better and free to ultimately have the right product delivered but that was something I really struggled with In the beginning I still struggle with like if I had an employee who started and I saw like her first week at five fifty. She was in her workout leggings. And I was like When do I say something about how inappropriate that is on your first week on the job to be like ready to bounce at six? And you've already changed into your soul cycle gear. You know and I still hesitate like can I say something or like if you went to lunch for two hours like still today. I want to be like our policy. Is Now our where you in for two hours. I'd love to go to lunch for two years but I think it's better to say something. It's funny we've been talking about this a lot recently. I feel like you know any and I grew up in investment banking. Which you know I would. Argue is a is a office where people are very direct. Extremely upfront about what they're thinking but I'm really grateful because I got phenomenal training and I feel like I got phenomenal training. Not just in terms of the actual work product that I was creating but I got great training about just how to be a good employee. Like what are just some of the unspoken things that you should sort of know when you're coming up in an organization may things that? I think it when folks come into the workforce and they aren't properly trained you don't automatically think of what you're what that behavior communicate so. I'm really grateful for that training and I feel like it would behoove us all to give that to the the folks that work for us. I think it's important that everybody can have that training. So you're how many years and tobacco bar nine. Wow again today. Trying is like make a big salad. Do something else or just go off into the sunset like do you guys have plans is something you WanNa like. Keep doing for a long time. Yeah I mean we're having fun. I think what's been really unique. Is We kind of came up in? The era of venture backed direct consumer brands. So I think people sometimes automatically think of us is that even though we're really not a direct consumer brand were just rebrand. Direct consumer is a portion of what we do but we also have a really rich wholesale business. We have a completely separate brand called sugar fixed by bobble bar. That's available at target. So I think what's been sort of interesting is we grew up in that space but I think we've been running the business more like a traditional you know sort of consumer brand at least when it comes to distribution and how we think about reaching the customer So we're really lucky that we have a great set of folks around the table. Who Love what we're doing and we're all excited to just kind of keep going and keep building. We're still having fun. We're still finding lots of new challenges and things that keep us excited and motivated and even as I think about twenty twenty and twenty twenty one and some of the bigger things that we're working on we still get like Giddy and excited and and and I think until that goes away and I think as long as we continue to feel that joy for what we're doing we're we're excited to just kind of keep going. That's also refreshing. Thank you so what has been something so you spoke about like what was hard early on and I still feel like it's hard. What you said is still affects me. Every day like I said the highest highest and lowest lows. And if you hit me at a low right before I go to like an event and then someone pays me a compliment. I'm like I feel like a fucking fake right because you have done such great things with your brand name like you have no idea. I just got you. Don't know the struggle What is what have been things recently? Nine years in like were you know is a growth is it. You know staying relevant as it dealing with the wholesale apocalypse like what's been what's been something that's been harder than you imagined. Yeah I think one of the things that's been harder that that I certainly wasn't expecting editor than anyone was expecting. Is You know as I think. The marketing channels have evolved over the past couple of years and as social media has become more and more and more important I think we're all spending substantially more time on social channels because it's obviously very important just have an understanding of where the market's going and what folks are doing what they're buying and talking about consuming and and reading and keeping a finger on the pulse of what's relevant but in the same way that. I think that social media can drive. People feeling insecure and uncertain of their own personal lives. I think it can similarly drive those same feelings when you run a business We used to have a sign in our office that I loved. It said it was are like office three years ago. So actually we need to figure out where the sign went. Because we've moved but said comparison will kill you and I think that's such a great and valuable sentiment which is it's important obviously to be benchmarking and certainly watching you know what your community is doing and what they're resonate was resonating with them with their liking. What they want from from you and from other brands But I think when we get into this place of constantly comparing ourselves to other people's successes what other people are accomplishing and it can drive that feeling of a whole we didn't we didn't accomplish that we have that I think it can get you into a really dangerous place So I think that sometimes can be a bit of a challenge is where do you sort of? Draw the line and put the blinders on and say I want to be aware of what's going on in the market and they wanna be aware everyone else is doing but I also need to remember to take a step back and have the sense of self confidence in what we're doing as a company to know that our path is is different and also K. Yet right there aren't winners and losers there can be multiple successes in success can have can look like a lot of different things but I think when you're in the moment you're you're watching everybody else have have big big wins. I think it's natural to kind of feel like why didn't we do that? Why didn't we think of that? Oh God what are we going to do? And then if you're Jewish like we are there's a whole other level of erotic a whole other level. Great flagellate yourself right. It's been ingrained literally since I don't even know I really. What is this thing that we've been raised for? I'm like my brother and I are so we do this more but then we really just get in there with the self beating show so my husband who is not Jewish literally. His most common phrase he uses with me is like I do not know how you managed to murder yourself like this on such a regular basis like. Where did you train at a young age? Yes I did it's in our DNA. I think it is so speaking of husband How do you shut off I? I love my husband deeply. He has always been really since. I've known him ahead of like things that would be big before they've been big so like we were drinking celery juice daily like a year and a half ago. Did it help immensely really and for the record tastes disgusting. Like it's like I would make fun of me because I would hold my nose and like choke it down but like made a massive difference on everything and then like seven months ago. He came home so pissed off and he was like. I can't find celery anywhere because Kim Kardashian tweeted about it he was like I went to four whole foods. I went to three trader. Joe's I even subjected myself to a fair way zero salaries like zero salary. So like he's usually been kind of ahead of ahead of the curve So I feel like that's resulted in The things that we do I think are a little left of center but really worked for us and I love them so I really love flotation tanks sensory deprivation. They're really good. It's just a great sort of forced meditation moment I try to just sit and meditate. My living room is hard. I kind of need a pod. That will shut out the world sort of help that moment along mall so really huge fan of acupuncture acupuncturist that I really love that. Similar kind of vibe. Bright sort of helps us. Oh now but not necessarily fall asleep and it could surely helps you kind of meditate and getting good head space. Yeah I'm so all of those things and then when in doubt we also collect wine. So that's there as well as needed logan bottle of wine. There's two questions I'd like to ask everybody What would we be surprised to know about? You can be funnier embarrassing on on. I have no sense of smell. What yeah I had a taste things. So it's really impacted unlimited my sense of taste. I had a head injury fine A couple lake six years ago. Okay and after that. My sense of smell is like ninety percent gone. Whoa which people are at end for the record? The people who are like nearest embarrassed me forgot this all the time. I hear smell. Yeah they will like it smells terrible. I'm like I have no idea. Gosh I'll tell you it's easier to live in New York in the summer. If you have no sense of smell definitely or change your friends. Diaper baby diaper totally. Like if we're cooking. I'm always the onion chopper like I don't cry zero impact. Okay but you can taste you evolved. I figured out the things that register more on the tongue in the nose And I feel like the way that I've eaten has adjusted so for example like I always liked spicy food but now I like like mind numbing Lee hot spicy food. 'cause it you know when you think about the things that register on the tongue sweet salty spicy sour. Yep I've always had a sweet tooth and I've always loved by never really liked our But I feel like now I go towards like the more extreme end of sweet or spicy. Gotcha wow all right. And then my last question is what is one piece of advice. Either you've learned that you wanna pass on or someone gave you. That was like very effective so one piece of advice got that I think is really good is when you've hired somebody and you know in your got that it's not working and they're not right for the team. Just make the decision and remove them. Just do it like three weeks on the job. New LIKE EAC-. Yeah sorry buddy you kind of know in your got you know when you know and feel like it's easy to talk yourself out of that feeling and don't just make the decision okay. I'm going to take that advice. Still could do a better job sometimes taking advice. Thank you KIP. That was the CO founder of. Bob Barr thank you for listening has always and I hope you enjoyed the episode. My loyal listeners. Today I wanted to give you a little bit of good news If you put in podcast thirty five it's a co- that'll work on my site through the end of April and you can take advantage of some of my greatest and best items. The whole site is available to you so I know shopping might seem crazy at this time. But that's how we pay the bills. That's how we keep all of our employees employed as Durant as a business. So I definitely and always appreciate your support thank you.