Hours after the birth of her daughter, Divya Gugnani, CEO and Founder of Wander Beauty, was already asking her husband if he’d be okay with one more. “One more baby?!” he asked, incredulous. Her response? “No, one more company!” Said like a true serial entrepreneur.
Formerly an investment banker, she’s successfully founded four companies in three widely different sectors. And like human babies, those businesses have had their special quirks and needs, shaping her leadership style along the way. In this episode, she tells us how time and experience evolved her CEO game, what keeps her going back for more of that #startuplife, and why she runs her beauty team not unlike a sports team.
|Announcer||Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.|
|Jodi Katz||Welcome back to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™. This is your host Jodi Katz. Thanks for joining us. This episode features Divya Gugnani. She's the CEO and co-founder of Wander Beauty. Her career started well outside the beauty industry. So please take a listen. She has a fascinating story of being a serial entrepreneur and if you missed last week's episode, featured Rachel Winard, she's the founder of Soap Walla. Enjoy the shows.
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. I'm so excited to be sitting with Divya Gugnani. She's the CEO and co-founder of Wander Beauty. Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™.
|Divya Gugnani||Thank you for having me.|
|Jodi Katz||I'm so excited to finally meet you. We talked many, many months ago on the phone. I'm so glad to see you face to face too.|
|Divya Gugnani||Me too.|
|Jodi Katz||So tell me, how will you spend your time today? What's on the calendar for today?|
|Divya Gugnani||Well, I got up this morning and panicked as I usually do because we do a lot of production overseas. So I had a lot of emails, I had phone calls with suppliers at a breakfast meeting down at Soho House. My breakfast meeting, ran over by an hour or so I ended up having to go to Starbucks before I got here to catch up on more emails. I didn't have time to get to the office.
I walked here from there. I've been on the subway now a couple of times in between all the travels back and forth from there. And then I will go back to the office and I will be literally back to back in meetings till 7:00.
|Jodi Katz||You don't look like you were walking through. Today's weather is crazy, it's so humid.|
|Divya Gugnani||Does my hair not look like it walked through the [inaudible 00:01:38] and to the subway [crosstalk 00:01:41] I just took the F train to the L train to the L train to the F train to walk ten blocks. I have trained and traveled a lot.|
|Jodi Katz||You don't have this humid face of melty makeup.|
|Divya Gugnani||I don't feel hot, I don't know what is that? I just like, I'm a heat person. I don't feel the heat. I kinda love it.|
|Jodi Katz||That's great. That's awesome. So, we talked a few months ago during our pre interview and when I was going back to the notes, I compiled these questions, I really was giggling to myself because your story is so fantastic and I think that's why I love doing this show because I wouldn't know this stuff. If we didn't get to have this conversation and I want other people to know how dynamic and interesting your career has been.
And I keep seeing again and again, you're such a risk taker, right? Every single part of the journey. It's like let's just try it. Let's just try it, let's just try it. But you told me that your parents don't have a strong work ethic. So explain to me what that was like growing up and how did it influence the person that you became?
|Divya Gugnani||It's actually fascinating. So, I definitely got the risk taking for my dad though and I consciously tried to avoid it. So growing up, both my parents came here from India. My Dad actually went to school here. He studied engineering. He realized he didn't make a very good engineer. He has difficulty setting an alarm clock, which I do for him. And he just, it was happenstance. My Dad had a job in the 70s, he worked for the government as an engineer.
He got laid off because the administration changed and he was in Springfield, Illinois where I was born and he got into his, he had a Chevy impala in 1979 and he drove it from Springfield, Illinois to Florida right before Christmas because he said, "Hey, I'm not going to get a job so no one's gonna hire me at this time, so I might as well just go to Florida and hang out." I mean, he just was very zen and he ended up starting his own business. One company then morphed into kind of another. He did some stuff in apparel and jewelry and he just was very ... There's some people who work very hard and some people work very smart. He was a work smart guy. He delegated a lot. He had strong people around him. He enjoyed life in excess. And just really, that was his personality.
He's very personal and I enjoyed all the finer things of life. And my mom grew up in household world, she never worked and she married my father and never worked. And so she was just very into the arts and pursuing personal hobbies. And so the way I grew up was that everyone had a lot of time and everyone got to pursue what they wanted to pursue. So if my mom was taking Japanese painting and pottery classes and playing tennis and my dad was casino waiting and hanging out and traveling. They lived a very relaxed life. And I just feel maybe it was something within me when I went to school, I just, I was very focused on achievement. It was never about what everyone was doing around me. It was more about what are my personal goals?
I used to always tell myself like I had a track coach in high school who said something in my head who always said, what is your personal best? And as an entrepreneur, this is a philosophy that I carried through my entire life. It is like, what is your personal best? What can you do? How far can you go? Because I know I can run the 5K, 3.1 miles in a certain time and there are people who can run it a lot faster than me and those that can run it slower. But what is my personal best? I was always striving to achieve my personal best and that just became something that throughout my career has been a common theme.
|Jodi Katz||So this will be the first time I say this in this podcast, but let's talk about the Auto Parts industry.|
|Divya Gugnani||Beauty needs out of words. So I told you this story once and I'm going to share it with everybody else. But I worked in finance. I worked at Goldman Sachs and Investment Banking. It was incredible. Loved working there. Learned a lot, worked in private equity, worked in venture capital, worked in a great firm and surrounded by very intelligent, highly motivated people feels like very inspiring. And I was dating someone who had an affinity for auto parts and had an affinity for cars and basically could tell when they were coming off of warranty and what parts they would need. And I decided to hone in on that passion that this person had and turn it into a business which I created and became, knock on wood, very thankfully, a very successful business which we then sold. So that was really exciting. It was my first experience in entrepreneurship and it's what I call toe in the water.
A lot of times people just don't want to take the leap and are like, you don't have a job and have security and have bills to pay. And you may be in different stages of life. For me, I was in a stage of life where I owned an apartment and for me it was my American dream to own a piece of New York City real estate. I worked very hard to get there. I boiled eggs for many, many dinners in order to be able to do this. And so I was not taking a risk that was gonna not be able to pay for my apartment that I now committed to. So I had this opportunity to work a full time job, work nights, work weekends and be an entrepreneur in an industry that I personally wasn't passionate about to learn the ropes and to make the mistakes and we have a lot of early success and it was a combination of the right product, the right product market fit and the right timing.
So it was incredible experience where we financially both did very well and that was very exciting. But I then said to myself, I want to do this in an industry I really love.
|Jodi Katz||So you kept your job at Goldman the whole time?|
|Divya Gugnani||I kept my job in venture capital I was working in venture capital at the time, yeah the whole time. And literally just to get home from work at 7, 7.30. I get online until 1:00 in the morning, every morning is used to work on the business. And every weekend, Saturday and Sunday mornings and sometimes at nights I used to put in six, seven hours of work into this business and we grew it and we scaled it, we hired people and it just, it was a lot, it was a lot of work, but it was during the day I had my job that I was very focused on and I enjoy tremendously working in venture, but I also tremendously enjoyed learning and being an entrepreneur, was very interesting growing process.|
|Jodi Katz||And was there any point where you're like, oh, maybe I'll quit my day job and work worth this Auto parts full time?|
|Divya Gugnani||It's so interesting. There were times where I thought about that, but I always thought this went so quickly. Started the company, it started doing very well. It started growing very rapidly and became a point within a few years that before I could even think about it. It was over. And at that point I realized, you know what, what am I going to do at night? And what am I gonna do on the weekends? I didn't know what to do with myself. And I was like I want to actually be an entrepreneur in a sector, in a space and a company that I'm really passionate about what I'm doing. I'm solving a problem in someone's life. I'm doing something that moves the needle for me and moves the needle for others.
This is something I fell into. I wanted to kind of create my own destiny, which led me to starting Behind The Burner. And that was the media company that I ran that was tips, tricks and techniques for food, wine, mixology, nutrition. We were syndicated on NBC and the [inaudible 00:08:47]. So I had the opportunity to kind of do weekend TV in the morning, Saturday, Sunday mornings, have this show, and I realized super quickly this entrepreneurship thing, it's not always a rocket ship. So while my first company was this rocket ship of success and it was fast growing, fast moving, everything was going in the right direction. Growing, growing, growing, I was like then I started a company in the space I was super excited about because I had gone to culinary school between undergraduate and graduate school. And I love to cook and I'm so passionate about food and it was based on sponsorship revenue and you had these sponsors who would come in and write big checks and you'd be so excited.
And then they wouldn't come and the phone wouldn't ring for months and then you just, it was painful. It was just the painful experience of being an entrepreneur where there maybe I would actually characterize it as too early for its time and the product market fit wasn't there and the scalable revenue model wasn't there. And I learned a lot from this. It was very humbling experience. I feel like everyone needs to have a few of those to really ground themselves and what is success and how to be when you're a successful. One of the things that I feel so strongly about in my career, if I just look at that company growing and selling my other company that I sold to QVC growing and selling. And then like your attitude when you have nothing is like great, but it's all about your attitude when you have everything, that is what's so defining, but you have to have nothing first to really understand what the attitude should be.
|Jodi Katz||So when you started the culinary business is that when you said goodbye to your full time job?|
|Divya Gugnani||Yes, and it was very scary.|
|Jodi Katz||I mean you had the best of both worlds for so many years, obviously I'm sure it was exhausting and taxing, but you had a steady paycheck. And then you had another steady paycheck and you ultimately sold the Auto Parts business and it sounds like-|
|Divya Gugnani||So I could afford to basically live off savings and pursue my dream. And I recommend that, so many people say to me, "How much money do I need to start a company?" This is the top five questions that I get all the time. And I'm like, well it depends on the company, what the capital needs are and what the infrastructure is and whether you're planning on paying yourself or not and how much money you have in your reserves and how much you can kind of dig into and always have a contingency plan because let me tell you something about entrepreneurship.
It never goes as quickly as you expect it to and it never cost as much money as you thought it would. It's always more and it always takes longer typically. My Auto Parts example, it was not the case. But nine out of 10 times it takes you more money than you think and it takes longer than you think.
|Jodi Katz||So I can imagine that if I had the glove, major success in an industry that I didn't even care about and was a second job/side hustle, if I came to the position where I've already quit my job and I started a company and I'm burning through cash because I'm actually not getting the revenue that I expected, I would be really scared.|
|Jodi Katz||Were you?|
|Divya Gugnani||100%. Like anyone would be and the scariness and the stress and the stress of going back to personal best. Is this my personal best? Is this my career defining moment of who I am as an entrepreneur? I was a super successful entrepreneur and now I'm one that's outwardly successful. There was this whole American Express ad campaign that was going on for my business-|
|Jodi Katz||Oh really?|
|Divya Gugnani||... And it was growing. It was an international ad campaign. I did a TV commercial. I did a radio [crosstalk 00:12:24]|
|Jodi Katz||So you were one of those entrepreneurs like, "Hey, I did this with American Express."|
|Jodi Katz||That was so awesome.|
|Divya Gugnani||I was. I'll show you the ads because you'll get a kick out of it. But it was just this ... It was doing well and it was growing and we did get millions of dollars revenue. I'm not saying we didn't, but it just wasn't, it never got big, it never scaled, it never got big. And for me it was all about personal best, is this my personal best? And I knew it wasn't so I said, you know what, let me take the money I have here. This is not growing at the trajectory I would like it to go at and let me rewrite the narrative for myself as an entrepreneur. [crosstalk 00:12:59] go back to what it makes-|
|Jodi Katz||And did you have employees at that time?|
|Divya Gugnani||Yes I did.|
|Jodi Katz||So you had to lay off your employees?|
|Divya Gugnani||I did not. So what I did is I took the money and the people that I had and I said, "Hey, I want to make another go at this because God knows I've reinvented myself." And I said, "I used to have a career in finance and I used to have a finance type budget to go shopping and now I'm an entrepreneur and I'm an entrepreneur tech budget which is nonexistent for shopping and now I'm going to start a fashion accessories company and beauty subscription for women who are basically wanna update their look on a budget." And that was my concept and that's what we did with some of the trend when we launched it and that was what it was about.|
|Jodi Katz||What year was Send the Trend launched?|
|Divya Gugnani||Send the Trend was in 2010.|
|Jodi Katz||Send the trend.|
|Divya Gugnani||Send the trend. Yeah. It was in 2010 and it was subscription and we grew very rapidly and we had a flat price subscription. You could pick items and get them sent to you. A lot of women are very comfortable wearing last season's dress or last season staples and they just want to update their look on a budget with accessories. And the thing about accessories which was so exciting for me was size agnostic. You could be one size and you could be another size and it still fit, which is like having had two kids and being every jean size on the planet. It's nice to just not have to worry about size when you're shopping online. Conversion rates are very high. We built a proprietary algorithm on intelligent shopping recommendations, which was really exciting.
I had a really incredible tech team that kind of built out the vision of what we wanted to do in terms of making it intelligent shopping experience. And that was one of the key reasons we got acquired by QVC. And that was another chapter of my life.
|Jodi Katz||So how long did you have the business before QBC acquired deal?|
|Divya Gugnani||So 2010 is when we launched and 2012 is when we sold.|
|Jodi Katz||That's insane.|
|Divya Gugnani||And 2011 we raised money. So we raised three million dollars on March 2011 and February 2012, 11 months later we sold the company for amazing return.|
|Jodi Katz||So once again, a rocket ship.|
|Divya Gugnani||Rocket ship, rocket ship, personal best.|
|Jodi Katz||So what do you think was the big difference in your mindset between Send the Trend versus a culinary?|
|Divya Gugnani||I think I had equal passion for the industry. I think my passion was there. I think that it was just experience. I had experience, I knew the product market fit matters that you can be in a large market, but you have to know what service or goods you're offering that are actually going to have retention. Have high replenishment, how to scale. I think the biggest piece that was missing for me in Behind The Burner was I didn't know how to scale the business. How do you scale me and how do you scale media and how do you scale advertising. It was just tough. And when you have eCommerce scaling, once it starts working is the easy part. Early days later on it becomes much harder. But that was it. Once it starts working, it just starts ticking.|
|Jodi Katz||Why do you think QVC was so interested so early on in the business?|
|Divya Gugnani||A lot of reasons. I think that they were excited about the space. I think they were excited about the technology. I think they were excited about kind of having me leave innovative efforts for them. So it was a combination of a few things. But I was there for two and a half years, I believe pretty much.|
|Jodi Katz||So is it unusual for a brand to be acquired and then the founder becomes part of the founding, I mean the buying company's team outside of the brand?|
|Divya Gugnani||So it always depends on the deal, every deal is so different. So a lot of founders sell their business and walk away and live on an island and enjoy their fabulous life. And then some people really want to work. And I was one of those, I was like, I'm not ready to throw in my hat, and there was so much I wanted to do with them. There was so much I had aspirations to do with them.
I did a lot of that while I was there and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was at a different scale than I had ever experienced in my career. So teams were much larger, budgets were much larger. It was exciting. I'm not saying it wasn't, it just there was a lot that we did that I'm excited about on digital space when I was doing digital innovation at QVC. But ultimately I am really passionate about startups. I love the early days. I love the pain, I love the creation process, the incubation process. I'm huge into product. I don't know if you, kind of, we talked about this briefly, but I love in the beauty space, I love product to have format. I'm just, I'm a hoarder and I just try everything and test everything. And it's just such a huge part of what I do at the brand and the business that I just engage in that in such a meaningful way.
And I felt a little removed from there when I was at QVC, I felt removed from the creation process of actual product. It was I was leading the way and doing really exciting things on the digital side and growing like the email newsletter or we built a new magazine that was all digital only, we did a lot of exciting stuff, but I love tangible stuff. I love product and I just think that I got removed from that and my passion really is starting something from scratch from a personal pain point and that's how we started Wander Beauty.
|Jodi Katz||So when you were thinking of leaving QVC did you make a pros and cons list. Was it a hard decision to make or?|
|Divya Gugnani||No. It was just gut. It was just my husband telling me that I was crazy and me telling him give me one more chance. It was just, I had my daughter was in the hospital and I said one more and he looks at me and he's like," One more kid?" "Yeah, with another husband." "Because that's it for me." I was like, "No." I was like, "One more company, just one more." I was like, "I just, I feel it." I spent so much time at QVC in the beauty business. I saw tremendous growth in beauty, I saw astronomical success for certain founders that were very passionate, had really strong product innovation and I knew that there was an opportunity for someone to really cater to a market that wasn't spoken to. And to me it was women over 30. It was time-starved women on the go. It was professional women, moms, professional moms.
It was this huge segment of the market that was just not spoken to. I looked at the market and I said, there's so many artistry brands that are telling you, you need to cut crease and you needed the 20 step [inaudible 00:19:21] and that's awesome. That's great. It's just not me on an everyday basis. And then there's a lot of millennials brands that are just very minimalistic. You don't have issues with your skin, you don't have issues with your complexion and you're just kind of basic and that's great. That's awesome too, but when you're over 30 you start really caring about your skin. You should have cared about it before, but it's okay. We catch up in our 30s and realize like everything you put on your skin and your body should be good for you and it should work with your skin and your body and your hair and your nails and your lashes and not against it.
And there was that missing space. And clean beauty was something that I was so passionate and excited about and there was a lot happening in that space, early murmurs. And then there was just women, professional women. Our lives have changed. We're on the move all the time. And as a mom and going through pregnancy, I realized also ingredients matter. So that no, no list is important to me. I now read labels and care about stuff because I know what I should be putting on my body and what I should not. And I also don't have time. I'm now moving around for work and I told you I was going to take the subway every morning to work and I would put my iPhone camera on and I'd be like padding skincare on and putting under eye concealer on and I'm like, there needs to be a better way.
There needs to be a brand that speaks to women like me who are time starved and on the go. And when I met my co-founder, Lindsay Ellingson, we realized after surveying 100 women there really a huge appetite for this and it's kind of why we started Wander Beauty.
|Jodi Katz||So I just want to go back to the hospital room after you had your daughter, why in that moment did you decide to focus on entrepreneurialism again, what was it about that moment of pregnancy's over a child in your arms, now we're going to do something new?|
|Divya Gugnani||I just, I think that I love to learn and I'm wildly passionate about growing on a personal journey and I felt I was learning at QVC and it was learning a lot about the beauty industry, but that rapid pace of learning that happens when you're actually operating a business, I missed that. I craved that. I missed that day to day engaging with the team. From the minute you get to work and the minute you leave, you've actually created something. You've built something. You launched a new release. You've had a new feature, you've launched new product. You've come up with a new idea that's going to change the directory of the company. Those aha moments were so few and far between with a larger team when the bigger budgets and a lot of processes involved. I wanted to come back and peel back the onion and go back to the basics of what excited me every day. I kind of miss that huge spark and enthusiasm of startup life.|
|Jodi Katz||So that energy is what's so exciting about the beauty industry now, right? All these independent brands growing the way they want to do it, not even paying attention to the rules of yesterday and at events, I hear a lot of CEOs of large corporations longing to bring that entrepreneurial spirit into their organizations. Can they even do that?|
|Divya Gugnani||They can. It's just so interesting, but how you approach it, if you try and acclimate startup culture to corporate culture, I don't think there's a real success path there. When you value the entrepreneurial team for who they are and what they are and allow them to operate in those confines and operate in that mode and then the way they need to operate. That's where I've seen success, so I've seen a lot of beauty brands have acquired companies and allow them to be independently run, have independent autonomy around decision making to take a budget and run with it and make their own decisions.
I love that and I think that that is the most successful way to be an entrepreneur within a larger conglomerate. I think that when you try and acclimate the culture and acclimate the policies and acclimate the processes, that's where you just, you're not going to get the .... you're not going to attract the same talent because the talent that wants the comfortable corporate job and wants to manage the big team is not the same talent as a person who wants to execute and get something done that day and wants to do something that's gonna turn the whole business upside down.
|Jodi Katz||I was talking to a friend-|
|Divya Gugnani||And take those risks.|
|Jodi Katz||... Who's been very established in the industry for a long time and she's thinking of going to a startup and I said, just so you know, all those things you were able to do at X, Y, and z brand, pay for this special service, onboard some sort of tool. Get the support for that. There's no money there for that. So all your things that were able to do at this big corporate organization because you can just, make a payment there and make a payment there, you get none of that. That's how different the job is. It doesn't even matter that you know that it will work. It's not an option when there's no budget for it.|
|Divya Gugnani||You need to be a doer and you need to be crafting and you need to be smart and you need to find ways to do it better, faster, cheaper and having done it four times, I now feel like I have bred a whole group of people on my team to really, who get it, who've been with me since the early days of Wander Beauty, who understand the fewer, better beauty, essential is their mission in life.
And how can they bring that to life every day with what they do and do it in a way that it's like brand right for us. We are affordable luxury. Our space when you come in signals affordable luxury, it's not fancy, it's clean, it's neat, it's put together and it's got that sense of style, but at the same time it's affordable luxury. It's the everyday woman who is like, "You know what? I work, I work hard for this money every single day that comes from this paycheck and I care about how I spend it and I'm not going to blow it on something super luxurious. And I'm also not going to buy junk that is like, doesn't signal the quality of what I'm doing in my life and my career." Your beauty products should mirror what you're doing in your life and the quality that you care about with your food.
Are you eating organic? Are you buying the stuff that's grass fed and do you care about that stuff? And you should care about what you're putting on your face and your body.
|Jodi Katz||Right. So now, it makes me think of this, you said this is the fourth business that makes you think of like, after you have a bunch of kids, it's so much easier, you don't do the same thing to do the first time around you project completely different-|
|Divya Gugnani||Oh it's so much harder.|
|Jodi Katz||So with the fourth business. What's the biggest difference between your mindset now versus business number one?|
|Divya Gugnani||So I think that having had two children and having had every disaster that could happen personally and professionally happen to me at this point in my life, I've just like, I'm so zen like it's just my attitude is like, you literally have to burn the house down for me to get worked up about something at this point because I've seen it all.
I've done it all. I've been through a lot of pain. I've been through a lot of anguish, I've had a lot of difficulties. I had a child born with a lot of health issues, so I've kind of seen a lot of struggle and pain and difficulty. And so I appreciate that. I think that has shaped who I am today. I'm not saying it's good or it's bad, I just think that allows me a lot of perspective. So whereas they used to get very rattled about every little thing that will go wrong and be so controlling about this and that. And I wanted it perfect and I want it this way.
I have now changed my philosophy and evolved as a leader and evolved as a CEO. I feel now I'm way more into empowering hiring really amazing people on the team to make the pie bigger, to move the ball forward and giving them the autonomy to then go do that, but really feeling very focused on, this is the culture that we are in terms of a company and a business and that is very much my ethos of like, we are a community. We're a team culture. You throw the garbage out when you leave the office, you turn off the air conditioning. No job is too little. No job is too big. It doesn't matter how much we're doing in sales. We're a community. We have a kitchen together, clean the fridge, don't leave your stinky food in there and do you do that at home? Because don't do that in my office.
Just so much of this is just engaging in we are a community for our team and I run the organization in a very different way than I used to think about things. So in my early days of being entrepreneur, I was all on this concept of family, family, family, my team was my family, I spent the most amount of time with them, I've worked with them all the time and we were so closely knit on many levels and that became really difficult as you scale and you get bigger because you hire different people with different talent levels and it intermediate to maybe from some of the early people that you had and then they feel slighted and other people get demotivated as the organization gets bigger.
So there's a lot of complications. Now the philosophy at Wander beauty is we run the business as like a professional sports team. You are as good as you're as strong as your weakest link. And so we're all there together to win and it is this focus on personal best. It's what can you do to move everything forward and to really build and to create and to innovate. And so are you focused on your personal best? It's not a measure of this one versus the other and being competitive with each other. It's actually, what is the best thing you can do for us collectively to get us ahead? And so everyone is so focused on that camaraderie and also it's so results driven and that's good. I think that keeps everyone honest and focused and really engaged. And I think we all do have great personal relationships and we do have a lot of overlap and a lot of that, but it's different.
It's different than how I was when I was in my 20s and I was running a company and when I was in my early 30s and I was running a company, now that I'm a little older, the maturity is there. The mentality of how to deal with crises is there, things go wrong all the time, all the time, that is startup life, #startuplife, things go wrong all the time. And so the way we deal with them is just so different now than the younger me was.
|Jodi Katz||How many people are in the team?|
|Divya Gugnani||That's an interesting question. We literally keep hiring people every single week. So I think I would say our core team and core executive team is pretty small and pretty tight. But we've grown our kind of freelance and junior team, pretty strong, kind of in the 20 range.|
|Jodi Katz||Wow, that's great. So my last question for you on this topic is you just told me you sort of feel like you've been through everything in life, the hard and the good and the struggle and the happy. Getting the sense that you're a very compassionate person. How does that compassion play out when you have employees who are maybe struggling with something that's nothing to do with work?|
|Divya Gugnani||Yeah. It's so interesting. So for many years of my life it became my life. It just became like, oh, this one is, having their real issues or are relationship issues and I felt so much that I'm like I'm their mentor and I am their older sister or mother or type role. And I feel like I got so engaged in some of that along the years of my career. Some to my detriment, and some to my benefit and I think it actually built a lot of loyalty because I've had a lot of people over a lot of years, which I think has been incredible. I care, I'm just going to just throw it out there.
I do. I'm very different than a lot of CEOs go to work every day and they work with their team and they move on and they don't care and they care about the business and they care about the numbers and they care about, getting ahead and they don't care about the people. And I actually think the people is the most important thing. So I actually do think the people are the single biggest, most important asset. Forget the brand, forget about Wander Beauty, the reason the brand has grown so much is because the people who sit in that room every day at work and it's all one room are doing it. They're making it happen. It is ultimately the people. I care a lot. I try and separate what is work and one is personal on a certain regard.
But I think that owning the fact that the people is the most important asset and setting people up for success in their personal life allows them to do amazing in their professional life. So there are every single person comes with a different set of circumstances, a different set of family issues. Maybe a sick parent, maybe a sick child, maybe financial strain at home. And I have realized that me as a person realizing to work around that, it's setting people up in a way where they can minimize the stress that they have at home and maximize the productive time at home, makes them do better in life and makes them a better contributor to our business.
|Jodi Katz||Cool. Thank you for sharing that.|
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