Colleen King, Founder of Local Hem
Colleen King’s BIO
Local Hem is a fresh take on boutique shopping. They take everything you love about boutique shopping and make it accessible from anywhere in the world, 24-hours a day at http://www.localhem.com.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
1. How did the concept of Local Hem come about?
Colleen: When I was an undergrad at Georgetown the boutiques along Wisconsin Avenue had me hooked as early as orientation weekend. It wasn’t until I left D.C. for an internship that first college summer and began suffering boutique-withdrawal that my own selfish desire for the ability to shop local boutiques from anywhere sparked the idea for Local Hem. I wanted to create a place online where people could discover new boutiques they’d never be able to visit in person, rediscover boutiques they’d stumbled upon on a vacation or simply have a more convenient way to browse boutiques in their hometown. I tinkered with the project for a few years while I was in college, but never really gave it the attention it deserved. After graduating, I took a “real” job for a few years, but always knew that I wanted to come back to the idea and give it a serious “go”, which is how I ended up at MIT Sloan. While back at school I had the time and resources to give Local Hem my all.
2. Any plans to allow independent fashion designers the opportunity to sell through Local Hem?
Colleen: We’re very selective in determining which boutiques we invite to join Local Hem, which allows us to carefully control the quality of the merchandise and customer service. If this is something we think we could extend to independent designers in the future while maintaining that same level of quality, then we’d certainly consider it, but at the moment our focus is on our boutiques.
3. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.
Colleen: I’ll wake up around 7AM, check my email in bed (bad habit, I know!) and hopefully get a workout in. I give myself time between 8 and 9AM to tackle my inbox and get organized by laying out what I want to get accomplished for the day in a to-do list. The rest of the day is spent in phone meetings or knocking out those tasks on my list. I try to stop working between 5 and 6PM and take a break to make dinner and just get away from my desk for a bit. After that point it’s up in the air, when you’re the point-person it’s nearly impossible to ever “shut down” completely.
4. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or Desktop applications?
5. What are your tricks for time management?
Colleen: To-do lists are my lifeline during the workday. Since I was a kid, I’ve made one every single day; it forces me to assess what’s a need-to-do vs. what’s a nice-to-do. I highlight the items that I am most dreading for whatever reason and force myself to tackle those first, with them out of the way before lunch the rest of the day goes much more smoothly.
6. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?
Colleen: My dad, Bill McGrath, constantly tells me to “make good choices” and “do the right thing.” Totally vague advice when given in isolation, but watching him actually live it out in his years at QVC and ShopNBC has made it meaningful to me. It’s easy to pop numbers into a spreadsheet and do a cost-benefit analysis, but what’s the point if you don’t feel proud of the decisions you’re making? He reminds me to pay attention to the less obvious effects of my decision-making and to consider its impact on my colleagues, clients, customers, family, etc.
7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?
Colleen: My proudest moments are when I hear from a boutique client or a shopper how happy they are with Local Hem.
8. How do you achieve balance in your life?
Colleen: I work from home, which helps tremendously. My two dogs hang out in my office all day, which adds a lot of levity (I think every good office should have at least one resident dog).
9. Your top 3 book recommendations?
- [amazon_link id=”0316056863″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Bossypants[/amazon_link] by Tina Fey
- [amazon_link id=”0743269519″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People[/amazon_link] by Stephen Covey
- [amazon_link id=”0316346624″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference[/amazon_link] by Malcolm Gladwell
10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
Colleen: I find my service experiences most rewarding when I’m able to apply the business skills I use everyday. Most recently, it was helping an animal rescue organization setup an eBay GivingWorks account (I’ve run an eBay business on the side for many years). I love being able to put these skills to use for deserving causes.
11. Who has influenced your career the most?
Colleen: My husband, Chris. I’ve heard countless times from other entrepreneur friends and mentors that if your spouse isn’t 100% supportive then you’ll have a rough go of it, to say the least. I feel extremely lucky to have a husband who is not only supportive, but just as excited about the business as I am. He keeps me going on rough days. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s full of great ideas.
12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship
Colleen: Test the waters by starting small. Start blogging on topics related to your business idea. Talk to potential customers and anyone else who will listen about your idea. You’ll not only make great connections and potentially pick up some valuable mentors, but you’ll have a chance to immerse yourself in a low-risk way in the area you want to break into. It’s a great way to see if you feel as passionate about the idea as you initially thought; you’ll need that passion to carry you through later on.