18 Months Later (A Polyvore Update)

It’s been a year and a half since I left Google to join Polyvore, which is about the same time that I stopped updating my blog. The last 18 months have been really crazy! But I love the startup life and I’m so glad I decided to join Polyvore.

The past few months have been especialy hectic. In August, we raised $5.6M in Series B funding. I got to participate in the fundraising process, which was pretty interesting. The funding announcement got some nice press coverage, including pieces in The New York Times, TechCrunch and VentureBeat.

We were also incredibly lucky to be profiled in The New York Times on the front page of the Business section. It was a great article that helped drive a decent amount of traffic and has led to subsequent press coverage. So far we’ve gotten coverage in WGSN, The LA Times, Min Online, and twice in Advertising Age.

Traffic-wise, we’re doing great. According to Google Analytics, we have over 4 million unique visitors per month and over 150 million monthly pageviews. According to Compete.com, we’re now larger than Style.com and InStyle.com, making us one of the largest style/fashion sites on the web. Our incredible user community continues to amaze me with how talented & creative they are. Every day I’m blown away by their artistry.

View ‘The Ridiculously Talented Polyvore Community’ on Polyvore

Our team has grown too. We’re now at 9 people and are starting to hire for more specific roles, rather than having everyone do a little bit of everything. I love our team to pieces and feel really lucky that I get to work with such a cool, talented group of people. One of my favorite engineers from Google recently joined us. Liz Xu was the tech lead for My Maps (one of the projects I PMed at Google) and I’m super excited to be working together again.

My own role at Polyvore has evolved in rather strange & unexpected ways. Although I’m supposed to be a Product Manager (or technically, VP of Product Management, but that sounds kind of silly when you only have 9 people :-), over the 18 months I’ve done everything from writing code to washing dishes to pitching VCs to hiring janitors to selling ads to finding our new office. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of just doing whatever needs to get done, which I guess is fairly typical of a small startup.

But the most unexpected part of my job so far has been my work on revenue growth, building our ad sales pipeline. When I was a PM at Google, I never touched monetization, so working on the revenue side of things has been an entirely new experience for me. At first I didn’t even know what an IO was (insertion order, a common advertising term), but over the last 6 months I refined our ad opportunities, wrote our media kit, pitched to ad agencies, responded to RFPs, negotiated deals and trafficked a bunch of campaigns. There have been plenty of times where I felt like I was in over my head and didn’t know what I was doing, but I guess those are the times when you learn the most. Polyvore has been an incredible learning experience so far.

Some interesting campaigns I’ve worked on include the Gap “Born to Fit Jeans” Challenge (which was featured in Ad Age), a Nike Womenswear campaign, and contests for Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Bloomingdale’s, James Perse, and Piperlime. And I’m particularly excited about the contest we’re doing with Lady Gaga, who I’m a big fan of.

And now I’m heading to New York for Fashion Week! How surreal is that?


#1 Steve on 09.13.09 at 9:21 am

This is good to hear. I drove by the former Polyvore offices and it looked like you guys had closed up shop. So, now I presume things are going great and you’ve moved to bigger digs. Still can’t believe you’re in MV and not in SF! Time to move to silicon alley?

#2 Joel Headley on 09.24.09 at 3:02 am

Great update, Jess. Glad you’re enjoying the work!

#3 Brad on 10.01.09 at 12:36 pm

Hey Jess, just came across your blog. I work for the city of MV (IT). Just was wondering if you guys were gonna look for web designers soon? the layout is pretty busy/hectic and it needs a designers layout/touch. I’m not someone looking for a job, just a curious cat.

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