What? Brandcrush is a marketing platform that connects brands with thousands of activation spaces.
How did the idea for your business first come about?
I had the opportunity to work in the US, the UK and Australia and across all three regions I had the same frustration - there was no easy way to find activation opportunities to put product in the right people's hands. The time and effort that goes into finding physical brand activation opportunities and the annoyance of missing out of them due to budget constraints or simply not being in the know, were key motivators for developing Brandcrush. Brandcrush is a a true marketplace solution that solves a pain point for brands and opens up a monetisation opportunity for businesses (who we call Activation Hosts). Marketers need a simple solution to find and book spaces with physical reach and Activation Hosts need a simple way to monetise their valuable foot traffic. I wanted to create a platform that could capture a new media: "Physical Reach".
When did you have a ‘f*ck-it moment’ and decide you were going to go all-in and start your business?
I didn't have one single "f*cki-it" moment - my first moment was deciding to resign from The Chia Co. A great brand and an equally great team that I adored and that gave me the opportunity to live and work in NYC. I juggled consulting as I worked up my idea and threw all my consulting earnings into Brandcrush. I then kind of got caught in this consulting comfort zone - it's easy to keep saying yes to a regular income especially when you love your clients - the second moment was giving a contract end date to my clients. I knew there was no middle ground - all in or nothing.
What were some major challenges you had when starting your business? And how did you overcome them?
It was May of this year. We had been working for months on the UX/UI and the business plan. We were about to kick off the dev work the next morning and were on a startup high. That night, I got a phone call from my sister - she said don't worry everything is going to be ok - but I knew that something was horribly wrong. My husband had had a cardiac arrest at the tennis club. He died instantly although the paramedics tried everything they could to revive him. He was only 40 years old. In an instant our world had changed. I was now a single mother to two young boys, heartbroken and not earning. I can't remember the days and weeks after his passing that clearly, it was just a fog; but what I do remember were the incredible people around me - one of them being my co-founder Matt. I remember asking him to come over one day and saying I don't know how I am going to do this but I know I don't want to do anything else. And we took each day by day.
Yes we have had business challenges along the way, including our key launch partner getting cold feet, but losing my husband remains my biggest challenge and it has given me a new perspective on those business challenges that would have, in my previous life overwhelmed me: they now seem so manageable.
I continue to work on my biggest challenge and the small ones by surrounding myself with wonderful people and remembering that I wouldn't want to do anything else.
What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
I don't think I've had it yet. Hopefully it's not too far off.
Starting a business can be gruelling - what keeps you motivated, and keeps you going?
In Sheryl Sandberg's book, Option B. she shared a quote that I later learned was originally by German poet, Nietzsche but also referenced in Holocaust survivor Victor Frankel's memoir - "Man's search for meaning" "He (she) who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how?"
To stay motivated and purposefully move forward, I focus on my why.
How do you create a work-life balance?
I've always made work part of my life and life part of my work - is that balance?
Businesses need to offer employees opportunities to weave their life and work so that they don't feel like they are comprising either.
Being able to bring my son to his 5pm soccer training and logging back on once I'm home - that's work/life balance to me.
"He (she) who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how?" Nietzsche