Meredith Barnett and Cristina Miller

Partner Perfect

Cristina: “Our personalities complement each other in the friendship, and our interests and strengths complement each other in the business relationship. So we’re never going to be stepping on each other’s toes in terms of something we need to do or execute in the business. We may disagree on how we do it, and then we’ll talk.”

Pay Dirt

Meredith: “One of the opportunities we offer on the site—and really make money from—is that retailers who are featured on the site can pay us a membership fee, and they get an enhanced presence on the site. They can offer this exclusive discount to our users. They can add things to their profile page. They’ll get certain placement on the homepage.”

Strength in Numbers

Meredith: “We try to do a lot of partnerships; that’s brought us a significant amount of traffic. We also use all of the other Web sites out there that are also new and growing. Twitter is a great example. It’s something that a lot of people don’t know about yet, but it’s enormously popular in the early-adopter set.”

PR Pros and Cons

Meredith: “For us, [hiring a PR firm] has been really worthwhile. But it’s really expensive—it’s one of our biggest costs. And I don’t think it’s the right answer for everyone. It is really easy to get sold; there are so many agencies. You really have to do your research and make sure it’s the right thing for you to do before you retain a firm. But we looked for months, and we totally feel like we made the right decision.”

Trend Reader

Christina: “A significant part of my job is keeping an eye on what’s going on in the marketplace and deciding how we’re going to react to it—in other words, looking at our competitors. I always have my eye there.”

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Meredith: “The blog is something that wasn’t in the business plan. We sort of hadn’t realized that blogging was going to be so huge, and that you have to have something happening on the site. We update our blog multiple times per day.”

Coming Attractions

Christina: “Video, in general, is a huge trend. It’s kind of the wave of the future online, blurring the line between the polished photo shoot of an item on a Web site, and showing behind-the-scenes coverage of the photo shoot. That’s already happening on some Web sites. People don’t want to see the finished product with the model. They want to see everyone running around behind the scenes, with the camera and the makeup and the more realistic picture.”

A Web Site With Arms and Legs

Meredith: “It’s critical now that a Web site have arms and legs beyond the Web property itself, so we do that through other Web sites. We also take it into the real world by having postcards in our stores on their checkout counters. We hold events in the real world. We’re sort of trying everything at once, and we’ll see what the sweet spots are.”

This Featured Lady was profiled by Sarah Tomlinson, a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

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