Inspirational Woman: Cherry Collins | Creative Director of Grabble

Cherry Collins, Creative Director of Grabble featuredWith a degree in Surface Textiles from the London College of Fashion, Cherry began her creative career as a print designer in London, whilst contributing to the pages of InStyle and Grazia. In 2009, she joined the styling team at Selfridges’ E-Commerce department.

 After embracing the shift from traditional retailing to digital, and recognising the ability of technology to connect consumers with high fashion, she joined Net-A-Porter. Finally, with a growing passion to bring innovation to M-Commerce, she joined Grabble as Fashion Director, and is the creative force behind their new mobile shopping platform.

What inspired you to leave the corporate life and join a tech startup?

I’ve spent most of my career working for large, global companies, which gave me an incredible set of skills, for which I’m truly grateful.  I’ve always changed roles in order to learn more and I’m lucky that that’s exactly what’s happened at each stage.  When Grabble approached me, the business model really excited me and I knew I had a lot to bring.  The idea of working within a small team, where you can really make a big impact appealed to me and I’ve genuinely never looked back, I love every single day.

What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being Creative Director and Grabble’s most senior female employee?

I’m really lucky  in that I get to work with a super creative and talented group of people, our motto at Grabble is test, learn, test, learn, repeat.  We’re constantly looking to improve the content, the user experience, the customer journey, all of it, so there’s a lot to take into consideration.  Quite often there are ideas flying about and it can be difficult to manage when you’re hungry to try everything.  I feel proud to be the most senior female employee, I think there’s still an assumption that only males can and should work in the tech industry and I hope that my female colleagues feel inspired by what I’m doing and realise that it isn’t in the slightest bit true.

What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?

I think it’s good to have clear goals and check in on yourself quarterly.  Last year there were a lot of things that I wanted to achieve, it sounds corny, but I wrote a list at New Year and worked out what was achievable, what kind of time frame I was working with and what I need to commit to in order to achieve them.  It worked wonders!  And that’s exactly the way I go about organising my day, I always start with the thing on my to do list that will require the most of my time, power through it and then there’s time left to tick off other bits and pieces.

Success is obviously what we’re all always working towards, especially working in a start up, small things like getting a great app store review can drastically improve your day.  Equally though, failures are just as important and it’s important to learn from them.  It doesn’t mean you’re not doing a good job, it just means you’ve worked out that something doesn’t work, so you can tick it off and move on to another idea.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a senior member of a startup?

I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I have more experience than I thought I did.  I work with a good mix of incredible people, but talent doesn’t always mean experience.  It’s important to nurture the talent and support it, it’s not a competition like in bigger corporate companies where you have to fight to be heard.  For some of our junior members of staff, this is their first ever job, they were such good interns that we couldn’t let them go!  I’m naturally quite caring and have experienced a variety of things, consequently I’ve found myself assuming the position of a mentor too, which has been a challenge, but so incredibly rewarding.

How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?

I haven’t really had any mentoring or coaching, I’ve learnt on the job.  Each position I’ve held, I’ve been so very, very lucky to work with incredibly talented people that have inspired me to be like them.  I just hope now I’m doing them proud!

What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?

I think there’s an assumption these days that the only way you’ll find a job is by networking, but for me networking has meant building a strong group of friends and colleagues who are there to keep inspiring you, are there for advice, and they’re also there to lean on when you find yourself needing to hire, or you need some freelance help.  I’d be lost without mine!

How do you plan to  build on the success of Grabble and manage the growth of your team?

Growth is a tricky one, you have to be wary not to run before you can walk, but you also have to recognise great potential and seize opportunity when you can.  There are a lot of opportunities in the pipeline for Grabble at the moment and I’m confident that they’ll all prove to be game changing.  As a content company we’re all about creating new and inspiring stories for our users, as frequently as we possibly can.  When I’m growing my team, I’m constantly asking myself whether I’m getting the very best I can from that individual, am I utilising their talent to the fullest, I think that’s really important.

What does the future hold for you?

Who knows!  If you’d asked me that question two years ago, I wouldn’t have said a tech startup.  I genuinely believe in taking risks and trusting your gut, if it feels right, nine times out of ten it is.  Nothing you have to force is worth having.  At the moment, I’m incredibly excited about the future of Grabble, watching us grow and seeing how we evolve – it’s a truly rewarding experience and one I couldn’t feel more proud to be a part of.

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