Inspirational Woman: Vanessa Jacobs | Founder & CEO, The Restory

Vanessa JacobsVanessa Jacobs is founder & CEO of The Restory, the world’s first aftercare platform.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m a native New Yorker but moved to London 16 years ago when my then, Swedish fiancé (now husband) got an opportunity to come start a company here. In New York I was a financial analyst at an investment bank and when I came to London I spent the first 8 years as a management consultant with Accenture before starting The Restory. I’m the oldest of five children, I’m mother to two boys, I’ve recently become a British citizen and I consider myself Swedish by marriage.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I tried. So many times. I’d get so far and then I’d wind up on a different path.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily, especially when you are young, because there is wisdom in those choices. Eventually they add to something cohesive.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

We were probably a little too early to market and we just happened to stay alive long enough to catch the sustainability wave at the right time. It was very hard to keep the company funded in the early days. I’ve also learned a lot about leadership along the way. I’m nowhere near the end of that journey.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Personally of course, it’s my family. Professionally it is of course The Restory reaching seven figures. I remember day dreaming about when we would make £10K/month and thinking that was a million miles away.  It’s usually at the Christmas party when I see everyone together in one place that I get overwhelmed.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Tenacity and the ability to see the big picture (and not sweat the small stuff too much). I also have a masochistic work ethic and a high pain threshold (emotionally).

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

If I think I connect with someone and I have something to offer, I will try and provide whatever help I can. At Accenture we had formal mentors, and we had to formally mentee. It’s always mutually beneficial to step outside your own narrow world and try to guide someone else through it effectively.  It makes you see things more clearly. However, I always found the organic ones to be the most useful.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

To accelerate the pace of change for gender, I would mandate that men take a big slug of paternity leave, similar to the Scandinavian model.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Fake it until you make it. Everyone is faking it anyway and if you fake it long enough it will become true. So just choose that avatar of yourself you want to be and live into it.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Our ambition is to scale The Restory to power the world’s largest fashion brands.

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