Each month we feature a woman in business who personifies what it means to be a Business Betty- she is confident, smart, stylish and successful. Do you know a woman that you consider a Betty? Tell us about her by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re excited today to introduce you to gift giving maven Sara Rodell, Founder of Loop & Tie.
Loop & Tie helps people and companies build connections through personalized gifting. Instead of having to pick out a specific gift, gifters send a collection of choices and recipients pick out their favorite item. Their engagement platform offers transparency that’s not available in any other gifting service. Loop & Tie even offers real time data on what your recipients pick, their thank you notes and your monthly budget, making Loop & Tie the most organized and convenient way to gift.
Q & A
How did you come up with the concept for Loop and Tie?/ What made you get into corporate gifts?
I couldn’t believe how challenging it was to send client gifts! I volunteered to help my colleagues pick out their client gifts, it took so much time and we ended up sending the same generic gift basket everyone that everyone sends. We spent so much money and I felt like our gifts were more symbolic than they were meaningful. I set out to design a gifting experience that felt special, saved time and helped people actually connect with one another.
I decided to focus on corporate gifting because I saw an interesting mismatch. Businesses spend money on gifts because they want you to like their brand and continue to do business with them. But generic gifts don’t build connections…and that’s what most businesses do! I saw an an opportunity to help businesses up their game.
What do you enjoy most about being the boss?
I think there’s this big fallacy that when you start a company, or you’re the boss, you work for yourself. I work for the friends and family who backed me, the mentors who have coached me and our team of amazing employees who are on the same mission. And it’s way better than working for just myself!
From a leadership perspective, I’m grateful for the opportunity to create a work culture that both serves our employees and delivers results for our shareholders. As a boss, my goal is to create an environment where people are their happiest selves. Not only does it feel good to be a part of an environment like that, but happy people deliver inspired work.
Your team is made up of mostly remote workers. What challenges does that present? What are the advantages?
We’ve embraced a remote work culture because it goes hand in hand with our values. One of the biggest annoyances I had when I held a corporate job was how inefficient my time was being used. There were days where I didn’t need to be sitting at a desk and commuting detracted from my productivity. With a remote culture employees have less stress and more control over their time.
I think the industrial mindset that work must be done 9-5 at a desk is dated and confining! By relying on Google Hangouts, Screenhero, Slack, and a host of other tools, we’re always in touch and can better balance life and work needs.
Remote work certainly presents some challenges. We’re aware there’s a risk of missing out on the random ideas you talk about in a hallway or at drinks after work. We addresses this through scheduling time to hangout together and just talk…both online and in person. We also hire people who are comfortable with this kind of setup. Each member of our team is driven by our mission and they don’t need to be at a desk to make sure they’re working!
What is your strategy for selecting the gifts you offer?
We spend time sourcing gifts that have some element of novelty to them which makes them exciting and memorable to receive. The question that we get the most is “Will sending a choice of gifts still feel personal and special?” People get very worried that not picking out a specific gift removes an important step in gifting and we totally disagree! When people talk about personalization, what they really mean is “will my gift recipient love this gift? Will they use it often? Will it be memorable to them?”
We curate gifts that deliver this kind of response. We love supporting new makers whose passion is evident in their work. And we also source gifts from established brands and items whose style has stood the test of time. So there aren’t really hard and fast rules around how we curate! We source gifts that we would be excited to receive and give to our friends and family.
What do you wish you knew when you started Loop & Tie?
When I started I didn’t realize I was running a marathon, so I was at a sprint pace. That doesn’t work forever! Over time I learned how to better pace and take care of myself. I also learned how to become less emotional about the ups and downs. I now realize that’s always changing and a part of the experience.
Excluding a smart phone, what’s your favorite app or piece of tech that is essential to your business?
My inbox (and stress level) would be way worse without Slack. It cuts down on my clutter and helps me stay in contact with my team.
What or who inspires you?
Two things come to mind…my team and other people I meet who are on a mission to build something they’re passionate about. I see the level of commitment and strength our team exhibits through good times and bad and I’m inspired to become the best version of myself so that together we can achieve what we set out to achieve. When I meet other creators I’m always motivated by their commitment and creativity. I’m inspired to earn my seat at the table with dreamers who are also doers.
What’s the last good, inspirational/motivational/thought provoking/game changing book you read?
I recently read “The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty” by Amanda Filipacchi. It was a fun combination of a beach read that could make you think. It was easy to get lost in the story and relate with the superficial classifications they explore.
What is your mantra or theme song?
One of my favorite quotes is by Leonard Cohen: “Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.”
What do you do when you’re having a bad day?
I recently did a group meditation and picked up a trick I’m going to try on my next bad day…We were trying to channel gratitude and in order to do that, I pictured my friends and family’s faces when they’re laughing really hard. It was an easy pick me up!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the AM and Tea in the afternoon.
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl.
Favorite Netflix or Web Series? Old movies.