SARIKA DOSHI // RANK & STYLE
Rank & Style is a new technology-driven fashion and beauty website. It simplifies shopping by bringing users unbiased, data-driven top ten lists of the best fashion and beauty products. The top ten lists are created utilizing an algorithm that methodically researches and aggregates data from the stores, fashion blogs and style magazines our users trust. Each list captures the top ten items within a defined category (e.g., skinny jeans, ankle boots, lip glosses) to help users find the best products based on their popularity, quality, value, trendiness and “buzz” factor. Essentially, like a (trendy) Consumer Reports and BuzzFeed for fashion and beauty.
What does a typical day look like for you?
What I love most about Rank & Style is that no two days are the same. Generally each day takes me in a direction I can never quite predict. That said, I kick off each day with hot yoga at Moksha, spend an hour reading through the day’s fashion and style news on WWD, Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, InStyle, confirm our content is good to go for the day and then tackle my to-do list which is generally a mix of business development, editorial brainstorming and ‘keep the business running’ type of work.
What parts of your work do you love?
Despite this being the hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally, I feel very fortunate because I truly love what I do! I feel so passionate about our idea, mission and product that for me, meeting with partners, investors, bloggers and brands to find fun and interesting ways to work together are all things I really enjoy. I also love the creative aspect of what I do—while our rankings are all driven by data and the algorithm, one of my most important (and fun!) tasks is determining what product categories to rank – based on what is currently buzzing, popular and highly coveted by our audience. This requires obsessively reading magazines and blogs, which is a guilty pleasure that I now get to call work!
What parts of your work do you dislike?
Being the type of person who has trouble “shutting off”, I think perhaps the fact that it is never-ending! I am always striving to strike that perfect balance between running a successful business and having some personal time for myself. One day I will get there! Oh, and I miss vacations…
What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of R&S?
We came up with the idea for Rank & Style when my two co-founders and I were “trapped” in my apartment together seeking shelter from Hurricane Irene. The three of us, while different in many ways, have some quirky similarities – we all drink English Breakfast tea obsessively, tend to order tacos for lunch most days and require hot sauce with every meal.
What type of calendar do you keep?
A detailed, somewhat obsessive one! I live by lists (not surprising!) and so my calendar is where all of my to-dos, appointments, daily goals (practical, professional, mental and aspirational) are captured. For me, my calendar is the best way to get sources of stress out of my head, ideas down on paper, and be reminded of all the things I have to look forward to in the coming days and weeks!
How do you plan out your calendar?
When we first launched Rank & Style, we ran the business like there were 48 hours in a day and never said no to an opportunity. We took every meeting and ran around all over town spreading the word, making connections and building our reputations in an industry completely new to us. While we haven’t veered too far from that initial approach, I’ve forced some structure to my days by marking off time each day for emailing, brainstorming and catching up with my partners. I also carve out time for two of my favorite things in life—eating (and cooking, anything related to food really), and working out. Mandatory down time, making sure I still make time for the things that I love, and setting aside a few hours each day for quiet thinking has made a world of difference both in terms of productivity and sanity!
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
Very systematically! My list can get long, partly because there is always a lot to do but partly because I also write every task down, no matter how big or small. A few rules I live by when it comes to to-dos and lists:
- I use the same one notebook always. Multiple pads and post-its add to my sense of chaos and stress so keeping one notebook to capture everything is really helpful. This notebook comes with me everywhere which means I never worry about forgetting a burst of inspiration or lose sleep over tasks that come to mind while I’m out, in a meeting or before bed.
- At the start of each week, on Monday morning I spend thirty minutes mapping out my week relative to my to-do list and assign tasks by the day keeping in mind deadlines, bandwidth and priorities. Doing this really helps me feel focus, prioritize and feel less overwhelmed about the week ahead. It all feels very feasible once I plan out how I will get it all done.
How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?
One of my professional strengths is that I read and process quickly, and like to make quick decisions, so I tend to tackle each email head on so I don’t waste time overthinking or dwelling on things which has its upside and downside. Obviously there are emails take require more time and thoughts, and I have a good system of organizing those and making sure to reply when I can. I really try not to let my inbox run my life by responding only when I am ‘on’ and fully engaged rather than replying constantly, especially when I am on the go or in meetings. However, I am a strong believer in quick response time whenever possible—so I never let an email go unanswered for more than a couple days. Every Sunday, I go through emails received in the last week to confirm everything has been read, replied to and organized in a folder just to make sure nothing gets missed!
How do you GSD at home (decorating, cleaning, relationships, etc.)?
Have I mentioned that lists make my world go around? I am a very visual person so documenting everything from when bills need to get paid, when I am seeing friends for dinner and what groceries I need to pick up find their way onto my calendar and list.
I also find if you keep up with your to-dos everyday, whether it’s the fun stuff (catching up with friends) or the less fun stuff (cleaning), it actually makes life a lot more fun! I read the Happiness Project a few years ago and truly follow the advice about taking the time to do the things that make you really happy, whether it’s taking five minutes to make your bed, to meditate or to sit down and enjoy a proper breakfast.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
- Passion fuels persistence, productivity and ultimately success so make sure you feel real, tangible passion for what you do every day.
- It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed when it comes to professional meetings (and life in general!).
- Drinks tons of water, always.
- You’ll never regret acting and looking classy.
- Passion is contagious. Be and keep passionate company!
- Humility never goes out fashion.
PROGRAMS & TECHNOLOGY
- Google for everything: mail, calendar, docs, drive.
- Evernote for capturing thoughts and working on the go.
- Dropbox for storing and sharing large documents
GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSD and @megbiram.