Shannon Snow couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she made it.
A Google executive by day and a fashion entrepreneur by night, Shannon is giving hard-working women, and herself, what they want: beautiful, functional activewear for work and play. Shannon’s dresses easily transition from the boardroom to a night out, and feature hidden pockets for phones and built-in bike shorts.
Describe a day in your life.
On-the-go! I travel a lot for business and pleasure, but no matter where I am I wake up at 6 and do a half hour of yoga to get centered. Weekdays I’ll feed my coffee addiction, work through my personal to-do list, then make phone calls while I walk to work. Once I’m there, my day is filled with meetings — I’m lucky if I’m able to sneak in a quick workout at lunch. After work I’ll head straight to happy hour, dinner with family and friends, or to hop the next flight.
Tell us about your dress line, Shannon Snow. How was the idea for the line born? How did you decide to turn that idea into your own company?
Like me, most women I know are stretched in many directions balancing work and personal life. So I started to think about clothing that could help women transition seamlessly across all aspects of life. Beautiful, comfortable dresses that could take you from commuting, to business meetings, to happy hour AND have basic functionality like phone pockets. When I saw how much the idea resonated with others, I began to build the brand with the goal of helping women succeed by creating clothing that is as functional as it is professional.
Who or what do you look to for fashion inspiration?
I am a huge fan of Diane Von Furstenberg, whose brand broke critical ground designing clothes for the modern woman. Years ago I met her after a talk she gave at Google, and I was struck by her vision, perseverance and humility in telling her story. I’m also inspired by Stella McCartney, especially her collaboration with adidas to create fashionable clothing that has has utility.
Describe your work outside of Shannon Snow. Tell us about your experiences at Google.
At Google, I partner with schools and educational technology companies to help them succeed online. My day could include advising a startup on how to make their educational app more engaging, coaching a school on how to reach students with YouTube, or speaking at an event on how technology is changing the student experience.
You are one of the Bay Area’s leaders in education, specifically Ed-Tech. Tell us about some of your goals in the education space.
My goal is to enable everyone to have access to the world’s best education. It used to be that the best education could only be had by few. With expanding global internet access and investment in online educational tools like Khan Academy and Coursera, we have the opportunity to give everyone the building blocks to succeed. But there is a lot of work to do. One area I am passionate about is ensuring that we continue to help girls pursue science and technology, which is why a portion of every Shannon Snow dress sold goes to support this.
What are 3 pieces of advice you’d give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
1. Your perspective as a woman is an opportunity. Women make up about 51% of the US population, but open only about 40% of new businesses each year. If you can find a problem that women uniquely feel, it could be that not as many businesses are addressing that problem. Women founded companies like Rent The Runway and Thinx are great examples of turning challenges felt by women into successful businesses, and could be one inspiration for thinking about what problems you might want to solve.
2. Time is the only thing you can’t get back. Whether you are a founder, or just starting out in your career, you only get 24 hours a day. Value your time and spend it wisely. For me, this means making a list of the things I must do each day and doing the most important first. That way even if nothing else gets done, my priorities are in the right place and I’m making progress.
3. Starting a business is an uphill climb with many bumps along the way. Your passion is what will carry you through. Only work on projects you believe in and problems that will make a positive impact on people’s lives if solved.
What do you like about about.me?
There is a lot of conversation around work/life balance, but the reality is each of us is only one person. The more comfortable we are showcasing our whole selves, the more authentic our relationships will be at work and at home. I love that about.me helps me communicate my love for fashion and changing the world through education technology. I hope others are inspired to use about.me to share their full selves as well.
Anna Lizaur is a Marketing Manager with about.me. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Anna is fluent in Spanish and can count to 100 in Chinese.