DREAM CATCHER: SORAYA DARABI
Seeing labor rights movie Norma Rae in high school so inspired Zady Co-Founder Soraya Darabi that she stood in front of her classmates and asked them to tear the branded tags from their sweaters in solidarity with the factory workers who made them. She went on to earn a degree in Art History from Georgetown before landing at The New York Times as the Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media, positioning the paper on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and teaching its journalists how to best leverage social media. She was the project lead for online sharing site drop.io (which was ultimately acquired by Facebook) and co-founded mobile app Foodspotting, Apple and Wired Magazine’s “App of the Year” (before it was acquired by Open Table). Zady launched in August 2013 as a shopping platform and lifestyle destination for consumers who care about the origins of the items they purchase. As one of the first online retailers to seamlessly integrate commerce, content and social media while targeting conscious consumers, Zady has already been named one of “The World’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Retail” by Fast Company.
What are three words that best describe your company? Style with Substance.
I gave up ________ to pursue my dream. A job in venture capital.
The key to balancing it all is… Not trying to be perfect (which is impossible while starting a new company) and biting off one project at a time.
My biggest challenge is… Sleeping! It’s so exciting launching the brand of the future, we never want to go to sleep.
My tips for using social media are… Be authentic to the platform you are using. Take the best photos you possibly can. Stay timely. Communication is a two-way street.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… Stay humble and hungry.
The best people to work with always… Have a sense of humor!
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
What are three words that best describe you? Curious. Wanderlust. Idealistic.
When you go on vacation you always… Bring sunscreen, and a great Spotify playlist!
My favorite TV show is… Game of Thrones. Team Sansa!
My favorite singer is… Robyn. So glad she’s BACK!
My favorite movie is… I may have seen the Keira Knightly version of Pride & Prejudice 200 times. Maybe 205. No exaggeration. I love, I love, I love it.
My favorite food is… Avocado toast with sea salt and hot pepper flakes.
I am most proud of… My family, for their commitment to service.
A woman who inspires me is… Maxine Bédat, my fellow co-founder. She’s the hardest worker I know and pushes me to work harder to make our dream of establishing Zady as a household name a reality.
My favorite candy is… Juicy Fruit gum. I eat it quite a lot! It reminds me of childhood.
My favorite scent is… No scent, just lavender oil from Whole Foods.
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… A belief that with education you can go anywhere, do anything. I learned this from my grandmother, who entered Cornell with a scholarship at age 15. I’m inspired by her daily as I wear her class ring to work.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – JFK