Five things Cindy loves, now and for Fall:
1. Must-have for Fall: A new pair of nude shoes (surprise!) I’ve been eyeing these Louboutin calfskin boots, but running a startup means I may have to compromise on something a bit less spendy. We’ll see!
2. Coveting: Donna Karan Cashmere Poncho. I love the lines of it and how the fabric hangs so beautifully.
3. Using every day: Jimmy Choo Red Patent Ubai Clutch
4. Best grab-and-go item: France Luxe Ultra Comfort Headband. For the days when I need to focus and keep my hair out of the way, but still want to look stylish. It goes with everything and doesn’t give me headband headache. They are also a female-run Washington company and were one of our first brand partners, so it’s nice to support the sisterhood.
5. Unexpected Treasure: My youngest daughter bought me a very glitzy costume and she gets so excited when I wear it. She’s such a Fashionista at three, one of her favorite things is to critique my outfits when it’s date night with her father.
Interview with Cindy Engstrom, founder and CEO of Is That Odd, Inc
1. Tell me how and when everything started.
I founded Is That Odd, Inc. in 2009 after putting careful thought into how I could capture the way women socialize and move it to an on-line environment, and also reward them for their role in the advertising value chain. My background is in marketing and technology, and Is That Odd, Inc.is the perfect blending of those worlds. My first “aha” moment was as observed that the female audience was moving online; away from traditional media like talk shows and magazines. Brands are now highly motivated to connect with those women on the internet in a meaningful way, and product sampling is very meaningful to brands and consumers. I conceived of a system which gives users a virtual currency for online activity, and having them use their fake money to get real product samples. Everyone wins under this system – consumers get to try products before spending their real money, and brands get connected with new customers eager to learn about their products. I collected a team of outstanding professionals to help my vision come to life, and with their hard work we launched our website, IsThatOdd.com in January of this year. I really could not have done this without my team.
2. When did you first know that you wanted to be your own boss?
I feel like I’ve always known I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have owned companies before, among them a small chain of upscale clothing boutiques, and then I spent time as a marketing executive at several successful tech startups during and after the bubble years. After taking time off to start a family, I decided to execute on some ideas I had for new ways to leverage advertising relations (my term for the marriage of PR and advertising) online. It was absolutely the right decision! Bringing a vision full circle from vision to success is a high like no other.
3. If you weren’t a business owner, what would you like to be doing?
Pursuing a black-belt in KungFu would be really fun – I have a purple belt now. Seriously, though, since the first time I had a taste of being an entrepreneur, I knew I would do it again. It’s addictive to run a company and see it soar, and that positive energy has been reinforced by my experience with Is That Odd. So, I’m not sure there is anything else I’d rather do at this time in my life – I’m living a dream!
4. Tell us about your fabulous business and what services do you offered?
IsThatOdd.com is a website designed for women where you earn free beauty product samples for sharing stories and advice. Instead of surveys or quizzes, it gives women a place to have conversations which mirror those they have in real life, such as “My boyfriend won’t update his status from single to taken, is that odd?” or “I’ve discovered that experimenting with makeup is building my self-esteem after a difficult separation. I’d love to try your best makeup tips, so please share!” Everyone has an equal voice in the community and it’s a very positive place, everyone is supportive and encouraging. You can also comment on the stories, vote in user-created polls, and rate the stories for our “Oddstar of the Week” contests.
While participating in conversations on the site, you automatically earn a virtual currency, called Odd Coins™, which you use in our Sample Shop to “buy” free product samples. The website is free, even the shipping for the samples, and you always get to choose your own products. It really feels like you’re browsing at the beauty counter with your girlfriends, trading makeup tips and the latest news in your lives, but on IsThatOdd.com you don’t have to fend off a salesperson or deal with parking.
5. How would you describe your personal style?
I have a very classic, no-fuss style and love easy ways to look polished fast – hence my addiction to wraps and coats – and I wear out nude shoes in the blink of an eye. By having a collection of classic items that go well together, it means I can get myself together in the morning with minimal work and spend that extra time with my two girls. Since my wardrobe has a fairly neutral base, I like to turn up the volume with a punchy accessory. My recent find is a Jimmy Choo red patent clutch, which I love so much that I use it as a wallet.
I also love to watch what my team wears. My Marketing Manager, Nikki Nash, is really adventurous (she has a beautiful new titanium chain-mail lanyard necklace) while my Chief Design Officer, Dianne Dominquez, is always elegantly casual and has the best denim collection of anyone I know.
Giveaway from Is That Odd!
Special Unik promotion, the first five people who register with the Promo Code UNIK will get an IsThatOdd mini-Swag Bag (3-4 full sized beauty products). Go register now!!!