Josh Weiss is the Founder and President of Bluegala, an online retailer of dresses for social occasions including prom dresses, evening dresses, cocktail dresses, and day dresses. Previously, he worked for Lehman Brothers as a High Yield Credit Research Analyst.
Josh also serves as the Chief Strategic Officer for alight.com, an online retailer of plus size clothing, and is the President and Founder of GetMyDress.com (currently in beta), the first website to quickly and easily connect internet shoppers with brick and mortar stores to locate hard to find dresses.
MO: Can you talk about your journey from being an analyst at Lehman Brothers to launching becoming an online retailer for formal dresses?
Josh: I graduated from college in 2007 and began working as a high yield credit research analyst covering the metals & mining and chemical sectors. I had always planned to work in finance until I felt I had enough money and a good enough idea to start something on my own. My timetable was accelerated when Lehman went bankrupt in September 2008 and I lost my job. During my period of unemployment, I spent my time studying for the GMATs and trying to come up with a great idea for a company. Around that time, my younger sister was a senior in high school and was looking for a prom dress and kept complaining that “all the prom websites sucked”. I had an aha moment and grabbed my laptop and googled “prom dresses” and agreed that the sites were not very impressive. Six months later, Bluegala.com launched.
MO: What are some of the biggest lessons and insights you’ve gained from running 3 successful ecommerce sites?
Josh: Match and Exceed. The internet and more specifically ecommerce is constantly moving at a rapid pace. It’s crucial to stay on top of all the advancements in the industry and monitor your competitors to make sure you don’t fall behind. There is nothing worse than being outdated and behind the curve.
MO: Do you think that it’s crucial to have a social media strategy? What sites do you focus on and find most useful for your marketing strategy?
Josh: I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s crucial, but its definitely an important piece of the marketing mix for e-commerce sites. We find facebook and pinterest most useful as fashion is an extremely visual medium and they allow us to display our products in ways that stimulate our customers.
MO: What resources do you use to make sure you’re always on trend?
Josh: Our buyers and merchandisers are constantly reading and talking to our vendors to keep up on the trends. We are also very into analytics and are constantly mining our data to spot trends in our visitor data.
MO: What should customers keep in mind when it comes to choosing the perfect prom dress?
Josh: Prom is a once in a lifetime event and girls should make sure to choose a dress that they are in love with and not skimp out to save a few dollars.
MO: What is one thing that you wished you had known when you first started out?
Josh: How to code so I could’ve saved a ton of money on developer fees. Oh wait, I still don’t know how to code. I should probably get on that.
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