The Story Exchange, Michelle Madhok, SheFinds MediaYour Name: Michelle Madhok

Business Name: SheFinds Media, an online blog that tracks trending fashions

Type of Business: Publishing

Business Location: New York, NY, United States

Twitter   @shefinds

Reason for starting
While working toward my master’s degree in marketing from Northwestern, which has some of the best consumer behavior experts in the country, I learned how to recognize what people want and understand why they buy. After college, I spent three years with CBS Broadcasting New Media helping the company to start, when I received a call from AOL, which at the time was the center of the universe for Internet content. They wanted me to revamp their editorial content for women. I took the job, changed the content based on extensive research into what women want online, and within a year we went from about 150,000 to 10,000,000 unique users per month. One of the things that kept hitting home is that women are split in half…one half is the woman who is CEO of her home – she goes to work, pays bills, gets kids to soccer practice and plans dinner, and the other half is the woman who wants a bubble bath, a glass of chardonnay and time to have her nails done. Women are time-starved. My goal is to help women use the Internet to add time back into their lives and fulfill their desires to look and feel better about themselves. While working in Dulles, VA, I used to shop at the outlet malls for friends who didn’t have time. Meanwhile, last Christmas was the biggest online shopping season ever, with an increase in spending of nearly 20 percent over the previous year. So after five years at AOL, I started thinking…say you want to buy black pants. No one was telling you the best place to buy black pants on the Internet. Shopping magazines like Lucky were popping up, but the online content did not exist, so I created SheFinds.

How do you define success?
I own my time.

Biggest Success
Is yet to come!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Finding great talent is really difficult – and then once you do find them how to keep them and keep them engaged. I spend a lot of time studying new research on motivation and creating new systems to make sure my “A” students (what we aim for with all our staff) are thriving.

Who is your most important role model?
I don’t have just one – I look to a variety of role models. I’m active in and the I’ve gotten great advice from Heidi Messer, Shobha Tummala, Shenan Reed and many other successful entrepreneurs.