The Story Exchange, Natalie Gonzalez, ChatalogYour Name: Natalie Gonzalez

Business Name: Chatalog, an online company that socializes shopping

Type of Business: E-Commerce

Business Location: New York, NY, United States

Twitter   @TheChatalog

Reason for starting
My brother and I wanted to pick out my parents’ 30th anniversary gift but he was in CA and I was in NY. We sent emails back and forth with various links and text message follow-ups on what we wanted to get them. The experience was completely disjointed and not fun. At the same time, my husband and I had just moved cross country and we were really excited to pick out new furniture to decorate our place. Between deciding on the furniture we wanted, looking up reviews online, and getting feedback from my close friends and family, it was an exhausting process. I knew there had to be an easier way to collaborate with a close circle (whether that be with family, friends, and/or brands).

How do you define success?
At the core of Chatalog is a tool that helps to keep friends and family close. Whether you are on opposite sides of the country or live in the same house, we built Chatalog to bring collaboration to online shopping. To have people make more informed, confident purchase decisions while at the same time helping then stay close to friends and family is our ultimate goal.

Biggest Success
We’ve had successful moments along the way and the biggest was probably just getting validation that others have a need for it. Hearing people use our product and say, “this is cool”, is a huge success for us. And when we saw our first revenue come in from someone who bought an item that was put into a Chatalog, we definitely did a little dancing jig behind closed doors.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Our top challenge has been focusing strictly on what is important. Our team consists of 3 co-founders so all of us wear multiple hats. It’s very easy to get distracted and spend time on something that isn’t at the forefront of what you need to get done. So prioritizing to ensure we’re maximizing our time and resources between the 3 of us has been key.

Who is your most important role model?
We’re very lucky to have her as an advisor for our company but Mary Lou Song has definitely been my biggest role model. “Lou” was the third employee at eBay and has joined many early stage startups in helping them develop their product. Her passion for not only entrepreneurship but life, is clear the second you meet her. From the beginning she has helped me focus on what we’re building and why we’re building it. As a company she’s really helped us refine the brand, messaging and what we’re about, and as an individual she’s shown me if you’re not having fun than it’s not worth doing.