FACE/AD/BLOG sat down with Shelby to learn more about her tenacious personality and what makes her tick. For starters, she finds inspiration in the young millennials starting to trickle into the workforce, as these individuals bring a fresh perspective to numerous challenges. As a young twenty-something herself, Shelby is proof that age and experience does not always factor into problem-solving or success. She also discusses what makes Trend Hunter a thriving company -- adaptability is key to avoid becoming stuck on failures.
With many millennials entering the workforce (along with the negative stereotypes associated with this generation), Shelby Walsh is an example of how young people can surge ahead and even be a key player in advancing a company's success.
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By Carl Shankland
*** Carl is the new Toronto collaborator for FACE/AD/BLOG. Want to know a bit more about him? Click here for his bio.
Few people pick up a Political Science degree from U of T, join a real estate law firm and promptly jump ship for an internship at an online start-up with a skeleton crew of three.
Fewer still launch (at last count) 1,717 trends that were seen by 16 million sets of eyeballs, double-time through the corporate ranks and then cap it off with a Marketing Magazine nomination as one of Canada’s 30-UNDER-30 for 2013.
And only one can check all of the above.
Shelby Lee Walsh is the hyper social, trend-sniffing, pace-setting, and brand spanking new President of TrendHunter.com.
You two should meet.
1. F/A/B: What is a trend?
SLW: An original idea or innovation that grows quickly as people share the experience.
2. F/A/B: What are you most proud of from the last 12 months?
SLW: Being counted in Canada’s Top 30-under 30s is a huge milestone. And recently being promoted to President at TrendHunter, where I oversee every facet of the business from advertising and clients to editorial content.
3. F/A/B: As the Alpha Hunter of trends, what does it take to catch your attention?
SLW: Over a hundred new articles are posted on TrendHunter every day, so the bar is set high. It’s ideas like IKEA’s sleepover that get me most excited: fully immersive brand experiences where it’s not just about the event but how people go on and share those experiences with their networks.
4. F/A/B: What’s the last thing that inspired you?
SLW: Seeing the Millennials coming into the workforce with different ideas, styles and a new take on the world.
5. F/A/B: What makes a successful business strategy?
SLW: Constant reassessment. We’re always looking at what we’re doing and what can be done better. By tweaking things like the quality and the length of articles, and changing how images are viewed, our U.S. traffic has doubled, and we’ve gone from 30 million to 40 million monthly views worldwide.
6. F/A/B: Tell me something a colleague has done that you wish you had.
SLW: Jeremy Gutsche, TrendHunter’s CEO, put a wall projection in our office that gives a real-time view for our writers of which articles are trending, top story ideas and daily traffic stats. It delivers instant feedback and reward for the high-performing articles, and increased productivity by 150%. A little genius.
7. F/A/B: What’s in the DNA of a trend?
SLW: Trends are simple, direct and supercharged. Simple, so it can be shared easily. Complicated doesn’t go viral. Direct, in that there has to be something unique about it. And supercharging that word-of-mouth through marketing. You can’t sell a great idea if nobody hears about it.
8. F/A/B: Name two Canadian things the world should see more of.
SLW: I absolutely adore is imm living, for really cool sculptural home and office décor ideas. And the city of Toronto, for its multiculturalism and the breadth of experience, from the neighbourhoods to the food and the friendliness of the people – it’s outstanding.
9. F/A/B: What’s your special skill?
SLW: We have this thing called ‘Personalysis’ that arranges personalities into one of four quadrants: organisation, attention to detail, sociability, and then my dominant quality: getting shit done. That might not be its proper name.
10. F/A/B: What’s the most important characteristic of a successful brand?
SLW: A great elevator pitch. Seven words or less. At TrendHunter, we find better ideas faster.
11. F/A/B: Why is TrendHunter successful?
SLW: Adaptability. We move fast, don’t dwell on failure and make sure we learn from it.
12. F/A/B: Give a shout out to a Canadian brand doing a great job.
SLW: David’s Tea has repositioned tea from something your mom and aunt sipped while watching soaps to something that appeals to the Twitter generation, with fun flavours and great locations.
13. F/A/B: Who’s the trendiest person in Canada?
SLW: Oh, that’s hard! If you go by Twitter stats, it’s Drake or Justin Bieber. If you go by innovation and pushing people to think differently, I really like the work of Amanda Lang. ‘The Power of Why’ is an awesome read.
14. F/A/B: You can have the keys to anything – name it.
SLW: I’d love to be able to sit down with the people I admire, so… can I have the keys to their homes? Wait… does that sound creepy?
15. F/A/B: Describe yourself in one word.
16. F/A/B: Describe your life in three words.
SLW: Fun. Inspirational. Determined.
17. F/A/B: Go back 10 years and give yourself a piece of advice.
SLW: Take more risks. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s not about what you do in school, but what you do outside of school.
18. F/A/B: Can you recommend a good read?
SLW: [Facebook COO] Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ is a great read about women and leadership.
19. F/A/B: Lunch in Toronto and you’re not buying. Where do you go?
SLW: Gusto’s for the thin crust pizza. And I love the Grenadier Café in High Park – so cheap and it’s an amazing place!
20. F/A/B: What’s life before 30 all about? And how will life after 30 be different?
SLW: Life before thirty’s about finding your passion. Mastering your skills and setting yourself up for the success you’ll have later in life.
My thirties will be everything from my twenties but bigger.
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