How She Got There: Emily Li Mandri, Founder, Feedshop & MLE Consulting

Name: Emily Li Mandri

Age: 27

Job Title and Description:  Founder, Feedshop and MLE Consulting

College Name/Major: Johns Hopkins/Art History (Minor in Business) and NYU Stern/MBA in Digital Marketing, Operations

Website: www.feedshop.it

Instagram Handle: @thefeedshop, @nattypaint, and @goldntriangles

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Emily Li Mandri: I’m an e-commerce and digital marketing consultant. My clients range from fashion and retail brands to architecture and entertainment. My projects range from building websites, strategizing and executing email campaigns, giveaways, analyzing merchandise and sales reports and collaborating with bloggers, influencers, photographers and stylists.

Every day is different, but I tend to work from home or a coffee shop. I also like visiting my clients in their offices or stores to check in with them. I also tend to take a two-hour break in the middle of the day to work out or step outside for errands, and I usually pick up work again after dinner. I’m constantly attached to my laptop and cell phone so it’s really important for me a take a break in the middle of the day to rest my eyes! I also work with a lot of developers overseas so even though I’m not a morning person, I’m up early to check in with them on projects.

What is the best part of your job?

ELM: I really enjoy the flexibility. I don’t have set hours, or a set schedule.  I also work with a lot of new brands that are just starting out, so I get to help them set up everything and watch them grow and succeed.

You’ve done so many cool things in the past couple years (founded a fashion line, launched a consulting firm, and created a popular app, to name a few!). What advice do you have for our readers who are interested in pursuing many different interests or endeavors at once?

​ELM: In order to be able to pursue different interests and endeavors at once, you need to maximize your time and identify who you can work with to make it easier for you to achieve these endeavors. What tasks take up your valuable time that you don’t need to necessarily do?

Along the same lines, what tips do you have for managing your time, especially between so many different projects?

​ELM: Here are some examples of things I do to save time (and therefore allow me to work smarter):

  1. I do 90 percent of all my shopping online, may it be for fun or for errands. I love Amazon. I don’t have time to stand in line or search around in a store.
  2. I send my laundry out to be done. This saves me at least three hours a week.
  3. I work from home. I have the shortest commute!
  4. Schedule phone/Skype calls instead of face-to-face meetings when possible to cut down on commuting time.

I also keep a lot of lists and am religious about updating my calendar with meetings and deadlines. I recently started using Asana, which I have found very useful to keep track of all the deadlines and to-dos.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

​ELM: The yoga studio I go to reads a quote at the end of every class. My favorite is this one by Isabella Duncan: “You were once wild here, don’t let them tame you.”

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

​ELM: Being afraid to ask for help and outsourcing! There have been a few times where I decided it would be easier to just do something myself, but lately I’ve started to realize the value in outsourcing work and collaborating with experts in the field. It saves me a lot of time in the long run so I can focus my efforts elsewhere.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

​ELM: There have been a few:

When I was running my clothing line Natty Paint, I met Mickey Drexler of J.Crew at an event and gave him a lookbook. He actually took the time to look through it right in front of me and chat with me with about my company. He was very encouraging.

A few years ago, I was being considered to design a clothing line with Nicki Minaj for Kmart. I had a meeting with Andy Hilfiger and it was really amazing to talk with him about the challenges of running a clothing line and hearing about his experiences.

Another surreal moment was watching La Roux perform at Coachella in custom clothing that I had designed and sewn for them. They looked so badass!

Having the first brand to sign up for my shoppable Instagram app Feedshop was also very surreal. I remember I was on the train going home for Mother’s Day, and this brand I had never heard of had somehow found my app and signed up for it! Following that, finding out Lucky Magazine and Eva Chen started using Feedshop by seeing the URL in their Instagram profiles was also really exciting.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

​ELM: [His or her] ability to work independently and [his or her] expertise in the field. [He or she] needs to be a go-getter and outgoing!

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

​ELM: It’s important to identify your goals and to map out how you plan to achieve those goals. You also need to think strategically about your career moves and not get caught up in the details and day-to-day repetitive tasks. Keep the big picture in mind.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of collaborative networking! I say collaborative because you’ll get a lot farther meeting with someone and seeing what you can offer them instead of what they can do for you.

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