I met Jaclyn at an entrepreneurship camp for girls run by ladies learning code. She generously donated her time to teach a workshop and mentor girls ages 7-10 that would be designing and pitching their own business ideas over the course of a week. Jaclyn is extremely stylish, smart and kind. She is the founder of Blynk: basically a tinder for fashion, an amazing role model for young women and an absolute doer. Jaclyn in proof that you can do whatever you set you mind to as long as you work hard, set goals and make things happen. I am fortunate to have met her and have had the opportunity to interview her, I hope her story inspires you as well.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? Why did you choose to start Blynk Style? What cool projects are you working on now?
To sum myself up: super sarcastic, the most competitive person most people meet, an INTJ, sometimes robotic, and knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was in high school.
I went to McGill University and studied Finance. In 2013 during my last year of undergrad, I got into an incubator program called The Next 36 and started my first tech startup: Blynk. It was a mobile app that used learning algorithms to replicate a personal stylist. Fashion had always been a part of my life that brought excitement and creativity, and marrying that with technology felt very right for my first startup. The app evolved over the span of 2 years and eventually got acquired by a major mobile messaging app, Kik. I’ve now been with Kik for about 11 months and have been tasked with determining how the next generation tech (chat bots) will play in consumers’ every day lives. I’ve been fortunate to work with major retail companies such as H&M, Sephora and Victoria’s Secret to build chat bots on Kik’s platform over the past year. To sum my job up: very autonomous, never certain, always changing, and a hot place to be in tech right now.
2. What inspires you?
Win-win solutions. I like to find pain points for partners, consumers or even myself, and build solutions that make sense for every stakeholder involved.
3. What is your personal mantra or mission statement?
Do what you want. Be as real as possible. Motivate people.
4. What does happiness mean to you?
Being proud of the person you’ve become, the life you’ve created for yourself, and the impact you’ve had on other people.
5. What are your hobbies?
Fashion (I’m one stop before needing to check myself into shopaholics anonymous), Boxing (I have a punching bag in my apartment), Travelling (love spontaneous weekend trips), Youth Empowerment (I volunteer for the Covenant House and Youth Without Shelter) and Writing (love to note down my thoughts and learnings throughout my journey).
6. What are a few things you do every single day to keep yourself on track?
Most mornings I write out: where I started (to be humbled), what I’ve accomplished (to remind myself to be proud) and what my goals are (to start my day motivated).
My mom has always also reminded me to be grateful, so everyday I try to remind myself how lucky I am.
7. If you could give advice to someone looking to get into your field what would it be and why?
Ask for exactly what you want. Nobody can read your mind, and if you don’t put it out there, you’ll never get it.
Sometimes being an entrepreneur, especially a young and female entrepreneur, it is easy to feel undeserving, like you need to be even more prepared, not good enough or like nobody is going to listen to you. You have to take this mindset out of your head and just go in and be confident with your ask. If you give someone a reason to doubt you because of your timid or unclear asks, or because it’s apparent that you doubt yourself, then they will doubt you too. So, for me in my experience, when you are clear, forward, and confident about your ask, you’ll either get exactly what you want, or get a learning about what you can do better to go and get it next time.
8. What has been your most rewarding experience so far? Work or personal
1. Having a mentee—I mentor a girl for an organization I volunteer for and it’s a very rewarding process to see something in someone that they may not see in themselves, and through time seeing them grow.
2. Building a team and a culture I am proud of.
3. Selling my first tech startup and taking a ton of learnings away from it.
9. What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your life thus far? What did you learn? Are you thankful for what it taught you?
The biggest challenges for me, personally and professionally, has been letting go of people you care about. Sometimes it’s been in settings where I have little control, and sometimes it’s because I knew it was for the best. I learnt that people will be grateful if you are honest and direct. And I’ve learnt that you always have to do the right thing even though it’s hard, and be hopeful that when the time is right, the right relationships will come back into your life.
10. Who is your role model/ who has been the most influential person in your life?
I see role models in many people and take inspiration from different people depending on where I am in life. In general, individuals I look up to and aspire to be like are those who are genuine, make a difference in people’s lives and take an unconventional path to reach their goals.
12. When do you feel most inspired?
I feel most inspired when there is no clear answer. When most people see only a left or right turn, I often see 99 different options. Strategizing about different paths, which is the most effective, and ones I can execute on, is when I feel most inspired.