Michelle Goad is the CEO and Founder behind PS Dept-- the iPhone app that is giving consumers access to products in top specialty stores via personal shoppers. Barneys NY, Bergorf Goodman, Kirna Zabete and The Webster are just a few of the retailers working with customers via PS Dept. The gals who work the floor of these stores are connecting directly with their shoppers by using the app--sending info and images of products, best sellers, fit advice, etc. We sat down with Michelle to learn more and find out what's next for the invite only app.
Where do you live?
How to Boil an Egg, Cookbook by Rose Bakery.
Drink of choice:
Tell us a little bit about the path that led to where you are today.
I worked in a variety of different jobs throughout my career in fashion- from design at Donna Karan, buying at Barneys New York, to merchandising at Marc Jacobs. As a merchandiser, I lived on the road and really got to know the ins and outs of all the major retail markets- the customers, stores, top books, etc. Spending most of my time in the stores allowed me to witness first-hand the shift in how people were shopping-- in-the-know customers weren't coming into the stores, they were texting their associates to shop for them, it was happening everywhere. If you've ever tried to call a store to ask someone for help or chat with a customer service rep to pull a look- this can be challenging. I thought--why isn't there a place to connect the people who want to buy with the experts in the stores- a kind of text messaging + commerce App? If platforms like seamless.com and Uber could disrupt business as usual within their industries, I knew delivering a great shopping service on demand would be a big hit with shoppers and so we launched PS DEPT at the end of last year.
Describe PS Dept in 5 words or less.
You ask. Our stores deliver.
Who is your target audience?
People who are busy--too busy to make it into the store either because of their work schedule, kids schedule, travel schedule, all of the above, etc. We also have a lot of users who live in regional markets and don't have access to shop in the stores on the network.
What is the benefit of using PS Dept?
The ease of having a store insider search their inventory to find an item for you. Also, having access to an expert who can pull an outfit together or will share the best sellers so you know what to invest in just by sending a message in using the app. The PS (personal shoppers) are all selected by our partners- they represent the best of the best in-store and know how to edit down a collection. When you shop online, you are doing the work to filter down what's what- the PS know what's killing it in-store, what's not worth investing in, how to track down hard to find items and how to pull it all together for you.
What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
In life, you don't get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.
What are some of the challenges youve encountered during your career?
I've always been an entrepreneur at heart and interested in the tech space- both of which have their challenges in the work place. The idea of business as usual is the exact opposite of how I think about operations, marketing, sales, etc. Something can always be re-thought, re-imagined and technology lends itself to improving upon most of these problems. I think as companies evolve, new platforms internally will gain traction much faster than ever before because the pace of tech, what is influencing business today, is happening too fast to wait. Being part of this evolution within the industry and the people internally standing up to move things forward is truly the most exciting thing to be part of right now- making it happen.
Whats been your most gratifying career moment to date?
Absolutely, hands down taking the leap of faith to leave my job and successfully launch PS Dept.
Whats next? What are your goals?
Something very big! We will be launching a brand new public version of PS at the end of summer with some very exciting things in the works- stay tuned because it's good! Our goal is to deliver a fantastic customer service experience for everyone using PS, a one-click, kind of dangerous place to shop.
Whos your girl crush?
I look up to the ladies who work it in and out of the office- Natalie Massenet, Jenna Lyons, Karen Katz, etc.
Thanks, Michelle. Learn more about PS Dept here.
Photos courtesy of Michelle.