Danielle and Carly don’t consider themselves natural born risk-takers, but together they took one of the biggest risks of their lives—quitting their jobs to start a dream project. It paid off big. These two friends met studying abroad in Rome and later reconnected while working together at NBC. Bonding over their mutual love of all things news, the two realized that the Millennial demographic was sorely lacking in content created just for them. These innovative women knew what they had to do.
theSkimm, a newsletter they’ve created, caters news content to the female Millennial and is a huge hit. We asked them a few questions about their incredible journey from corporate stakeholders to successful entrepreneurs.
When did you first get the idea for theSkimm?
Danielle: We noticed that our girlfriends were super smart, had fantastic jobs, were really busy, and they weren’t watching what we were producing at NBC. Instead they were asking us pretty basic questions about what was going on in the world. We realized we wanted to create a news source for them that sounded like their best friend telling them what they needed to know.
How scary was it for you to take that plunge and quit your jobs?
Carly: It was one of the scariest and most surreal things we’ve ever done. We loved NBC. We loved our jobs and our coworkers—we didn’t leave because we didn’t love all those things. We left because we saw an opportunity and knew we had to go for it.
What’s the big ‘goal’ for theSkimm? What do you see in the future?
Danielle: Our goal is to be the first company to turn information into a lifestyle brand. When we say that, we mean our success is having theSkimm delivering information into the routines of its user base. We started with a newsletter, not because we’re a newsletter company, but because email is the way to fit into our user base’s routine. Our thesis as a company is to make it easier to be smarter.
Michelle Obama “skimm’d” a guest newsletter for you. How does it feel having the First Lady as part of the work you do?
Carly: There are moments where whether it’s the First Lady, Oprah, or meeting “skimm’bassadors” in random cities, it just feels really surreal. We don’t take any of this for granted. We’re very humbled and blown away by it—and we geek out about it!
For women out there who dream about starting their own company—what’s your best piece of advice?
Carly: Trust your instincts, trust your gut. As for practical advice: Take a coding class. It’s something we didn’t do and still haven’t done, but it helps you in so many parts of business. If you’re starting a business you should have some basic knowledge. It’s a great skill set.
How have you navigated your career and social life?
Carly: We’re really strict about our schedule. It’s important to us that we have a personal life. We’ve unfortunately become those people that are scheduled to the minute, but doing that has enabled us to find time to be a person.
You two are so connected to the world, what would you take with you to a desert island?
Carly: I hate to say my phone
Danielle: Definitely my phone if I were stranded. But maybe an internet hot spot. You take the phone, I’ll take the hot spot.