RfR Co Founder and President Kristy Wieber

Kristy Wieber is the Co-Founder and President at Rent frock Repeat (RfR), an ecommerce collaborative consumption company that allows women all across Canada to RENT designer dresses instead of buying them

Before starting RfR, Kristy spent over 3 years as a VP in marketing and account management, 15 years in retail sales and management and worked as an Executive Recruiter for 3 years.

In March 2010, Kristy and her Co-Founder, Lisa Owen (previously Delorme), were invited to attend a wedding. Neither wanted to spend money on another dress that would be worn once then subsequently sit in their closet collecting dust. Determined to make sure no Canadian woman found herself in the same dilemma, Kristy and Lisa founded Rent frock Repeat in August of 2010.

As Co-Founder of a start-up, Kristy has to wear many hats at the same time, touching on all areas of the business, but her main areas of focus are operations, marketing, sales, human resources, and technology in addition to overall growth and leadership. Kristy has spoken at such events such as the W100 Idea Exchange, Retail Council of Canada’s MySTORE, MySTORY, Rotman’s Women’s Leadership Symposium, Girls in Tech, Emerge Conference, Rotman’s Women’s Leadership Symposium and more.

The Search for Startup Employees: What we look for when hiring for RfR (and what you should know about working for a startup).

When Lisa and I started Rent frock Repeat out of her basement over five years ago, it was just the two of us and one intern. We did it all: logistics, customer service, sales, technology, data entry, events, social media, PR…the list goes on and on. We put in LONG hours and LONG days (which we still do). Three months in, we opened a Toronto showroom and our part-time intern turned into a full-time Logistics Associate. The growth continued and we hired Stylists, Community Managers, Business Development Directors and more. Now, with two showrooms in Ontario (and more on the way across the country), we’ve learned a lot about what makes for a great startup employee and in addition, what makes for a great Rent frock Repeat employee.

Lisa and I both come from a background of sales, marketing, customer service, training, recruiting, etc., so we know what it takes to be successful in the roles at RfR (also, because we’ve done them all). My time in executive recruiting left me with a hawk-eye for noticing mistakes/bad practices in cover letters, resumes, interviews and general communication from potential candidates (all of which make me cringe) but, what I’ve personally found is that when you are hiring for a startup, you sometimes have to look beyond the mistakes and see through to the candidates’ qualities that may otherwise be overlooked.

The Search for Startup Employees What we look for when hiring for RfR and what you should know about working for a startup

So, what are some of those qualities that we look for (beyond experience and measurable results) and what you should know about working for a couple of crazy ladies that started their own company:

#1. You’re flexible. Not yoga flexible, but you can roll with changes, are willing to stay late if needed, move your desk a couple times a month, or help a customer with an odd request, all without being rattled. Policies, procedures, and even job titles can change very quickly at a startup and you need to be Zen about it.

Startup employees should be flexible

#2. You’re resourceful. We don’t mind when you bring us a problem, but we want you to bring us a proposed solution as well. You’ll quickly prove your worth if you can creatively problem solve and don’t have to always ask for someone else to save the day. You take control of a situation with confidence and kindness. Soon enough, you’ll be trusted to solve problems on your own.

#3. You take action. You don’t wait to be told to do something. On a quiet day, you find things to do that will drive the business forward, help another department, or improve customer service, even if that means grabbing a broom and sweeping up dust bunnies. Not sure what you should do? Then ask, “What can I do now?”.

#4. You have patience. Most startups are a constant work in progress and you need to be okay with waiting for some things to come to fruition, such as health benefits, fancier offices, newer technology, etc. But the benefits can be worth it such as, working side by side with the company founders and executive team and learning from them on a daily basis, having more responsibility, more opportunity and a chance to carve out the role you want, a quick education in how a business works, a chance to see your ideas come to fruition, and more.

We look for employees that have patience

#5. You ask questions, participate, speak up and engage. We encourage employees to question policies and procedures (because they might have a better idea), ask why we do something a certain way (so they can learn about the business), raise their hands to take on projects outside of their role (so we can see their potential for growth), speak up if they are unhappy/need more training/have challenges (so we can help), and generally be engaged.

We look for employees that ask questions

Working at a startup isn’t for everyone, but if it’s the direction you want to take, find ways to ensure the employer knows you have the above traits on top of your skills and education. Let your personality come through in your cover letter, your resume, any communication you have, during the interview, and after. And please, please, please proofread your resume*.

*Want to learn what catches my eye in a resume and what makes me want to throw it in the shredder? Stay tuned for the next blog about writing and sending your resume to a startup.

10 skills that require zero talent