358: Pro-Product vs. Pro-Marketing: How Heidi Zak of ThirdLove Faced Off With Victoria’s Secret

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Heidi Zak @ Thirdlove

Quitting her promising job at Google, Heidi Zak decided to take the plunge and launch ThirdLove, an ecommerce brand for women’s underwear. Today, thanks to Zak’s masterful approach to scaling, ThirdLove is the third biggest ecommerce lingerie brand in America with no signs of slowing down.

Zak’s journey into the entrepreneurial space began after she moved to the West coast and got swept up in the startup world. Launching as a small bootstrapped brand, she never thought that she one day be competing with titans like Victoria’s Secret.

Listen in as Zak discusses the ins and outs of the ecommerce world, navigating scaling, product vs. marketing, and why she believes successful entrepreneurialism is based on perspective.

Key Takeaways

  • Why Heidi Zak decided to take the plunge, quit her job at Google, and decided to become a founder
  • Starting ThirdLove from scratch, bootstrapping for almost a year, and where they started development
  • Taking what’s working, and then amplifying it to scale
  • ThirdLove’s early days MOQ
  • Before Shopify, building their own front-end and back-end ecommerce platform and why that was a huge mistake
  • Why you need to stand behind your product and how they acquired new customers before they were a known brand
  • The “Try Before You Buy” Initiative
  • The caution of “Situational Stage Advice”
  • Product vs. Marketing, and what Zak believes is crucial
  • ThirdLove’s donation of excess product to women in need across the world
  • Their recently launched long-form content on YouTube, and why you need to step out of your comfort zone
  • Competing with Victoria’s Secret and how she responded to the full-page ad that Victoria’s Secret is women’s first love
  • How they decided to put retail plans on hold due to the pandemic
  • How they plan to become the largest online underwear brand in America
  • Her advice for early-stage startup founders, and the importance of perspective in business

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