By @SimonCocking

Interview with Gulnaz Khusainova @gkhusainova CEO & Founder of EasySize @EasySize. Entrepreneur, feminist, IT & Marketing specialist, passionate about ecommerce and data.

Your background, how did you end up doing what do you now? (you’re based in Copenhagen, but is that a Danish name?)

Yes, I’m not Danish. I moved to Denmark from Moscow (Russia) almost two years ago. I had the idea and a dream to build my company. So when EasySize (with an absolutely different idea) was selected to Startupbootcamp accelerator program in Copenhagen, it was an easy decision. I quit my well­ paid job in finance, packed my life into a suitcase and 2 weeks after selection days was on my way to Copenhagen. Initially I planned to stay here for 3 months, but fell in love with the city and decided to live here. EasySize is my third company, but it’s truly a new experience for me. I founded my first two companies in Moscow, so it’s been exciting to run a company in Europe. Moreover it’s the most successful company I had so far, and every day I learn something new.

You’ve got a lot of interests! How do divide your time between them all?

Well, it’s definitely not easy. I am a “checklists” person and I try to put everything into an order. I always try to have a clear overview of my tasks for a day and use all convenient tools for it. I also learn a lot from my angel investors. They have families and kids, invest in dozens of companies every year, have their full time jobs, and yet find the right balance (and time to take an active role in my company). I guess, the key is an extraordinary level of self­organisation and delegation.

EasySize, the 1 min pitch, and how is it going?

EasySize is a data­driven service providing a clear and correct sizing for fashion online shops. Our algorithm analyses orders and returns in online shops, identifies shopping patterns of customers and show a size which customers don’t return. It helps to decrease returns by 35­40% and save 5­7% online shops revenue.

How have the last 12 months been, what went well?

In the last 12 month I witnessed a full transformation of the company: from being a sole founder with just a rough prototype and one developer on board to a launched product with thousands of users every week and a team of 10. It was and it is still a quite an exciting journey so far. I’ve been blessed to get amazingly talented and passionate people on board. All together we launched a product last October and since have been constantly improving it. So now we have quite a few online shops from Denmark, UK, Germany and USA using EasySize. Moreover we gained a database covering 500 brands and more than 400.000 unique users. We have also proved, that our product actually works and is able to help retailers and online shoppers. Our company was recognised among various tech conferences and competitions and we brought home quite a few awards: the 2nd place at LeWeb, Newcomer of the year at the Nordic Ecommerce Summit, main prize at Lady Pitch Night and Betapitch.

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Anything you’d do differently?

Probably, celebrate more 🙂 I’m not really a person celebrating achievements, so I can keep moving forward without any stops. But it’s important sometimes have a break and a bottle of champagne (or a pack of beer, how we usually do it in Denmark) with your team.

Plans for rest of 2015 and the future?

First of all, we are going to launch EasySize on new markets and push it outside Europe, where our customers are mainly now. Secondly, there will be a few new features in our service. Already today we are able to provide advanced statistics about customers shopping behaviour to online shops. We’ve been asked by shops to improve it and “dig deeper” into the customers patterns. For me and my team EasySize is not only a size prediction tool. For us, it is a data service, which helps retailers to optimise their businesses and understand their customers better. And this is exactly,what we will be doing.

You are active on twitter,­ how has it helped you?

For me Twitter is a news & opinions feed. It allows me to know all the latest, relevant and important news. It also helps to understand people better, at least be familiar with their point of view. So I’ve been mainly using Twitter to get some insights about someone prior to meeting them in person. I have had also arranged a few meeting through Twitter. But the main purpose is to create a virtual network of people, I respect and am interested in.

We love travel, have you been to Ireland? Will we see you over at a Dublin Web Summit? What’s your impression of the Irish Tech scene from your perspective?

I love travelling as well, but unfortunately have never been in Dublin yet. I would love to attend the Web Summit this year, so hopefully I’ll see you there 🙂 Irish Tech scene was rapidly growing last few years, and, I guess, having tech corporations like Twitter, Instagram, Airbnb was helpful. I have met a couple of Irish startups and have been following them: Cortechs, GetBulb, FoodCloud

Blogging, who do you follow?

I like a few corporate blogs ­ Intercom and Mattermark have amazing newsletters covering latests news in product development, startups, investments etc. My favourite bloggers on Twitter and Medium (I got addicted to it recently) are Mike Butcher, Eileen Burbidge, Andy Dunn, Brad Feld, Marc Andreessen, Roxanne Varza, Neil S W Murray. Alternatively I love to listen podcasts and can definitely recommend to listen to Startup podcast, Radiolab, NPR Planet Money, Reply All, 99% Invisible, Freakonomics.

Being a user of social media, how do you manage life / work, and online / offline balance?

To be honest, I’m not really that good in managing it. My startup still requires a lot of time, so I usually spend all my free time in the office. However I try to improve the situation by following a few simple rules: 1. have “my time” booked in my calendar. It’s time I spend on something, which is not related to work, and something that I truly enjoy. It can be a breakfast with a friend, or reading a book. It’s important to have it in the calendar and not cancel it no matter what. 2. 3. sleep 7 hours and don’t work after 11.30 pm. It’s crucial to have your body and your brain relaxed, which can’t be done without a proper sleep 4. have an activity distracting you from work. In my case, it’s jogging and I also try to meditate. I do believe, that it’s extremely important to have a work/life balance. Running a startup is a marathon, so you, as a founder, have to take care of yourself and be physically and mentally able to run a company for a long time.

Anything else to add / we should have asked you?

No, not really. I guess, I have already wrote a lot here 🙂 Thanks a lot for reaching out to me. It’s amazing to see European startup communities growing and getting stronger.

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