- Sarah Jacobs
When you work at a mobile shopping startup, style comes with the territory. Spring is an app that offers fashion-forward goods from over a thousand brands on one sleek, swipe-to-buy platform.
Launched in 2014 by Tisch brothers Alan and David – with backing from major funds like Google Ventures and fashion industry bigwigs like Steven Alan – the app made headlines last month as the partner Facebook chose to pioneer their shopping bot program on Messenger. Spring has raised over $30 million in venture capital so far, positioning itself as a one-stop shop for consumers, and a simple solution for brands seeking better relationships with buyers.
“Brands aren’t great technology companies,” Marshall Porter, Spring’s president, told Business Insider. “And they shouldn’t have to be. They should be great product companies; they should be great storytellers. But to take advantage of mobile and direct-to-consumer, they need a technology partner. And we are positioned to be that.”
Spring helps you curate a custom feed of brands you like, from American Apparel basics to handmade soaps and high-end Opening Ceremony designs, while providing free shipping and returns on purchases. With a broad array of brands at your fingertips, it also makes it easy to discover unexpected designs.
Curious to get a peek into the operation and the fashionable figures within, Business Insider stopped by their buzzing Manhattan office, where 80-plus employees get perks like cold-brew coffee on tap in a bright, open-plan space. We got a chance to chat with six of the company’s top brass to get a sense of what makes Spring tick – and, of course, what they’re wearing to work at the intersection of fashion and tech.
- Sarah Jacobs
Role: “I’m the CEO of the company, so a little bit of everything.” That covers three main areas: product and design, team development and management, and high-level partnerships.
Before Spring: “I wouldn’t say that I was a fashionista by background, but I’ve always been an e-commerce lover,” Tisch said. The entrepreneurial bug bit early: as a devoted Nike sneakerhead in his early teens, he bought limited-edition pairs in bulk and sold them for profit, becoming an eBay power seller by the age of 13. “I would force my mom to drive me to the post office every morning before school to mail out a bunch of boxes,” Tisch said. He still has about half of his collection. “They’re near and dear to my heart.”
How Spring has changed his style: “I definitely dress better today than I did prior to starting Spring, and I think it’s just because I’m surrounded by people that are so knowledgeable about what’s new, what’s on-trend,” he said. “But more than anything, from just using the app, there are so many small brands that I’ve discovered on there and fallen in love with.” How do you fall in love with a brand? Part of it is making sure that the digital presence tells a complete story. “We’re really focused here on: how do you create a more rich experience online that feels more like walking into a store, and less like just being sold products? I think we’re all convinced that online shopping can still be fun, and can be emotional, and can be entertaining in the same way as walking around SoHo on a Saturday.”
What he’s wearing: John Varvatos shoes, 3×1 jeans, custom-made shirt, Nike socks.
His favorite Spring finds: 3×1 jeans, which he now wears exclusively; also, the Public School brand.
- Sarah Jacobs
Role: “I’m one of the co-founders and I’m the chairman, so I work with my brother – who’s the CEO – and I call myself the ‘Chief Distraction Officer.’ So anything distracting for the company on a day-to-day basis, I handle. Tech press is a good example of this … fundraising … I tend to meet a lot of our senior hires first and do a screening there.”
How Spring has changed his style: Although Tisch’s wife is a fashion designer and his brother is “fashion-focused”, Tisch’s background is in tech: he runs a fund called BoxGroup and co-founded Techstars in New York. “I dress more cleanly now than ever,” Tisch said. “I think everybody probably ups their game one degree here.”
What he’s wearing: White & Warren cashmere hoodie, Brunello Cucinelli button-down, Del Toro belt, AG jeans, Nike sneakers.
His favorite Spring find: Burkman Bros. cashmere sweatpants.
- Sarah Jacobs
Role: “I’m the chief brand officer, which at Spring means that I’m in charge of curating and developing and engaging the brand community. So we launched with 200 brands, and we’re now over 1,000 brands. I’ve probably met with about 2,000 brands myself, so it’s quite an endeavor.”
How Spring has changed her style: Uchitel is a serious fashion insider, having worked for over 20 years in the industry, including 9 years as global head of sales at Diane von Furstenburg. “You can be a bit more casual,” Uchitel says of the Spring approach to dressing. “But obviously we’re still representing fashion on the curation side, so we kind of build in an urban uniform in a way – things that can go all day long with different events.” As for how her style has changed? “I’m getting more and more into my sneakers,” she said.
What she’s wearing: Zero + Maria Cornejo dress, vintage Diane von Furstenberg leather jacket, Lucchese boots, Ryan Porter bracelet.
What she buys on Spring: “What we really set out to do is build a marketplace that has your fast fashion and luxury all in one place,” Uchitel said. That means she can order hand soap from The Honest Company, t-shirts from American Apparel, and luxury sneakers with just a few swipes.
- Sarah Jacobs
Role: “President – I own the teams responsible for supply and demand, business development, and finance.”
How Spring has changed his style: “I came from Silicon Valley to Gilt, so I had to start dressing up. And then I went from Gilt to Spring, and I get to be a lot more casual,” he said. Porter spent six years at Gilt, ultimately working as SVP and general manager. “I think about my experience at Gilt and how much of our traffic in overseas markets was coming from mobile devices – and that unquestionably will come to the US,” Porter said, which is why he’s excited to be at Spring now. Porter’s latest style evolution also extends to his shoes. “I work for a sneakerhead, so I’m trying to embrace sneakers. We’re getting there; I’m not wearing them today.”
What he’s wearing: Ferragamo loafers, J Brand jeans, Twillory shirt.
His favorite Spring find: “I love my Everlane tees. It’s what I change into when I go home at night; it’s what I wear on the weekends. They’re great.”
- Sarah Jacobs
Role: “I’m SVP of operations, which basically means I oversee customer experience and operations, and the brands team.”
How Spring has changed her style: Before working at the fashion startup, Prime worked mainly in the digital media space. Now, she has the chance to meet designers and get a deeper education on the art and the craft of their clothes. “So now, when I think about what I’m going to wear, I feel a little bit more comfortable with some risk-taking. I say ‘some’ because I’m still very much as monochromatic as it gets; I’m born-and-raised a New Yorker, so you know, black is every color to me,” she said.
What she’s wearing: Tibi shoes, J Brand jeans, Modern Citizen vest, Madewell top, Pamela Love bracelet, Lizzie Fortunato necklace.
Her next buy: “I have my eye on this Marissa Webb poplin dress that’s so perfect for the summer, if it’s ever summer out. I’ve double-tapped ‘love’ [on the Spring app].”
- Sarah Jacobs
Role: “I’m VP of editorial. That encompasses everything across the app and the site and social media that involves storytelling and content – everything, in a way, ends up being a story that we want to tell our customers.”
How Spring has changed her style: Liebling-Goldberg is fresh to Spring from previous editorial roles in both traditional and retail-focused companies. “Being on the app all day long for a living is really dangerous,” Liebling-Goldberg said. The free shipping and free returns make it easy to try something new, like sneakers. “I think I have to up my sneaker game. Everyone here has the best sneakers.”
What she’s wearing: Rebecca Taylor blazer, Equipment blouse, J Brand jeans, Reed Krakoff shoes, Bing Bang earrings.
Favorite Spring buys: “I just got a jumpsuit from a brand called Loup – it’s like a little French girl style, which is a good way to sell it to me personally … I was really excited that I discovered it on the site.” Other items on her radar: an Ulla Johnson summer dress and sneakers from The Office of Angela Scott.