Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin

Co-founder, Summersalt

How did you start working in eCommerce?

I was working at a magazine during the recession in 2008, and I saw the writing on the wall when it came to the future of digital media. I was a print designer and I quickly realized that print was not going to be a sustainable career option if I wanted to achieve my goals. I’ve always been extremely ambitious and unapologetic about it. I started applying for other jobs in the digital space so I could transition from being a print designer to a UX designer. Ultimately, I got an offer from a digital agency and they were willing to take a chance on me. I dove right in and took ownership, learning as much as I could. And then I quit because I knew I could do it better — I launched my own agency, and then I started Summersalt.

I've always been extremely ambitious and unapologetic about it.

Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin

Co-founder, Summersalt
Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin

What does your typical work day look like?

There are no typical work days, at all. For example, recently I went from running around with visitors from one of our factories in Asia to working on a really cool upcoming collaboration, to planning an influencer trip to Morocco and figuring out the logistics of that. We’re also hiring like crazy, so we’re constantly interviewing. Each day looks completely different. It’s the first time in about 4 months that I haven’t been on a plane in few weeks. It feels luxurious to be home, in the same place, at the office for two consecutive weeks.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that it’s challenging and I love traveling. I feel so inspired when I’m on the move — I get my best, craziest ideas on the plane because I’m alone and focused. I also love changing the conversation around swimwear, which is being plagued by this over-sexualized approach, to something more diverse and realistic. We get so many emails from women saying, “I really was not confident in a swimsuit until I tried Summersalt,” or “Thank you for making this mom of two finally feel confident running around with her kids,” and that is the best thing you can hear.

What advice would you give to others looking to work in the industry?

Just do it. Spend time dissecting the brands you admire, find out how they are thinking about conversion, what their displays look like, etc. Examine these cutting edge brands, because that’s where the innovation is happening. Familiarize yourself and become an encyclopedia on brand, brand narratives, and how eCommerce and brands are so closely linked. Don’t be afraid to spend hours on Instagram just dissecting what brands are doing and then working on understanding the strategy behind their offers.The more you can understand and appreciate each piece of the puzzle, the better you’ll be at your job, no matter your role.

What do you think is the next big development/trend that will define the industry?

The importance of brand cannot be undervalued. Brand is becoming incredibly important more so now than ever, especially with Amazon as competition. We will continue to differentiate via the novelty and quality of our product, but also via the overall brand and the one-on-one relationship it builds with the consumer.

Are there other women in the industry that you admire & why?

There are so many women doing incredible things. One of my friends who I admire is Claire Chambers. She’s at Walmart doing home and home innovation. She sold her business and is now bringing her innovation to a new height at a larger company.