The Interview — Anna Brockway, Co-Founder and President of Chairish
Anna Brockway wants to make home decorating personal. In 2013 she co-founded Chairish, the design lover’s indispensable online source for the chic and unique items that brings one-of-a-kind style to home design. Now attracting over 2 million monthly shoppers, Chairish was named one of the Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America by Entrepreneur and cited by Architectural Digest as the “#1 can’t live without decorating app” that will "change the way you shop for furniture online.” Prior to founding Chairish, Anna was the VP of Worldwide Marketing at Levi Strauss & Co. She holds a BA in Art History from Columbia University. Known for her marketing expertise, tastemaking style and “let’s try it” attitude, Anna lives in San Francisco with her husband and Chairish co-founder, Gregg, and their three children. Be sure to follow Anna and Chairish on Instagram at @annabrockway and @chairishco for daily inspo and updates!
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What inspired the idea behind Chairish:
About five years ago, my husband and I moved, and I had gorgeous designer furniture to sell that wouldn’t fit in our new space. I also needed new pieces. Little did I know that I was about to experience first-hand what a pain it was to buy and sell high-end furniture.
eBay was too big and un-curated. Craigslist was scary and full of junk. 1stDibs was too fancy and intimidating. And no site helped with shipping, which is the hardest part.
After complaining to my husband about it, he suggested we start a business to fix it. So we did. Right there in our dining room.
That was back in 2013, and now Chairish offers 300,000 vintage and one of a kind items and is visited monthly by over 2 million times by design lovers looking for chic and unique finds.
What was one of the biggest challenges you were faced with when first starting your business and how did you overcome this obstacle:
When we first started Chairish in 2013, shoppers were just beginning to become comfortable with the idea of buying furniture online. Flash forward five years, and home furnishings are now the fastest growing e-commerce category, so my, how things have changed! Much of this has to do with technology innovations that make shoppers feel more confident buying furniture sight unseen. A fantastic example is our “View In Your Space” feature on our iPhone app. Chairish was first in our industry to develop this feature which uses augmented reality technology, so you can virtually see Chairish items in your space before you buy. In this way, Chairish is taking all the worry, guesswork and drama out of buying furniture and art online.
View Anna's Essentials
What do you love most about your work:
I’m an admitted compulsive redecorator, always transforming and reimagining my home. Truly I’m a home design addict, so I’m lucky enough to say that with Chairish my personal passion and my profession come together.
Best career advice you’ve ever received:
"If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." —Reid Hoffman
Walk us through a typical work day:
6:00 am - SoulCycle, bike 38
7:00 am - Breakfast with Gregg and my kids
8:30 am - Coffee on the way into work
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pretty much non-stop meetings! I work with our buying teams to scout more inventory and partner with our marketing gals to get word out about Chairish. I spend a lot of time brainstorming new story ideas and sources for amazing pieces and also thinking about tastemakers and destinations for fun features. We are always looking for new media ideas, events and partners to help make Chairish famous and indispensable.
6:30 p.m. I never miss family dinner with Gregg and our three kids. Then homework supervision (ask me about sentence diagrams!) and maybe a dance party or two.
8:00 p.m. Reading, drawing, hot bubble bath, and Chardonnay.
9:30 p.m. Lights out cause I am old.
Your go-to office look:
Black cigarette pants, oversized white shirt with voluminous sleeves, kitten heel, chandelier earrings, cashmere belted wrap coat (‘cause I live in SF where you need this year round) and my big, old and pretty trashed Fendi Peekaboo satchel bag (we’ve been around the world together many times and it shows).
What’s a home decor trend you predict will catch on this year:
We’re going to see a modern take on the ribbon motif shape in art, furniture, sculpture, and more. Chairish’s stand-out artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm is a great example of this very postmodern interpretation of a feminine motif and her collection is hot, hot, hot!
#1 tip for those looking to redecorate their space:
Our rally cry at Chairish for both business and design is “Just Try It!” So while some decorating decisions may seem big and risky, just know that a space is never done and that blah is never the answer! Great rooms express your personal style and so they change over time. Chairish lets you easily add unique accessories, original art, vintage pieces to keep things interesting and provides a venue for you to sell your lovely leftovers. This is what’s fun about decorating, you can always try it, swap it out and try again.
Your most recent beauty, fashion, or home obsession:
Revitabrow. The antidote for early 2000 thin brows. Thank the Lord for this.
What’s next for Chairish:
Our art business is on fire! Just this week we added nine more artists to the Chairish Artist Collective—a tightly edited collection of emerging art stars. This next wave of artists offers a fantastic selection of sculpture and pop art. We're always looking for interesting ways to work with Chairish shopper's favorite artists!