A Day in the Life of Polyvore’s Director of Community
We’re all about taking style and creativity into your own hands, from reading all the creative inspo books you can get your hands on to hacking into your creativity while you sleep. And nobody has a more DIY attitude toward personal style and creativity than Polyvore, the website that allows you to make digital collages of clothing, accessories, home goods and more (and then purchase those items — hello, one-stop-shop). When you get thousands of people digitally DIYing their personal styles at once, a sense of community is natural — but for Polyvore, it’s also been very intentional. We caught up with Nadia Hussain, the Director of Community AKA the woman working every day to cultivate and empower Polyvore’s community to find out what a typical day in her super-cool role looks like.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF Nadia Hussain
4:00am: I’m observing Ramadan this month and fasting from sunup to sundown, so I wake up at 4am to have my pre-dawn meal. I’ll either eat overnight oats I prepared the night before or a Chobani Yogurt Key Lime Pie Crumble (yum!). I usually go back to sleep around 4:30am.
8:00am: Awake again. 8am may seem a bit late to most, but I try to pick my battles when it comes to my commute — traffic in the Bay Area is no joke. So I do most of my morning prep from home while waiting the traffic out. Before I even get out of bed, I check my emails, Snapchat and Instagram on my phone.
8:30am: I shower and get ready for the day. I’m not completely settled into my new place yet (a lot of my shoes are still in suitcases), so I have to allow a little bit of time to find what I’m looking for.
9:15am: I’m out the door. I pull up my Waze app so that I know how long my commute is going to be and mentally prepare myself for it. My office is only 12 miles away, but that can take up to an hour on certain days of the week. During my drive, I plan out my day.
10:00am: I usually get to the office around this time. It’s a good thing I pretty much live in sneakers, because the only open parking spots at this hour are far away.
Outside of Ramadan, I would normally run over to the cafeteria and grab a plate of egg whites and avocado. My a.m. drink of choice is an iced latte from the coffee bar. I don’t even have to say a word — the baristas here know my order by heart! Did I mention we get free meals at work? Kind of my favorite perk. On Mondays, our amazing coworker Cindy bakes something delicious for our team. We call her goodies CindyCakes, and this week it’s a chocolate cinnamon cake. (And, yes, I made sure to save myself a piece for later.)
10:15am: I check my email again and the daily top outfit sets on Polyvore. I’m always amazed at what our community members are creating. I’m totally in home decorating mode, so the decor sets are my favorite at the moment.
10:30am: It’s my first meeting of the day. I’m wrapping up a partnership with a brand that’s based on the East Coast, so this is the perfect hour for us to hop on a call and touch base. We talk briefly about how we think the partnership went, and the next action item I walk away with is putting together a wrap-up report for the partner.
11:00am: I’ve been working with some community members on an early beta test for an upcoming feature, so I spend the next hour catching up on feedback and crafting the next wave of messaging to the community members. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of my day, where I really get to examine community feedback and share it with the rest of the team.
12pm: We’ve been talking about ordering some new Polyvore swag for our community members and we just got a delivery of samples. A few of us are checking out the products and deliberating on what we should place an order for based on what our community members would really be excited about. Polyvore-branded board shorts? Meh. Bluetooth headphones? Hell yes!
12:30pm: With Polyvore members fresh on my mind, I make the time to really focus on them. I notice many of them are posting their sets on Instagram, and they get a ton of engagement on those posts. I’m curious to know more about their personal stories and understand how Polyvore can better support them. Are they aspiring stylists? Bloggers? What can we do for them? So I direct message a few them through Instagram, inviting them to get in touch with me. Hope to hear back!
1:30pm: One of our product managers stops by my desk. He’s thinking through another beta test we can run with community members and asks if I have capacity to help out. I really appreciate how we collaborate multiple times throughout the day and across teams at Polyvore. It’s for this very reason I love being in the office versus working from home.
2pm: Mail gets dropped off and we get a cute card addressed to the Polyvore team. It’s a handwritten note from one of our community members just thanking our team for building an awesome site and a community where she feels supported. [Insert all the feels here.] I post a picture of it to our team Slack chat and then tack the actual card on our “Love Letters” wall. It’s so inspiring to hear from our members and touching that they take the time to show our team love.
2:30pm: It’s time for our weekly marketing and communications team sync. We discuss team highlights and hear about the different projects everyone is working on. It’s also an opportunity to help each other brainstorm on projects.
3:30pm: This is when I take my midday break. We have this amazing outdoor trail behind our office that overlooks wetlands, so I go for a short walk outside. I’m not following my normal workout routine this month, so it’s nice to step away from my desk, get a little wind in my hair and re-energize.
3:30pm: I start working on the partnership wrap-up deck. There were a lot of moving pieces to this partnership, so I have to sync with different folks on the team to get all the results together. I touch base with our social media manager to gather the metrics from all of our social posts and with the sales team to see how ads performed. We still have to announce winners for the contest we ran as part of the partnership, so I’m also looking through 4000+ entries and creating a finalists list that our guest judge can select winners from.
6:00pm: I usually leave the office around this time. By now I’m hoping traffic isn’t too terrible. Since I’m looking at at least 45 minutes in the car, I call a friend that lives in LA to catch up. I’m a big advocate of picking up the phone to stay in touch with people. We spend so much time communicating via text with one another, that it’s always nice to hear a voice on the other end.
8:30pm: The sun is setting, and it’s finally time to break my fast. Tonight I’m having dinner with my parents, and my mom has cooked up a storm for me. Over the next several hours, I’m also going to be chugging large amounts of water.
9:30pm: Drive home. At last, no traffic :)
9:45pm: This is when I start to wind down for the day. I don’t watch much television anymore, but if there happens to be a TV series I’m into (on Sundays, it’s definitely Game of Thrones), I’ll throw it on. But I’m also a multi-tasker, so even with the TV on, I’m on the internet browsing home decor. And shoes.
10:30pm: I do a quick scan of my emails and check my calendar so that I know what meetings I have tomorrow and what I need to prepare for.
11:30pm: I’m more of a night person, so I tend to go to sleep a bit later than most. Getting to bed around this time is actually on the earlier side for me.
Nadia’s favorite quote
“If your closet is organized, your life will be too.” — My Mom
Nadia’s best advice
Balance is everything.
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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