ll archives: Pretty In My Pocket's Caroline Van Sickle
Beauty meets tech with Caroline Van Sickle's mobile app, Pretty In My Pocket (PRIMP). The Atlanta-based ladypreneur sat down with us to chat about PRIMPing, what's next for the mobile app, and she even delves out some stellar words to live by. This is an interview not to be missed!
Current location: Atlanta, GA
Where are you from? Atlanta, GA
Education: BBA in MIS from UGA, MBA from Emory
Business & Formal Title: Founder, CEO
What is Pretty In My Pocket (PRIMP) and how did it come to be?
GET INSPIRED, DISCOVER, AND BE EMPOWERED WHILE BEAUTY SHOPPING.
Pretty in my Pocket (PRIMP) is a free mobile app that serves as the ultimate shopping companion for the beauty consumer. PRIMP can be used as a quick reference tool to help with a purchase decision in a drugstore beauty aisle or a high end makeup counter. Our database of over 120,000 products mirrors that of popular beauty retailers such as Sephora, Target, Walgreens, etc. The buy options in the app take the user to the complementary e-commerce sites of these beauty retailers.
Here’s how it works: You’re in Target, looking for a lip gloss, and you’re unsure which one to buy. You take out the app, scan the barcode and voila - reviews, looks, tips, and maybe even a blogger video appears to help you learn more about the product and potentially what to pair it with.
We can be a shopping companion in the store and a tool to make a purchase online. Upon product look up or the scan of a bar code, user and expert generated reviews and looks, blogger how-to videos, alternative products, and basically everything you need to make a beauty buying decision appears! Bloggers and users can tag looks they create with products across the entire spectrum of the market. And, users can shop the look directly from the app. The key difference with PRIMP is that we support purchase and discovery inside the store as well as from your couch. Our entire database links to stores you know and love, like Sephora, Walgreens owned Drugstore.com, Target.com, etc. We help retailers with purchase abandonment in the aisle by giving the consumer the proper tools to make an educated purchase decision. The ultimate goal is to provide rewards to the consumer based on what she buys and likes. Our members, Primpers, build their virtual makeup bag, telling us which products they love. This enables us to work with the brands and the retailers to offers perks that keep the beauty consumer in the cycle of buying and discovering. The purpose of PRIMP is to be the go-to mobile beauty destination for all your purchase and discovery needs. We are the only mobile beauty app on the market that combines social content with broad spectrum purchase options.
Historically, marketing has been a one-sided conversation. PRIMP is changing that. By giving you, as a beauty consumer, a voice that is heard by brands, you can be rewarded as a loyalist. When you add a product to your PRIMP bag, brands have the opportunity to surprise and delight you with Perks, gifts with purchase, or samples. This model brings equality to the beauty brand/consumer relationship.
PRIMP does not allow pop-up ads or annoying advertising interferences from brands. Brands can elect to surprise and delight their customer by offering something helpful in their purchase and discovery process.
We are currently raising funding to drive awareness and prove a demand for this model. We've teamed up with Plum Alley to make beauty buying even better on the app. If we show the demand and explain our over arching vision, we've accomplished our goal. With consumer based technology, there's always a chicken and egg scenario and we're at that point. We need more users for brands to offer perks. But, we need more brands offering perks to get more users. This campaign lights the fire on both ends so we can explode.
What did you do before? I worked in marketing and advertising in NYC where I observed the truth in John Wanamaker’s claim, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.” So I thought, well, if we can create a mobile solution that adds value to the decision journey, is personalized, and compatible with online and in-store shopping, why not do it? The goal is to build a pipeline from the consumer to the brand so that a relationship can begin.
Theoretically, we can not only help the consumer make the right purchase decision, but we can also reduce wasted marketing dollars spent advertising the wrong message to the wrong consumer. You personalize your PRIMP bag by adding the products you love to your bag. Then, we go to the brands and offer them an opportunity to reach you in a way that is helpful to both parties.
What did you think you’d be doing now whenever you were 10? I always dreamed of doing something creative, but I’m not an artist, nor do I have a lick of musical talent. When I was young, I imagined having the ability to create and innovate, but I felt a little lost. I never knew I’d have this opportunity. I love motivating and inspiring people and this has become my outlet. I also like cutting through the BS and getting straight to the truth. I wanted to buy makeup and beauty products without all the “hype” so to speak.
Is PRIMP your dream job? If not, what else is in the works? Yes, because of what’s in the answer above :) Being able to support women while making beauty buying decisions in this capacity is motivating. Makeup and primiping is fun, and it is only part of who we are. I want PRIMP to be a refuge from the illusion of perfection often depicted in beauty ads. We specifically equip our users with the ability to post their own personal beauty looks for this reason. The ultimate vision for PRIMP is to enable a 1-click buy option to make it easy to buy products on PRIMP.
Are you involved in any side hustles, ladypreneur collabs or baby projects? Tell us about them. Everyday I’m hustlin’ :) I will save this story for later.
What do your daily routines consist of? We took a step back so we could improve our product. We had to halt everything else and focus on the consumer. What does she want? What does she need? What is important to her? How does she want to discover products? Over the past month, we ignored everything else and focused on what and why we are doing what we are doing. We want to bring simplicity, ease, convenience, and value to our PRIMPers, so we dove into data and analytics, feedback, reviews and built a better version of our product. The past 60 days, I’ve had many days/nights that creeped into the 2 am, sometimes 4 am hour working with our developers, diving into data, and trying to make a better product for our members.
How do you balance work and life and is that actually even possible? I don’t. I am a workaholic. But I love my work and at this point in my life, I can do this. I am not married and I don’t have kids. I don’t know how married moms do it. God bless them.
You have to do it and you hate it – what is your least favorite task to do at PRIMP? Raising capital. I hate it.
What are your favorite business lady apps? I love to see other apps that are breaking bounds - Luvocracy, Wanelo, Audible, Kindle, Spotify, Starbucks, FaceTune, PayPal, DropBox, MindBody, TED, WellsFargo, HotelsTonight, ooh there are so many more!
Top 5 favorite cities? Atlanta Brooklyn NYC Park City Utah for skiing
Red, White or Sparkling? Sparkling! Even when the chips are seemingly down, there’s always something to celebrate in life.
Tell us the best place to eat in your city. If it’s your kitchen, share your favorite/best recipe. I do not cook :) I love St. Cecilia’s - my new fave restaurant.
Words to live by: “The key to transcending the inherent limitations of the ego [that which keeps us locked up] is humility [definitely not pride/worry/fear] without [humility] we become trapped in an illusory house of mirrors.” David R. Hawkins
Accepting ourselves fully allows us to radically accept others fully. Our ego/flesh is the only thing in our way. Its not the world, our past, him, her, or them...we can do anything or be anything, we just have to believe we can.
In 5 years you’ll be: Who knows? I am just living in the moment.
On being a woman entrepreneur: There’s no doubt that women are on the rise. This statement says it all: On the rise means that we have a long way to go and that we are doing just that, rising! There was once a time when the Betty Drapers of the world didn’t believe that women belonged in high places - as executives, presidents, etc. All that is changing because we believe and accept that truth: we can, we are willing, and we believe in ourselves.