Photo: Tara Howard Photography
A year and a half ago, Rachel and I were at a happy hour catching up on a year’s worth of breakups, haircuts, careers and gossip when our conversation took its usual route – what do we really want to do with our lives? It was a topic we had often debated in between the e-mails, phone calls, rep launches and client demands of our first job as media buyers. During those long days at the office, inevitably one of us would spin around in our chair and whisper a new job idea that had come to mind – escape routes to what we felt would make us happier.
Eventually, Rachel took a leap and left to attend grad school in Philly. Still uncertain about what I wanted, I continued to brainstorm solo. Over the course of my six-year career, I have declared to want to be or to do many unrelated professions – teach abroad in France, join the Peace Corps, launch a muffin truck, become a writer, open a bakery, take up farming. The declaration would change by the month as I either lost interest in the pursuit or found a reason the change would be unreasonable.
So as of that night we met up, Rachel was back in NYC to start digging her heels into the experiential marketing world and I was still where she left me - crunching numbers on media plans and defending the relevance of the print advertising landscape (thankfully with better compensation and title). We each had grown in our ways over our year apart, but despite the accomplishments in our careers and lives there was still a void being discussed and feelings of dissatisfaction. We suspected we were not alone.
However, aside from our friends declaring their quarter-life crises as they passed their 25th and 26th birthdays and felt they were going nowhere, there was no proof of others’ discontent. No community or guide minus a decade old book and some forums. Certainly nothing specific to women who just want to know they’re not alone – that not everyone has it figured out even if her exterior suggests otherwise. Rachel had looked for this kind support over her unemployed summer between graduation and that happy hour. She was left wanting, and with the landscape wide open, she asked me to help fill this space in creating an on-line destination for women like us.
This is how we arrived here, today, in the midst of introducing our brainchild to the world. We’re now vulnerable to criticism of the work we have kept tight to the chest, but also able to soak in the acceptance we’ve been given from women our age and beyond. The praise doesn’t always come in words, but just in the follows, likes and page views. Launch day was possibly one of the most exciting days of our lives. We spent a good part of that first 24 hours refreshing our Google Analytics page to watch the page count, holding our breath as we met and passed our unspoken goal.
It’s not out of vanity that this pleases us; it’s the satisfaction that we’re on our way to building a community of like-minded women who can hopefully inspire each other to find what they want out of life out of the million options they are presented.
Beyond that, our biggest accomplishment is that we’ve taken a friendship and developed it into what feels at times like a marriage. A successful business partnership takes a level of communication, trust, understanding and commitment that needs daily grooming and attention. You have to support each other on good days and bad. It’s never my idea, it’s our idea – no matter how much debate, discussion and compromise it takes to move it from agreement, to concept to (hopefully) execution. It makes you realize that no two people see the world the same and that’s a blessing when it strikes a balance in the team – much the case for us.
Most importantly for us, Quarterlette is our business and is built on our decisions, each of us knowing we couldn’t do it alone and that it’s no one else’s to run. No red tape, no higher approvals. It’s liberating. While we often see points differently and spend time debating even the tiniest of details, we understand each other and are in this together. We challenge each other, ideate, brainstorm, debate and cheer each other on. At the end of the day, I couldn’t ask for a better partner.
With that, as much fun as we’ve had building Quarterlette, it hasn’t been all sugar and sunshine. We have hit many roadblocks in our path to launching – usually in the form of money or legal mumbo jumbo (which takes us back to money). Without any investors or lucky lottery wins, any monetary needs have come from our own bank accounts often leaving nice dents along the way. Nonetheless, we like being a scrappy start up. We’re forced to jump these roadblocks by pushing our imaginations to find solutions that don’t involve paying out to someone else.
And we’re having the time of our lives doing it, too.
Now that we’re just past the year and a half mark of building Quarterlette, I often think about what my days would be like, if I hadn’t taken the time to meet up with Rach that night or hadn’t said yes. I suppose I would have pursued new jobs or explored moving abroad. Certainly, I would have more free time to roam the city and stay out closing bars – subsequently nursing a Sunday hangover. Whatever the case, none of those would beat the feeling I get from a day’s work on Quarterlette. No, I would not have missed that night for the world.
As proof of why, two weekends ago I was at a dear friend’s wedding catching up with friends from high school. Of course, Quarterlette was my exciting update and it quickly became a center of discussion – even for the twenty-something guys. On a sidebar whisper, one of my closest guyfriends commented on how happy I am when I speak about Quarterlette and that I seemed to have finally found that passion I have been missing all these years.
Welcome to Quarterlette. I hope it does the same for you.
P.S – I can’t end this without a special thank you to our editor, Shelby, who I like to think of as the next Anna Wintour. She was invaluable in helping us jump one of our roadblocks by grooming and tending to our content.