Lara Crystal &
New York, NY
Just like Rent the Runway’s co-founders, there are a ton of women who have leapt into the uncharted, often-insane world of entrepreneurship. We’re inviting these risk-takers to be part of a community we’re calling The Real Runway: a collection of voices to motivate and inspire your own runway, whatever that may be.
The best ideas always seem the most obvious, right? Introducing Minibar: an alcohol delivery app (think Seamless for your favorite rosé). After meeting at Wharton Business School, Lindsey Andrews and Lara Crystal pursued their respective careers in the startup world: Lara as VP of Marketing at (yours truly) Rent the Runway, and Lindsey as Director of Marketing at Wag.com. The two friends would hang out every Tuesday night, brainstorming business ideas over takeout and a bottle of wine. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” they thought, “if we could have our wine delivered with our food?”
What was it like transitioning from your previous careers to Minibar?
Lara: It was a natural progression for both of us. Having been part of the founding team at Rent the Runway, it was incredible to see how the co-founders worked together to make it it grow. I was really excited to do that with Lindsey. We had always had the entrepreneurial bug, but having work experience beforehand helped both of us. What we learned from our previous roles proved to be really valuable, and Minibar is the perfect blend of our skill sets and backgrounds.
Lindsey: There was a bit more of an adjustment for me because I’d come from a later stage startup where there was more infrastructure. So it was eye opening to see the chaos and energy of that early stage—which was exciting but also exhausting and scary. I think both of us were ready for it, and ready to go on this crazy ride together!
Dress, Vera Wang; Bracelet, Eddie Borgo
What’s been a great experience for both of you throughout the process?
Lindsey: It’s been such a great experience building a team. That’s something we’re really proud of and what we find so rewarding: the great people we get to work with every day. Because why do it if you don’t enjoy it?
Lara: We feel so lucky to have found people who are awesome self-starters with incredible attitudes. We hire people we want to be around.
On Lindsey: Dress, Boutique Moschino; On Lara: Dress, Vera Wang; Bracelet, Eddie Borgo
How do you deal with challenge?
Lindsey: We face new challenges every month, depending on how the business is going. A good challenge we currently have is keeping up with demand because we’re growing really quickly. In general, we never stop running.
Lara: It helps to have a great partner. We’re always there to support one another. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I can lean on Lindsey to help pick up the pieces, and if Lindsey has a problem, she can always come to me. We might freak out about different things, but we always find a level headed approach when we come together.
Dress, Boutique Moschino; Cuff, Giles & Brother
A common challenge for entrepreneurs is hearing the word “No.” How do you respond to hearing that?
Lara: I learned everything about responding to the word “No” from Jenn & Jenny, which is that when someone says no, they mean not right now. And you listen to them and learn why they’re saying no and come up with solutions which will convince them to say yes. We definitely had to apply that when dealing with liquor stores who would turn us down.
Lindsey: Neither of us were sales people before Minibar — we had to learn how to turn that no into a yes.
How can what you wear enable you to put your best foot forward?
Lara: I’m in heels almost every day because I feel better in them. Feeling good about how I look trickles into all aspects of my day. Lindsey and I will dress up when we have important meetings, and I think it radiates how you’re feeling.
Lindsey: I wish I had the ability to wear heels every day! I lean more towards the flats. But we both love dressing up—you want to go out presenting your best self. First impressions are really important. Attitude plays a large part in how you come across, and that has a lot to do with how you carry yourself and what you’re wearing.
Have you experienced any advantages or disadvantages as women in the alcohol and tech industry?
Lindsey: The industry might be male dominated, but we’ve never felt hindered because of that. We want to stand on our successes and would hope we are judged on our accomplishments, not because we are women.
Photographed by Leslie Kirchoff