Interview with Caroline Klatt
With over 1.5 billion people sending 250+ billion messages per day, your brand must have a lasting and comprehensive presence on messaging channels. Utilizing the most cutting-edge techniques in chatbot development, AI capabilities and conversational commerce methodologies, Headliner Labs
specializes in building e-commerce chatbots for the beauty and fashion industries. Our first-in-class bots optimize for maximum brand impact, conversion through a sales funnel, and unique customer interactions.
Hi Caroline! Could you please introduce Headliner Labs and what led to your co-founding the company back in 2015?
Hi. My name is Caroline Glatt, and I'm the founder and CEO of Headliner Labs.
I found a Headliner in 2016, after spending my career in e-commerce, I had worked at Ralph Lauren Steve Madden, Collective Brands of major global retail companies and then I worked at McKinsey consulting for consumer and retail brands, and I was most recently at a large startup called Fab.com where I ran operations and strategy and I realized across all of these experiences that retailers really all had the same challenge, you spend all of your dollars on Facebook ads right, so you spend a lot of money driving people to your website, and you hope when they hit your site to hear one of two things. First thing you want is a purchase, that would be best, and the second thing you want is some way to contact them so that you can reach back out and continue to try to market to them until they make a purchase. And until really recently that was all done via email and so retailers every company I worked for was just doing everything to get an email address, and it's 2018 or it was 2016. We were actually on our cell phones all day every day and we were messaging with our friends with our peers and so when I was at Fab I just thought what if we could message with customers right, what if I could slide into your DMs and started talking to you there. Wouldn't that be more interactive, more dynamic and more relevant to a young shopper? And so, I left to found Headliner Labs to solve that problem, and that's what we do now for major brands like Kenneth Cole and Cole Hahn and Saks Fifth Avenue and Sally Beauty and all sorts of incredible startups that really understand how to market to today's customer and how to reach customers in a way that's truly relevant and actually convert sales.
The company has experienced enormous growth over the past three years. How did you build up the networks and partnerships with AI developers and beauty industry experts that make Headliner Labs the company it is today?
So Headliner was founded in 2016 it went to market about 18 months ago and since then we've experienced tremendous growth and the reason for that, so we went from being a pretty market product to being in the market with lots of really incredible customers in the form of large retailers and brands, and the reason for that is really because we have created a new method of marketing and a new communication channel between companies, mostly in retail, and customers directly and that's through dms, so, before 2016, before we introduce Headliner chatbots on site have been a thing, there is live chat, but for the most part all branded communications have gone through email, that's a really really limited set of options, and so when we introduce Headliner we open up social channels as a direct marketing tool and so a lot of our growth has come extremely organically, so brands reaching out to us directly, brands seeing other retailers who are on the headliner platform and then reaching out to us to do the same thing, and it's really forward thinking brand marketers and acquisition leaders who understand that they need to reach customers in different channels, and so understand that if they want to be relevant two years from now, three years from now, five years from now for sure, messaging and having a Dm strategy is not just value add or nice to have, it's essential it is going to be a core tenet of the marketing stack, and so to date growth has been incredibly organic.
I'm a huge believer in partnerships and networks. Working with other founders, working with other tech platforms that are all selling to the same customer, we all win when we're working together, so networks and partnerships have been very important to us, but continue to be a pillar of our strategy, especially going forward.
What was the process behind developing chatbot AI that's specifically made for the fashion and beauty industry?
So, this is one of my favorite questions. What is the process behind developing technology for fashion and beauty, and the answer is really, the technology is not relevant to the fashion of beauty or not, not specific to fashion and beauty. The technology works beautifully across industries, we've worked in insurance, we've worked and travel, we've worked in pet, and sports equipment so the technology is extremely transferable. Our expertise lies deeply in fashion and beauty and that's simply because of our background, so, I and our team have a very very robust background working with fashion and beauty retailers. We came in with a not a lot of knowledge, but over the last year and a half from working with some really phenomenal retailers in the fashion and beauty space, we continue to develop more and more expertise making us the leading platform for messenger marketing or for direct messaging, so we totally understand the customer, we understand the messaging, we understand the cadence at which you have to measure customers, specifically for making those sorts of purchases. That said, the knowledge and the technology is transferable beyond fashion and beyond beauty, so while there's a lot of ground to cover, and we're incredibly excited and focused on fashion and beauty retail, it actually works really really wonderfully across industries and across companies.
How has being nominated for Forbes 30 Under 30 influenced you career, if at all?
Being nominated to Forbes 30 Under 30 is, is very exciting it's a tremendous honor for our company and for me personally, and I think it probably made my parents very proud, but I'm not sure it is. The way it influenced my career is really in that it connected me to a network and a peer group of other youngish, I'd say I'm not going to say young anymore, but youngish entrepreneurs who are really trying to do something innovative and make a difference and build really meaningful companies for today's world right, so when we think about the world we're growing up in, or at least how we've grown up as real tech natives and digital natives, business, communications in our case, retail is just different, it's different than it has been traditionally, and we're sitting at the forefront of that and we get to meet and work with our peer group, our peers really from the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, which is other people who are thinking like we think, who are thinking about leading and innovating for the next generations, and that's been super super exciting and you know a tremendously huge opportunity for us as a company.
What's next for your work with Headliner Labs? What are the main markets, sectors and projects you'll be focusing on in 2019?
So this is one of the toughest questions for me. What's next for your work with Headliner Labs, what are the main market sectors and projects we're focusing on in 2019, and the answer to that is we have to stay really focused, despite the fact that there is so much we can be doing across different places. So we built a marketing, a marketing messaging company, we work across messenger messaging platforms, but we really did have a focus on retail and that could be retailing men's shoes or women's makeup, or furniture, or home goods, but basically any company that's selling your product to a consumer is the company that should be working with Headliner and we'll see sales and lift immediately.
The technology and the ability to do messenger marketing or DM ing or texting with customers is so relevant to any single company that is communicating with customers right now over e-mail, so when you think about events, travel, those are two of my favorite spaces, Fintech, insurance, these are all industries that would hugely benefit and already are in some cases taking advantage of headliners platform and messaging with customers and so, our core focus is on the retail industry, we are the leading experts in retail and, you know have a real, have started there, but there are so many other phenomenal use cases that we get inbound requests for that we've had a chance to work on a bit, and those excite me as well.
But for now, it's making sure that every single company that's retailing products to customers can reach those customers in the right way, and those right ways are on mobile through direct messaging.