LovingEco acquired by JP Selects to further their mission of eco-friendly product discovery. By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Congratulations to co-founders Justine Lassoff and Melinda Moore - their startup LovingEco was acquired by JP Selects, the largest digital platform for sustainable brands and products, for a reported $1M.
By joining forces, the team at LovingEco expands their mission of helping people discover the best eco-friendly products to protect and create a more sustainable planet. LovingEco had raised a seed round from angel investors in April 2012.
Women 2.0 talks to CEO Justine Lassoff about starting up, lessons learned and how to get acquired. Here is the interview:
Women 2.0: Congratulations! Tell us how you got started with LovingEco in the beginning? Justine Lassoff: After taking off 3 years as a new mom to be with my son, I had a backlog of startup ideas in June 2010 and began developing different business plans. While I was working on them and narrowing my focus to a social commerce company endorsed by celebrity tastemakers, one of my advisors (Melinda Moore) formed with me our vision of a site that could help women find better and healthier products to buy, without compromising on style or price, while giving back to charity, and leveraging the curation of tastemakers.
As a new mom, I cared increasingly about the products that came in contact with my family, and saw that other women cared too. With the proliferation of health issues affecting us as well as a pervasive desire to do good, and the success of brands like TOMS Shoes, I saw the importance of being a social entrepreneur. Thus LovingEco was born, an 'eco' flash sales site that helps women discover the best fashion and beauty products, and that gaves back to charity with each purchase.
I have 15 years of consumer marketing experience with companies including MGM, Virgin and idealab and Kleiner Perkins' backed FirstLook.com. I am also an interior designer with a degree from UCLA, and have experience in retail (my family owned a successful retail pharmacy in Brentwood).
Women 2.0: That's a great story. Can you share some startup lessons learned with LovingEco? Justine Lassoff: One thing we did right was focus on execution. My partner and I oversaw every detail of the consumer experience. I wrote and oversaw the content of every consumer email, and our team discussed and helped select which brands to feature on the site every Monday. The business we created was something we cared about: the best eco products, designers and brands, the most interesting tastemakers and important charities. We had a passion for it.
Some of the mistakes we made included spending too much money on projections with various financial consultants (a waste of money); certain launch tactics that did not work - while others did; and hiring a senior executive for a relatively high salary that we had to let go a few months later.
Women 2.0: All good lessons... Were you looking for an acquisition or an exit? Do you have any advice on strategic partnerships? Justine Lassoff: We actually were not looking for an exit or acquisition - we had been focusing for some time on raising our Series A, but having a hard time getting investors after a relatively easy time raising our seed round. We were approached by JP Selects and it turned out to be a great fit. The growth of JP Selects is 100% leveraging strategic partnerships, and one was just announced with Xiu.com, a leading luxury etailer in China backed by $100M from KPCB.
Women 2.0: Very awesome. Congratulations on the acquisition. Now what's next for you? Justine Lassoff: I am focused on my new role at JP Selects as COO, and combining our resources, networks and expertise to grow the leading sustainable digital platform for consumers worldwide.
Congratulations to the LovingEco team on the acquisition! Below is a screenshot of the JP Selects website welcoming the LovingEco community to JP Selects: