Instagram — Kristine Locker

How many times have you found something online that you want, but not right at that moment? It either turns into a bookmark, takes up storage in your brain (and on your device), or adds to a plethora of open tabs. Well no more! Kristine Locker is the creative mind behind Locker where you can save now and buy later — the fastest way to save and organize products while you browse online. Talk about seriously helping get rid of tab hoarder culture AKA "I'll come back to this but don't want to lose it". We love the platform so much that we had to make our own lockers: Jasmine’s & Sheenu’s.

Kristine pivoted her life from being in real estate to starting this tech company and it came with many challenges, lessons, and experiences. She was able to raise $1 million in funding and was included in Forbes next 1000, which is no easy feat and insanely admirable. We had the opportunity to get to know her a little better:

Gazette: Tell us a bit about yourself, where you're from, and Locker!

Kristine: My name is Kristine Locker (yes, my last name is actually Locker!) and I grew up in Los Angeles, CA.  I am the youngest of two girls and our last name, Locker, was going to end when I got married so not only was Locker a perfect name for the company but it was also an ode to my family.

I went to college at SMU in Dallas, TX where I studied real estate finance.  My dad is in commercial real estate so I wanted to follow in his footsteps.  I started my career at Goldman Sachs after college and then shifted into a more entrepreneurial role as a commercial real estate broker in Los Angeles.  

Throughout my life I have always been considered a “good consumer” as someone who follows the trends, brands and adopts what suits me best.  I have always loved to keep up with brands and their most recent drops - and as I sift through, I share pieces I think any friends and family members would love. After years of making Google spreadsheets to organize and share links, losing screenshots in my phone and texting links back and forth, I decided I needed to leave my successful career in real estate to build a solution: Locker.

Gazette: What does an average workday look like in the life of Kristine?

Kristine: As a founder, we pretty much work 24/7 - it's almost impossible to escape. When I first started building Locker, I used to start working as soon as I woke up riddled with anxiety. As I found my stride, I decided it was critical for me to carve out time for myself in the morning before the day starts.  

Each day I start my morning with a 20-30 minute strength training or pilates sculpt workout on my bedroom floor around 6:30am followed by an hour walk outside, which I use to habit stack and catch up with my mom on the phone or listen to a podcast - and of course answer work Slack messages that have already started coming in from our east coast team members.

By 8am I am in the shower and then at my desk by 8:45am - first things first I get caught up on Slacks and emails.  On any typical day, I have back to back calls with our team, investors and potential investors. I typically try to sign off for about an hour so I can make and eat dinner with my husband and then sign back on for a few more hours before going to bed.  

Oh and at some point, I try to read some of whatever book I am currently reading :)  

Gazette: What is your advice for goal-setting, taking action, and then measuring success? How do you deal with failure?

Kristine: Goal-setting and accomplishing goals was a big shift for me post-college. In college you have a very clear structure for setting and achieving goals - for example, I majored in real estate, took the proper classes to graduate, excelled in my classes and ultimately got the job at Goldman Sachs. All of the tasks leading up to ultimately getting my dream job were tangible and provided a clear trajectory towards achieving my goals.  

As a founder, setting goals feels like trying to chase an ever-moving target - you get to where you thought you wanted to be a month ago and end up raising the bar even higher.  

Failure also comes with the territory - but if you aren’t failing, you're not trying hard enough.  With any failure or feeling of defeat, I’ll let myself cry for a beat and then I pick back up right where I left off.  

Gazette: What are some online resources for women who want to start their own business?

Kristine: There are truly so many incredible platforms supporting women in business. A few of my favorites are Dreamers and Doers, Female Founder Collective and Forward Female. Some of the networks have a free tier so you can get a feel for the community. And you can also meet incredible people through cold outreach on LinkedIn.  

ORLY

Gazette: Do you believe in a work-life balance? How can women achieve a balance, personally and professionally, while running a business?

Kristine: I definitely believe in work-life balance but I definitely have not achieved work-life balance in my own life.  As a founder, my wheels are always turning and it can feel impossible (and usually I even feel guilty) to step away from work or shut my brain off to spend time with family and friends. However, I have also realized that in order to actually give Locker my all, I have to carve out time for myself.  For me this looks like protecting my mornings, stepping away from my computer to cook dinner at home with my husband, and having very productive Sundays full of errands and home things.

Gazette: What does your day off look like?

Kristine: Since I was a child, I have had the nickname “energizer bunny” because I do not like to sit still - I am always doing something so when I do have a day off I like to make it feel productive with all of the things I often don’t have time for, like reading and actually shopping from my Locker.  Any day off always starts with a workout and then a morning walk with my husband, Ryan.  Then I will usually run a few errands and end up at Erewhon for lunch (typical LA girl…).  Then most likely some reading on the couch before getting dressed up for a fun dinner, so I can put my Locker purchases to good use!

Gazette: At GG, we’re all about community. How important is “community” at Locker and what are some ways you build community?

Kristine: Community is everything - which is why we built Locker as a community-first platform. To help paint a picture for anyone who is not yet familiar with the platform, every single product that is on Locker was saved by a member of the Locker community.  

A few ways we build community are by treating our everyday users as influencers in their own worlds through social media shoutouts, shopping sprees, and merch gifts. We also plan monthly in-person community events - so far we’ve hosted a collage party, two city walks, and a volunteer cooking event.

We also are always inviting our users to share their feedback so we can build Locker alongside our community. We do this through weekly user feedback calls, social media AMAs, DMing with users, personalized newsletters and email correspondence.  We talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to community - it pays off in the end by resulting in a highly loyal community that wants to help you grow.

Gazette: How does the platform monetize and what do you see in the future for Locker?

Kristine: Locker currently monetizes via affiliate commission (i.e earning commission by driving purchases for our brand partners, through affiliate networks like Rakuten) and flat fee paid brand placements (i.e lululemon paying Locker to curate and promote its products in a one-week campaign across Locker’s platform and owned socials). Since turning on monetization in March 2023, we’ve driven millions in sales for our brand partners and run over 30 successful paid placement brand campaigns. We will continue to build out these revenue streams while also building an ads platform and biddable brand marketplace that will allow our brand partners to reach and share offers with our shoppers.  


Gazette: How did you go about building the campus ambassador program for Locker?

Kristine: I think first and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that we are not reinventing the wheel with our campus ambassador program. We have had incredible companies, like Bumble, set examples of incredibly successful campus programs. We started building our program in Fall 2023, gathering feedback from members of the Locker community who attend various universities. We worked with our community to determine the types of challenges and involvement that would keep ambassadors engaged and excited to be a part of the program.  

In launching the program, we wanted to start with just a handful of schools where we felt we could make the most impact. We hosted focus group calls with each school and got to know each ambassador personally, while also gathering feedback on the ideas they had for how Locker could pop up on each of their campuses. With Locker growing rapidly, we will also look to expand to more college campuses around the US in 2024.

Gazette: What advice would you give to someone who is looking for investors? How did you perfect your pitch?

Kristine: I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but fundraising is all about your network.  Investors hear thousands of pitches each year so receiving a warm introduction is a way to stand out amongst the rest. You also do not need to be fundraising, and it is often better to not be fundraising, when you meet investors.  It is helpful to establish a relationship with these investors so they can observe you as a founder and your company’s growth before they decide to invest. As for perfecting the pitch, I’m not sure I will ever think it’s perfect, but getting my reps in has helped. One strategy I used when first getting comfortable with pitching Locker was actually telling people my sister was the founder - it’s a lot easier to brag about a friend or family member than it is about yourself (or at least that’s how I felt!).

Gazette: How do you foster relationships with others on the internet?

Kristine: My POV on relationship building with peers is very similar to that of growing our community or building investor relationships - you have to start out with pure intentions of getting to know them personally, and offering your own help or skills before you can ever expect them to return the favor. I spend a lot of time going to female founder events, meeting fellow female founders and going out of my way to support their businesses - as female founders, we all have to be champions for each other. And always remember this - people love to talk about themselves.

Gazette: What do you look for in your team members?

Kristine: To me, hiring is one of the most difficult parts about being a founder. It is often said that no one is going to love and take care of your company the way you do - but when hiring I try to get as close as possible.  I look for a few key traits: passion, loyalty and entrepreneurial spirit. It also helps if they are extremely passionate about Locker and start sharing their own ideas before they are even hired 😉

Ways to connect: Tiktok, Instagram (Kristine's + Locker's), WantLocker

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