20VC: Stitch Fix Founder Katrina Lake on Growth vs Profitability, Her Biggest Lessons From Working with Bill Gurley at Benchmark and The Importance of Mental Flexibility as a Leader

Katrina Lake is the Founder & CEO @ Stitch Fix, a multi-billion dollar public company, which has brought an entirely new model to retail apparel by combining data science, technology, and personal stylists, to create a unique
shopping experience tailored to the individual consumer. Prior to their IPO in 2017, Katrina raised just $42M in venture funding from some of the best in venture including Bill Gurley @ Benchmark and Steve Anderson @ Baseline. In just 6 years Katrina took the company from founding moment to $2BN IPO and was even cash flow positive after just 3 years. If that was not enough, Katrina is also on the board of both Grubhub and Glossier.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Katrina made her way from being an associate at a venture firm to reshaping the world of fashion with Stitch Fix?

2.) On reflection, is Katrina happy that the business was forced to be so capital efficient so early? What did Katrina do to structure the business and their inventory management to presever cash? How does Katrina think about the balance between growth vs profitability?

3.) What have been some of Katrina’s biggest lessons from working with Bill Gurley? How does Katrina ensure not to overweight his opinion on the board? What have been Katrina’s biggest lessons on effective board management? How has being on the Grubhub and Glossier board changed the way she operates the Stitch Fix board?

4.) How does Katrina think about imposter syndrome and self-doubt today? How does she remedy it? How does Katrina ensure she remains on the front lines with customers despite being a public company CEO? What benefits are there for founders to stay in the trenches even when a large company?

5.) How does Katrina think on the importance for founders to have a vision today? Where do they need to be flexible? What are some dangers or pitfalls associated with “the vision”? How far are Stitch Fix along in cementing their vision?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Katrina’s Favourite Book: Between The World And Me

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