12 Things I Learned from the Founder of Popbasic


As the founder and host of The Valley Girl ShowJesse Draper has the distinct opportunity to interview and get to know the creative individuals shaping our generation. In an effort to share her experiences and learnings, Glam presents First Fridays, where Draper will outline her learnings from founders, CEOs, visionaries and more! 

I met up with Australian entrepreneur Madeline Veenstra at La Boulange on Union Street in San Francisco where they serve delicious coffee in giant bowls (beware of ordering a large). Veenstra and her co-founder slash fiancé Coen Hyde run Popbasic, a fashion startup that offers affordable outfits sent to your doorstep each month. Popbasic launched in June of this year and is already taking off! They’re enrolled in the current class of 500Startups, a fantastic tech incubator in the Bay Area that adds a nice stamp of approval in the Silicon Valley startup world.

Veenstra was wearing a lovely blue silk blouse from one of her recent packages, black skinny jeans and a pretty necklace with pink roses on it. About halfway through our coffee, I inevitably spilled my large bowl of coffee all over myself; this seemed very ironic at the time. Not only does this female founder run to get napkins in a jam but she also hand writes all of her thank you notes to her customers! Here’s a few more things I learned from Veenstra…

1. What is Popbasic?

Popbasic allows you to build a wardrobe of high quality staples and trend pieces. Each month we design three pieces of clothing and accessories, available to purchase as a set for under $100. We also offer free worldwide shipping.

2. How do you decide what outfit to create each month?

I usually start off by asking our community what pieces they would like to see, then choose a basic and a few fun pieces to go with it.

3. When did you make the decision to be an entrepreneur?

I've always had little side projects while I was studying at university, but didn't become a full time entrepreneur until a few years after graduation. I first founded a site called Wikifashion, and then launched Popbasic in June of this year.

4. How was the move from Australia?

I heard it took a minute to get your work Visa. I was so excited to move to San Francisco, I'd visited a few times before and each time was so motivated bythe energy of this city. I love being constantly surrounded by inspiring and helpful people. The visa was an extremely long process, it was almost a year before they were approved

5. What is it like being a part of 500 startups? What are the benefits?

Joining 500 Startups has been without a doubt one of the best decisions we've made for Popbasic. The entire community have been so helpful and they have a wealth of knowledge that we've been able utilise.

6. What is the first thing you do in the morning?

The very first thing I do in the morning is check my emails.

7. How do you prioritize?

I make a to-do list via Wunderlist every evening for the next day. This is usually sectioned by what type of task it is. I'll then work my way through that until I'm finished.

8. If you could offer the working woman one style tip, what would it be?

You can't go wrong with a beautiful silk blouse.

9. How do you wind down at the end of the day?

Since moving from Australia, I've discovered Hulu, it's my guilty pleasure.

10. I know you are involved with someone, but do you have a celebrity crush?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

11.What is your end goal with Popbasic?

To build a globally recognized brand, known for beautiful, high quality pieces.

12. When was the last time you danced like no one was watching?

When we were accepted into 500 Startups.

UCLA grad, Jesse Draper is a technology expert and creator and host of The Valley Girl Show through which she has become a spokesperson for startups and has helped to pioneer the way of new media content distribution. She oversees everything from pre-production to distribution of the show. Draper started the show because she realized there was no FUN business talk show, only grilling teeth clenching interviews, and she believes the most interesting and inspiring people in the world are the ones who've started a business. In her former life, she was on a Nickelodeon show called “The Naked Brother's Band”. Draper also writes columns for Mashable, Forbes.com and San Francisco Magazine and speaks at business conferences around the world including SXSW, DLD, TEDx, TechVentures and STREAM.

jesse draper