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How Shanna Tellerman is Changing the Way You Buy Furniture

One way to #BreakTheMold is to look at an entire industry and ask yourself, “why is it done this way”? That’s exactly what Shanna Tellerman did with Modsy — she didn’t like the process of shopping for furniture, so she decided to do something about it.

We sat down with Shanna to catch up and learn more about how she came up with the idea to change the way we shop for furniture, how her (extremely supportive) husband helps her balance work and family life, and why being open to experimentation is the key to success.

What was your “aha moment” with Modsy? How did you know this was something you should devote yourself to?

When I moved into an apartment with my husband a few years ago, we started the experience full of enthusiasm for designing our space. Within weeks, the process went from being something fun to being something frustrating. Despite hours of time on Pinterest, Houzz, visiting stores and browsing online we simply couldn’t imagine how various items would look in our room. I found myself thinking that there had to be a better way to shop for furniture, and then the idea hit me: I had spent my whole career in graphics and I knew that photorealistic visualization was possible but had not yet been applied in the right way to solve home design.

I began to imagine an experience where I would be able to shop from a virtual catalog of my own home. The more I thought through the experience the more I became convinced that we would all be looking back in five years and saying, “can you believe there was a time where didn’t try furniture on virtually in our home before buying it? we used to simply guess how furniture would look in our home before buying it!”

What is the hardest part of running a company?

Balance. I find it’s hard to balance the many ways your time and energy can be extended in a single day. I’m constantly trying to find the right balance of time with my team, our customers, our investors and most important (but more often than I would like, overlooked) my family.

What’s your method for work-life balance?

I’m still working on this. I have a very very supportive husband who has been my champion since day one. He has been so understanding of the tremendous amount of time and energy it has taken to start and grow Modsy. Every once in awhile he puts his foot down, though, and reminds me that I really need to step away and give him some time. I feel extremely lucky to have a loving partner who can be so supportive while also reminding me to stop sometimes.

Besides running your business, what’s another way that you #BreakTheMold and stray away from the conventional?

I am not someone who identifies with specific cliques or stereotypes, and generally, I find that I’m always a bit different than the mold. I was an artist who loved math and science. When my classmates took normal jobs, I started my first company. I was among the minority of women in gaming, and then in venture. I am probably among a very small number of women who do not own a hair dryer, too… the list goes on!

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I hate chocolate (but if you ever want to make my day bring an oatmeal raisin cookie!).

What piece of advice do you have for young women just starting out in their career?

Don’t worry too much about getting it right — you are not supposed to know the path forward. Instead:

“Work hard, stay open to experimenting, try on different hats and search for the activities where you get lost for hours.”

That’s when you know you’ve found your calling.

What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and #BreakTheMold?

“Follow your passions, believe in karma, and you won't have to chase your dreams, they will come to you.” ― Randy Pausch

Randy was my professor at CMU and he led me into my current career — he has been one of the most influential people in my life!

What’s next for Modsy?

We want to forever impact and change the way consumers shop for furniture and design their homes!

Extra Credit

What is the most-used app on your phone – and why?

Slack for team communication.

What’s the first thing you do every morning?

Check my email.

What book could you re-read over and over?

Usually, whatever I’m reading and enjoying now! Currently Shoe Dog and The Magnolia Story.

What is your go-to bra style?

Just a classic t-shirt bra, like the ThirdLove 24/7 T-shirt Bra!

Finish the sentence: I #BreakTheMold By _____.

I #BreakTheMold by: bringing tech, art and design together as one.

This post is part of our #BreakTheMold series, where we celebrate the lives and work of trailblazing women. Check out the rest of the series here.

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