GirlCrew is a platform for women to make new friends.
The women only social network has over 100,000 members across Ireland, the U.K., Canada and Australia, and in March this year was successful in raising almost $1million in seed funding for its ambitious expansion plans across the U.S.
Co-Founder Elva Carri speaks to The Daily Slog about Love Island, game changing app updates, and how channelling a bit of Salvador Dali has helped along the way.
What time do you usually get up and how do you start your day?
8am or a little before on a good day – I am genuinely one of the worst morning people the world has ever seen. And then I make tea right in my room. I treated myself to one of those little tiny hotel kettles to take the edge off hating mornings and it’s one of the best things I ever bought myself. I scan my phone for anything urgent to start the day, check through my task list and calendar for anything I’ve forgotten and arrive at our office by about 10am.
I just wanted to go out one Friday night but none of my friends were free. So I took to Tinder to see if I could find some other women bored at home to head out with. I matched with over 100 amazing women within 24 hours.
Take us on a jaunt through your career to date…
It’s been an adventure. I got my BA in Fine Art, specialising in Sculpture & Combined Media. Worked with some of Melbourne’s most legendary street artists for a year at the Blender Studios, then returned to Ireland to do a course in graphic design. A design internship in a digital agency turned into a full time job as a copywriter and content editor – just as social media and blogs were really taking off, so I learned so much of my online skills there.
When that role came to an end, I started working in the same area freelance, as well as trying my hand at starting some of my own little ecommerce businesses, one with a great friend, and one solo. I was loving all of it, when GirlCrew just sort of magically happened and exploded! At GirlCrew I’m Co-CEO, and my areas of focus are as head of product – managing the development of the app, and community.
Where did the idea for Girl Crew come from and how did you go about getting it off the ground?
I just wanted to go out one Friday night but none of my friends were free. So I took to Tinder to see if I could find some other women bored at home to head out with. Hugely to my surprise (I thought people would think it was weird!) I matched with over 100 amazing women within 24 hours. We started a Facebook group so we could all chat and plan things together and it just took off from there. Friends of people wanted to join, then people wanted it in other cities. It was so much fun just trying to keep up with it.
Was there a key turning point in your career that you can attribute to your success?
I think it’s been more down to qualities than specific turning points. I think I’m adventurous and brave and that makes me enjoy taking risks in order to live life my own way. And because I’m curious, I enjoy learning – which is something you get to do a LOT every day as an entrepreneur. The rest of the success is down to Pamela, Aine, Ellie, Ci and Mark who’ve built this with me.
You started Girl Crew alongside Aine Molloy and Pamela Newenham; how do you manage that relationship with your two Co-Founders – is having clearly defined roles key to a successful partnership?
Clearly defined roles is a definite plus, but it took us quite some time to figure out what those would be. At the start there was a lot of crossover between our roles, but gradually we figured out our strengths and made things more clear as time went on. I would say what’s been successful to our partnership is being open and honest about the good and the bad, and the fact that we each have a strong ability to not take feedback as personal criticism. We know we’re all working towards the same end goal, and that unites us.
We regularly have different opinions and approaches but that’s hugely beneficial. It means there are three different ways to look at any problem, we take it all into account and always seem to come to a decision that the three of us agree on. I think we have a lot of respect for each other and trust each other.
When I was 14, I read that Salvador Dali decided he would be a genius. So I decided I would be one.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes! Oisin Kim, our tech advisor. There have been others up to this point too, my aunt Dee Carri was a very important one to me just before and in the beginning of GirlCrew too.
What has been the best bit of advice you’ve been given in your career?
When I was 14, I read that Salvador Dali decided he would be a genius. So I decided I would be one. And I might not be, but I think it made me believe in my strengths and have confidence in my ideas and thoughts however bizarre. It wasn’t career advice, but I think it’s been an important part of it all.
How do you relax & de-stress at the end of the day and during difficult periods?
At the moment – it’s watching Love Island! I’ll do yoga before bed sometimes, I watch a lot of Parks and Recreation with my boyfriend. Talking to him about the difficult stuff helps a lot too. I think good people and good food and a bit of fresh air can improve everything. There’s not a lot of time to relax at this stage of building GirlCrew, so I tend to really enjoy work and have fun doing it, and then make the very most of little bits of time off.
What are the key goals for GirlCrew this year?
Continue to grow membership in the US, make a few important improvements on the app, and just this week we’ve been running a design sprint to invent an incredibly cool new feature to add further down the line. I think it’s going to be game changer, we’re all very excited about that.
Meet new friends at www.girlcrew.com