What It’s Like
What It’s Like … To Launch the Most Popular “Girls Night Out” In the Country
Claudia Chan of Shecky’s Inc. on girlfriends, shopping and nightlife
Combine two parts awesome night life, a spoonful of femme bonding and a dash of hot trends, and you’ve got Shecky’s Media, Inc. Run by President and Co-Founder Claudia Chan, her company published the best-selling Shecky’s Bar, Club & Lounge Guide, created Shecky’s Girls Night Out: The Original Shopping Event Spectacular! and launched Sheckys.com, among other accomplishments. Betty sat down with Claudia to talk about her success, what advice she has for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and how “black is the new black” this fall.
Shecky’s Media, Inc has grown tremendously over the years – from publishing a nightlife handbook to creating the popular “Girls Night Out” events to building Sheckys.com, an online go-to guide for women that covers all things Manhattan. Are you pinching yourself yet with all of your success?
Unfortunately I am the kind of person that isn’t easily satisfied. My benchmark for success seems to rise every time we get to the next level. I guess you could call it a blessing and curse!
You have the ultimate fun job. What’s the best part?
It’s Shecky’s job to seek out new, cool, undiscovered fashion, beauty and lifestyle products that women crave. I often get a chance to take a first look at these fabulous items, and meet with the actual people behind the brands. Shecky’s worked with more than 1,200 companies this year; I love meeting smart, creative people that inspire me more for my business.
I especially love traveling to all the cities, shopping and meeting the young fashion designers that sell at Shecky’s events and hearing their stories and inspirations.
As an entrepreneur, what advice would you give other women looking to open their own business?
1. Think of your time as $1,000 an hour and make sure you’re focused on the most important/strategic things. I know it’s impossible to let go and not have your hands in everything, but try to delegate the less important/administrative things to an intern who will work for the experience and a nominal daily stipend.
2. You’re probably working 24/7, but it’s critical to find ways to de-stress throughout the day. Hit the gym, take a yoga class, invest in weekly $50 massages … anything to re-connect with your body. The clearer your mind is, the more effective you are with your daily work hours.
3. Work smarter, not longer. Identify your ongoing business workload and create process and procedures to streamline the workflow. So instead of writing that proposal 100 times from scratch, create standard templates and organized archives. Instead of explaining how to do something 100 times to an assistant, write the process down on paper for them to study. The more time you save on these things, the more time you can spend on the more important things like product/service development, sales and marketing.
You’ve said that “Shecky’s Girls Night Out” was a way for New York City women to come together and relieve stress post-9/11. How do you think this event has made a real difference in women’s lives – both in Manhattan and in other major cities where it’s held?
Women are so incredibly busy today as over-achievers and multitaskers trying to balance work and personal life that they are often (if not always) in dire need of girlfriend time. I feel the most important thing we have done is create the largest playground in America for girlfriend groups to take a time out, come together and enjoy all things that girls love best: catching up with their BFF’s: gossiping, shopping, scoring free things and discounts, drinking cocktails, getting beauty services – all for a great value ticket price of $25 – $30. I mean – this is what makes women happy! Shecky’s makes girls happy!
Sheckys.com offers everything from advice on how to plan the ultimate NYC party to the “Ten Most Annoying Trends in Nightlife” (I can’t stand gals that wear headbands across their foreheads either!). What’s your personal favorite part of the site?
I love our Fashion Beat articles where we cover the latest trends for the season and a nice mix of indie vs. high end designers that create the styles. I don’t have the time to read every major fashion magazine so this is a great weekly fashion fix.
I also love our annual Beauty at Its Best Awards that launches every year in October. There are a million products on the market and we tell you the best of the best in this cool section. This year’s award winners were feted at our Beauty Night Out event Oct. 2 – 3 in NYC. We’ve tested more than 1,000 products and added an eco-friendly category this year!
The site also talks a lot about fashion and beauty trends for women. What new pieces are in your fall wardrobe? Any tips?
I am a huge scarf addict! I always let shoppers to focus on updating your accessories, especially jewelry, shoes, and sunglasses, and wear them with basic black, which is back in style. Black is the new black!
Would you consider yourself an expert in partying? How can other ladies learn to live their nightlife to the fullest?
At 33, living nightlife to the fullest is hitting a Shecky’s Girls Night Out shopping party with my girlfriends. Seriously – bars, clubs, nice restaurants aren’t going anywhere in your city, but a Shecky’s party only comes into town once or twice a year.
Rapid Fire Questions
1. When you were 10-years-old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An international business woman so I could travel the world, or an actress in Hollywood. I thought the business route was more realistic given the rare demand for Asian-American actresses!
2. What type of kids did you hang out with in high school?
The cool but grounded kids who broke rules – but only the harmless ones!
3. What women from the past do you most identify with?
My grandmother – she was a very strong (yet stylish) woman married to a politician and involved in politics herself. She reminds me of a Chinese Jackie O.
4. What’s your workout?
At the moment, it’s traveling and running around for work!
5. Cat or dog?
Dog – specifically, my boyfriend’s 15-month-old golden retriever Connor.
6. What do you do when you want to completely tune-out?
A 90-minute massage at Paul Labreque Salon & Spa in NYC – they have the best masseuses in the city!
7. What book is sitting on your shelf waiting to be read?
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life
8. If you could have dinner with any two people who would they be?
Warren Buffet and Dalai Lama
9. What is the one thing you do or do not want the next generation of girls to encounter?
AVOID back problems or a herniated disc from too much work, computer time and stress in your young life! It happened to me and is the most excruciating pain ever.
DO try surfing lessons or a surf camp in Central America!
10. If there were one thing you could change in your life, what would it be?
Though my back is doing great now, I wish I avoided the herniated disc and took care of my body better. Thus – listen to my advice ladies!