Today we’d like to introduce you to Fara Alexander.
Fara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
For the past several years, I was working in private equity for a local real estate investment management firm, raising institutional capital. I loved the relationships I built through my client-facing role, but was yearning to do something more creative.
One night, my best friend Danielle and I were venting about the fact that we had so many returns to make, but because of our busy careers and leadership obligations we had no time or convenient way of getting things back to the store. We agreed that this was not a unique problem and that many friends and family members could surely relate.
That idea marinated for a while (I was in the middle of planning my wedding), and then in early 2017, I was accepted into Project Entrepreneur, which is a fabulous mini accelerator program created by Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss (co-founders of Rent the Runway) in partnership with UBS to foster and promote female entrepreneurship. I used the program as a way to get validation from the VC and tech community for my idea. People responded so positively to ReturnRunners that a month later I mustered up the courage to leave my cushy job in private equity.
I went into 1871 to incubate my business last June and our app went live in October, since then, we’ve been revolutionizing the way people make returns through our easy and convenient service.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a business is never a smooth journey (if it was, then everyone would do it!), but that’s what makes it so rewarding and exciting. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to help busy people find an easy solution for returning things. I lie awake at night wondering if I’m doing enough to motivate and empower our amazing team. As a first-time entrepreneur, I have a million doubts about whether or not my business will be successful. Fortunately, I have an amazing support system of family and friends. I am also so grateful to have a husband who is also an entrepreneur, who understands the journey and can help me navigate through all of the ups and downs of building a business.
We are so lucky that many people seem to relate to the problem we’re trying to solve and that our service has resonated in our earliest days.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
ReturnRunners is an on-demand return service for retail merchandise. We are revolutionizing the way returns are made by offering consumers a hassle-free way of getting their unwanted, unworn merchandise back to the store (or to the online retailer). Customers can place a “Return Request” directly through our App or on our website and set a time and location for pick up. We will send a “Runner” to pick up their items and return them. The retailer refunds the customer for the purchase, and we charge a nominal fee.
What’s unique about us is that we are the only reverse supply chain company focused on offering a white-glove consumer experience (a “couture FedEx”, if you will). We also work as an ally of retailers, helping to expand their customer service offerings and reduce costs by providing them with a more streamlined solution for handling returns.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was (and still am) very strong-willed, outspoken and social. Probably because I come from a long line of independent, hard-working women.
My mom was a single working parent, who created a successful career for herself in real estate she made sure that I was exposed to many wonderful opportunities and filled me with the confidence that I could do anything. My grandmother, or “Nonnie” as she’s known to our family, was the oldest, longest-running teacher in the state of Illinois. She taught for 68 years and retired at age 90. At 93 she still maintains a more active social life than I do!
They are both my most influential relationships. They helped shape my personality, interests, ambitions, and desire to help others.
- Service cost: $9.99 (inclusive of pick up and return of 1 item). Each additional item you add to your order is only $0.99 (regardless of the number of stores)
- You get all your money refunded by the retailer (based on your method of purchase)
- Our nominal fee offsets the cost of parking, taking a taxi/uber, and the time you would spend making the return
- Address: 1871
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212
- Website: www.returnrunners.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @returnrunners
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/returnrunners
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReturnRunners
1871, Pexels, Sara Urquiaga