We recently sat down with Skylar Founder & CEO, Cat Chen, to discuss scaling a product-focused startup and the factors of a great product. It’s a great chat that covers the importance of testing, getting funded, and managing resources in the early stages of a startup.

Cat Chen and Adam O’Donnell talked about startup products in regards to the company she founded, Skylar, which is a fast-growing clean and conscious fragrance and body care brand based in LA. You can listen to the full episode of Product Talk above. Otherwise, the highlights of the episode are detailed below.

On how to make a great product

“It’s really simplicity, number one, and I think it’s putting your customer first. Getting them the main features that they need. We prioritize that. Then, I think I would say continuing to iterate and test. We do a lot of A/B testing on our site. At any given point, we’re doing about five tests. So, we’re always trying to make experiences better. That helps us with customer experience and also site conversion.

On what makes a great product manager

Open-mindedness isn’t talked about as often for great product leaders, but it is one essential ingredient. Don’t think you have all the answers, but be willing to find them! 

“I think is really important for that [Product Leader] function to not have any preconceived notions and to be very open-minded and testing.”

Product managers are very cross-functional. They have to work with technology, they have to work with marketing. If products are about to stock out they need to work with operations on how do we message.”

On when to bring in a product leader for your startup products

Even if you can’t afford a great product manager from the start, there are alternatives to help you scale quickly.

“My advice is definitely for companies to invest early, maybe in a part-time resource, that they can to help set up the testing process. Having a consultant who has had a lot of experience with A/B testing pays for itself.”

On getting funding

“We just raised a round of funding. And we had existing and new investors participate. All of the investors we have partnered with have added significant value to Skylar outside of just the capital.”

About the speaker
Cat Chen Skylar, Founder & CEO Member

Cat Chen is the Founder and CEO of Skylar, a fast-growing clean and conscious fragrance and body care brand based in LA. Founded in April 2017, Skylar is affecting change in the dirty and unregulated $46 billion fragrance industry by creating a whole new world of better-for-you fragrances and body care products. Prior to founding Skylar, Cat was the VP of Operations at The Honest Company, a clean baby and household products brand, where she led a team of over 500 people and helped to grow the company from zero to over $300 million in revenue through 4 years of hyper-growth.

About the host
Adam O'Donnell Product Manager
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