Learn From Bryan Mahoney

Intro to Bryan

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My name is Bryan Mahoney. I'm the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer here at arfa.

On His Professional Journey

Health and wellness and food and wine, put all those things together and you're sort of like describing me and my pastime. I mean fundamentally I like to host and I like to take care of people, and I think what's so interesting about the work that I get to do here at arfa is that I get to build brands and technology that will ultimately help to take care of people too, and so it's a little bit easier for me to strike that work-life balance that seems like it's so difficult to achieve.

So my primary focus is technology. And technology at arfa, we're primarily an eCommerce company so Arfa is a platform play. We're taking a platform approach to building a better eCommerce experience, a better product experience, so we're operating in the CPG or consumer packaged goods space. And our take on this is that the consumer or the customer in CPG has long since been forgotten. We need to act like, think like, and behave like a technology company.

Technology is typically made up of a couple of different branches. Technology engineering and design which is what I oversee. As a Co-Founder though, I'm not just thinking about technology. I'm really thinking about the type of company that we want to be, what it means to come to work here everyday, what our culture is like, how we hire, so on and so forth.

I like to tell Henry [CEO of arfa] that the most important product that we're building, and make no mistake about it, we're building a lot of product that Arfa, but the most important product we're building is our company.

On Entering the eCommerce Space

I graduated [McGill] University in '99. In 1998, I'd in fact started a company. A company that was really focused on development and design before development designed under one roof with was sort of a thing. And we worked with numerous well-known, early-stage venture backed startups in the Bay Area and in New York City. The last one of which that I worked on was a company called Glossier. So in 2014, Emily Weiss and Henry Davis contacted my company and asked if we were available to help them with this site that they had in mind - a skincare and beauty startup. I worked on the agency side for Glossier for roughly a year. In 2015, I left Montreal, moved my family to New York City to run technology for Glossier. Scaling their technology company while we were scaling the company. Left as Chief Technology Officer and in 2019, started arfa with a few ex-Glossier folks and some other people.

On Personal Qualities that Lead to Success

I think hard work, really. Being clever. Taking a smart approach to solving repeatable problems. I mean recruiting and hiring in eCommerce is sometimes difficult because there's a lot of folks feel like that's a solved problem. They look at eCommerce as "this is sort of boring", and I don't look at it that way. eCommerce is something that is
constantly changing and it is first and foremost a consumer product, so how do we think about consumers? How do we involve them in the process? How do we deliver to them not only a great brand experience, but a great product experience?

I think we always need to be re-inventing ourselves. There are common things that you can look for, and I like to try to take a really sensible approach to ultimately - to solving that. So that's that's one thing - just being clever. Not building too much, listening to your customer, and responding with good product, responding with good content.

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