Chelsea Andrews, Head of Growth at Narrative
Chelsea shares her thoughts on how working in the fashion industry provided insight into the role brands play in our personal identity, as well as a very clever analogy between marketing and fishing. Chelsea also provides some insight into how her experience of working at Uber informed a careful consideration for her next move which many others can learn from. Enjoy.
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?
I am a fisherman who is trying out all sorts of hooks, reels, and bodies of water, to get more fish. Except those fish are actually customers, my hook is our brand’s storytelling, the body of water is where we spend money to be seen, and my reel is our carefully considered customer journey.
“I am a fisherman who is trying out all sorts of hooks, reels, and bodies of water, to get more fish.”
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
Not at all. I grew up in America, and when I was young we had a family computer that lived in the now extinct “computer room” where I occasionally played The Oregon Trail. My childhood career dreams were fairly conventional, I believe I wanted to be a vet at some point?? Working in technology was never talked about as a potential career option - or at all. There are probably a lot of Millennials in tech now who would’ve had a fairly similar experience growing up.
I’m really excited to see what Gen Z founders and entrepreneurs are like, as their childhood is so saturated by tech. I also really hope more kids are encouraged (and have access) to learning code as a means for creative problem solving and critical thinking. Primary and Secondary education desperately needs to play catchup.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Narrative?
I studied communications at university, majoring in TV production. University introduced me to the idea of self-discipline and accountability (I was paying for my own education, so I better not screw it up). Beyond that, I didn’t get much practical use from my degree, which is also often the case for people I’ve met working in tech (and more specifically marketing).
After uni, I found myself in the fashion industry where I helped bring overseas labels to New Zealand. I started to appreciate what brands mean to people. How we associate ourselves to brands we like and how we distance ourselves from brands we don’t - brands become a part of our own identity. I realised how much responsibility there is when it comes to storytelling and being authentic as a company. Even though I met some amazing people while working in fashion, I came to the realization that the industry lacked a lot of career opportunities within New Zealand. I also didn’t feel great about how tough the fashion industry is on our planet.
I reached out to a friend of a friend in the marketing team at Uber and begged her to take my CV (even though there were no open roles). I went through a two-month interview process and eventually landed a job. I went on to help expand Uber to seven cities and lead major integrated marketing campaigns across both Australia and New Zealand. Joining a pre-IPO, fast-paced, rapidly growing, unicorn tech company was the literal definition of baptism by fire. I was at Uber for just under three years and worked across two countries when the day came that I had to choose between moving permanently to Sydney and continuing my career at Uber, or living in New Zealand and giving up the gig. I guess it’s pretty obvious which one I chose.
After Uber, I became extremely picky about what company to work for next. I searched far and wide for something that was going to challenge me (in a new way) and decided wherever I went next had to have less than fifty employees. Narrative stood out to me for a number of reasons, but most of all being that James and Steffan were extremely passionate about what they were building, I saw their vision, and the team they had hired seemed pretty awesome.
Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like?
My very first day at Uber, I was flown to Christchurch to do a painting class with some female Uber drivers for International Women’s Day, which was awesome - but at that point, I still had no idea what my actual job was. At Uber, you’re surrounded by unlimited resources, unlimited opportunities, and are moving at an unstoppable pace. Your success, your output, and your actual day-to-day work are completely in your own hands at Uber. Sure it was overwhelming at first (and definitely not for everyone) but I’m so thankful for the experience, it’s shaped me into the marketer I am today.
What is it specifically that you like about working Narrative relative to your past jobs?
Narrative has a niche market that is calling out for the products we are building. That makes telling our value proposition and seeing photographers excitement extremely rewarding. But it doesn’t just stop there, we are constantly listening, adapting, and improving our product so that it becomes an even more powerful tool for photographers. A product like ours doesn’t currently exist so we are literally all doing things for the first time. From engineering to marketing - we’re all on the journey together.
CV’s can be quite lifeless. Have you done anything unique in the past to get the attention of an employer or seen others that have been creative in this regard?
Yes, this pain is real. I ended up turning my CV into a website (with a downloadable PDF available on the website). It’s relatively easy if you can get your head around Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. You can tell your story better and make it more enjoyable for the hiring manager. It’s also better for you because you can actually see who is visiting your website, from where, and when. Allowing you to follow up with people/companies at the right time.
“Don’t be discouraged about not having the “right experience”. I’ve worked with a performance marketer who used to be a ballerina..”
Do you have any career advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?
Don’t be discouraged about not having the “right experience”. I’ve worked with a performance marketer who used to be a ballerina, a big tech general manager who used to be a medical Doctor, an operations manager who used to be a fighter pilot. The list goes on… If you want it, you just have to be willing to try new things over and over again.
What gets you excited about working at Narrative?
Soft-launching a closed Select Beta with a small budget and seeing the rapid interest within the photography community across Facebook groups and Reddit threads was pretty special. Users can’t wait to get their hands on our software, which is amazing. I’m really looking forward to Select being publicly available. There are some great things to come.
Lastly, Narrative continues to evolve. What kind of candidates do you think Narrative is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?
Narrative’s culture really values people who bring a positive attitude and growth mindset to work. If you’re not afraid to take risks, are comfortable with change, and a curious self-starter, you’d excel here. Narrative’s team is made up of a mixture of different talent from different backgrounds, so bringing a diverse and new perspective to what we are trying to achieve is highly valued. If you enjoy good banter and a game or two of ping-pong - you’d fit right in.