It's been almost a year since Blake Lively launched Preserve. She already faced the tough challenge of being a blonde actress launching an e-commerce and lifestyle site in a space already crowded by the Goops of the world. The Pinterest-perfect, rustic, and homespun (yet pricey) lifestyle Lively's site cultivates has often been the target of ridicule in its relatively short lifespan. Its founder wants everyone to know that she's well aware that it's not perfect, but she also thinks people are unfair to female entrepreneurs. In a new interview with TIME, Lively offered a humble and candid look at her mindset a year into life at the helm of Preserve. Lively admitted to TIME that the site's launch was actually rushed to coincide with a pre-scheduled Vogue cover story that would herald its arrival. "I couldn’t call Anna Wintour and say 'I need six more months,'" Lively told the magazine. The Preserve team had an additional headache as well: "[P]eople hacked into our site a week and a half before it was meant to launch, so the site leaked." Despite those external complications, "The site's not close to what I want it to be...The things that keep me up are things I look at on the site and I know could be better...Time and money, time and money. What I wanted Preserve to be at launch was not what it is at all," Lively said. She offered the magazine a detailed rundown of different aspects of the site's UX and UI that make the e-commerce experience incredibly confusing for customers. Lively described it as a "Matryoshka doll." She wanted the site to have a longer incubation period during which it could work out these kinks, but since she's a high-profile celebrity, Preserve immediately garnered attention. "It’s a high-class problem," Lively admitted, but still, it's not one anyone wants to have when you've got frustrated customers who haven't received their orders on the line. Lively also drew attention to another larger problem in the tech industry: the treatment of women. The media continues to pit female entrepreneurs against one another and immediately questions whether a woman who tries to do multiple things should be doing one OR the other (for example: "Should Blake Lively stick to acting or running a lifestyle website?"). Lively compared the experience of joining the tech world to the many times she started at a new school growing up, saying that she'd experienced bullying. She was ready for the constructive criticism and for the people who were ready to be mean just for the sake of being mean. Still, "You don’t see male entrepreneurs pitted against each other, destroyed, picked apart, and every word they say served up to judge." Touché, Blake Lively. So yeah, Lively hears everything people have been saying about Preserve. She knows that it didn't spring, fully formed, and perfect, from her mind. It's kind of refreshing to read, no? (TIME)
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