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This is an interview of Kristine Locker, a former real estate agent who became a technology entrepreneur.

Can you tell us what you do now? What did you do before?

I am the Founder of Locker. Locker is a Chrome extension that creates a virtual wishlist for online shoppers as they save and organize their favorites across hundreds of brand websites.

I actually started my career in Real Estate. I went to college at Southern Methodist University where I majored in Real Estate Finance. I started my real estate career as a Real Estate Analyst with Goldman Sachs in Dallas where I worked on the Structured Finance team for almost two years. When I moved back to Los Angeles, I joined my dad as a Commercial Real Estate Broker. I worked alongside my dad for three years before I decided to follow my own passions.

What motivated you to make Locker? It’s such a big change from real estate

Growing up, my mom called me “Imelda” after Imelda Marcos. For anyone not familiar with Imelda Marcos, Imelda was the First Lady of the Philippines for over 20 years. In 1986, her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, was forced from office and he and Imelda fled the country. Protestors stormed their palace and in Imelda’s closet, they found over 2,700 pairs of shoes. The moral of that story is that I have always loved fashion!

I have been the go-to for fashion advice for my friends and family since I was young. However, given the shift in shopping from in-person to online, social shopping has disappeared and the inspiration game has changed. Now, consumers are constantly triggered by various marketing channels online, i.e Instagram, email marketing campaigns, paid ads on various platforms, etc.

I personally struggled to keep track of all of the items I would see via the various marketing channels that I wanted to remember to buy or take a second look. To remember about things I liked or share shopping ideas with friends, I would take a screenshot or create a shared document to save and share links of favorites. With no place to organize and easily access all of the items on my wishlist, I set out to build it myself. This is how Locker came to be.

What is the biggest struggle you faced in founding this company?

Where do I even start!? Going from commercial real estate to starting my own fashion technology company and with every aspect of the startup world being new to me, I found myself drinking from a firehose daily. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum and when I set out to start Locker I wanted to do it all on my own. But at the same time, being a self-funded solo founder has been my biggest struggle.

As it is, being a founder is an emotional rollercoaster and at times, being a solo founder can be extremely lonely. I am able to use my family and Locker users as sounding boards but I would love to be able to grow my team in the near future which I believe will help Locker be even better than it is today!

What are the top 3 qualities do you think make a good shopping platform?

From my own experiences as an online shopper, I noticed the shortcomings of shopping platforms that existed prior to Locker. Platforms in the shopping niche that exist to-date consist of aggregator websites, individual brand websites, inspiration websites, and influencer promotion platforms. I used, and studied, all of the above before and during the building of Locker. Three qualities that I kept top of mind in creating Locker were the usability, cross website functionality and collaboration.

From the user perspective, it can be a very frustrating experience to find an image with an item you want to buy but the link leads to a dead link or a blog post from several years ago. Another platform I used allowed me to save items that their power users uploaded to the platform but I, as the end user, was not able to add my favorites to curate my collections.

This platform taught me to always put the end user’s needs first. And lastly, as I mentioned earlier, with shopping shifting away from in-person and being mostly online, the ability to collaboratively shop with friends has been more difficult. Shopping is inherently social, so creating a way for friends to share while they shop is really important.

Any other advice you would like to give for someone who is looking to start a shopping platform?

Authenticity comes first. With so many shopping marketplaces and platforms that exist, I believe what sets Locker apart is our ability to put the user first. Locker is ad free and therefore all content on the platform is truly authentic. Users are able to curate their wishlist, share their favorites with friends, and browse curated Lockers trusting that anything posted on the platform is because that user actually likes it and it is not being saved because the user was paid to save it. In the world we live in today with constant advertisements, consumers are hungry for authenticity.

What is the next step for Locker?

I have been solely focused on creating the best user experience and building the user base on the platform. In this next chapter, I would like to focus on building authentic brand relationships through showing brands the benefits of curating on the platform, growing the Locker user base, and expanding the compatible websites based on user feedback.

You can the chrome extension locker at the link below:
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