sponsors, Brian and Samira of Chippmunk. Chippmunk is a hip, young start-up that does something pretty revolutionary - they find the best deals and coupons on products that actually interest you. And their innovative website allows you this do this very quickly, for free. The concept of their company is so fresh and interesting, and it's been really cool to get to know them and learn more about their small business over the past few weeks. I'm excited to be able to share some of this with you guys today!
Hi Brian and Samira! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live, and what you enjoy doing for fun besides running Chippmunk?
BRIAN >> I live in Santa Monica, California. I love being outdoors, and outside of Chippmunk time I can be found hiking in the mountains with my wife and miniature dachshund Anastasia, bike riding along the beach, and surfing. We laugh about surfing, which basically entails waking up at the crack of dawn, putting on a seal suit, and heading into the cold Pacific ocean to paddle around on a flotation device for a few hours. My wife thinks this is kind of crazy, but I love it! There is nothing like riding a wave; do it once and you'll be hooked for life.
SAMIRA >> I live in Los Angeles and currently host Chippmunk's office in our addition. I'm a passionate husky mom and dog rescue volunteer, and outside of Chippmunk I can be found visiting local schools and nursing homes with Chili, my rescue husky who is a certified therapy dog. I’m also passionate about home decorating, am currently remodeling a duplex with my mom, and make a mean batch of guacamole.
Brian, how did you become interested in developing a small start-up, specifically a coupon resource?
I've worked for consumer internet companies for the last 7 years, starting at Yahoo!, and later at Internet Brands where I built a division of ecommerce sites. Through these experiences, I realized that it's really hard to find and use online coupons. Most coupon websites are plastered with ads and coupons that don't work. There has to be a better way – and I finally realized that I needed to lead the change I sought in the world. I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and the idea of starting Chippmunk.com was so compelling that I found I couldn't sleep until I started the journey!
What is the mission behind Chippmunk? What makes it different?
Our mission is to organize coupon information and make it useful for consumers and retailers alike. Our focus on creating an outstanding experience for consumers is what makes us different – we make sure that the coupons we publish work, we provide helpful tools for consumers to find the coupon that will save them the most money, and we deliver the information in a user friendly way. Our team is incredibly passionate about delivering on our mission, and I think that genuine passion shows in our product and the experience we create for consumers.
What types of things inspire you in your work? Are there any other artists or businesses who have influenced you?
We are inspired by great design, authentic experiences, and simplicity. Fab.com is one of our favorite sites. We love the simple user interface, the curation of awesome content, and the helpful emails that actually make us want to shop. Jason Goldberg and his team just create awesome. Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square fame is another business artist from whom we draw inspiration. The focus in both of these businesses on creating a really simple, intuitive, and helpful product for people is just amazing. We also admire Apple and the revolutionary products they have build that combine style with function. The iPhone and iPad are such intuitive devices. I've seen two year olds pick up iPads and engage with then as if they've always known how to use them. Incredible! And it's so hard to build in so much functionality and complexity into this type of device, yet have it be so simple to use that anyone can pick it up and derive enjoyment from the experience.
We hope to incorporate just a fraction of what these companies do into the Chippmunk experience.
The Bubby and Bean blog focuses on living a creative lifestyle. How does the Chippmunk staff work to keep things fresh and creative?
One of the fun things about Chippmunk is that we get to create every single day. In fact, it's critical to our success. Our dogs are actually a really helpful part of the process. They are in the office every day, and we've found that some of our most creative conversations come during our mid-afternoon walks with the dogs. It gives us time away from the computer, from emails, text, etc; and we find that some of our best ideas happen while walking through the neighborhood.
If you had to pick one specific aspect of your business that was your favorite, what would it be?
We are building Chippmunk to help people. We help consumers find great deals and discover new stores. We help retailers connect with new customers. And we influence transactions. When you find a great new store to shop at and can use a deal to save money on your purchase, everyone wins! Being a small start-up we take pride in every new connection we make between people and stores, and we love hearing from people about their experience so that we can make Chippmunk a little bit better every single day.
Where do you see yourself and/or your business in five years?
We are establishing Chippmunk to be a starting point for online shopping. In five years my hope is I'm still skipping to work every day and building the next generation of awesome couponing experiences for consumers with a team of really creative and inspirational people. Maybe by that time we'll be doing some really far out stuff, like organizing coupons for space adventures on Virgin Galactic or powering mobile couponing through a wink on your Google glasses.
One of the more popular series on Bubby and Bean is 'Friday is For Favorites.' Tell us your favorite of each of the following: color, movie, food, band.
BRIAN >> COLOR: ocean blue. MOVIE: Bull Durham. I played minor league baseball and this movie captures the experience like no other, and has a great cast – Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins among many others.) FOOD: sushi. BAND: Jack Johnson
SAMIRA >> COLOR: pink MOVIE: French Kiss with Meg Ryan. There are so many funny moments in that movie! I’m from Canada, love the south of France and just really enjoyed the comedy. I'm easily traumatized by horror movies, so I love light romantic comedies that are a fun escape. FOOD: Sushi. BAND: I love music and this question was so tough because I adore so many different genres. I worked at a giant record company early on in my career and loved seeing artists come in to perform for us in the office. I’ll pick two artists – a classic and a contemporary: Jimi Hendrix and Sia.
How did you come up with the name 'Chippmunk' (with two p's)?
Great question! We spent several weeks trying to come up with a name that was unique and memorable, that evoked savings, and that we could purchase with a very limited budget. Samira was listening to NPR one morning and she heard a feature on Sqirl jams, and it came to her! She thought chipmunks are way cuter than squirrels, and they are known for having great searching and saving skills by stocking up on acorns for the winter. Chipmunk with one p was a domain that was already being used, but with two p's was for sale! We registered the domain on the spot. When we started experimenting with typefonts for our logo, we realized that two p's seems to be much more visually compelling as it balances the word better too. And two p's means we are creating our own, unique interpretation of Chippmunk through the quality of the service we offer, which is a big, exciting responsibility.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with Bubby and Bean's readers?
We are launching a new Expert Shopper feature this month which will be a place for our passionate, awesome online shoppers to share the great deals they've scored. We'd love to extend an invitation to Bubby and Bean readers to participate in this experience, with a chance to win some pretty cool prizes. Details are still tbd.
Thank you Brian and Samira for sharing a little about your incredibly innovative small business (and yourselves!) with us today! Make sure you guys pay a visit to Chippmunk and see for yourself all the awesomeness that it has to offer. I've found so many great deals since discovering them, in a fraction of the time that it used to take me to search for coupons. And their searches are so tailored (you can choose from clothing, accessories, beauty, gift, home, pets, and more) that you don't feel bombarded by offers that don't interest you. Trust me, you'll be glad you checked it out. And stay tuned next week for a very special giveaway from the Chippmunk crew!
You can also find Chippmunk on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.