Shopaholics Unite through Peruse.com!
Katherine Kennedy carries a concealed weapon. Of course, I am not referring to a firearm or blade. What I mean is that meeting this California bombshell for the first time can be misleading. Lovely to look at with a bubbly personality, it is easy to dismiss this clever lady as another privileged Georgetown princess, with an ability to make good grades and spend “daddy’s money.”
I freely admit that I had to scold myself for judging a book by its cover! (And, I should already know that when BabsieD makes the introduction, the person must be fabulous!) When I finally sat down to chat with Katherine, I was blown away by her charm, ambition and business savvy. At only 21 years old, she has learned the fine art of creating a career from something she loves to do. (Hmm… Isn’t that what school counselors encourage, after all?) With Peruse.com, Katherine turns her passion for purchases into a soon-to-be goldmine.
Katherine says, “My two favorite things are myspace.com and shopping online.” While working on a project for an e-commerce class, she learned that 81% of products which get into a shopping cart are not bought. Reflecting on her own online shopping experiences she recalls, “I’d put 1000 items in a cart and abandon them.”
When she moved to DC (and became car-less quite an adjustment for most Californians) she would make “wish lists” on Target.com for her mom, who could them purchase the items and send them to her. This sparked a light bulb to flash in Katherine’s mind, “I had the idea to make a universal wish list.”
As The Liquid Muse, I am happy to say that Katherine’s concept, like many brilliant ones, was developed over cocktails with friends. She explains, “The idea for Peruse.com came up at Sea Catch, next to a wall of fruit-infused martinis. We’d go every day for happy hour / dinner for half-price martinis and oysters. I wrote my first business plan on a napkin there.” (No wonder we could relate!)
How does Peruse.com work? In a nutshell: prospective shoppers join for free, then use the integrated browser. Katherine explains, “We let you shop any retail site. The web is your world. You can get anything you want.” Desired items are added to the person’s Universal Wish List on Peruse.com, where additional information can be noted. Friends and family members can access the wish list as a convenient guide for gift-giving occasions.
What makes Persue.com different than traditional online shopping? Katherine explains, “Only 3.4% of retail shopping is currently for ecommerce market. Our competitive advantage is the social aspect.” Peruse.com subscribers create profiles. Shopping Buddies with similar tastes can connect and even rate each others’ prospective purchases. Katherine says, “In traditional online shopping you don’t get to shop with peers.” Retail businesses also have the opportunity to add “buy now” incentives.
How did this young woman get so clever? Perhaps it’s in the jeans. I mean, genes. Katherine grew up in Palo Alto, California and her father worked in Silicon Valley. She headed down to So-Cal for a Poli-Sci degree from Loyola Marymount in LA, then arrived in DC a year ago to work on a Master’s degree in Politics and Media at Georgetown University.
From class project to budding entrepreneur, Katherine expressed her confidence that she will win online shoppers’ business, beaming, “I am the demographic.” Peruse is scheduled to launch this month. Katherine says, “It’s all coming together. It’s a bit scary but I’m ready for it.”
Her favorite places to go out? Blue Gin, Café Milano, Mate, Georgetown Waterfront
Her Favorite drinks? mojitos and beer: Yingling, Bud Light