Moms We Love: Bogumila Sobiczewska of ShopTrotter
Move over, monuments and museums. While traveling to new towns and cities can be exciting, some tourists crave cool shopping experiences. And that’s where Bogumila Sobiczewska comes in. The mom-of-three created ShopTrotter, a website designed to help tourists track down their favorite fashion haunts and one-of-a-kind brands. We spoke to Bogumila about shopping, traveling, and how she does it all.
How did ShopTrotter.com come to be?
I used to travel a lot, and after sightseeing at the end of the day, I always wanted to see what given place has to offer as it comes to fashion. (It’s part of the culture, right?). And according to hotel brochures and Internet suggestions, I should always end up at high streets or so called shopping districts, offering nearly the same what I already knew from my home city. So the idea came quite naturally—I needed a web-based tool to help me find the interesting boutiques. It should contain a complete list of shops to be filtered by price range (because I usually know my budget and it would be a waste of time to enter the boutiques too expensive for me), type of product (who wants to wander through aisles of lingerie when looking for a bag?) and brands (some brands I wanted to check out are available only in certain regions). And my dream was to be able to plan the shopping route from any place, so I wouldn’t get lost in a foreign city. Simple, obvious, but it just didn’t exist. So I decided to take my chance and create a shopping-dedicated website.
What were you doing prior to launching the site?
I started my career as a radio journalist. I then switched to marketing and continued this path for several years. Meanwhile I had 3 children, and after a 6-year-long maternity leave, my self esteem dropped dramatically. I knew I wanted to work, and starting a company seemed to be a perfect option.
How does ShopTrotter differ from other sites?
ShopTrotter is something like Tripadvisor but created uniquely for shopping. We have a huge database of nearly 100,000 boutiques in 85 cities across the world (try to name any important city people travel to and we’ve got you covered). The special algorithm lets you create easy-to-go-to routes between chosen boutiques. The most important thing about ShopTrotter is that people can filter our enormous database by their interests, because every store is objectively and carefully described and tagged – unlike in any other services.
How has it grown since its inception?
I started it as a project, without the business part well planned. The site’s shopping planning feature and blog part had some good response of over 250,000 views. Now we are implementing the business part that is created to help boutiques to draw attention of visitors but in a customized way. We want to match clients and boutiques, based on what the store sells and what the visitor looks for. It’s a win-win situation and the kind of business I value the most.
What are your plans for the future for ShopTrotter?
We changed our logo, and we also redesigned the service and launched the new site. Going global takes a lot of strategic planning, but we have support from Google which is a wonderful opportunity.
How do you balance work life and family life?
I’m mother of 3 – Peter is almost 17 years old, Michael is 15 and our little Pola just turned 5. I’m a hands-on mom and having my own business is great for me also because I can balance my private and professional life. Since the kids are in school, I’m able to focus on my job for most of the day. There are some “reserved” times for my family – we eat our dinner together no matter what. Every Saturday, I teach my boys how to cook, and they are getting better and better at it. One day I will just sit aside with a magazine and be called for lunch when the time comes! My husband, who is successful in business, encourages me very much. He even changed his agenda to take some of my duties, especially when I travel.