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Women Bisnow
May 8, 2008


This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"


By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business


You’re just starting a company. The pieces are in place but you’re not quite ready to bring it into being. And then you end up on Oprah talking about it to 10 million viewers. What do you do? You launch. Immediately. That was the obvious decision for Meredith Barnett and Cristina Miller, best friends since the first grade at Beauvoir. Fast forward 23 years and they’re still best friends, Harvard Business School grads, and co-founders of Store Adore, a website where zealous shoppers divulge and discover information on specialty stores.


Cristina and Meredith held their February 27th launch party at The Source, Wolfgang Puck’s Newseum eatery.


Meredith was a guest on Oprah with Hearst Magazines President Cathie Black, a longtime friend and mentor, when she talked about her business. There are now 2,300 stores in DC, New York and Boston currently profiled on storeadore.com. Chicago and Philadelphia will launch soon, followed by San Francisco, Miami and Dallas. It started at HBS in 2006, when Cristina and Meredith realized that small stores would make for great advertisers. “They’re not running ad campaigns in Voguebut they could afford to buy advertising on our site, sponsor shopping tours or provide special discounts to our readers,” says Meredith, who doesn’t allow advertisers to influence user reviews.


Meredith at her April wedding to Daniel Penn at the M Street Ritz, with maid of honor Cristina. The bride is the daughter of Rita Braver and Bob Barnett, the Williams & Connolly attorney perhaps best known for representing DC’s most powerful names—Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bob Woodward, Alan Greenspan, and Tim Russert to name a few—in book deals. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Reilly.)


“Store Adore was for cities when we conceived it—Boston, New York, and DC,” says Meredith. “But it will be most viable when it’s everywhere, even a tiny town with just two or three great stores. Craigslist is a good example of a site that started really well in one city and expanded.” Cristina adds that Store Adore is a true start-up at the moment (“Sometimes we have to bang our air conditioner with a Swiffer”) but she’s hoping things will be different a year from now. The young entrepreneurs mention tech savvy as a key ingredient to their ultimate success. “I didn’t realize how challenging it would be to do the user interface, the user experience that’s so unbelievably critical. You only get a shot at people once,” says Cristina. But they both realize that starting a business while still under 30 has its blessings. “We don’t have three kids. We’re not giving up what we couldn’t get back,” says Meredith. “Right now, we can afford to take risks.”

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