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How to Be a Serial Entrepreneur

Meet Gregg Renfrew and find out why being an entrepreneur is all about having fun.

How did Martha Stewart come to acquire the business?

We were approached by Martha Stewart, who was interested in creating a commerce angle for her weddings magazine. So we partnered with them and Martha ended up ultimately acquiring the company in 2001, and I ran The Wedding List business within her organization. It was the very first acquisition in the history of Martha Stewart.

Martha ultimately ended up selling the UK business and closing the U.S. one. But it was incredible to be Martha Stewart’s first acquisition and to be able to put a multi-panel wedding strategy on the map.

So you’ve been an exec at Martha Stewart, CEO at Best & Co. and a consultant for Vivienne Tam, Intermix, Bergdorf Goodman and Jessica Alba. Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to take time to try out a lot of different things?

As an entrepreneur, you have to always be thinking about the big picture and looking for opportunities in the marketplace. Being an entrepreneur requires an inordinate amount of time commitment and passion. So for me it was always about pursuing things I cared about.

There are two common threads for me if you look at my career. One has been focusing on woman-based businesses — things that help empower women, that educate women, that are selling to women, because that was an area of interest for me but also an area of expertise. As an entrepreneur, it’s good to stay in your wheelhouse because you have to put so much passion toward whatever it is that you’re doing. And the other thing is that I’ve been really focused on businesses that allow you to give back while making money. I did that in a small way with The Wedding List, in a big way with Love Cures [a shopping program for Ann Taylor to benefit breast cancer research] and obviously in a very big way with Beautycounter.

Were you raised with an entrepreneurial spirit?

I have a really strong mother who is an amazing businesswoman herself, so she instilled in me that you want to be financially independent, you want to explore your own dreams, and she always gave me the confidence to go for anything I believed in.

It’s all been fun. Someone told me the other day, one of my investors who’s beyond successful — like multi-billionaire — that sometimes work is more fun than fun. And I think if you’re an entrepreneur, that resonates. [Work is] something you’ve got to be incredibly passionate about and it needs to be fun.

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