Brooklyn Decker Tells Us Why She Became a Tech Entrepreneur

Aug 7, 2018 at 7:00 a.m. ET
Image: Getty Images. Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

Brooklyn Decker understands how precious time is. As an actor, entrepreneur and parent (with husband Andy Roddick), the 31-year-old — who is a keynote speaker at SheKnows Media's #BlogHer18 Creators Summit on August 8 — doesn’t have a minute to spare. So, when she and her best friend, former CNN reporter Whitney Casey, realized that women waste hours of their lives trying to decide what to wear, they felt compelled to help reclaim that time. And thus, their app Finery was born.

Think of it this way: You probably have apps for managing music, money, grocery shopping and tons of other things. Why wouldn’t you have one for your wardrobe too? With this in mind, Decker and Casey created “an operating system for your wardrobe” that allows you to easily see (and use!) what you already have. Finery is also full of elements of sartorial sorcery, like instantly adding items you buy online to your virtual closet and reminding you when return dates are fast approaching.

Inventing the app was a somewhat odd plot twist for Decker, who admittedly prefers a low-tech life. But her passion for this new venture makes perfect sense when you consider that time is essentially the most priceless of commodities. “I love productivity because productivity allows you to actually do the things you want to do in life,” Decker told SheKnows. “Yes, it’s technology. Yes, I don’t really love technology. But to have tools that give you your time back, that’s valuable.”

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Although Decker modeled for household-name designers and media outlets starting in the early aughts, she's since stepped away from the fashion industry to focus on acting, during which time she says fashion changed dramatically. Between that and her inexperience in the tech space, Decker admits that she was seriously intimidated by the idea of starting an app. Plus, Finery's just one of many other jobs she does — including parenting.

“I have a toddler and a baby and a job. So it's a challenge figuring out how to manage your time and really prioritize family and then figure out where everything follows after,” says Decker, adding that she always wants to give 100 percent to everyone and everything.

“When you’re wearing multiple hats, you just can't do it — but that’s OK. Less than 100 percent is still really, really strong. That’s something a lot of my friends and I talk about. We’re like, ‘Gosh, we have to do everything,’ and ‘Can women do it all?’ Yes, we can do it all!" she says.

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Decker felt empowered to move forward in the tech space after talking to other movers and shakers, all of whom pointed to a basic fact: Anyone can have a good idea. “Entrepreneurs come from so many different walks of life. And a good idea is a good idea no matter who’s behind it. You have to execute it, of course, but if you’re doing that, you’ll absolutely garner the respect of your peers," says Decker.

Still, some days Decker feels like she’s on top of the world, and others, she goes to bed feeling like a failure. Is she tired? Oh, always. “I haven’t slept since my [second] child was born [in January 2018], and I’m so tired. The brain fog is so real — mom brain is so, so, so real,” she said with a laugh, joking that she could really benefit from a “three-day nap.”

And yet, when she’s feeling stretched thin, Decker confesses that the main source of her fatigue is also what reinvigorates her: “I hang with my kids. It gives you perspective and you see what matters. And seeing the world through the eyes of a toddler is so cool and funny, and I think that perspective really matters — whether that’s in your children or in your friends or in nature, whatever that is.”

Decker also finds joy in her career, saying, “It’s such a privilege, and that’s never lost on me. I grew up in North Carolina, and you couldn’t say you wanted to be an actor because no one became an actor. That wasn’t a realistic career path, you know? So I feel so lucky every day I’m at work. It does feel fulfilling in that way.”

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She is quick to point out one caveat, though — Decker isn’t interested in playing the fame game, which is why she chose Austin, Texas, as her home base instead of New York or Los Angeles. She travels (extensively) to those cities when work requires it, but Austin allows her to just “chill out.”

It’s perhaps maintaining that artful distance between her two worlds that keeps Decker so refreshingly grounded. When asked whether she always feels beautiful, Decker scoffs, “Oh, my gosh, no,” before clarifying, “I don’t always feel beautiful, but I always feel like I’m enough. I don’t think any woman feels beautiful every day. We all have our good days and bad days... but I do always feel like I’m enough, and I think that was a gift from my parents. They kind of instilled that in me.”

It’s no wonder Decker would rate her happiness on a scale from 1 to 10 as an emphatic 10. “I really am [happy] right now. I know it’s annoying,” she says, laughing. “I haven’t always been this happy. But right now, life is incredibly overwhelming, and I feel very frazzled and I’m stressed in all facets of my life, but I have two healthy children and a husband I love, and I’m really happy.”

A version of this article was originally published in June 2018.

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