Like a Boss: Shona Grundy, Trigger Happy

By Zoe Walker

Shona Grundy, CEO of Trigger Happy. Picture / Babiche Martens
Shona Grundy, CEO of Trigger Happy. Picture / Babiche Martens

Shona Grundy founded Trigger Happy in 2010 with three others, last year launching animation app and social platform Toon Hero (it enables people to create their own animated stories, jokes and status updates using famous characters from global brands). Her role as CEO involves all aspects of strategic and commercial implementation, including capital raising, IP and patent strategy and execution, licensing of content from large Hollywood Studios, team management and more. Far from the old fashioned tech stereotype - hoodies and sneakers - stylish Shona describes herself as a "victim of pop culture", obsessed with music, entertainment and fashion. She shares some of her success secrets.

What is the best career advice that you have received?
"Sell yourself first and the product will follow". The idea that your personality, business ethics, etiquette and morals are just as important, if not more important, than the product you sell is one of those most important things that you must learn in business. Because business is indeed about people and the relationships you build, which will transcend throughout your career.


Your tips for young women and up and coming female entrepreneurs?
We are lucky enough to live in a country and a culture where as a woman you really can have it all - a career, marriage and children.

Sure, there are always going to be "haters", but that sort of nonsense shows up across all levels of prejudices and most of those people are idiots not worth taking any notice of. Most people will value you and lift you up as you prove yourself professionally.

But be careful what you wish for, as it's a frenetic road to take. And if you do decide you "want it all" make sure you select your partner carefully; someone who values you just as much inside the home as he or she does outside the home. I truly could not have done all of this without my husband valuing my career as much as I do. He is my partner in every sense of the word.


As the public face and founder of your company, do you dress to represent it?
Yes, absolutely. We joke and say that I'm the show pony of the company. But on a lot of levels it is very true.
There are four founders in my company, but they actively expressed that they didn't want the public profile and so I've stepped into that role knowing that presenting myself goes hand-in-hand with representing the company - which refers directly to my professional advice about selling yourself first.


How do you dress for the office?
For me, dressing is about expressing myself; who I am and my personality. I'm lucky enough to work in an industry that's creative and where "anything goes". So its often about my mood. Sometimes I wear jeans, trousers, dresses, heels, flats. . . Mostly though I love wearing dresses, and like to add my own edge and style to it with accessories. . . I love that kind of thing.


The tech world stereotype isn't perceived as being particularly stylish: is any truth to that?None whatsoever. Tech isn't just one industry anymore, it transcends practically all industries and a lot of it is cutting edge and really ground-breaking, creative stuff. Tech is now seen as pretty cool and very "hipster". I think those old perceptions of "nerds with bad glasses, ill-fitting suits and terrible ties, sitting in their cubicles", have all gone. Anything goes and it just depends on the culture of the company you work for, as well as the type of person you are.


Do you set an office dress code for your employees?
No none at all. As a creative business - which crosses media, entertainment and technology, its about allowing people to self-express. Some people are really into their fashion, while others like to express their interests and who they are by the T-shirt they chose, or the cap they wear. Others just simply don't put too much thought into it, because they have other interests outside of their image. All is fine with us. On the strangest end of the scale, we've had people randomly wearing hobbit socks, Mexican wrestling masks, tutus and Cosplay wigs. It all makes for good fun.


Do you favour any designers or stores for your working wardrobe?
I shop all over the place, because I travel a lot for work. But I also have some "go to" stores and designers in NZ which I love, such as Kagi, Kate Sylvester, Two Daughters, Storm and Icebreaker.

- VIVA

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