Meredith Stevens Miss Bongo Avis Adrian Rubin June 27, 2018 Start Ups 89 3 minute readMeredith Stevens, VP of Digital Design for Miss Bongo, is based in Bondi Beach, Australia and Santa Monica, California. She has led her company to become a powerful force in the premium SMS market. Ms. Stevens grew up in Australia and studied art and graphic design in college. Her unique artistic skills combined with her technical knowledge to make the texting service popular and easy to use. The service is promoted in the youth market, though customers of all ages enjoy using it. The service is activated when a user sends a message with his or her name and city. The service replies with a charming digital sticker and a “gossip” message about the user’s life. Customers enjoy collecting Miss Bongo’s personalized digital stickers or “perso.” Customers are often amazed at how much detail the service knows about their lives. The service relies on a large social database to produce this information. The SMS service is popular in France, Australia, and the UK, among other countries. Its market has expanded over time thanks to word of mouth and advertising. New features that hold the market’s attention include animated stickers and custom emojis. Meredith Stevens is a world traveler who speaks French, Italian, German, and Spanish. Mastering these languages gives her an easy way to communicate with the company’s staff around the world. Ms. Stevens is a surfer and kayaker. She also enjoys yoga. Ms. Stevens is a vital part of Miss Bongo’s success in today’s premium SMS market. How did you become interested in the SMS market? Premium SMS services are a lucrative market. When we were starting the company, we realized that there were not many premium SMS services directed at young people. We decided that the youth market would be our first focus. We did our best to make our service engaging and fun to use. Did you create the character, and if so, what was your inspiration? Our company was already engaged with Ask Bongo, a similar service with a mischievous monkey as its mascot. I decided that we could put a different spin on the service by creating a female mascot. The female mascot of Miss Bongo Prix gave us the opportunity to target the service toward women and girls. How do you increase your company’s reach in the market? We rely on viral marketing for most of our business. When one customer is thrilled with our work, he or she tells another potential customer. Miss Bongo Avis is fun for friends to share together. We also do a lot of promotion in online ads and on social media. Our social media pages show off our quirky sense of humor. Tell me about your typical day. I like to get up early and take a yoga class. Yoga centers me and helps me deal with the stress of daily life. It is also an excellent way to keep my body in shape. After yoga, I go into the office and meet with my digital design staff. We compare notes and coordinate our activities for the day. I spend several hours designing new graphics. I work closely with the other departments in our company, coordinating our overall message. I am often interrupted during this time. This can be frustrating. I am working to find a way to minimize interruptions in my workday. I keep an eye on the surf conditions daily. I try to surf once a week. I love living right on the beach; it makes everything so convenient. Normally, I have dinner after work and spend quiet evenings at home. I also like to go out with friends and experience new restaurants. What are some of the habits that make you a successful businesswoman? Discipline is a crucial part of success. If you don’t have the will to follow a task through to its conclusion, you won’t be successful. No one will force you to do your best work. You need internal motivation. Too many business startups fail due to a lack of discipline. Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance? I would have taken more computer science courses in college. Learning to code would have helped me advance in my field. Do you consider yourself a success? I do. I have a rewarding job that keeps me busy and engaged. I earn a steady living, and I have been able to make investments in my future. I hope that our business will continue to grow over time and reach a larger market.