By Taylor Smith
Candice Torian is used to being the new kid. The Newbee Network founder, who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, made the first of her 11 moves when she was 14, to a boarding school in Northfield, Massachusetts. “It’s completely rural, there are far more cows than there are people, and I hated it when I was young.” As an adult, however, the Astoria native strives to recreate what she now calls the “serenity” she found in Northfield wherever she goes. Serenity isn’t the first word she’d associate with her childhood: Torian grew up as one of 14 brothers and sisters, an upbringing she fondly describes as “Hunger Games mixed with Family Matters.”
Upon relocating from Charlotte to Atlanta in 2009, Torian felt the stress of moving that she’d felt when starting boarding school again. This time however, it gave her an idea:
“I had made maybe two major moves before then, and every time it was stressful. It was partly the logistics, but mostly the being alone, and moving alone, and establishing roots somewhere else. Finding new friends, finding a new favorite pub, things of that nature. There are tons of resources out there to help you actually move, but there was never really anything out there to help an adult, single, professional woman find a friend and re-establish roots. So I thought, why doesn’t someone create a platform that not only helps with the logistics of a move, kind of like what The Knot does for a wedding, but adds that social element? So when I’m moving I can reach out to other folks who have made a similar move, like a New Yorker who might be down south, who could advise me on areas to live in or areas to avoid.”
She’s since built Newbee Network, a website that helps young professionals with both the practical and social challenges of relocation. Her background is in database marketing—she collects insights on consumer behavior on- and offline and advises retailers based on her findings—has helped her develop the platform. With over 2,000 users signed up already, the site officially launches April 1 and is open to members in all states. On the practical side, Newbee offers services like a moving checklist (which helps users keep on top of necessary tasks based on their move date) and a moving budget.
On the social side, Newbee aims to alleviate the awkwardness of settling into a new city by helping users build a network. Once you’ve joined, you can filter the “Friend Finder” page based on location and send “hive requests” to others who’ve made or are making similar moves. Newbee also allows for communication that’s not necessarily city-specific: “Going into it we thought folks would want to get advice about the cities that they’re moving to. But in many cases, if you get on the site, you’ll find posts asking for general advice on careers and moving to another city, so there’re lots of folks who join the site because they’re interested in moving to another city and they don’t really know where yet.” To that end, Newbee offers lifestyle badges, such as the Mommy badge or LGBT-friendly badge, that allow members to reach out to people with similar experiences or concerns.
I spoke with the founder and life-sized board game enthusiast about running a business, finding home, and the ups and downs of moving.
How did (or didn’t) your educational background and past work prepare you for what you do now?
I place more weight and credit on my professional experience than I do my education. I have a BA in Economics and Organizational Management. But it was my career in marketing technology coupled with my many moves that heavily inspired and prepared me to develop NewbeeNetwork.com and lead the business as CEO.
You’ve obviously invested a lot of time in combatting moving-related stress, but what about work-related stress? What are some of the ways in which you manage the stress that comes with founding and running a company?
Create a very clear plan with short- and long-term milestones and visit your plan weekly because it may require minor course corrections. I find that most people get stressed when they feel they’ve lost control. A plan is your compass. When the seas become rocky, you may need to change course a bit, but you don’t lose sight of your destination and won’t feel lost.
What’s your most memorable moving success and/or mishap?
Biggest mistake I have ever made was moving to an area sight unseen. Fortunately, I signed a short term lease so I was able to bare it for a limited time. It was one of those situations where the online city data didn’t speak to the ‘vibe’ of that area. That’s the greatest benefit of NewbeeNetwork.com. You’ll be able to supplement city data with testimony from real people who’ve lived in a particular city.
How can you tell when a new neighborhood or city feels like home?
Leave town for at least a week, if you start missing your place—not your stuff, but your neighborhood, your favorite coffee shop or bar, etc.—you can officially call it home.
Whereas Newbee is a unique business, which successful people or businesses do you turn to for inspiration?
I draw inspiration from many different businesses for different reasons. In terms of brand personality, I am inspired by non-traditional brands like MailChimp and Dollar Shave Club. When I need to be fearless, I think about the early days of Facebook.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting Newbee? The most challenging?
I think for many entrepreneurs including myself, its seeing your vision come to life. The most challenging piece is discernment on when to pivot the business based on customer feedback.
Since we’re a roommate-matching platform, have any wonderful, terrible, or strange roommate stories to share with us?
Fortunately, no. I’ve only ever had roommates in high school and college. Some of my roommates were better than others. And there was always the occasional disagreement but nothing too crazy.
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