Announced to Pinterest employees on Tuesday morning, chief shopping officer Julie Bornstein has moved to an advisory role. The news comes as Pinterest ramps up its commerce capabilities, with plans to make “everything” on the platform shoppable, a company spokesperson told Glossy on Monday.
Bornstein joined Pinterest in June 2022 when the company acquired The Yes, the AI-powered fashion marketplace she launched in May 2020. At the time, Pinterest said the deal would “accelerate [its] vision for becoming the home of taste-driven shopping.” Bornstein was charged with leading its shopping vision and strategy. About four weeks later, Pinterest announced Bill Ready as its new CEO, signaling a doubling down on its commerce focus. Ready was formerly Google’s president of commerce and payments, with prior C-suite roles at Paypal and Venmo.
On Monday, Bornstein called her transition a “natural progression.” The Yes employees have been placed in roles at Pinterest, supporting its mission to “integrate shopping throughout all surface areas” of the platform, she said. For her part, Bornstein said she is “grateful” to Pinterest for identifying the strength of The Yes and for the opportunity to learn from the tech company, given her retail-centered background. On Bornstein’s resume is COO of Stitch Fix and CMO of Sephora.
Among social platforms — which have recently rolled out jarring policy or leadership changes, and struggled to solidify themselves as shopping destinations — Pinterest has remained an outlier. According to the company, a majority of its users go to the platform to shop. Rather than introduce dedicated shopping areas, as other platforms have done, Pinterest’s play is to embed shopping across its existing user experience, from the home feed to search to related pins, Bornstein said. At the same time, it’s focused on remaining “a positive place on the internet.” In its third-quarter earnings, reported in late October, Pinterest revealed an 8% year-over-year revenue increase, beating analysts’ expectations with advertising cutbacks hitting competitors harder.
“Pinterest has so much headroom because, with what’s happened to Facebook and Twitter, brands and retailers are looking for new ways to acquire customers and drive sales,” Bornstein said. “There’s a strong desire from among the entire merchant community for Pinterest to continue to win and grow. And [Pinterest] is driving more user engagement and continuing to build out advertising products that will allow that.”
After last year’s acquisition, The Yes sunsetted its app, which personalized shoppers’ feeds with fashion products across price points. Feeding the algorithm were users’ quiz responses and voluntary “yeses,” or likes, as well as their shopping behavior. The Yes partner brands that have since launched on Pinterest include Golden Goose, La DoubleJ, Mackage and A.L.C., among others, Bornstein said.
As for The Yes’s impact on Pinterest, Bornstein said she’s most proud of its talent, which has settled into roles in Pinterest departments from product and engineering to content and marketing. Taylor Tomasi Hill, The Yes’s creative and fashion director, is now Pinterest’s global head of programming. “We formed an entire product team that’s now running shopping within [Pinterest’s] pinner experience,” Bornstein said. She also spotlighted the integration of The Yes’s merchant data system, which “pulls in real-time data from advertisers and merchants,” and its proprietary taxonomy, now “the foundation for [Pinterest’s] personalization.”
Shopping features Pinterest has rolled out since 2015 include Product Tagging, allowing retailers to make their pins shoppable; Lens, a visual search technology enabling users to upload a product image to find similar products; and AR Try-On, permitting in-app trials of makeup and home products. It launched Skin Tone Range in 2018 and a Hair Pattern Search feature in 2021, in the name of furthering inclusivity and personalization.
In a statement first shared with Glossy, CEO Ready said, “In June we acquired The Yes, with a focus on integrating its technology and industry expertise to accelerate Pinterest’s vision to become a leading shopping destination. We’re continuing to invest in building world-class shopping experiences across all core surfaces and building a team with deep shopping expertise. Julie has been instrumental in that process and we’re looking forward to working with her as a trusted adviser going forward.”