Tanya Soman is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups where she leads seed-stage investments in the exciting consumer space of fashion and beauty. A Brooklyn native and San Francisco transplant, she’s not afraid to show her feminine side within the male-dominated VC ecosystem. In fact, it’s part of what makes her so good at discovering talented founders and innovative consumer brands. Her bag holds a little bit of everything – beauty essentials, a lot of tech and plenty of ways to stay hydrated inside and out.
I like to carry the same bag. It’s my go-to every day when I’m meeting with founders, running errands, or traveling for work. I have gone through so many others over the years, but after getting this one, I never have to think about it again. I was hesitant to splurge, but the Louis Vuitton “Neverfull” bag was a bucket list purchase of mine for years because although there’s a decline of tote handbags in the fashion industry, this specific bag retains at least 85% of its value which makes it a great investment piece! I purchased it on a work trip to Europe about two years ago and never looked back. It’s very spacious and manages to hold all of my daily essentials, which is no easy feat.
Inside, I have a small wallet for my cards (ID, credit, and my fave grocery store, Costco) and a pouch that holds cash and business cards to stay organized. I’m obsessed with my little pouch because it has my favorite Frida Kahlo painting, of “The Two Fridas,” printed on it. I found it during a trip to a local market in Mexico. My car keys have a tile on them I was gifted from a conference I spoke at, along with my climbing gym membership and CVS card. That’s my go-to spot for purchase Almond Roca, it’s one of my guilty pleasures.
As a New York native, I was hoping to get acclimated to SF weather pretty quickly. But, to my surprise, San Francisco weather can get extremely dry. So I try to keep moisturizer with me at all times to keep my skin hydrated. Plus, I’m constantly meeting new people, so I never want to feel like my hands are rough (yikes!).
On the weekends I like to go on hikes to get some fresh air and clear my mind. SF has some adventurous trails so I like to keep my Camelbak bottle with me to keep me feeling refreshed and focused while I’m out exploring.
Facial mist for a quick spritz
I love the Mario Badescu facial spray. It’s a major travel must. It’s made with aloe, herbs, and rosewater and is great for rejuvenating your skin – and mood, honestly. This gives me that extra pep in my step to get me through the morning, middle of the day, and my evening!
In this business, building and maintaining authentic relationships is key, so I always have my iPhone on me. Although I do the occasional “tech(nology) fast” I can’t go anywhere without my iPhone, so the do not disturb function has become my mini life hack.
I’m freezing all the time and our office temperature fluctuates throughout the day. A scarf of some sort is an essential that I won’t leave my house without.
I rarely use face makeup, but I love this light, airy foundation from the Korean skincare brand, Amore Pacific. It’s so lightweight that it works with a lot of different skin tones and blends right in. I was surprised to find they had my shade. I have some great little makeup bags from ipsy in here, too. It’s a monthly makeup subscription company that we have invested in – you get five different products each month for $10. I’ve been a member for 6 years. When it comes to daily products I use, these are a good nude lipstick and perfume. I actually created this lip color myself with Bite at their Lip Labs where you can make your own lipstick. They let you pick the texture, the finish, the color and the scent. In terms of perfume, I rotate between a few different scents and always carry a tiny sample size perfume in my purse.
My electronics are probably the least sexy items in my bag. My laptop, of course. My AirPods are always on me. I also keep a backup external battery, cords for both iPhone and Android, a laptop charger and a travel kit with plug in headphones in case I need them on a flight. Oh – pens, too, I always have a few with me. WSGR, our outside counsel, has the best pens so I’ve stocked up on them.
A paperback person
I love the feel of holding a physical book. I still just find them easier to read than a digital version. Right now I’m reading “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle. It was gifted to me over the holidays.
Want to learn more about Tanya? Visit www.tanyasoman.com or follow her on Twitter @TanyaSoman.