Jana Francis is the co-founder of Steal Network, an interactive marketing company that delivers top-quality brands and products one day at a time to their online communities of women through the websites babySTEALS.com, scrapbookSTEALS.com, kidSTEALS.com, and sheSTEALS.com. Before founding Steal Network, Jana spent her career specializing in advertising and marketing for technology and internet companies in Silicon Valley, California, and for KSL, the largest media company in Utah.
Sramana: Jana, where does your story begin? Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Jana: I grew up in Utah. My father was an engineer. I was raised in a household that had computers in every room when virtually nobody else even had one in their house. We had the original Apple, and my father would teach me how to write programs to get my name to flash across the screen. I was a very early adopter of technology.
I moved to Silicon Valley for four years to put my husband through chiropractic school. My time in the Bay Area was interesting. I became an eBay power seller.
Sramana: When were you in the Bay Area?
Jana: I was there between 1996 and 2000. I was there in the good days. It was the height of the dot-com. I remember driving to work and seeing the eBay building go up. I looked it up and became a power seller before a lot of people were even buying online.
Sramana: What were you selling online?
Jana: I would go to garage sales and find things that I knew were worth more money. I would take my own pictures, write my own descriptions, and resell them. That is how I paid my house payment. It was very expensive to live there, and my salary combined with my husband’s school was not quite enough. That taught me a lot about shopping and selling online.
Many other things happened while I was there to spark my entrepreneurial spirit. Fast forwarding to 2006, I had my third child, a daughter, six years after my second boy. I had been working with KSL, which is a media company in Salt Lake City, and was heading back to work. A few things happened at that time. First, I almost did not enjoy my maternity leave because I was so focused on the day I had to go back to work. When I did go back to work, I pulled out of the driveway and felt very sad. I really wanted the chance to be home during my motherhood and did not have that chance.