OVER COFFEE WITH: Julie Stevanja from StyleRunner
[ In a new segment, I will be interviewing different women from an array of areas, careers & backgrounds who epitomise the words; inspiring, driven & organised. ]
My second interview is with StyleRunner founder Julie Stevanja. Founded in 2012, the premium activewear e-store has had huge success boasting a community of over half a million fans & becoming the largest online activewear e-tailer in the world. Offering a coveted range of brands and product like no other, I chatted to Julie about how she began StyleRunner, her highlights + challenges & her advice for others thinking of starting a business.
How did StyleRunner come about?
I was actually living in London at the time working in the tech industry. I was attending Bikram yoga 5 times a week and was finding it really hard to buy fashionable activewear, so the idea was born to create an online destination carrying beautiful premium activewear. The idea was born really out of a personal need and I reasoned that if I was facing this problem, then there was probably many others in the same position.
What gave you the confidence to start StyleRunner & how did you know the time was right?
The online business model seemed to make sense for the activewear category as we were targeting time poor professionals. My background in tech start-ups at the time also gave me the confidence to launch STYLERUNNER.
What is the one piece of advice your would give budding entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business?
I think women in general are sometimes afraid to back themselves. I remember reading many stories about the incredible former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly where she often spoke about women having the courage to back themselves. Nobody will ever be 100% ready for taking a leap into the unknown so at some point, you just need to back yourself. Anyone considering starting a business I would recommend to educate yourself about the industry as much as possible and then just go for it.
What has been your highlight & your most challenging moment to date as a business women?
Oh there are so many highlights but being named Young Entrepreneur of the year in 2016 at the World Retail Awards is definitely up there! The challenges are daily, from product to sales to staffing there hasn't been one moment per se that was the most challenging. I guess the breakthrough moment for me was learning to always remember the big picture, your vision for your company and why you set out to do it in the first place. I have learnt that maintaing that vision can help you manage any number of crises that may cross your desk on a given day!