Julie Stevanja quit her job at fast growing London based tech startup MUBI and moved back to Sydney to co-found her own startup, the world's first activewear e-commerce site, Stylerunner. It only took them three months to launch and three years later their company is selling millions of dollars of goods to customers in 103 countries.
Blackbird: There are plenty of e-commerce businesses out there. Why do you think you’ve been so successful.
Julie: I think even though I saw a gap in the market, what was really important was that I always loved shopping. I get this industry inside-out. A lot of investors say to me now is, "Why should I believe it's you that is going to drive this business?" For any founder, if you see a solution or if you see an opportunity, it has got to be more than that. You have to be personally really passionate about it. You have to understand it better than anyone.
I HAD THIS ABSOLUTE FAITH THAT THIS IDEA WAS GOING TO WORK APART FROM THAT ONE MOMENT OF DOUBT.
Blackbird: So tell us about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Stylerunner.
Julie: I went to a public school, it was probably a little bit on the rough side of town. I was a bit of a book nerd. I always studying and always reading at home.
I got the idea for Stylerunner when I was living in London. Every morning before work I would go to Bikram Yoga and I came across this gap in the market. I was just a consumer and I realized that I couldn't find anywhere to buy something really cool and different.
FOR ANY FOUNDER, IF YOU SEE AN OPPORTUNITY, IT HAS GOT TO BE MORE THAN THAT. YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT IT & YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IT BETTER THAN ANYONE.
Sports Brands Stocked
Blackbird: So how did you go about getting started?
Julie: I Googled huge amounts, I read books, I bought tons of books, and I went to every conference than I could find that ... Like the online retailer, the internet conference. I was literally in that front row, had my notepad out writing tons of notes.
Blackbird: And tell us about those first few months. What was it like?
Julie: I definitely remember tons of nights that we worked until four in the morning. We had a really small office, it was about sixty square meters, and this is to house our stock as well so sixty square meters might seems large, but that was essentially our office and our warehouse. When we needed to have a little half an hour power nap, jump onto the couch and straight back up and keep working until two in the morning, three in the morning, four in the morning, whatever it took.
Blackbird: Did you ever doubt yourself?
Julie: It was probably once that I've had that moment of "Is this not going to work?" Apart from that, I think that I was, I don't know, crazy or naïve. I had this absolute faith that this idea was going to work apart from that one moment of doubt. I just thought, "This is ... It makes sense. Women love to shop. Women are wearing activewear all the time, why wouldn't they want to buy it from a beautiful place?"
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