IF YOU’RE an 18-34 year old fashion and beauty-obsessed female, you’ve heard of StyleHaul. If you haven’t, start opening a new browser window because you need to get on that ish stat. StyleHaul is the largest (yes, we said LARGEST) fashion and beauty network on YouTube. With 4600+ content creators, you can find a video on just about anything you’re interested in pertaining to the fashion and beauty worlds. And the woman who brought us this digital encyclopedia of fashion and beauty is Stephanie Horbaczewski. Horbaczewski is the co-Founder, President, and CEO of StyleHaul. Graduating from Trinity College and receiving a JD/MBA from Suffolk University are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her accomplishments. Prior to establishing StyleHaul in 2011, she worked as the director of marketing for a little store called Saks Fifth Avenue. Last year, Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People, and since then, StyleHaul has grown exponentially, with offices now in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and London. Horbaczewski spoke with Lady Clever about her love for fashion and beauty, her entrepreneurial expertise and the digital experience being here to stay!
What inspired you to start StyleHaul?
My core inspiration is all of the women around the world who are passionate about fashion, beauty, style, design and everything in between and creating an online community for them to create, share and engage with each other around those topics. I started StyleHaul in 2011 after being inspired by this idea that you could create short-form videos around a certain topic that allowed brands to connect with women online through influencers, which are the most authentic voice in the marketplace today.
Is StyleHaul your first entrepreneurial endeavor?
This is my first time starting a company and operating in the President and CEO role. I still consider myself to be really young with a lot of work life ahead of me — so who knows if StyleHaul will be my first and last stab at this whole entrepreneur thing, but so far so good. It’s been an incredible 3 ½ years and I truly feel like we have only scratched the surface of what we can do as a network and a global and scalable marketing solution for brands across all of the social platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and whatever new network pops up. Is it just me or does a new and exciting social media app come out every day? I’m always in a rush to download and try them all out.
How do you balance your creative duties with the business side of your company?
At StyleHaul our entire business is based on the creativity of our partners – the content they produce and publish has to be new, innovative, and relevant to their fans and really celebrates their personal style and creative vision. I think the creative piece is where the more than 4500 creators on our network shine. I’m also really excited about StyleHaul Studios and the premium, original and stylized branded content that we are creating in-house, globally.
What has been your biggest challenge starting and running StyleHaul?
The digital industry is inherently challenging. It’s new, it moves fast, everyone wants to be a part of it from brands to celebrities to politicians, and there isn’t a playbook or a precedent that’s been set. While it’s challenging, it’s really fun when you actually sit back and think about the fact that we’re all working together to build a new industry – we are creating the playbook. I get really excited and sometimes wish I could see into the future. Ten years from now, where will we be?
What’s been one of StyleHaul’s greatest achievements?
The team that works at StyleHaul is the best in the industry. I am so lucky to have people in [our] offices… who are passionate about StyleHaul and work with me side-by-side and help me, brick-by-brick, to build the largest online community of fashion and beauty influencers. We’re so fortunate to have such an amazing team, which I think is a testament to the company culture we’ve built, our amazing content creators and the idea that they’re part of something that is… changing how we all engage and enjoy content and communicate with each other, on and offline.
What are your goals for StyleHaul now?
To take it to the next level, whatever that may be! I’ve been challenging myself and my team to do more and do better every single day, and I’d like to think that’s why we’ve been successful thus far. Only time will tell what the future holds, but we’re all very excited for the ride.
What is the best piece of advice you received as a woman starting her own business?
There’s two pieces of advice I got as I was starting my business that I constantly go back to: trust your instincts and hire great people.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had been given as a woman starting her own business?
I wish they would have told me to get my rest and take all of my vacation days because it would be a while before I got to do that again!
What is one piece of advice you would give to women starting their own business?
Don’t listen to advice, seriously. You have to do what you what you want to do. Have a good team of advisors around you, but don’t compromise what’s important or not follow what you know is best for the business because of advice.
Have there been any gender specific challenges you’ve faced being a woman starting a business that you don’t feel like a man would have had?
Of course, there are always different challenges you face being a woman in the business world than a man does. Being authentic is so important because men and women can sense when you’re trying to be something you’re not. I don’t make any apologies for who I am or how I run my company because I’m a woman – a man wouldn’t.
What are your predictions for online and streaming fashion and beauty content for the near future?
Brands will continue to take notice of the power of the digital influencer and the impact that these creators have on their audiences. Digital is king!
In your opinion, what makes a successful fashion or beauty vlogger?
I think the basic rules for being successful as a digital creator are true for success in any other aspect of life: you have to be consistent, and you have to tell the truth. In today’s world, reputation is everything and nobody knows that better than our influencers. Being dependable in terms of content, so that people know when to look for new information from you and being honest about your thoughts and opinions so that your viewers feel a real connection with you when they watch your videos are extremely important.
Seriously. You need to check out StyleHaul. Follow StyleHaul on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and peep Stephanie on Twitter for extra tips and news when it comes to the world of fashion and beauty. Now hold tight while we gladly go and blow last week’s paycheck.