How a passion project turned into a global online brand

In just three years, Stylerunner has grown into a multimillion-dollar business with an annual growth rate of 500 per cent. The luxury e-tailer is now one of the world’s leading online destinations for fashionable fitness labels. We caught up with the incredibly stylish, humble and hard-working founder Julie Stevanja to talk everything from career highlights to the hottest active wear trends for 2016.

Meet Julie Stevanja, Founder and CEO of Stylerunner

1. Tell me a bit about your business, how did you come up with the idea of Stylerunner?

The idea for Stylerunner started from a personal passion. I love to stay active but couldn’t find a specific retail store that offered exactly what I needed – premium, functional and fashion-forward activewear that looked good, but more importantly, clothing I felt amazing in. When you dress your best, you feel your best and I wanted to give women the opportunity to get out there and feel great living a healthy lifestyle too. We’re not just about selling activewear (although, we do wear the most stylish kicks around!), our customer’s love our brands and our products motivate them to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, both inside and out.

2. What does an average day look like for you?

First thing in the morning I try to get moving, whether it be a yoga session or a walk so that I can start the day with a clear and focused mind. As I get into the office, there is a million and one things to do. I might be meeting with our buyers to discuss new product launches, strategizing with our customer care team on how to make our service better than ever or working on exciting collaborations… no one day is the same. Admittedly between meetings and business plans, I do spend a lot of time pouring over our Instagram feed to see what our customers are loving too!

3. What has been your biggest career highlight?

There have been so many ‘pinch me’ moments through the Stylerunner journey. One of the biggest career highlights for me came just a few months ago, with Stylerunner making it onto the BRW Fast Starters list for 2015 – very surreal! It was a huge milestone for us.

      

 

                1. What do you think is the secret to your success?

                   

 

     The little details. We offer an exceptional service, from iconic grey boxes to tissue paper – we like to make our customers feel special! The fact that we also have the most beautiful curated collection of the world’s best stylish and functional activewear helps, too. A start up takes a lot of hard work and dedication. We have an awesome, inspiring team at Stylerunner – passionate staff who hustle and are dedicated to changing the game. The people around me, past and present, have had a huge impact on Stylerunner and I am so grateful for everyone who has come along the Stylerunner ride. It’s been a crazy one!

        1. As a businesswoman, what are your top three tips for someone starting out? 

My three pieces of advice would be:

      • Enjoy the journey
      • When you’re not working, you should be learning
      • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so put yourself out there and take every opportunity that comes your way
        1. What has been the best advice that you’ve ever been given?

          To grab every opportunity with both hands. It’s a piece of advice I’ve taken on for throughout my career and it’s why Stylerunner is what it is today.

        1. What would you say is the best part of your job and the worst? 

Knowing that Stylerunner empowers women all around the globe to live healthy lives. The worst part? The late nights!

       

 

                1. Who do you look up to and admire?

                   

 

    I look up to other women in the business community around me, who are making their dreams happen. Kate Kendall with Flow Athletic, Bianca Cheah with Sporteluxe, Elle Halliwell through Journalism, Pip Edwards who is launching her own label next year, Base Body Babes – all of these women have worked incredibly hard and I admire them for everything they have achieved.         

 

                1. What key active wear/athleisure trends do you foresee this 2016?

                   

 

    We love prints at the moment at Stylerunner HQ, and this will continue throughout 2016. Prints will get even prettier – think elemental and organic prints as well as geometric prints. Metallics will also be at the forefront of sport luxe style. We’ll be seeing this from many brands in the way of bold metallic pieces, prints featuring gold leaf patterns, and accents. Alongside this, mesh will continue to be big, but bigger and better with a more open knit. When it comes to athleisure style, it’s time to up your footwear game! It’ll be all about statement kicks – Creepers will come back in a big way late this year and into 2016, as well as lace less and more futuristic styles. Next year is the Olympics, with lots of attention to sport in general. We’re seeing a big boxing themed influence coming through apparel and footwear. Love!        

 

                1. What is your advice on a healthy work/life balance?

                   

 

    Unplug often. There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment! Another piece of advice I would give is to make time for your own wellbeing. When people get busier, exercise and meditation are the first things to go, but will probably have the most benefit to a healthy work/life balance. Dedicate periods of time to self-care. A positive mindset will set you apart from everybody else, and will help you excel at work!        

 

                1. What is your own food and fitness philosophy?

                   

 

       I eat healthily, get active often, but I definitely believe in the odd piece of chocolate or rest day. Balance is key.

  1. What do you do for fun in your down time?

Meditating and reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. I also love tuning out to some good beats!

  1. Where do you see Stylerunner in five years?

You’ll see us in five years achieving every business award to date, kicking even more goals. Watch this space!