It was only a few years ago that Julie Stevanja was working for a tech start-up in London when the idea for Stylerunner materialised… “The ‘lightbulb moment’ for Stylerunner came during a Bikram Yoga class. I was in savasana, after a beautiful class with an instructor I adored, but I didn’t feel fabulous about my activewear,” she recalls.
“It was near impossible to find fashionable activewear. That’s where the idea for Stylerunner came from. I figured if I was having this problem, then others probably were too. In that moment, I went from knowing there was a gap in the market, to thinking ‘I should do this’ and the feeling was incredible.”
While plenty of people have those lightbulb moments, not many of them choose to invest all of their savings into trying to make it a reality, but that’s exactly what Julie did.
What followed was a period typical of start-ups in their early days, “working out of a tiny rented studio, moving my dining table and sofa in as furniture. That first little studio was our office, creative space, boardroom and warehouse all in one. There were plenty of late nights, and ironically, I soon had very little time for working out!”
Stylerunner has come a long way since then, with an empire worth a reported $50m. “We’ve grown from 11 emerging labels, to over 70 curated brands including the world’s leading sportswear brands like Nike and adidas. We have grown the team from 3 to 30 and moved into our 4th office and warehouse… We also ship all over the world, from Singapore and Hong Kong to Russia and Finland.”
Stevanja reflects on the easiest mistake to make for anyone launching a start-up, “there never seems to be enough hours in the day and you could get stuck updating your ‘to-do’ list, it can feel like it never seems to end. Beyond that, sound financial management is crucial and I cannot stress the importance of getting the right advice in this department.”
Once upon a time, owning your own business was considered the rare Aussie dream. But, these days, it’s one more and more young Australians are chasing. According to Vistaprint Australia, more than 40 per cent of millennials plan to start their own business in the future, compared to just 14 per cent of their over 35-counterparts. And of those who do, almost a third say it’s because they want to work for themselves.
So what does a standard workday look like for this #girlboss?
“My wake-up time is around 6am. I try to achieve 7-8 hours of sleep a night as it allows me to function at my best.
“First thing in the morning, I grab an espresso on my way to my favourite spin studio, Up!Cycle, it energises me and I am more focused afterwards.
“I start my working day by reading emails over breakfast and I update my to-do list.
“Lunch is often ordered-into the office from uber eats. I would rather work through lunch as I find my productivity levels are at their peak at Midday. The afternoon is often filled with meetings, I might have a green juice as a pick-me-up and in the evening, I will wind down by cooking a meal for my husband and I. Then I make my plans for the next day. Bedtime for me is usually around 10pm.”
Julie’s most important piece of career advice? “Advice I wish I had known would probably be the most simple but hardest to put into practise – if you want to be effective, always focus on the important things, not the urgent things.”
If you found this interesting, read about the entrepreneur who invested $100k into hemp water, and 3 New Years resolutions to make you richer.
Know someone who’d love this? Share it with them!