S4E25 Stephanie Sprangers Pivoting a Style Marketplace Post-Pandemic

S4E25 –  Stephanie Sprangers – Pivoting a Style Marketplace Post-Pandemic
Stephanie Sprangers – Pivoting a Style Marketplace Post-Pandemic. My next guest is a true entrepreneur who doesn’t know the word “quit.” She had the realization that she could continue working a corporate job her entire life but chose to become an entrepreneur and do everything it takes and never look back. In this episode, she talks about her company which is a style marketplace that connects people with stylists to help them with services including closet detox, special event styling, seasonal styling, and complete makeovers. A big takeaway is how she had to pivot the company due to the pandemic. She also talks about growth strategies which include partnering with other brands to bring people into the platform. Please welcome, Stephanie Sprangers.

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Key Timecodes

  • (01:13) – Show intro and background history
  • (04:09) – Deeper into her background history and business model
  • (06:22) – Understanding her business model
  • (13:41) – Deeper into her business strategies
  • (19:26) – A bit about her marketing strategies
  • (29:00) – A bit about her numbers
  • (34:47) – How big is her team
  • (36:48) – A summary of her business model and strategies
  • (40:30) – A key takeaway from the guest
  • (44:27) – What is the worst advice she ever received
  • (45:29 ) – What is the best advice she ever received
  • (46:28) – Guest contacts


[00:00:00.000] – Intro
Hey this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast in building businesses, increasing wealth, and achieving financial freedom. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go.
[00:00:17.800] – Sean
My next guest is an entrepreneur who does not know the word quit. She started a styling marketplace around 2017 and had to make a major pivot around the pandemic. What this marketplace does is it brings stylists and people looking for style assistance together on one platform. Some of the services include closet detox, which really helps you get rid of stuff you’re no longer aware. Two would be special event styling, three would be seasonal styling, and four would be complete makeovers. But in this episode, she talks about creative ways she’s bringing people into the platform, both stylists and people looking for style assistance. That’s not an easy feat when you have two different audiences on the same platform. She also talks about four different revenue streams, which could scale to six different revenue streams, the mainstream being SaaS. This is a pretty cool business model. So for you entrepreneurs out there looking to learn about a marketplace, especially something in the fashion and style industry, this is a good one. Please welcome Stephanie Springer. Stephanie, welcome to the show.
[00:01:15.170] – Stephanie
Thank you so much, Sean.
[00:01:16.770] – Sean
Good to have you here. So why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background?
[00:01:20.430] – Stephanie
So my background is I caught the startup bug in the year 2000. Literally, when it crashed is when I caught the bug. I think I joined a startup. Well, I did join a startup April 10th of the year 2000, which I think if we looked at it, that is right about when the market crashed with the first tech bubble. But I always tell, and this might be a story we tell later, but someone that’s now on my team, like I blame you for the startup bug. But in the year 2000, I worked for one of the first email marketing companies. It was a membership based company called MyPoints. Com. They had gone public. I live in Seattle, flew down to San Diego. It’s one of the big companies, not so much big parties, but big gatherings of a lot of people on a mission. I ended up staying there for eight years and then worked for a series of startups after that. But truly, that’s where I caught the consumer Internet bug, the bug to really work on innovative, exciting ideas that weren’t there yet. I’ve never loved a big democracy. I could never be someone that worked for a big, huge company with a lot of structure.
[00:02:29.570] – Stephanie
So I was in sales. But that’s where I got my start. For years, worked for startups and really loved it until one day I was like, Why am I jazz hands in for everyone but myself? I should start my own company. How hard can it be? And here we are.
[00:02:44.300] – Sean
Let’s dive into your current business, which is glammhive. Com, correct?
[00:02:48.860] – Stephanie
That’s right.
[00:02:49.780] – Sean
Why don’t you tell us about this business? When was it founded and what does it do?
[00:02:54.920] – Stephanie
Okay, got it. So it’s interesting story. I started the company in 2015, 15 with a co-founder. And at the time, it was before Instagram was shoppable. And so what I could see on Instagram is that anyone that you would follow that had any fashion sense is wearing a great outfit, posting their look, or just themselves on Instagram, all the comments would say, I love your blast. I love your jacket. Where did you get it? So there’s this dialog happening that women wanted to know what that girl was wearing and to get it for herself. So where we started, Glamhive was like a shoppable Instagram for fashion. And that was a pure affiliate model. I don’t come from fashion. So even though I’ve always loved a good outfit, I do not come from fashion. I’ve lived in Seattle forever, always worked for companies based in San Francisco or New York, but really had no connections and didn’t even really know that much what was going on in the fashion or style industry at all. So with that business model that was affiliate-based, which is one that investors don’t love, it really does require a ton of scale, I had come from an affiliate-type company.
[00:03:59.610] – Stephanie
My Point is, in a way, it was like an affiliate company. Not in a way it was. And so I had already seen a company hit scale. So to me, it didn’t seem like a big obstacle. But once you get in it, you realize it is a big revenue obstacle. And so as I started, my co-founder quit, like a lot of co-founders do. And so I started thinking about, where do I have the energy with this company? I know that I can sell a lot of things, but do I feel it in my heart that there’s a business here that’s going to be great? And I really didn’t. I felt like at the time there were actually so many fashion influencer apps and things that any influencer I would talk to would be like Linda Evangelista in the 90s, like Well, I’m not getting out of bed for less than $10,000. It’s a very tough business model when your supply side wants you to pay them to post and to promote you. When you’re on the affiliate model, that might result in very, very small dollars, if any, per transaction. And then just in talking to a lot of our early users, what I uncovered is that a lot of women would DM other women that they love their style on Instagram, and they’d want to engage in a one-on-one conversation about style.
[00:05:12.380] – Stephanie
Not just like, Where did you get your blazer or your blouse? But like, What else? And how should I wear this? And what about that? So there was this one-on-one conversation happening. So I really then decided to pivot Glamhi from a one-to-many style app to a one-to-one personal styling platform. And so that was the key insight. And this was in late 2017, if I’m getting the years right. And at the time when I was talking with particularly investors about digital styling, you always get, Well, who would want to get styled digitally? Who would even want to style digitally? I was getting stuck right at the very beginning. It wasn’t even like, who cares about wearing a nice outfit, which is what you get a lot as a woman in fashion tech, but who would even want this? And so I being stubborn, it’s like, forget it. I’m just going to put more of my money into this. I’m going to keep building it. I’m just going to keep going. I don’t have time for this. If I’m getting resistance here, I got to keep going. And so I did. And then we can keep talking about that.
[00:06:12.170] – Stephanie
But that was the kernel of it, is I saw that what was emerging was at a very granular level, women wanting to get one-to-one style advice.
[00:06:22.040] – Sean
Got it. So walk us through how this works a little bit. Are they on Instagram as the social tool, and then they move to your platform to engage in the conversation?
[00:06:32.640] – Stephanie
Oh, yeah. So how Glamhive works today on the marketplace side. There’s a long story about slogging it out through the years and what Glamhive is today. But on the marketplace side of Glamhive, because we’re a two-sided marketplace today, where we monetize the supply side as well as the demand side. In a way, the supply side is one that I really had to figure out. Sometimes I think founders can go into an industry they don’t know a lot about, and that can, I think, cause some issues. And I was not a stylist. In fact, I’m more the client where I’m like, I don’t know what I should wear. I don’t know the difference between what a kit and heel says versus a stilettoe or a tall boot versus over the knee boot. I like all fashion, but I don’t really understand what it’s saying. So the point is that on the marketplace side, how it works is that a stylist would be featured or on our website. You go to the website and we have three different tiers of stylist. Celebrity, which was a big key, a big thing that I really felt like needed to happen with Glennhibe, is to attach to celebrity to kick up above the noise.
[00:07:38.680] – Stephanie
So you can hire a celebrity stylist. And that ranges literally from Tom Brady’s stylist, a stylist that has styled Elon Musk on his good-looking stylish days, all the way to Angelina Jolie’s stylist, Kristen Stewart’s stylists, Kristen Bell’s stylists, to an elite or expert stylists. So these might be stylists that are featured in, on the Today show or or Wall Street Journal, expert stylists who are just really great at what they do, to emerging stylists, which might be a woman who just always has had a fashion sense. So the inbound client can select what tier they want. And then we offer a variety, basically, four main services. And this is how it breaks down. One is a closet detox. And it was funny. I was starting the company, my CTO was like, Who’s going to call? No one’s going to know what a closet detox was. And one day we were just like having happy hour. I said, Okay, let me prove it to you. I just literally turned to a dude at a bar, like a dive bar and said, Hey, do you know what a closet detox is? And he’s like, I don’t know.
[00:08:36.480] – Stephanie
Someone leaves my closet. I’m like, okay, bam. So closet detox, which is you go through everything you have, because fundamentally, you don’t even have to buy stuff. What you need to know is what should you stop wearing? Some people it’s a matter of what should you stop wearing or what do you just need to get rid of? Like do the Steve Jobs thing, wear one thing all the time, but wear it well. So closet detox. The second would be a special event styling. So you’re going to a wedding, you’re going to a gala, you don’t know what to wear. The third service is a seasonal update. So that’s for someone that more or less likes their style, but they’re like, I don’t know what to do this season. I want to make smart choices. And then there’s The Reinvention, which is the classic makeover. I’ve not even paid attention to myself for five years, 10 years, 20 years, whatever it is, or I’m entering the workforce, or I just got divorced or whatever, and they just want to really use style to bring out the best in them. So how are you going to pick the stylist or we matched you with one, then you would have a video call.
[00:09:35.260] – Stephanie
So people always ask how it works. It’s a very human experience. And we can talk about how the pandemic did a step change in consumer behavior around this. But you would have a Zoom with your stylist because your style is very personality driven. And the stylist that you’re going to love to work with, you’re going to like his or her personality, too. And so you’ll have a Zoom. And then from there, what happens is that through our technology, the stylist would make a mood board, a vision board, like a Pinterest board. Hey, here are all the looks that I think would be great for you. And then the client can say, I love it. I don’t love it. I like it, but whatever. And then from there, the stylist will curate the things that they need to purchase in order to get those looks, either supplementing what they have in their wardrobe or adding some key pieces. So that’s basically how it works. And then we have an affiliate program. So this harkens back to how Graham have started that core technology of tagging that board so that somebody can just to get right through, make the purchase, have it sent, hop on another Zoom if you want to show the stylist, I don’t know, should I keep this?
[00:10:36.560] – Stephanie
How does it look? So it’s very personal advice, but the vision was always virtual. Today you can work with a stylist in person if you want, but my vision was always one that was virtual, because sitting in Seattle, which is not a fashion capital of the world, I would always see women in other cities. I’m like, You just look great. I want to look like that. And so I want advice from just the woman that I really think has rock and style. Like I always say it’s like you’re buying some of her cool. That’s what you’re in a way. And so I love that idea.
[00:11:11.010] – Sean
I love your business model. I’ve had a few people on the podcast before that had the marketplace business. It’s not easy to start. To give you context here, we’ve had SaaS people on a software as a service, which that’s your background with an email marketing platform from the early 2000s. That I would say is a little easier because it’s one audience using a tool, whereas with a marketplace, it’s two audiences and the same platform transacting. And the best example is to the audience of your new marketplaces out there that are popular are Airbnb. You have people adding homes to rent, and then people are looking for places to rent or use for a weekend or whatever. That’s a great example. Etsy is another good one. People selling stuff, people buying stuff. So this is a cool model. I had no idea you were a marketplace going into this. So just a backtrack here, you have three tiers. Are they celebrity, expert, emerging? Is that correct? Yes. Got it. Okay. And then the four services fall within each tier. Cool.
[00:12:13.020] – Stephanie
Yeah, exactly.
[00:12:14.070] – Sean
Awesome. Allright. And then can you give us an idea? Because our audience likes to know numbers here a little bit. Can you give us an idea? What do you set how much people are charging or do the people who are providing the service set the fees?
[00:12:28.550] – Stephanie
Yeah. So tracking back to a point that you made over the years, I have focused a lot on the supply side because, like you said, one market, one tool, in a way, the platform is that for stylists. So that’s the SAS side of the business, where stylists can use the platform, use the tool to run their own business without us, I mean, with our platform, but without us. And so then the intention of the marketplace is the Airbnb Uber model like that. What I figured out is that what I didn’t want is for a stylist to get a job from Glamhigh and be like, I want it to be sweet. I got a job from Glamhigh. And the only way you realize in this marketplace, which really took me a long time to just deconstruct in a way, I just deconstructed it because it’s a very fragmented marketplace in a way that Uber was, all the town cars, all the things. Although it was similar because everyone would have a Lincoln town car and there was ish a rate to an airport, ish, where styling is wildly different. It’s a lot more like if there was no name for a haircut.
[00:13:31.010] – Stephanie
Everyone calls a haircut something different. In a way, that’s how the styling industry is. Every person names everything: closet detox, closet audit, whatever. It’s all called something different. And so what I realized early on is I wanted the stylist, just like Airbnb, I wanted them to set their own rate so that they would be super happy when they got a job, and it wouldn’t feel like, Oh, now I got a job from Glamhive, and this is low priority. Platforms before Glamhive that I studied, frankly, just got it wrong because what they thought was we’re just going to serve the client and get guest out for free. And if you buy something, then we’ll make the affiliate revenue. And I was like, I’m not falling for that banana to tailpipe because I’ve already been there. One, a great stylist or even a good stylist or even any, they’re not going to just do it for free. It’d be literally like going to a haircut and say, Hey, can you make me super platinum blonde? And if I like it, I’ll buy the blonde shampoo. It’s just not going to happen. Exactly. You’re going to get 400 bucks for that no matter which way you walk out of that.
[00:14:32.670] – Stephanie
So they all set their rates, which adds some complexity, I think, because sometimes they also want guidance on that. And so what I always say is, in your network, how much are you paid? The people that, especially on the SAS side, the people that you style, what are they paying for a haircut? Are they paying 150 for a haircut, or is it more like they’re going to Supercuts? Because that will give you an idea of what your universe is for your business today. A friend of mine that cuts hair, I was like, Maybe I should have her cut my hair. And I realized her haircut now is $150. So her hourly rate is 150. And so in a way, that really does track to an expert stylist. That stylist will probably charge around $195 to $175, $195 per hour. So it is an investment. It’s an investment in your style. But we’ll get into this later. But and we talk about this. An investment in your style is an investment. It is not an expense, like going out to dinner is an expense. Investing in your style, like literally the research proves, you will make more money.
[00:15:40.790] – Stephanie
Just your whole life is going to be better when you look better. So anyway.
[00:15:45.240] – Sean
Let’s talk about the supply side first. So the the stylists coming onto the platform, what does that process look like? And do they have to pay a fee or are they just joining for free and then they generate revenue and you share on the Rev?
[00:15:57.120] – Stephanie
Yeah. So how it works on the SAS side is when they use the platform, there’s a SAS fee or a membership fee. Got it. And that’s for them to use… It’s very much a creator platform. And so what I realized, you can’t really just give technology necessarily to very creative people and think they’re going to be wowed by it because they’re more wowed by the art of what they’re doing. So in a way, I always had friends growing up that were super stylish. And I would always say, Can you do a Pinterest board for me? Or will you tell me what to buy? Can we go shopping? And then all write your LinkedIn profile. I do the boring business stuff in a way, and they would tell me how to look cooler. So in a way, this is what we’ve done for stylists. The platform basically is like payment integration, basically gives them a microsite, a landing page that’s fully e-commerce enabled. So they can integrate. We’re integrated with Stripe, we’re integrated with Twilio, we’re integrated with all the affiliates. So all the things they would have to do anyway, it’s all in the platform.
[00:16:54.670] – Stephanie
And for that, they pay a fee. And then what I say on the marketplace side, it’s like a marketplace where it’s like a revenue share. So we take a % of the business that we drive to them.
[00:17:03.910] – Sean
Yeah. Smart. So you’re making money on both the SAS, on the business side, the supply side, and whatever money they generate through the platform, you’re taking a cut.
[00:17:15.110] – Stephanie
Yeah. And then how I bootstrap my way through this, like I said to my chief growth officer, there’s two ways to do this: time or money. You either have money or you have time. And sometimes you don’t actually have either. But I’ve had more. I’ve had more time than, let’s say, capital. I won’t throw out numbers, but one would think that Glamhive has raised more money than we have. And so now we’re really positioned for growth, but from a really strong foundation. But what I’ve had is time. Once your burn rate goes up, every month is a very expensive mistake. Every three months cost you a lot of money. Whereas when you can just slow your role and really figure out the business, it just is a little bit better. I’m trying to remember your actual question because it had to do with the.
[00:18:01.170] – Sean
No, you’re going down- I know what I was.
[00:18:02.890] – Stephanie
Going to say. I know what I was going to say. So because of my partnership’s background, what I was able to do is actually do brand partnerships. So one of the things we did in 2019, there was an idea to do a style summit, like what Beauty Con was. There’s this big thing called Beauty Con imploded during the pandemic for lots of reasons. So in 2019, we did the first ever Celebrity Stylist Summit in Los Angeles. And so we brought in Victoria Secret sponsors. And I was like, Gosh, if we can just make 25 grand on this, if we can clear 25 grand and live to see another day. And what was funny about it is I didn’t realize most companies lost money on their events. I’m like, No, we can’t lose money. We have to make money on this. So we did that. And then when the pandemic hit, I just ran really hard with that. And so we did six digital summits. We’ve had over 500 speakers, thousands of attendees. And so that enabled us to really bring a community together and then sell partnerships, which is probably my first love is partnerships.
[00:19:04.390] – Stephanie
It literally was my elaborate plan, I think, to be able to sell something I really loved because that’s really my strength. So we’ve worked with companies like Mary Kay Global, Stuart Weizman, Cadillac, all these companies that want to tap into this audience. And so that’s been a real joy of the business, too. So there’s actually four revenue streams within the business: the supply side, the demand side, the affiliate side, and partnerships.
[00:19:25.770] – Sean
I love affiliate marketing. For SAS, we love teaming up with influencers or other people in tech, especially fintech, where we’re at and promote our business, and they take a cut of every sale. Talk about your affiliate program a little bit.
[00:19:42.250] – Stephanie
Yeah. I don’t want to diminish it because I think people that don’t know about it are really impressed. I don’t want to take the shine off, but it’s just an affiliate program. So we have about 250, 300 retailers who are integrated into GlamHive, where then when somebody makes a purchase, actually, I do a pass through, the stylist gets that commission. So maybe it’s Shopbop or ASOS or Matches Fashion or Net-a-Porter or whoever, because this is the ecosystem that already exists that we just plugged into. And it’s what really powers the influencer economy, especially with fashion, home decor, all that stuff. The women who post then get a cut of that commission that all the retailers offer. And so we do the same thing just as a pass-through. So we have an affiliate program. And it’s great because within the styling world, the styling world was a very in-person world. When I was talking to even celebrity stylists in late 2017, Yeah, this sounds great. I guess I’d style virtually. And what totally changed that tune was the pandemic. And all of a sudden you had all these celebrity stylists in Hollywood that had no way to make a living, literally no way to make a living.
[00:21:00.730] – Stephanie
And so then you started seeing in Vogue, Oh, so-and-so is now styling virtually. I’m like, Oh, my God. Well, there’s the answer of who would want to style virtually, because everyone does when the opportunity is there. I just saw it early because my… I thought it was to the ground trying to figure out, I’m not going to give up on Glamhive, but the original model is not it. I think I just was hearing the sounds of it really early relative to where it is today.
[00:21:27.330] – Sean
Before we jump to the demand side, how are you building the supply center? Do you have a team of people reaching out to stylists? Or how are you bringing those people into the platform?
[00:21:36.940] – Stephanie
This is the first year, and I would say even the first nine months, I’ve had a team. We’ve had lots of answers. So no, with a lot of marketplaces, the supply side is not the hard part.
[00:21:52.880] – Sean
[00:21:53.900] – Stephanie
And that’s what every early investor said to me is like, Well, sure, there’s endless supply, but what about the demand? Even the would say, okay, endless supply, what about the demand? And so I think that’s probably true. It usually is the demand that’s the… Frankly, the demand side is more complex from a marketing side. What I love about the stylist side of the business is that everyone has a common problem. They all do the same thing. I don’t care if you’re styling someone for a red carpet in Hollywood, or you’re telling someone what to wear to a cocktail party in Milwaukee. It’s the same thing. And every stylist wants more work. They want to figure out how to monetize their talent, build their business. So that part, in a way, is easier. It’s not easier because I think that it’s a really interesting industry in that they literally work in the closet is a hidden industry in a way. It’s not like you walk past a salon and everyone’s getting their hair cut. People don’t understand what stylists do. So in part, that’s our job, is to educate people what do and why it’s worth it and why it matters.
[00:23:02.630] – Sean
Got it. So go back to my question. Are they coming in word.
[00:23:07.130] – Stephanie
Of mouth? It’s word of mouth. We do PR. I’ve done a ton of networking. And then you can run targeted ads on Instagram and you can target and then people hear about it. And it’s like there really is. I did the numbers once. And I think Instagram on maybe… When I did just some filtering on Instagram, unless I’m crazy, but it’s been here. The supply side is about 40 million worldwide. On Instagram, self-identified, wardrobe, stylist, personal shoppers, image consultants. So it’s a huge supply side. And of course, there’s levels of expertise within that supply, within the supply.
[00:23:49.050] – Sean
Got it. All right, demand side. How are you bringing people into the platform to use the services?
[00:23:55.710] – Stephanie
Yeah. So that side is a lot more complex. And what I did this year is we’re super fortunate to be able to hire a marketing director. Literally, a woman I met seven years ago through some cold outreach that heard about the idea. And she’s like, If you’re ever hiring, I want to put my name in the hat. And that was seven years ago or six years ago, hired a marketing director, hired one of the first VP of media that I ever worked for at my points as our chief growth officer. And that is what we are really tackling full force go to market strategy now. We’ve been working on very bootstrap-y. And so a lot of it has been like Search. I did a big PR push that still pays dividends by getting into Forbes and those kinds of magazines, which was great. But a lot of it obviously will be Search. It’ll be PR. It’ll be paid media. So that’s what I talk about a lot. Sometimes you feel like as a founder, everyone wants a viral business.
[00:24:56.320] – Sean
Easier said than done.
[00:24:57.900] – Stephanie
Yeah. That’s just not how it’s going to go. It’s just really smart digital marketing. And I’ve known this just because I’ve been in this space for so long, and it’s only gotten better and smarter since I started. Of course, I was always on the sales side, not the marketing side, but it’s just science. It’s science. Now, for me, it’s more art because I don’t come from the science side. But now that I have Stephanie and Kit in place, and this is why in a few weeks you’ll see a whole new Glam-hive from a technology perspective, how everything functions on the site. So I’m really excited about it.
[00:25:31.900] – Sean
Nice. So I’m thinking of ads as one category, podcast appearances like this is another. What other strategies are using to bring people into the ecosystem? Yeah.
[00:25:42.580] – Stephanie
Well, so in a way, we havewebinars, so doing style webinars, probably produced. I felt like I was producing Glamhive TV during the pandemic. We must have produced 150 segments. One digital summit, we had 150 speakers in one day across four tracks and eight segments per track. It was insane. I don’t even know what I was doing. I don’t even know what I was thinking. In fact, the whole thing crashed because all those things were crashing during the pandemic, and then we had to redo it. It was insane. It was insane. But there’s only one choice, and that was to redo it. That’s a great way because just really to drive the conversation and the culture. Through all of our summits that we really want to expand… We’ve had digital summits, then we went to London, New York, L. A. This year, we’re going back to L. A. Next year. Those have tended to be stylists. But then next year we want to do our first consumer facing summit where people can come and learn about style and all that stuff. So a lot of content. But what’s great about our stylists is they are content creators.
[00:26:47.180] – Stephanie
And if you look at what people are spending tons of times looking on Instagram or TikTok, it’s a lot of style content. So we can then ask our stylists to do giveaways, to do content for us, to do videos, obviously webinars. One of the things that I want to do is work with more, whether it’s financial institutions that have their VIP groups to do talks on style, insurance companies, whatever. Because from a corporate dev perspective, it’s a little bit hand to hand. It doesn’t have the efficiency of the Internet, but doing a great, solid talk on why any CEO of any business should want their people to look better because they will actually make more money for you. Yes. That’s a really powerful talk. And one of my friends, Andrew White, who’s a stylist, Tom braided, he is always featured in the Wall Street Journal. He has a great stunt speech on this that I really love. So there’s those tactics and strategies and then just leveraging the Internet.
[00:27:48.690] – Sean
A lot of hustle. Like trying to be creative, right? A lot of hustle. Yeah. Let’s take a quick commercial break. Investing in the stock market. I’m sure the top questions that come to mind include How risky is it? Can I actually make money? Every day people like you or I, or otherwise known as retail investors, are flooding to the stock market because a friend told them, or maybe they saw something on YouTube, heard something on a podcast, or maybe read something on Reddit or Twitter. Really, the list goes on. There is one big problem that new investors face. In most cases, it can be hard to know the difference between a good stock and a bad stock. And when they finally buy a stock, they feel anxious, hoping they don’t lose money. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can help you reduce and even remove the anxiety and fear of investing. I would like to introduce you to Tykr, a platform that makes investing easy for anyone, especially beginners. It literally does all the hard work for you. It helps you find safe stocks, and more importantly, it stears you away from risky stocks. We do offer a free trial.
[00:28:51.650] – Sean
Go ahead and visit tkr. Com. That’s T-Y-K-R. Com. Again, tkr. Com. All right, back to the show. Let’s dive into the numbers a little bit if we could. You have the four revenue streams. I missed one here. You’ve got SaaS, you’ve got Rev Share, you’ve got Affiliate.
[00:29:11.640] – Stephanie
And then Partnerships.
[00:29:13.050] – Sean
Partnerships. Got it. Can you explain that real quick?
[00:29:15.960] – Stephanie
Yeah. So when you do an event, it’s like, do you want to have an experiential? We had Perfume de Marley, a great, beautiful perfume company. They did a beautiful build out at our last event, our last summit in Los Angeles, I think 250 attendees, 25 speakers, so people can try on. And then their President of the Americas came and talked about your invisible wardrobe, which is perfume and fragrance. And so that’s an example of a partnership. We did something with Mary Kay Global. It was a global TikTok competition that they underwrote. This was during the pandemic. We did these crazy TikTok awesome things. We were featured in Vogue Business for it. So that was super cool. I’ve had conversations with some networks about doing a makeover series, and so that would be another way. But that’s another way that you can have intra-show advertising or partnerships. So I love the partnership side. So it’s partnerships. But the partnerships or the affiliate to me is just like, take that revenue because it’s there. But the real big exit or big, it’s the SAS model and it’s the market. And that’s the part that matters more. And event business is not that exciting.
[00:30:37.270] – Sean
And that’s probably what your investors are most interested in. The other revenue streams, it’s like, hey, that’s nice to have, but what are your SaaS revenues at?
[00:30:47.450] – Stephanie
Yeah, that’s what you need, and that’s where you focus. So I feel like the last all these years building the business has been building the brand, building the network, building the content, building reputation, doing the kinds of things that… Frankly, we did our first event because I could not pay the $20,000 to get someone on stage at someone else’s event to talk about Glamhide. I don’t have that money. And so I was like, Well, then we’ll just do an event. But those are the revenue streams. But the two that we’re really focused on is marketplace and SAS.
[00:31:19.280] – Sean
Got you. Okay, let’s dive into that. Can you share with us what do you charge from a low end to a high end on the SAS side?
[00:31:26.000] – Stephanie
Yeah. So today there are basically three tiers. One is $49 a month. Those are geared toward stylists who just want to be part of the community. They don’t care about the platform. They don’t care about affiliate revenue. They just want to be part of something as they grow their business. That’s 49. And then the core membership or SAS is $79 a month. And that is for full use of the platform. Plus, we put together a content kit every month, and then we do two webinars a month for the stylists. So it’s all about building their business, meeting awesome people, all that and stuff. And then we have one at 139, and that’s group coaching. So that’s just people that… You know what I realized is they wanted a little bit more from me and some of my insights. So that’s how it looks today. We’re transitioning that to have a freemium model where you can come in more traditional. So as I bring in real experts to run the marketing side, I’m so grateful for it, because then there’s just like… Now it’s like, I was saying this to someone yesterday, in the early days of the startup, in many ways, you’re creating something.
[00:32:32.750] – Stephanie
You just are. And then at some point, you transition to where everything is just industry standard, what you expect. And I always knew that this day would come, and it’s great to be there. And I always thought you really want to build exactly what you want to build, because if today I said to the team, And we’re going to do a summit, they’d be like, No, we’re not. So in a way, as a founder, you got to get it all out so that when you have your team that’s really responsible for scaling, it’s all out there. Because now it’s like, Hey, what do you want to do in 2025? Do you go work on that. Yes. That’s the truth. It’s been great and an interesting transition because I’m probably like a rogue founder sometimes.
[00:33:13.860] – Sean
Aren’t we all sometimes?
[00:33:14.900] – Stephanie
You have to make sure you’re a founder.
[00:33:16.420] – Sean
Yeah, exactly. That’s it. Can you share with us your revenues?
[00:33:20.600] – Stephanie
I don’t really.
[00:33:22.180] – Sean
Okay. You keep it pretty secret.
[00:33:23.760] – Stephanie
Yeah, I do. As an investor, then obviously, I share everything. I’m completely transparent, but I usually just keep it close.
[00:33:32.120] – Sean
That’s okay. Yeah, I always ask. Can you share with us how much you raised to date?
[00:33:38.190] – Stephanie
Yeah. So I will tell you this. We raised about a million when we first started the business, and then I was gone. It was all gone. And then I put in more of my own capital, and then we carried through those investors because it just felt like the right thing to do. We have changed the business entirely. But my early investors have all… They were people that believed in me. That’s just the truth. My co-founder quit. The business model completely changed. The only thing that resembles anything is our name is Glamhive, and there’s an affiliate program. But what I do see today is who you were betting on, and people would say this to me early on, and I get it. You really are betting on the founder because there is no rational reason someone should have invested in Glamhive in 2015. Zero. Especially since I had no experience in almost everything except for sales. And so then after all that, I’ve raised about another million. So really, we’ve only deployed about a million dollars against everything we’ve done. Now I’m going into a new raise. I’ve basically raised in tranches.
[00:34:48.780] – Sean
Got you. How big is your team?
[00:34:51.490] – Stephanie
The whole team is probably eight people, but core full-time team, there’s three of us, four.
[00:35:01.720] – Sean
Of us. Those are contractors?
[00:35:03.900] – Stephanie
No. We have a chief growth officer, Kit Miller. She is who I work for at My Points. She was the VP of Media, part of the team that was there when the company went public. Someone that just when I was in my 20s, I was like, This woman is amazing. And so we brought her on this year, which has been extraordinary. Stephanie Jenkins, as our Director of Marketing and Partnerships, they’re full-time and then me, the CTO. And then we have freelancers and partnerships, graphic design, copywriting, all the other things, all customer support, all the other things. So we’ve been really, really capital efficient. And that’s definitely our intention, because I did go from raising capital. It wasn’t a lot back in 2015. I mean, a million dollars actually isn’t that much relative. Other companies like ours raised anywhere from five to 15 million. So relative to what other people were doing. But you can start spending that money really fast. And so in those lean days, I always have had discipline, but really learned discipline. You learn a lot of discipline when you’re investing your own money.
[00:36:14.080] – Sean
Right on.
[00:36:14.560] – Stephanie
I’m also a personal investor in Glamphire, not just my time, but early on. Because early on, a lot of people you got to get somewhere. This idea that I had, which is I’m going to have a great idea and I’m going to do a pitch deck. No, you don’t need to have an MVP. You need to do all the things. So it actually takes capital even to get there, which I came from the startup world. So I thought something very different because I had seen so many successes that I perceived a little bit as overnight success, but it’s because I joined once they were already successful. I see that now.
[00:36:47.500] – Sean
What I like to do at certain points with this podcast is break the fourth wall and talk to the audience a little bit. And you can chime in here. Key takeaways here to the entrepreneurs and investors, bootstrapping forces you to focus on what works and not waste money on areas that you could see money going right out the door overnight. So it sounds like you’ve done a great job at that. That’s number one. Two, be open to pivoting. We’ve seen those stories left and right, like Airbnb started as one business and transitioned to what it is today. Paypal was its own thing back around pre-2000. So yeah, be open to changing. This is a big one. This is what we really look at within Tykr is, and I know you downplayed it, but I’m going to highlight it, which is multiple streams of revenue. We like companies investing in stocks that they’re not just propped up by one stream because if it’s pulled out or faces a downturn, that stock can just crumble overnight. And what you’ve done, yes, the SaaS is the flagship revenue stream, but you’ve got these other ways to make money in that.
[00:37:54.680] – Sean
It’s like you have to be creative and think, okay, maybe we can provide value here and oh, maybe we can monetize that. That’s huge. And we, as investors like businesses with multiple streams because when you need the capital and your mainstream is in pulling its weight like you want it to, it’s like, Oh, we’re making money over here. We can pull that lever. So that’s actually a brilliant plate, turned one revenue stream into four, essentially. So great job there.
[00:38:21.000] – Stephanie
Yeah. I think there’s actually a fifth and a sixth one, and that would be not necessarily SAS, but in something that we’re working on, it’ll probably launch in a couple of months, but it’s basically a membership for consumers. 100 % it’s there. I already know it’s there. In fact, it’s already sketched out. In fact, these earrings are part of it. It’s part of what you get when you sign up for it. And then the second, of course, and it’s a big one, but it’s AI.
[00:38:46.870] – Sean
Nice. Can you share what.
[00:38:49.230] – Stephanie
That is? It’s basically an idea in my mind. If I had had a million dollars, or probably even a half a million dollars. You see it all the time. Wouldn’t it be great to have shares closet from Clueless? What I see right now with most AI apps for style, it’s definitely machine learning, and a lot of them are not that attractive. Half the reason I want to start a company is I’m like, You can choose any font. You can choose any color. Why do tech companies make them all the ugliest ones? And then you ask me to call on a big, beautiful company and your product looks like junk. I’m being a little bit facetious, but the dream is to… The thing is that the most wealthy people, they’ll have a stylist that will come to their house and lay out outfits when they go on a trip. They will lay out outfits for every single day of the week. And these people look great. That’s the celebrity level. And so I always honored the stylist because it is, I guess, what is it? Like GAI, we’re not there yet. So right now probably is machine learning.
[00:39:55.560] – Stephanie
It’s going to do as good as ChatGPT writing. We have to get to the point where the AI could be better than the human at it. And most of the time, I don’t see the inputs relevant. It’s not about the web. Your style is not about the weather. Note to AI, it’s not about the weather. And so what you see most people doing is, Oh, well, here’s the weather. This is the outfit you should wear. It has nothing to do with the weather. And so how I see it is more like, Wouldn’t it be great if you could afford someone to come to your house every single day and tell you what outfit to put on with what you have? That’s the dream, and that’s what it would be, because it’s expensive for a human to do that. Right.
[00:40:29.910] – Sean
Right. That’s cool. Love what you’re doing. Can you give us one key takeaway to anybody who wants to go start their own company or share a really valuable lesson, like a mistake you made on your journey?
[00:40:44.590] – Stephanie
Well, for me, I felt like I don’t want to get to X age and still be doing this corporate thing. I don’t want the commission raised to change. I don’t want someone to change their business model. I don’t want to get fired for no reason. I don’t want my accounts given to someone else. By the time I’m this age, I don’t want to be doing that anymore. And so that is what drove me is that I literally looked into the future to say, you look into the future to say, what do I want the future to look like in 10 years? And I was actually reading about something about that today, the ability to delay gratification. I am someone that loved taking my commissions and going buying great outfits. I barely do that ever. But you have to look ahead and say, what do I want my life to be? And then you have to realize, I think also it’s probably going to be a lot harder than you thought. It’s one of those things I don’t have kids, but I’m sure I’ve had a couple of guy friends say, Had I known I love my kid, but had I known?
[00:41:49.560] – Stephanie
I don’t know. I don’t know if I would have been, but then you’re stuck with the kid. And that’s how you feel sometimes. Had I known all the things? But obviously it’s great. The advice is what they always say. Ira Glass, who had the original podcast called This American Life, but it wasn’t a podcast. It was a radio show. It’s still on. He has a thing about creating art. And when you’re someone that likes things that are done well or an artist, you think it’s going to be easy. And what you can’t believe is how crappy it is when you start. If I look at my first pitch decks of Glamhive, they’re so unbelievably ugly and all of it. But that’s what it takes, is to just keep going, like start and then keep going. And like I’ve said before, Angela Duckworth, I don’t know how much is grit and how much is just being completely crazy because it’s crazy to do it.
[00:42:38.260] – Sean
I love that. That was very motivating and a realization. This journey as an entrepreneur is not easy, but stick to it. It can pay off big.
[00:42:47.950] – Stephanie
[00:42:48.610] – Sean
Yes. All right. Well, let’s dive into the rapid-fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Stefani really is. If you can, try to answer each question in about 15 seconds or less. You’re Yeah.
[00:43:01.290] – Sean
What is your favorite podcast?
[00:43:03.600] – Stephanie
Joe Rogan experience.
[00:43:05.180] – Sean
All right. Yeah, popular one. What is a.
[00:43:08.080] – Stephanie
Recent book? I’m going to say it’s cliché in a way, but I’ve been listening to it for a long time.
[00:43:13.180] – Sean
That’s awesome. I have just a segue here. I can’t think of the last one that really blew me away. But it’s cool that you get an inside look to people’s lives that you wouldn’t realize otherwise. I mean, a three-hour podcast. There you go.
[00:43:27.510] – Stephanie
I love it. Lex Friedmann. I love Lex Friedmann. I love Sam Harris. I like the very long format.
[00:43:33.770] – Sean
Yes, I know. All right. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:43:39.870] – Stephanie
One of my investors gave me from Good to Great, and that is a great book. It, and I would recommend it.
[00:43:47.590] – Sean
I put it in the top 10 of business books you need to read, for sure.
[00:43:52.140] – Stephanie
It’s one of those books that you have some realizations reading that book. It’s more of a serious book and it’s a good book.
[00:44:01.320] – Sean
Right on. All right, movie question. What is your favorite movie?
[00:44:04.920] – Stephanie
My favorite movie is probably When Harry and Met Sally.
[00:44:10.240] – Sean
Okay, yeah.
[00:44:11.540] – Stephanie
Maybe Elf this time of year. Yeah.
[00:44:14.030] – Sean
When Harry and Met Sally, I think of that is a fall movie. Yeah. My wife always says that’s a go-to fall, and then Elf, of course, Christmas time.
[00:44:22.300] – Stephanie
Yeah, I love Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawk. That’s a great one.
[00:44:26.140] – Sean
[00:44:27.020] – Stephanie
It’s a good one, too.
[00:44:28.080] – Sean
All right. What is the worst advice you ever received?
[00:44:32.390] – Stephanie
I think the worst advice that I have ever received is ongoing advice regarding equity for advisors, team members. The reason it’s always the worst advice is that traditionally, people think about a four-year vest, which does not work with a startup that might take 10 years and people go. The thing to think about, I think, with equity, for me, what I’ve arrived at is looking at equity more like, What do Iwhere am I valuing the company to investors? How much time is this person going to give in? If their time was money, what is that back into? Because I think a lot of… Oh, it’s one %. It was two %. It’s a half %. You give that six years and that adds up. That’s probably the… It’s a bad advice you’ll get from lawyers, from other advisors, and literally, and it’s persistent in the industry to me. Persistent bad advice.
[00:45:28.040] – Sean
Good point. All right, flip that equation. What is the best advice you ever received?
[00:45:33.750] – Stephanie
Oh, yeah. Always work to bring the company to the highest point of value. Really, that’s what it boils down to. It doesn’t mean that’s going to be fast, but what are the things that would bring it to the highest value and to focus on those things?
[00:45:53.180] – Sean
I love it. Last question here is a time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:46:01.780] – Stephanie
I probably would visit maybe more like 27 or 28 because I have notebooks in my office of all the things that I wanted to do with the business one day, and it really weighed on me. What’s going to be my big Oprah-A-ha, live-your-best-life idea. I realized now that it just drops in, and then one day it’s just there and you do it. I just would have been like, Just keep up. Do what you did, but just relax about it.
[00:46:26.550] – Sean
Yes. Love it. All right. And where can audience reach you?
[00:46:31.070] – Stephanie
Oh, stephanie. S-t-e-p-h-a-n-i-e. Stephanie@glambhive. Com.
[00:46:38.470] – Sean
Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. This is great.
[00:46:41.800] – Stephanie
Awesome. I really appreciate it, Sean. What a great talk. It was great talking to you. It’s great talking about GlendLive.
[00:46:47.310] – Sean
Well, thank you. We’ll talk to you soon.
[00:46:49.340] – Stephanie
Okay. I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you. See you. Okay, bye.
[00:46:53.200] – Sean
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts out there you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. And if you have a moment, please head over to Apple Podcast and leave a five-star review. The more reviews we get, especially five-star reviews, the higher this podcast will rank in Apple. So thanks for doing that. Remember, this show is for entertainment purposes only. If you heard any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please do not buy or sell those stocks based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. We’ll see you.