The CEO Magazine: Tell us about Stylerunner and what you do.

Julie Stevanja: Stylerunner was conceived in July 2012 when I noticed a gap for fashion-forward activewear and sportswear online. The philosophy was not just about selling activewear, it was about celebrating, motivating, and empowering women to be the best they possibly can be.

In October 2012, we launched with 11 brands on board and now have more than 50 curated brands including ‘Tier 1’ product from Nike, adidas, Reebok, and Puma, as well as a global exclusive with lululemon athletica. To date we have shipped into 101 countries and grown a community of more than 350,000 followers.   Being the CEO of a fast growing start-up means my day to day requires many hats. I meet with all departments in the business, with a focus on growth and strategy. I also create and nurture an environment that ensures my team is happy, inspired, and motivated to kick goals on a daily basis.

What does it take to be successful in your role?

Hustle, passion, and a game-changing attitude. You have to be resilient, unafraid, agile, and present. No two days are the same so you need to be able to pivot and change tact.

Do you have advice for others wanting to take the same journey?

Test and validate your idea before you launch but don’t wait for it to be perfect. Get your idea out into the market and iterate and improve along the way. Most of all, listen to the customers. Listen to the data.

What has been a key challenge and how have you overcome this?

Maintaining a strong unique culture while rapidly hiring and expanding the workforce can be challenging. We believe that culture can be a competitive advantage, so we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into ensuring every new recruit contributes to the culture instead of diluting it.

We have hired a Chief People Officer, formalised 3 Core Values (what drives us) and 11 Core Principles (the way we do things) that we refer to regularly. We base our peer voted rewards and recognition around these values and principles to constantly reinforce the culture we are creating.

Who helped you get to this position?

My husband had such faith in me from the beginning. He really gave me the confidence to begin this journey.

What does it mean to be a finalist in the Executive of the Year Awards?

The Executive of the Year Awards is one of the rare opportunities in which a start-up executive can be recognised alongside established blue-chip industries from resources to telecommunications, which I have enormous respect for.