SMU Alumni’s Stylish Start-up Connects Content To Commerce

EXCERPT

The following story about SMU alumna Amber Venz ’08 and Baxter Box ’11, who holds an M.B.A. from SMU’s Cox School of Business, is from the September 2, 2013, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Dallas start-up puts together fashion bloggers, shoppers and retailers

By Hanah Cho

Personal stylist Amy Wells Havins dishes on her latest fashion picks and catalogs her outfits on her blog Dallas Wardrobe.

With a few clicks, her readers can purchase those Gap shorts or that Marc Jacobs bag featured on the blog. With every online sale, Havins gets a commission.

“Maybe someone doesn’t hire me to take them shopping. [But] they shop with me online,” said Havins, 27.

Driving the sales engine behind thousands of fashion and lifestyle bloggers like Havins is Dallas-based rewardStyle.

The 2-year-old start-up provides the back-end platform that not only helps bloggers make money from their content but also drives sales to retailers.

RewardStyle expects to drive nearly $150 million in sales to its retail partners by the end of the year, said Amber Venz, co-founder and president. The projection is two to three times the revenue its style publishers generated for retailers a year ago, Venz said.

“As the numbers show, these content creators are driving a lot of commerce,” said Venz, 26. “Retailers understand that. That’s why they’re willing to pay for it.”

The startup has attracted 2,500 U.S. and international retailers. They include well-known brands such as Neiman Marcus, Fossil and Shopbop. …

> Read the full story and see a related photo.

> Read an interview with Amber Venz from Meadows School of the Arts.

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