Monetizing Your Passion: Fashionable Dallas Duo Talk About Building rewardStyle

The Dallas entrepreneurs shared their startup story as part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Global Perspectives series.

Baxter Box and Amber Venz

They say opposites attract, and in the case of Amber Venz Box and Baxter Box, it was a perfect fit. 

As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Global Perspectives speaker series this week, the fashionable Dallas duo shared their personal story about how they monetized Venz Box’s popular fashion blog, Venzedits.com. Their company, rewardStyle, now has 250 employees worldwide and is poised to influence $1 billion in retail sales this year, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

The company provides influencers with turn-key site traffic monetization through curated brand advertising, according to its website.

rewardStyle

Amber Venz Box [Photo: Jewels Clark]

“We started dating, and I helped Amber create a blog through [an] incubator that I had built,” Box said. “We started thinking about what a platform could look like in this new world where retail was getting moved online, and media was getting disrupted.”

The timing was spot on with Box moving into the hedge fund sector in 2007, and Venz Box being a fashion blogger who was still living at home with her dad, eating cereal.

“I had all my customers telling me they loved the stuff they were buying on my blog, but I had cut myself out of my own business,” Venz Box said.

REWARDSTYLE: FROM THE ‘AHA MOMENT’ TO GLOBAL BRAND

The couple realized that their idea was going to work when the “minimal viable product” was released and quickly gained traction. Venz Box’s blogger friends wanted to get on board.

“I remember sitting against the window sill, saying [to myself], ‘Amber, this is going to be big,'” Box said.

Benz Box said one should think of rewardStyle as an incubator because it takes influencer applications and determines how it can further develop them.

“If we feel we can monetize the content [the influencers] are creating and grow their business, then we will do just that.”

Amber Venz Box

“What does this influencer’s content look like? What does distribution look like? How many followers do they have, and is this the kind of content brands would want to pay for?” asked Venz Box. “If we feel we can monetize the content [the influencers] are creating and grow their business, then we will do just that.”

Getting money to fund startups is not easy, especially in a small sector such as fashion in Dallas, but rewardStyle found a way.

“Our model is unique, though, in that we have 30-45 days to float,” Box said.

The brand pays rewardStyle, and in about 30 days, it pays the influencer a commission of the sales that were driven by the content they created on behalf of the brand. That model actually paid for a lot of rewardStyle’s growth for the first four to five years.

“We wanted to throw gas on the fire,” Box said. After the pair had proven the model, they invited strategic partners in to help grow the business and received funding in 2015.

Since then, they’ve had a very strong vision for building on their blossoming empire. The company “nailed” the data and analytics in the early days and continues to focus on those numbers. That emphasis has led it to drive sales to top retailers in the world with percentages from 5 to 30 percent.

“We wanted to throw gas on the fire.”

Baxter Box

“There was a study in Women’s Wear Daily about a month and a half ago that focused on mobile traffic for some of the largest multi-brand retailers in the world. We are only four out of five clicks to their site,” Venz Box said.

Consumption and content creator trends are a focus on rewardStyle, and they make sure to keep an eye on what the world is doing as a whole.

Venz Box and Box have released an app called “Cherry,” which is described as the Uber of nail service.

A separate entity from the rewardStyle brand, the app was created out a need for a person on the go who can’t make it to the nail salon during regular hours.

“It’s great for working people, stay at home moms — and it’s a great perk for the office,” Venz Box said. 

“I love my foot massage,” said Box as the crowd erupted in laughter.

rewardStyle

[Photo: Jewels Clark]

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