Turning fashion video into a money-maker – Fortune Tech
YouTube network StyleHaul hosts over one thousand channels — and it’s found a formula traditional fashion publications can’t seem to master.
By Colleen Leahey, reporter
FORTUNE — Stephanie Horbaczewski, a fur shawl draped over her shoulders and a Celine tote propped at her feet, radiates chic. But the former Saks marketing executive is much more than an impeccable fashionista: in less than two years, Horbaczewski’s startup StyleHaul has fused lifestyle content and video into a potentially lucrative network.
StyleHaul’s videos are crisp, cleanly packaged, well-produced and, most notably, created by outsiders. Horbaczewski, 34, and her team manage a community of 1,100 channels, run by 800 video bloggers — or vloggers. The fashion startup closed its Series A in January, raising $4.4 million with RezVen Partners taking the lead. The company has doubled in size over the past nine months and now serves an audience of 41 million unique viewers a month. It could bring in between $10 million and $15 million in revenue by the end of this year, according to a person with knowledge of the business.
As savvy as fashion and beauty firms have been with their marketing, many have struggled to adapt emerging technologies to turn significant profits. Hearst Publishers’ launched its Hello Style channel, which features content from brands like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire, in April. (YouTube (GOOG) reportedly paid the company $10 million to launch the channel.) Glam Media launched a Brightcove (BCOV) page four years ago. But both ventures trail StyleHaul drastically in the minutes of video viewed per month among 12-to-34 year olds in the U.S., according to a recent Comscore (SCOR) report. In July, Hearst and Glam viewers watched about 100,000 and 600,000 minutes of video, respectively; StyleHaul kept users watching for a staggering 109 million minutes.