Articles - Advice on starting your own business in the fashion industry

Interview with Benjamin Gunter

Benjamin Gunter, one of the founders and CEO of fashion affiliates company STYLIGHT, talks about how he started his own company, the growth of the business so far, and gives advice to those thinking about doing the same.

Why and how did you start STYLIGHT?

We started STYLIGHT seven years ago because we saw a major gap in the online fashion market. We wanted to be able to search for the perfect item quickly and easily across multiple stores and websites online.

What was the toughest part of starting your business?

At the begining, it was convincing investors. Some of them told us that online fashion has no future because people want to touch the fabrics when buying clothes. Now the challenge is keeping the start-up spirit inside the company whilst growing the team.

How did you raise the finance for STYLIGHT?

We got investment from Business Angels and Venture Capital.

What advice would you give to university students or graduates thinking about starting their own business?

Go out and do it. All the people who try to convince you that it’s wrong will soon be your biggest admirers.

What have the biggest success factors been for STYLIGHT?

For me it's still exciting that we started with nothing but four laptops and built a product that millions are using every month.

How quickly did the business grow?

We optimsed and shaped the business in the first three years. Since then, we are growing quite fast in terms of traffic, users and also the team. It went from 70 – 150 people in the last year.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

For us it's definitely the team. I founded the company with three of my best friends, everybody with different backgrounds from computer science to business. We complement each other both from an educational and personal perspective.

Are you always on the hunt for new talent?

STYLIGHT is constantly changing and growing as a company. For this reason it is quite essential to find talented and motivated people who can realise the visions and ideas of STYLIGHT. Each business appears to be as strong as the people creating and developing it. Thus, we are always looking for interesting people with a proactive approach to join us in our headquarters in Munich (Germany) or in our offices in London and New York City.

What are the most important lessons learned over the years?

We're still learning new things every day and we designed our organisation that way. Right now, with around 160 people, we really see how important corporate culture and communication is above all else.

What’s the best part of your job?

We started out with just four guys and four laptops. Now we can reach millions of people around the world with our product. That still amazes me every day!

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