Meet President & Co-Founder of rewardStyle, Amber Venz ( She Helps Blogger Monetize! )

by
LAURYN

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

Amber Venz is on fire.

Especially in the blogger world.

She has presented a way for blogger’s to monetize in a way that works well for the consumer, brand, & blogger. So basically a win/win/win business plan.

I have been watching her growth because what can I say? I’m kind of obsessed with any woman entrepreneur who’s paved the way & created something that’s fresh, new, & avant-garde. AKA rewardStyle. rewardStyle works like this: “after registering with rewardStyle, bloggers receive a commission when a reader purchases an item they post; similarly, companies that sign up with rewardStyle see higher traffic and online sales” ( source ).

Lucky me because I had the pleasure of sitting down & interviewing Amber at April 2014’s rewardStyle conference.

Ok so not going to lie, I’m super excited for this interview…meet girl boss babe, Amber Venz:

| Introduce yourself |:

Amber Venz: I’m Amber Venz, president & co-founder of rewardStyle and also a fashion blogger.

| How did the idea of rewardStyle come together? |

AV: Baxter ( << Amber’s husband ) and I founded the company together & when I founded my blog it was really just something for my jewelry company. I always found myself needing to style the jewelry to show people how to wear it. I wanted to sell my jewelry but I also was doing personal shopping on the site so I wanted to document that while having a portfolio.

I started my blog, Venzedits in 2010, so the economy was still pretty rough, so my thought was “okay well for the customers that can no longer afford for me to do the personal shopping, I’ll do this so whenever the economy comes back I’ll still be on top of mine and still be very relevant so I’ll document this.

So everyday when I started my blog, I had a business plan for it. I took my jewelry company very seriously. I had an eCommerce website & everything was very professional. When I started my blog I thought that everything had to match that level of professionalism, to supplement each other, so I did three posts a day. I had an outfit post, a sale finder, etc.

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

Then I realized that all the clients that had still been able to afford me were just going to my blog, because I was really documenting everything that was crossing my mind involving styling & clothing so they would text and say “oh yeah I got that dress, that was so cool how you styled those jeans.” They were buying the items I was showcasing.

I thought “oh my gosh I’m spending so much time, I’m hiring photographers, working all day doing this blog, I’m cutting myself out of my own business. Because now they’re just going to my blog and not booking me. Baxter helped me start the blog, so we started looking into ways to make money from the blog more than just a supplement to sell the jewelry.

| Were affiliate programs for blogger happening at this time? |

AV: Affiliates have been around for over a decade. Most of us don’t even realize were doing it. So like ‘Shazzam’ for example, you’re in a restaurant, you hear a song, Shazzam takes you right to iTunes…that’s an affiliate link. iTunes is paying for that.

That kind of tracking had existed but no one had the style space, so the concept really got to Baxter one day. He was wondering ideally how you make money on sites/blogs. Because it was personal shopping but I just wasn’t getting paid for it, so I wanted to start tracking it.

So he started looking into the technology that could track that, so I had started working with about twelve stores over the course ( << by the way, now rewardStyle has thousands of stores they work with! Impressive! ).

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

| How did you guys start this when you were so young? It’s crazy inspiring! |

AV: I was 23— I think Baxter & I were a perfect match for this. I don’t get technology, I’m constantly thinking my computer is breaking. So when we designed rewardStyle I thought, this is what I want to push & this is what I want to see.

And so I wanted to make it affiliates for dummies so we don’t call things their official names, we only call them things that make sense ( to me ) when you read it. So I had that side of the puzzle and he had the side of it that was engineering & tech products.

He used to build products, so his wheel is just constantly turning. I was the girl who was like, “I need this or I want it to do this” and he just made it happen!

| Who was the first top blogger who approached you? |

AV: I had recently gone to a conference in NYC & I met Karen Blanchard. I didn’t know any bloggers & at the time I didn’t consider myself a blogger.

I mean, the platform Blogger had totally existed & people were blogging long before me. So Karen wanted a picture of my coat. She then Tweeted a picture of my coat & we became friends through that.

rewardStyle at that time was so basic, like nothing on the scene. So i emailed her & said “hey there is this thing that I’m starting and I wanted to see if you like it if you want to try it.” Then she told another friend & another & so on. So it was basically this little web— our first ten users were superstar bloggers.

It was that way through the end of 2012 & that’s when a friend started laughing because she was a full time blogger and we pulled her into our social media. She was one of the first employees in our marketing team, now she’s back to full time blogging. We were just talking about how when we first started & I was handling all client relations and wasn’t really thinking about it becoming bigger…Baxter was the one thinking about it becoming more.

He pushes it that way.

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

| Ok, so I think you’re the next NastyGal phenom. What makes you turn a blogger away? |

AV: So we give our retailers dedication from a paid account service & they’re actively combing through your site on a daily basis. They record how many blog post you do, they track everything, & make frequent suggestions. So for us to turn someone away, we have to make sure it’s worth someones time combing through their site. So in order for this to work it needs to be taken very seriously.

We take our publishers very seriously, they have proven this by taking their audience & images seriously.

| How many bloggers are on rewardStyle? |

AV: I think it’s about sixty countries & we started with just bloggers now were working with celebrities & Instagramers. Different people use it different ways, so all together there is about 13,000 across the countries. The US is the top country.

| How do you eat healthy when you’re running this empire? |

AV: You’re going to hate my answers, my family all has this body type. I am very blessed in that way. I love my queso and cheese. At first I wore sweats everyday to the office…& then when you start hiring people you want them to dress up everyday so I started to get dressed everyday. I also started to make it a point to take care of my body.

When I am home in Dallas I have two set meals. I eat a lot of protein— that’s like my turn. I’ll order a salad with chicken & I’ll try to stay away from carbs.

I always try to eat just the inside of the sandwich. I guess my biggest health thing is checks & balances, I’ll save it for the things I love.

| Of course I have to ask because your fashion is so on point: favorite pieces lately? |

1.} Pussybow top
2.} Best black distressed denim ( R13 high-waist skinny jean )
3.} Givenchy black tote ( I wear this daily )
4.} Wang boots ( on sale now ).
5.} Celine sunglasses

&…my one “I wish” item!

+ To follow Ms. Amber Venz on Instagram, click here || blog found here.

++ If you’re a blogger & interested in connecting with rewardStyle, e-mail me at Lauryn@TheSkinnyConfidential.com.

{ photo cred: Red plaid top/skirt : Luelle Mag | Bathroom with blonde hair: The Everygirl | Turquoise Mary K dress: Zanita | Red dress: Paper City Magazine | Cab and Cafe & Shoes pic in mirror: The Outnet }

The Skinny Confidential x Amber Venz of rewardStyle.

OH, ALSO:

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  1. Jill @ Champagne for Everyday

    This was an awesome interview Lauryn! I feel like it’s getting tougher to create unique entrepreneurial opportunities in today’s world, so I always love hearing about someone who did – not to mention someone who ended up pioneering a whole industry. I love Amber’s story- it’s the best when this idea comes from something so organic too.
    Jill @ Champagne for Everyday recently posted..Flat Belly Myths Debunked + Life Changing FODMAP DietMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Alyssa

    Amber is my role model, I’m so excited to see you feature her! I would love to work for rewardStyle someday. Also, in other #Girlboss news, you should check out Kirsten Blowers Stuckey (www.heykirsten.com). She’s a total girl boss!

    Reply
  3. Kate

    Loved this interview! Such an inspiring interview, especially for a new blogger like myself!
    Hard work pays off!!

    Reply
  4. markbery

    You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.

    Reply
  5. rumah

    You amazingly come with really good posts. Thanks a lot for sharing your Article. Good to find an expert who knows what he’s talking about! this is more information that is great for future reference.

    Reply