Tiny Startup Solves HUGE Media Problem

Refinery 29 office slide

Photo: Refinery 29

With the huge success of “e-commerce 2.0” sites like Gilt Groupe and Groupon, most media companies seem to be rushing to figure out some sort of commerce plan.Refinery29, a NYC-based fashion and shopping site, has been ahead of the curve.

As a result, the small media company is on a $7 million annual revenue run rate, significantly more than its 1.4 million unique visitors, 300,000 email subscribers, and 20 million monthly pageviews would likely be able to generate by advertising alone.

The startup has grown to 26 employees, and is about to launch in its fourth city, San Francisco. After that, it plans to launch in a new city per quarter.

We recently toured Refinery29’s headquarters in Manhattan with co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano.

Our tour guide, Refinery29 founder and CEO Philippe von Borries, leads us into the office, walking past a backdrop that's used for some photo shoots.

Creative Director Piera Gelardi is unfortunately positioned next to a giant crotch. Art!

Kristian has a great collection of desk stuff, including champagne and stuffed animal.

Here's director of marketing and partnerships Shawna Strayhorn, who works on things like shopping partnerships.

The difference between Refinery29 and other offices is the amount of stuff on the walls -- and the style of art you're allowed to have up!

Designers and e-commerce team.

No, put that thing over there! Creative Director Piera Gelardi discusses something with graphic designer Brian Jeffers.

Global editor Connie Wang (centre).

March Madness goals!

Refinery29 keeps Chartbeat up on a big screen to see what's going on with the site.

Co-founder Philippe von Borries (right) with advisor Tara Walpert Levy (left).

Lopez shows us a very cool, tiny screen he has on his desk, that can be used for quick access to the terminal/command line.

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

Account manager Katie Mack.

Designer Brian Jeffers with intern Helen.

Front-end developer Jenn Scheer and intern Kat.

More inspiration!

Obligatory kitchen shot. These guys love their coconut water!

Serious work is happening outside the back windows.

Philippe is showing us a good time, so far... now to another part of the office.

Here's the Refinery29 sales team having a little too much fun.

Alison Kopler, executive director of sales, wants to know when we're bringing Don Draper over.

Co-founder Justin Stefano shows us a voodoo doll he got in New Orleans, and keeps on the sales team's desk, even though it totally creeps them out.

It does look a little scary.

Neat vintage typewriter!

Swag bags.

The commerce team has their own room in the front of the office.

Jamie Sand-Goldberger from the commerce team.

This is also where they store all the Mac boxes.

Piera Gelardi shows off the steel gate on the door. Get me outta heeeere!

Co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano, acting busy.

Here's the office from above. A pretty neat space! We're outta here.

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