Introducing The Flipside, Our Shiny New Podcast That Will Help Your Tech Business Thrive

Calling all aspiring tech moguls — we’ve just launched a podcast, especially for you! Hosted by Sali Sasi and Julie Stevanja (of Stylerunner and Her Black Book fame), The Flipside is your new business bestie. Over eight weeks, they’ll be joined by fellow tech founders to guide you through the many challenges they’ve faced (and that you probably will too) when starting a new business in the tech world.

Sasi and Stevanja are more than qualified to teach us about starting a flop-proof biz, having launched not one, but two, hugely successful businesses themselves. Their latest venture, Her Black Book, is a curated shopping and discovery app that’s designed to help savvy women (that’s you!) shop, by tracking down the best deals and discount codes to ensure you’re getting the most out of your dollar, plus a digital magazine that offers endless style inspiration.

In the first episode of The Flipside, you’ll get to know our hosts better, as they share their personal stories of how they started their businesses, and the challenges that come with being a woman entering the tech landscape.

We’d guess you’ve probably heard of their first business, Stylerunner. Stylerunner is the company that truly made Sasi and Stevanja household names, launching in the very same year that Instagram really took over our lives (2012) and which they successfully exited in 2019. The entire ethos of Stylerunner was (and still is) to cater for women looking for chic sportswear, allowing them to shop it online and receive the goods quickly. And to say the girlies love it is no exaggeration.

For the first time, in The Flipside, Sasi and Stevanja pull back the curtain on what it was really like to secure funding for the project, explaining the difficulties that come with pitching a concept for women, to investors who were all men (and sharing how they overcame this seemingly insurmountable hurdle). 

The pair recall pitching for capital 10 years ago, and finding that in every meeting they attended, the men in the room didn’t understand the appeal of “a business that was around activewear for women”. Calling it “demoralising”, they go on to say that “if there were more female investors, I’m sure they would have instantly understood” that it was a growing market, but that just wasn’t the case at the time.

Another problem they faced? “A lot of investment is done with people who are only one degree of separation [from their social circles] or have gone to the same schools. So, you’re coming in as a bit of an outsider.”

The pair explain that proving the value of Stylerunner was difficult, even after having “runs on the board” and having already demonstrated the viability of their business through real-world sales and successes. Anyone who was on Instagram during the inception of the brand can vouch for the overwhelming virality of Stylerunner on the platform. 

Starting a business from the ground up is tough, but Sasi and Stevanja prove that it is possible. Along with their invaluable business insights, the pair is bringing the bond that only twin sisters can have to The Flipside, along with some good-natured ribbing that keeps us entertained between furiously taking notes. 

Throughout the series, you’ll hear from the likes of Michelle Battersby and Lucy Mort, the co-founders of Sunroom, Anna Hoang, who is the founder of Australian label, Anna Quan, plus Lillian Ahenkan (aka Flex Mami), a media personality, author, and radio host of Flex and Froomes on CADA.

As a little taster of what you can expect from this season of The Flipside, here are two of the juicy nuggets of wisdom Sasi and Stevanja shared about the first things they do when starting a business:

  • Stevanja explains that she researches the hell out of her idea and figures out how much money she would be willing to lose. She explains it should be assumed that any money you invest into the setup of your business — whether a small or large amount — is not recoupable. She says that analysing how to best get started, figuring out the skills you personally need to have from the jump, and determining how much capital you can feasibly invest, are critical. If you need some more direction, Stevanja suggests reading The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries and, of course, listening to The Flipside.
  • Sasi has a slightly different approach (perhaps this is the reason they’re so well-suited to starting businesses together), and says the first thing she does when she has a business idea, is buy the domain name and snap up every social handle on all platforms. She explains that she’s driven by taking action, rather than by researching an idea and analysing the market, which can lead to her getting frozen by fear.

You can listen to The Flipside wherever you listen to your podcasts, with episodes dropping every Thursday — each with an exclusive offer from one of the Her Black Book brand partners. In the first episode (which you can listen to below) homewares brand In the Roundhouse is offering 20% off sitewide, via the Her Black Book app. You have until Sunday 4 September to nab yourself a bargain, so be quick! To unlock even more exclusive deals and offers, download the Her Black Book app now.

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