Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in lifestyle but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Desiree Rabuse, Founder & CEO of STYLEFOX, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

STYLEFOX is a lifestyle brand that creates solutions-focused products and content for living your best life. Our typical customer base is women aged 18-45 who are passionate about health, wellness, and improving their lives.

Tell us about yourself

I made a move from LA to NYC in 2010 with one suitcase and a small savings account. I didn't know anyone, and not long after, I landed a gig as a contributing fashion writer for Blackbook Magazine and started covering high-profile fashion events, where I started to build my network within the city. I started STYLEFOX in 2012 after working as an editor-in-chief and freelance writer for 2 years. At the time, wellness was not a big "thing" yet, and I wanted to create thoughtful content that was helpful, and solutions-focused sans the celebrity gossip and unhealthy body standards most magazines were portraying at the time. So, I launched STYLEFOX with 10 articles to test the market and see if I had a viable idea. I continued to push out content daily until the site got traction and then started to land brand deals. This was way before being an "influencer" existed, so we have always operated more like a magazine than an individual influencer. In 2018, we decided to launch eco-friendly skincare and wellness products. That took off pretty quickly, so that has turned into our core business. I'm very passionate about our products and how they can make a difference in someone's life. There's nothing more fulfilling than hearing from customers about how our products have helped their skin, hair, and, ultimately, their confidence. Everyone wants to look and feel their best, and creating products and content that help them with that, brings a lot of purpose and joy to my work.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would probably say my longevity and tenacity. It's very hard to "make it" in New York City, especially as a bootstrapping entrepreneur moving to a big city with nothing but a dream. I didn't have much to lean on except my vision, tenacity, and work ethic. As the saying goes, "It's hard to beat someone who won't quit."

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Everything that happens, both good and bad, is on you. I believe in accountability, so it's always on me, the successes and failures. It's a lot of pressure and uncertainty, but for some reason, I thrive in those types of environments. I'd rather fail a million times than be someone who is too scared to try. I admit I'm a bit of an adrenaline junky. The same way I love finding the most difficult peaks to snowboard is the same way I love building and creating things. It makes me feel invigorated and alive. The most boring and anxiety-ridden I've ever been was when I was working for someone else. I'm not a huge fan of a predictable, repetitive lifestyle, and losing the freedom of how I spend these finite hours of this very short, fleeting existence is truly my own personal purgatory.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't quit your day job until you've saved up enough money to launch a business with at least 6 to 12 months of runway. If you launch without savings, you're just going to stress yourself out and quit sooner than you would if you could solely focus on the work rather than struggling to pay your bills.
  2. Bootstrap with your savings (or a low-risk friends and family round) and test your market first with an MVP (minimum viable product). Do not invest a ton of money upfront until you know there is a demand for your product or service. Try out different ideas, and once you find what works, rinse and repeat.
  3. Get out and network as much as you can. At least 3 days a week. This will be essential to your success. You need to get out in person and make your service and product known.
  4. I know you said 3 tips, but this last one is probably the most important. You're going to have to silence the noise and naysayers and believe in your ability to be successful. Not everyone is going to have your vision or your heart, but you have to keep going anyway. You'll get a lot of unsolicited criticism and opinions from people who have never successfully launched a business or know anything about what you're trying to accomplish. You have to be able to decipher between helpful feedback and unwarranted criticism. Never take advice from someone you don't admire or want to be like. As Jay-Z says, "Everyone can tell you how to do it, but they never did it."

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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