Another One Bites the Dust: Stylerunner Enters Voluntary Administration

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By Published On: October 28, 20190 Comments

The former AFR Young Rich Lister company, Stylerunner, has entered voluntary administration.

Known as the ‘world’s most coveted activewear’, the Aussie athletic brand made the announcement on Wednesday. Founded by twins Julie and Sali Stevanja in 2012, the once multi-billion dollar business has now come to an end and owes creditors $2 million.

The e-commerce company began in 2012, selling activewear, sneakers, vitamins and supplements. Owners Julie and Sali started their journey after noticing a gap in the yoga wear market. Within three years, Stylerunner grew 1736 per cent and became the world’s first online activewear site.

“We started off doing 20 hour days, we would have turns taking naps on the lounge to get through — we were doing everything from brand identity, pitching to suppliers, buying, photoshoots and customer service until we felt comfortable enough we had a business opportunity,” explained Julie Stevjana in 2018. “It still feels really surreal, I probably don’t stop and appreciate it enough … to think that just a few years ago, it was just an idea.”

The retailer has a few exclusive brands under its belt including Speedo, Adidas, Stella McCarney and Nike. “When we launched to fill that space, the big players like Nike and Adidas took notice and partnered with us to sell their more directional women’s ranges that were not suitable for existing mid-market sports retailers,” Ms Stevjana said.

“I remember we were kicking each other under the table at the lunch meeting. They started telling us why Stella would be a good fit for us — it was the first brand in the space and pinnacle brand for us. That was a huge moment for us.”

However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the company. The pair started out with no business experience, which they saw as a good thing. The inexperience was a ‘blessing in disguise’ because “we didn’t approach buying the same way everyone else at the time and we were turning over stock so quickly,” she said.

In 2015 Julie’s sister and Co-Owner, Sali, left the business which led to Gazal buying a 59 per cent stake in the company. Despite a growth within its sales over the years, the rise of administration and other retail collapses may have pushed Stylerunner over the edge.

In 2019 alone, a string of retailers have entered voluntary administration or closed entirely. Some of these names include Ellery, Ed Harry, Skins and Karen Millen among many others. “Australia’s retail sector has been sustaining a reasonable rate of sales growth in an unconventional way — not so much from income growth, but leveraging off consumers’ willingness to spend,” explained David Rumbens, Deloitte Access Economics partner.

What was once valued at $30 million, with a $50 million turnover has now been handed to Restructuring Solutions in Sydney along with As Advisory. Despite this downfall for the company, its social platforms and e-commerce site show no signs of slowing down. What does the future hold for Stylerunner? Only time will tell.

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About the Author: Power Retail

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