View from the Top: Refinery29 co-founder Philippe von Borries

This is View from the Top, a new video series from Digiday where we sit down with leaders and pioneers at brands, agencies and publishers to find out how they’re adapting to the modernization of media and marketing. 

When Philippe von Borries and his co-founder Justin Stefano started Refinery29 in 2005, they didn’t have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to build an audience for their budding city guide to fashion and culture. Instead they went door-to-door and introduced themselves to retailers and anyone who’d sign up for their newsletter.

Von Borries said, “We stepped into a space that was digital media [and] actually the fruit wasn’t fully ripe yet.” Now nearly a decade later, Refinery29 is not only a leader in fashion content but also stepping into national news (they recently interviewed Hilary Clinton), creating videos on hot button issues (they just launched a video series with Planned Parenthood and musician Jack Antonoff), all while putting on live events that trend on social media.

Von Borries talked to Digiday about building Refinery29 from scratch. “I would by no stretch of the imagination have foreseen where we are today,” he said.

More in Media

YouTube is under fire again, this time over child protection

Adalytics Research asks, ‘Are YouTube advertisers inadvertently harvesting data from millions of children?’

Illustration of a puzzle that spells out the word 'media.'

Media Briefing: Publishers pump up per-subscriber revenue amid ad revenue declines

Publishers’ Q2 earnings reveal digital advertising is still in a tight spot, but digital subscriptions are picking up steam.

Lessons for AI from the ad-tech era: ‘We’re living in a memory-less world’

Experts reflect how the failures of social media and online advertising can help the industry improve the next era of innovation.