Nearly four years ago, Stephanie Mark and her friend Erin Kleinberg had a life-changing brunch. Sitting at Flo’s Diner in their native Toronto, ruminating on the movie “The Social Network,” the duo decided they needed to enter the rapidly growing digital sphere. Mark, who was working as a freelance stylist, and Kleinberg, a designer, knew that street-style blogs were very of-the-moment, but wanted to set themselves apart by creating something more intimate and immediate. Thus was born The Coveteur, a fashion blog that’s since grown into an international, profitable operation with a full-time staff of 10 and more than 20,000 daily visitors. “Our mandate is exclusive access,” says Mark, 29. “Luxury content that you can’t find anywhere else.”
To give her readers that unprecedented access, Mark takes them into the homes — and the closets — of fashion’s biggest tastemakers, interviewing and photographing the wardrobes of designers like Barbara Bui and Nicole Richie and supermodel Karlie Kloss. For Mark, each feature is a chance to get a fresh perspective on one of her heroes (and, of course, get a bad case of closet envy). “Every person we feature is so inspiring and every person has their own story,” she says. “For the most part, we’re in their home, a place that’s really personal for them, and they open up and share things with us that we wouldn’t normally learn.”
On July 26, Mark will sit down for another important brunch, this time as a panelist for Simply Stylist’s Chicago Fashion & Beauty conference. There, she and other fashion personalities like blogger Wendy Nguyen will share their obstacles, growing pains and successes in hopes of encouraging likeminded fashionistas to pursue their dreams. “It can be an overwhelming industry to try and navigate,” explains Mark. “I think having opportunities like this can be helpful. It just gives girls in Chicago a chance to hear our stories and ask questions.”
Mark’s story should be particularly motivating for the next generation: After completing the fashion marketing program at Parsons: The New School for Design in 2009, Mark quickly landed internships at Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, where she honed the styling skills that became the backbone of The Coveteur. In 2011, she self-funded the site’s launch with co-founders Kleinberg and Jake Rosenberg, the site’s creative director.
Though the site started as Mark’s creative outlet, it’s now become an ongoing source of inspiration. “All [the girls on staff] are younger than I am, so I’m like, ‘All right, what’s hip? What’s happening? What’s cool?’ ” she says, laughing. “Everything I think is cool, they don’t think is cool. So checking in and catching up with [the staff] is the best part of my day.”
See Stephanie Mark, alongside event host Catt Sadler of E! News, at Simply Stylist’s Fashion & Beauty Conference July 26. For tickets, starting at $20, visit Simplystylist.com.
“I really like two lip balms: Fresh Sugar lip balm and La Mer — I’m obsessed with it. It’s literally the best thing ever.”
“The funny thing is that because we travel so much, I don’t have a nightstand — my things are always in bags. Wherever I am, I always set up a little nightstand with water, every charger for every device and Vanity Fair. Super minimalist nightstand scenario.”
“We shot the designer Mary Katrantzou. Meeting her was insane,” she laughs. “I literally was freaking out, having a total fan-girl moment.”