How Stephanie Mark and the birth of Coveteur set the stage for the rise of social media

If you could look into the closet of anyone in the world, who would it be?

Would it be the girl who works in a different department than you that always has the most amazing boots every fall? Or maybe your favorite sitcom star who somehow manages to look even better off duty than she does in full-wardrobe? Or perhaps it's that model whose clothes you know you could never pull off but just the thought of seeing that many designer brands at once exhilarates you?

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When Stephanie Mark co-founded Coveteur six years ago, she set out to answer that question exactly -- and she set out to do it for all of us.

Coveteur “really launched as a passion project” Mark explained, as a means of finding a creative outlet apart from a boring job that her heart just wasn’t in. 

Mark completed her undergrad in Canada (she hails from Toronto) and received her degree in Fashion Marketing at Parsons, where she was able to take numerous internship positions across the fashion world — marketing, styling, editorial — you name it. 

Mark came onto the editorial scene at a time when street style was at its prime, and bloggers and photographers who documented the everyday woman were the closest one could get to getting a glimpse into the lives of every day people — social media as a mass market and the concept of social influencers were nonexistent.

Oh, what a simpler time!

But what’s astonishing is that Mark saw a gap and a disconnect in what the everyday reader was interested in and what they were seeing when they digested there content — How did these street style icons, celebrities and models get from Point A to Point B? Why were consumers only able to see the finished product, but not the process? Why was access to the ‘behind the scenes’ so limited?

Enter the birth of Coveteur, as Mark explains:

“We wanted to take what was really popular but sort of deconstruct it, peel it back a layer, and thats how we came up with the idea of going inside people’s homes and showcasing their wardrobes. It was the step before someone shows up on the street. Also, the premise was to really highlight all the people in the industry who we felt, at the time, were sort of the ‘unsung heroes’ … hairstylists, make up artists, editors.”

Coveteur was founded by Mark and business partner Jake Rosenberg, and is now operated under CEO Warren Webster — “Within my own work environment, it really feels like I’m part of a team — it does not necessarily feel like I’m the girl with two guys,” says Mark.

The publication would allow Reader A living in Cleveland, Ohio a visual and detailed look inside his or her favorite celebrity’s closets, while Reader B might get to read an exclusive Q&A with his or her favorite supermodel’s hair stylist, as Mark elaborated that “the access to people’s homes… that felt really different compared to the access a lot of other people were getting at the time.”

Before social media, the people pulling all the strings in the world of the beautiful and glamorous were just names on a magazine page — with Coveteur, they came to life.

The digital-only format worked, as Coveteur had no print version to compare itself against. 

Similarly, Mark herself had no former business to compare the model of Coveteur against either (“I was just happy to do something else that made me feel excited, and made me feel passionate”) and described her method of launching the site as “going in blind.”

But it worked, and continues to work, even in the age of social media dominance where celebs, influencers and everyday girls alike post everything from what they ate for breakfast, to what their bedrooms look like to a what their hair looks like after it’s been cut, colored and styled (tagging the hairstylist and salon, of course.)

So how does Coveteur continue to thrive in a digital environment that’s threatened the originality of the site’s core purpose? Mark credits the ability to keep a passion project and global brand one in the same: 

“Having the passion there and making sure it's authentic. Online, things are so crowded, and if you don’t have a differentiating factor (even if it is a passion project) it has to be something different, there has to be a reason that someone’s coming … for something they can’t find somewhere else.”

And it’s that authenticity, that originality that continues to set the bar — not every publication gets the opportunity to sit down with the Shoe God himself, Christian Louboutin, in his apartment in Paris and feature the interview and intimate peek into his life in a hardcover, published book.

The small, startup vibe of the company also makes the Coveteur experience unique:

“Because we are a small team and a startup, I think you’re exposed to a ton of different job opportunities, maybe that would take 10 years at another company.”

Longevity doesn’t necessarily matter at Coveteur — within weeks you could be taking on interviews and responsibilities that range from menial to ‘OMG’-worthy, it’s just how things work.

But running any site smoothly starts from the top and trickles down, and Mark emphasizes the importance of “self-care” and stress management.

Mark, who’s self-proclaimed a very non-morning person, has recently flipped a switch to start getting up early:

“I’m a lot less reactive in the morning … if I’ve been up for an hour and a half and I've worked out and I have a coffee and I’m sitting on my couch and an email comes in, I think my reaction to it is a lot different and I’m a lot less stressed because of it.”

The emphasis on wellness and positivity are concepts that she’s lifted from interviews directly on the site, and that’s something she hopes Coveteur readers will do, too, saying that if she had to sum up what Coveteur’s core mission really is, that it would be:

“To give people access and information that they wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. And hopefully, they can apply whatever they read in a way that has a positive impact on their life.”

Because whether your a health and fitness guru, celeb-obsessed, fashion-forward or none of the above, everyone can stand to remember to not only appreciate the magic when they see it but to appreciate the ones who make things sparkle from behind the curtain.

RELATED: 25 richest supermodels to walk NYFW 2017

25 richest supermodels to walk Fashion Week
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25 richest supermodels to walk Fashion Week

Ashley Graham Net Worth: $1 Million

Plus-sized model Ashley Graham made her NYFW debut in February 2017 while walking in the Michael Kors fashion show. The “America’s Next Top Model” judge has been modeling since age 12 and is passionate about helping women appreciate their bodies at any size.

She hasn’t yet made Forbes’ list of top-earning models, but she did land a spot in the magazine’s "2016 30 Under 30: Art & Style" compilation.

Jasmine Tookes Net Worth: $5 Million

In February 2017, Jasmine Tookes stayed busy at New York Fashion Week, gracing the runway in 2017 collections by Jeremy Scott, Jonathan Simkhai and Prabal Gurung.

A Victoria’s Secret model since 2015, she made Forbes’ list of highest-paid models for the first time in 2016, when she earned $4 million.

Karolina Kurkova Net Worth: $10 Million

Former Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova has plenty of NYFW experience. Recently, she strutted her stuff in Christian Siriano’s February 2017 show and Marchesa's 2015 show.

It’s been almost a decade since Kurkova was included on Forbes’ list of highest-paid models, but in 2008 she made the cut with $5 million in earnings.

Bella Hadid Net Worth: $12 Million

Gigi Hadid’s younger sister is quickly making a name for herself in the fashion world. During the Fall 2017 New York Fashion Week, Hadid walked the runway for some of the world’s most prestigious designers, including Zadig & Voltaire, Alexander Wang, Brandon Maxwell, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Prabal Gurung, Anna Sui and Ralph Lauren.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, the model will also appear in this year's Victoria’s Secret fashion show, set for Nov. 28.

Gigi Hadid Net Worth: $13 Million

Current "It girl" Gigi Hadid has modeling in her DNA, as her mother — former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Yolanda Hadid — was a top model in the 1980s and 1990s. She took New York Fashion Week 2017 by storm in February, when she opened the shows of both Anna Sui and Jeremy Scott.

She’ll debut the fall Tommy x Gigi collection — her third collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger — on Sept. 19 in London. Hadid earned $9 million in 2016, according to Forbes.

Jourdan Dunn Net Worth: $13 Million

Discovered at a chain store in London when she was just 15 years old, Jourdan Dunn has been rocking NYFW for years. In February 2017, she walked in the Brandon Maxwell and La Perla fall shows.

Dunn made Forbes’ list of the highest-paid models in 2015, with $3.5 million in earnings for the year. An all-around fashionista, she launched athleisure line Londunn with Missguided in March 2017.

Karlie Kloss Net Worth: $16 Million

More than just a pretty face, former Victoria’s Secret Angel Karlie Kloss quit the lingerie company in 2015 to start classes at New York University. However, she left room in her schedule for NYFW, including an especially busy stint in February 2016, when she walked for Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg and Ralph Lauren, and opened and closed the show for Jeremy Scott.

Also a tech whiz, Kloss founded girls' coding camp Kode with Klossy in 2014. One of the top-earning models of 2016, Kloss made $10 million last year, according to Forbes.

Kendall Jenner Net Worth: $18 Million

Thanks to her family’s show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the world has watched Kendall Jenner evolve from an adorable 11-year-old to a stunning and rich supermodel. During New York Fashion Week in February 2017, Jenner strutted the runway for Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui, and closed shows for both La Perla and Michael Kors.

In 2016, Jenner earned $10 million, giving her the No. 3 spot on Forbes’ list of highest-paid models.

Cara Delevingne Net Worth: $21 Million

The current face of PUMA’s “Do You” campaign, Cara Delevingne temporarily quit modeling in 2015 but came out of retirement in 2016 to walk for Chanel. It’s been awhile since the British model appeared at NYFW, but she did strut the catwalk for Marc Jacobs in September 2013.

Also an actress, Delevingne has starred in a number of films, including “Paper Towns” and “Suicide Squad.” She earned $8.5 million in 2016, according to Forbes.

Candice Swanepoel Net Worth: $25 Million

South African beauty Candice Swanepoel made a splash at NYFW in September 2015, when she tripped on the Givenchy runway. Like a true professional, she got up and finished her walk in style.

Continuing to impress, the Victoria’s Secret Angel returned to modeling lingerie for the brand in May 2017, just eight months after giving birth to her son. Forbes listed her 2016 earnings at $7 million.

Christy Turlington Net Worth: $30 Million

During the 1980s and 1990s, Christy Turlington was one of the most sought-after supermodels in the world. Certainly no stranger to NYFW, she walked the runway for Ralph Lauren in 1993.

When Forbes first started calculating model salaries in 1999, Turlington was one of five to be listed, with $7 million in earnings for the year. The brainy NYU alum wrote Karlie Kloss a recommendation letter for her alma mater and founded Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit focused on maternal health.

Naomi Campbell Net Worth: $60 Million

Discovered at age 15, Naomi Campbell has been modeling for more than three decades. She’s graced plenty of NYFW runways and walked for La Perla in February 2017.

Also an actress, Campbell recently appeared on several episodes of “Empire” and served as a coach on the reality series “The Face.” Forbes started calculating model earnings after Campbell’s heyday, but given her current net worth, she likely would have made the cut.

Adriana Lima Net Worth: $75 Million

Named a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2000, the stunning Brazilian model is still wearing her wings 17 years later, making her the brand’s longest-running model. When she’s not performing her angelic duties, she makes time for NYFW, even walking in the September 2016 Marc Jacobs show.

Currently serving as the face of Maybelline, Vogue Eyewear and IWC watches, Lima ranked No. 2 on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid models for 2016, when she made $10.5 million.

Cindy Crawford Net Worth: $100 Million

One of the most iconic supermodels of all time, Cindy Crawford strutted the catwalk for Todd Oldham during NYFW in April 1994. A seasoned professional, she also walked the runway at the Esteban Cortazar spring/summer show in September 2003.

Crawford passed her good looks on to her lookalike 15-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber, who is now following in her mother’s footsteps with a modeling career of her own.

Crawford’s recent earnings haven’t been revealed. However, given her many business endeavors, the former model is likely doing well for herself. She currently has her own skincare line, Meaningful Beauty, and an interior design brand called Cindy Crawford Home.

Gisele Bündchen Net Worth: $360 Million

She retired from the runway in 2015, but Gisele Bündchen hit the catwalk at Alexander Wang’s February 2012 show, much to the surprise and delight of the crowd. By then, doing the model walk was second nature for the Brazilian beauty, who served as a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1999 to 2006.

In 2016, Bündchen topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid models with $30.5 million in earnings for the year.


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