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Stylerunner co-founders aim to shake up digital coupon market

While traditional coupons in magazines and books have been around for decades, Millennials are hunting for discount codes online. UK-based Juniper Research estimated that the global digital coupon redemption is expected to surpass $US90 billion ($120 b…

While traditional coupons in magazines and books have been around for decades, Millennials are hunting for discount codes online. UK-based Juniper Research estimated that the global digital coupon redemption is expected to surpass £US90 billion (£120 billion) by the end of 2022, driven by consumers use of mobile devices. Her Black Book has already signed up over 300 brands where consumers can discover new products and discounts, including cashback offers from names such as ASOS, Cosette, Alice McCall, Sass & Bide, Carla Zampatti and Ginger & Smart.

Ms Stevanja said the startup is about creating "the Stylerunner effect" - making it aspirational and "adding the enjoyment back to the shopping experience as opposed to just being transactional." Ms Sasi came up with the idea as she turned 40 and wanted to buy several outfits but was unable to find discount codes. She noticed a gap in the market after seeing online chat rooms where women were asking how to find discount coupons.

She raised nearly £1 million at a £5 million post-money valuation for the idea - before building the app with PixelForce - the same firm that worked with Young Rich Listers Kayla Itsines and Tobi Pearce to build their app Sweat (which was recently sold). There are two external investors in Her Black Book, but the twins still hold a majority stake. Ms Sali and her husband - ex-Heston Blumenthal chef Nathan Sasi - earlier in 2021 sold a majority stake in their Adelaide eatery, Leigh Street Wine Room and online bottle shop & wine store Juice Traders, which has allowed her to invest in the startup.

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The sisters - which agree they are opposites to one another - noted as female co-founders of Stylerunner it was difficult to get the right funding partners who really understood their vision.

"It was one thing that Julie and I wanted to do right from the beginning, rather than having to rebuild, is actually get funding from day one and then ensure that we can actually build a really strong product from the get go," Ms Sasi said. The app has an immediate revenue stream from brand partners and advertisers. Brands choose to partner directly via Her Black Book's partner portal, or connect via affiliate channels, Commission Factory, Awin or Rakuten.

The 'freemium' app model allows users to download and browse offers and promotions including cashback for free, or to subscribe (a 12-month subscription costs £24.99) for access to deeply discounted "flash sales". There is plenty of coupon competition among "digital wallet" type sites, but Ms Sasi said one big difference with Her Black Book is members will also get fresh articles about fashion and beauty, and also include business articles and profiles of women in finance, or cover topics such as crypto or buying your first home. Ms Stevanja was bullish about the future saying the app should be on every woman's phone and has the potential to be a global opportunity.

"It could turn hundreds of millions eventually," she said. "This will change coupon shopping."