Piera Gelardi: She’s Redefining Refined

May 26 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: What’s Your Style?

As an independent woman, I pride myself on not giving a rat’s tail about what other people think about me. But sometimes, that attitude doesn’t fly. For instance, recently, when I came home clutching my favorite new thing, a picture-perfect throw pillow, I basked in my own style expertise, but when I asked my main squeeze, “What do you think?” his reply was simply, “I’m not sure it really goes with anything.” Dang it, he was right. Perhaps I’m not quite the style maven I thought I was. And now I can’t help but love that pillow a little less. Maybe it’ll make a nice addition to the outdoor doghouse, which, by the way, it matches perfectly!


When it comes to style prowess, are there certain experts you trust? If you’re a millennial, maybe you’re more likely to opt for tips from Gwyneth Paltrow over Martha Stewart. Regardless of their key style influencers, millennials are plugged in to what experts say online. In fact, according to a marketing-software company called HubSpot, millennials are 44 percent more likely to trust experts—even if they’re strangers—over traditional advertisements. And, as HubSpot notes, if an expert millennials admire recommends a certain product, they are quick to spend their dollars like it’s going out of style!

WOMAN TO WATCH: Piera Gelardi: Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of Refinery29

One website that’s my go-to for everything from health and beauty to horoscopes and style is Refinery29. And considering it’s the number one new-media brand for smart, creative and stylish women the world over, you’ve probably heard of it. Today’s Woman to Watch co-founded the site and is the uber stylish executive creative director. Piera Gelardi helped launch Refinery29 in 2005 with only a $5,000 investment and the drive to help people discover and refine their personal style. From a 750-square-foot apartment, the Refinery29 team started by publishing just one story a week. Fast-forward to 2017, and Refinery29 now employs more than 400 creative gurus and boasts an audience of more than 500 million people throughout the world. Whoa!

The website itself is super clean and clutter-free. It provides readers with genuinely great content from incredible writers. Some material is silly and fun, like what you should buy at Trader Joe’s according to your zodiac sign (By the way, mine was 100 percent accurate: bacon jam.), while other stories lend themselves to more enlightening and motivating themes, like the “We Want More” series, in which writers discuss finance-related topics, like how to close the wage gap and land your dream job.

Piera is steadfast and passionate about her work, characteristics that benefited her when launching Refinery29, given she didn’t come to the business with tons of experience. In fact, she only had one job and completed one internship prior to her current gig. Piera admits to being a work in progress, but says doing the hard work to actually progress is part of what’s made her successful. This is a motivating lesson for ladies who have a dream but feel like they don’t have the experience to pull it all off today or even tomorrow. Piera is proof that working your butt off really does pay off.

This creativity wiz has learned a few lessons in her time at Refinery29, and she’s happy to impart her wisdom to other creative thinkers. Here’s a key piece of advice from Piera: Listen to your audience. Refinery29 originally launched with unisex content. But all that changed when Piera and her team discovered their core audience: women. So they rolled with the punches, refined their focus and expanded their women-focused content. It was a move that eventually made Refinery29 the number one destination for women who crave style and substance, thought-provoking conversations and the inspiration to live a more creative life.


Today’s anonymous quote perfectly sums up Piera Gelardi’s Refinery29, the top online style destination:

“If you want to be outstanding, sometimes you just have to stand out.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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