How influencer Katie Sturino created her own corner of the internet

Jamie magnifico

Im ELLE.comIn the monthly Office Hours series, we ask people in powerful positions to tell us about their first jobs, their worst jobs and everything in between. TThis month we spoke with Katie Sturino, who started her career in fashion public relations before taking charge of his own corner of the internet as an entrepreneur, influencer and advocate for body acceptance. If you’re not one of her 650,000 Instagram followers, you probably know her from one of her other businesses: She’s the brain of the blog. The 12 and the podcast Sweaty Boobs; she turned her late dog Toast into a viral Instagram star; She is the author of Body language; and she is the founder of the Internet’s favorite beauty brand Megababe. “I’m a real career chameleon,” says the multi-hyphen. “I’m in my fourth real career right now. Below, Sturino reveals her tips for starting a business, the outfit that makes her feel like a boss, and how she’s learned to trust her “crazy ideas” even when people told her otherwise.

katie sturino

My first job

My job in high school was babysitting, but when I moved to New York I worked my first retail job at Club Monaco because I needed the extra income. Working in retail is really tough. I’m bad at folding. I’m bad at hanger spacing. I suck at the cash register. But I was good at helping people choose their clothes. I stood up to people and thought, “Do you have an event that you are shopping for? And they would say, “No, I’m just sailing,” but I would help them anyway. I learned about customer service and how to relate to people and their well-being.

Why I started my own public relations firm at 25

I loved working in public relations. I loved connecting businesses to the media and impacting their sales and growth. I didn’t like the environment that fashion PR usually came in, so I decided to work on my own. My family was like, “Don’t do that, you’ll have to move home,” but you have to take risks if you want to be successful. I don’t think that means you quit your job and have no backup plan and no savings; it just means it can be scary. Was I young and pretending until I did? For sure. But I knew I would work hard for people, and I knew it wasn’t something people always did in the office I came from.

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What I learned from managing a viral dog account

In 2011, there were no famous dogs on Instagram. So when I said, “I’m going to make Toast a famous fashion dog, and we’re going to talk about rescuing the puppy mills,” people were like, “Don’t do that. But when I started my PR business, everyone told me not to, and I was able to support myself and I loved my job. It was a real sign that I had to listen to my instincts and listen to the crazy ideas I have, even when everyone around me says they’re stupid. Public relations and dog aging have both been professionally successful and personally rewarding, but having a modern job means you will always have to reinvent yourself. So when the dog market got oversaturated and this business changed, I leaned into another thought I had, which was that there was no one my size doing the styling like I do. Again, people said, “Don’t do that”, but I listened to myself. It’s the same pivot when I started Megababe. I’ve had a bunch of people tell me no. I always had to follow my instincts.

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katie sturino

My advice for starting your business

People say, “I want to start this pedicure business, but I should quit my job first so I can focus on the pedicure business.” You don’t leave your job to focus on the pedicure business. You hustle the pedicure business until you have so much work with them that you can’t do your regular job anymore. People always say, “Well, I have to pay my bills. Of course, you have to pay your bills. No one is saying quit your job today. In addition, not everyone is an entrepreneur. This is something I had to learn. Working in small businesses requires you to wear multiple hats, to be self-sufficient, to be able to do things on your own. Not everyone wants to work like this.

Why do I call myself a “body acceptance advocate”

The body positive movement is responsible for where we are today, and as it has become successful we have been allowed to become more nuanced. I loved the concept of diversity in the advertising and clothing that we offer people and that we see in positions of power. But what I didn’t like was the idea of ​​radical love for every part of your body, out loud, paint your stretch marks, write a love letter to your cellulite. It didn’t match my personal feelings. I was a lot more like, “Okay, you’ve got really wide, big feet. Let’s go. “I just want women to accept themselves as they are right now. It doesn’t mean you can’t change your body, doesn’t mean you can’t take or losing weight – it’s more about separating your self-esteem from the number on your shirt or the size of your pants or the number on the scale.

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How I approach change in my industry

Call people. It’s a different approach. Call people, boycott, target people, cancel people – there are certainly people who deserve this. But in my opinion, you have to give people the opportunity to change. The first step may be to educate them publicly about the problem. This is why I go to the stores, and I try on a size 10. I understand that a size 10 does not fit me. I try to show the people in this design room how far they are from being able to dress my body and how small their bigger size is. Whether they want to make this change or not, that’s fine. Nowadays, brands that decide not to lengthen their sizes and stay in size 10, this is a real choice.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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