advertisement
advertisement

The cofounder of Refinery29 has some frank truths about creativity and leadership you need to hear

Piera Gelardi explains how she built Refinery29 into the media powerhouse it’s become—and the steep learning curves she rode to get there.

The cofounder of Refinery29 has some frank truths about creativity and leadership you need to hear
[Photo: Daisy Korpics for Fast Company]
advertisement
advertisement

Listen to the latest episode of Fast Company’s podcast Creative Conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Play, or Stitcher.

advertisement
advertisement

Since launching in 2005, Refinery29 has become a powerhouse in media.

In addition to its content that fully leans into the intersectionality of women, Refinery29’s influence has extended to reimagining stock photos with Getty back in 2017 through their No Apologies partnership. Refinery29’s annual event 29Rooms started as a way to celebrate its 10th anniversary but has evolved into a cultural staple, selling more than 150,000 tickets to date and traveling to Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

The buzz around Refinery29’s brand was enough for Vice Media to scoop the company up in a recent acquisition reported to be worth $400 million.

To get to that level of success, Refinery29 cofounder and executive creative director Piera Gelardi had come to terms with some pretty frank truths about creativity and leadership. For starters, impostor syndrome is something you never really get over, control is an illusion, and there will come a time when you have to kill part of your own creativity to give life to something new.

[Photo: Daisy Korpics for Fast Company]
“When we started the company, I had no idea what it would become,” Gelardi says in the most recent episode of Fast Company‘s podcast Creative Conversation. “We had a vision at the time, but it was for the 1.0 of what Refinery is. And now we’re in version like 300.0.”

In this episode, Gelardi details the learning curve in her creative process and leadership skills, why a physical event like 29Rooms is essential in an ever-increasing digital landscape, and how she sees the Vice acquisition playing out long-term.

advertisement

About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

More