Katie Sturino, style influencer, body-positive advocate and founder of Megababe Beauty, has had a very busy few days. She had just gotten married the previous Thursday and her wedding, at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, was officiated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I’m friends with his daughter, and I said, ‘if he won’t marry me, will he marry me?’” said Sturino.
Sturino, whose multiple businesses make her more than an influencer, described how she got to where she is today. Her journey wasn’t what she originally set out to do. She began with her own p.r. firm called Tinder PR (“I was Tinder before Tinder,”), which she did for 10 years, and then the dating app launched and it got “really awkward,” so she changed the name. She then decided to launch an Instagram account for her dog.
“Did any of you follow Toast, Toast Meets World?” asked Sturino, and there was a slight response, “Little recognition,” she joked. She started Toast’s Instagram and fell in love with the Internet, and starting creating content promoting adoption and awareness.
She went to do a photo shoot for Nars with Toast, as her dog manager, and she met the girls from Man Repeller, who said they loved her style and wanted to do a profile on her. “I had never been in front of the camera and never had my photo taken in that way or thought about myself like that. It was a really interesting transition, and I did not anticipate what was to come next,” she said.
She decided to become a plus-size blogger and launch The 12ish Style. The blog began as a place to tell women how to get dressed. For example, she would tell readers if they go to Iro, they should get this dress that had stretch, or that the men’s black leather jacket will fit them. She also suggested if they have size 12 feet, they should buy footwear in the men’s shoe department at Barneys New York because they sell shoes that are unisex.
“It was more of a place for tips and I didn’t even know it was going to morph into a place for body acceptance, and it did,” said Sturino.
At that time, the only plus-size retailers were Eloquii and Lane Bryant, and she said there were no other extended-size brands. She said she named her blog The 12ish Style because she was a size 12-14 at that time. “It was this weird, cuspy space where the plus-size industry didn’t acknowledge you and the straight size industry didn’t acknowledge you,” she said.
Sturino believes the size conversation hasn’t gone away. She said brands, such as Loft and Universal Standard, have been launching full-size runs, and more collections have become inclusive. “I think you’ll see customers shopping in the same space, no matter what size you are. That’s the future of fashion,” she said.
Sturino spoke about how she started the #MakeMySize movement, based on personal experience. After she went through a divorce, she gained 60 pounds and went from a 12-ish to 18.
“Once you size out of a size 14, it’s a steep cliff and there is nothing out there for you,” she said. She again took to the Internet. When she started her Instagram and blog, she wouldn’t call out brands. “You don’t call attention to the fact that you don’t fit in, and you don’t call attention to the fact that a brand doesn’t want to dress you,” she said.
But it was irking her. “I am an NYC blogger and I am a woman who’s trying to spend some money on clothes that I love.” She took a picture of a Diane von Furstenberg skirt and the back was left wide open and she couldn’t zip it, and it was the biggest size they made. She posted, “I love this skirt and would love to wear it, please #MakeMySize.”
“It was a moment of frustration that launched into something bigger,” she said. It was sort of cathartic the first time she did it and still is.
She said every Sunday she posts something called #SuperSizetheLook.
Sturino also started a brand called Megababe because there were no solutions for thigh chafe, a problem she always had. The thigh-chafe stick sold really fast, and now the product it is in Ulta and Target and has won awards. Her deodorant, Rosy Pitts, has a 13,000-person wait list.
When asked how she would advise someone who wants to start a blog or be an influencer, she said, “What are you bringing that’s different? What’s your perspective? What are you bringing to the market that doesn’t exist?”
On June 25, she launched her first collection for Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service. She designed a 21-piece summer capsule in sizes 0 to 24.
Finally, when asked when she would be launching Megababe in Paris, she replied, “It’s all I think about….We are a little small right now, and we’re working on that.”