Monday, October 3, 2011

Talking with Ari Goldberg (CAS '04): CEO of StyleCaster

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Ari Goldberg is an entrepreneur known for his accomplishments in marketing, branding, business development and new product development. His portfolio includes high-profile brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Wrigley’s and Microsoft, and he has served as VP of Strategy and Business Development for LeBron James and LRMR Marketing and as Director of Business Development for Steve Stoute at Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging.

Goldberg launched StyleCaster ( in 2007, which was later recognized by AOL as, “one of the Five best start-ups of 2009,” and by Advertising Age as, “the Amazon of fashion sites.” StyleCaster aims to, “bring Style to the people” by providing a centralized platform where styles can be shared, discussed and even purchased.

In the Q and A below, Goldberg discusses his experiences at NYU and how they have influenced his professional success and the founding of StyleCaster!

CAS Alumni: What did you major in at NYU?

Ari Goldberg: I have undergraduate degrees in both economics and political science, my master’s degree in sports business from NYU.

CAS: What are some of your best memories from your college years? Favorite hangout spots around campus?

A: My favorite memories are of lunch, dinner and late-night meals at the Corner Bistro, with my best friend who became my first business partner. What I loved about NYU was that you were more of a New Yorker than a regular college kid. We didn't go to New York University, we went to the University of New York, that's what makes NYU so special. I was able to start my first company that focused on strategic marketing and events, The Insight Agency, at the age of 19. A lot of my favorite memories are nights out at NYC hotspots with friends, celebrities in the types of environments you can only find in New York.

CAS: For those who don’t know, can you talk a bit about StyleCaster, and how the idea came about?

A: StyleCaster originated over dinner and drinks with a good friend prior to an event we were hosting with my first company. Since day one, our mission has been to bring “Style to the People.” During that initial conversation, we started talking about a tool that would answer two basic questions: What’s the weather like, and what do I wear? That initial thinking led us to the concept of Content, Community and Commerce in the style space, 4 years later here we are.

CAS: Have you always been interested in fashion?

A: My earliest memories of my grandmother are sitting in the shoe department at Saks and being brought milk and cookies. Maybe it’s genetic. Though I’ve never been a ‘fashionista,’ I’ve come to have great respect for the industry. The minute you realize that for a fashionista, it’s art, not work, is when you can truly understand this space. Also, as a marketer, the dynamic between the consumer and brand in the style space is unparalleled.

CAS: Do you have a favorite designer?

A: Porter Grey. Also an NYU alum and my inspiration for starting StyleCaster.
As for me personally, I’m a simple guy from Cleveland Ohio. I shop at J. Crew, Uniqlo, Surface to Air, and Topshop.

CAS: Can you explain what a tear sheet is?

A: Didn't I just say I’m not a fashionista? I’m not sure I’m the right one to ask about this, but a tear sheet is an image designers and stylists literally tear out and reference as inspiration. I even use tear sheets in my own closet at home. I have a good friend and business partner who taught me the art of the tear sheet. He’s one of the more logical people I know. He said just find pictures of looks you like, tear them out, and match the look for the day.

CAS: Thoughts about the Nike MAGS? Will you be getting a pair?

A: When I was in Kindergarten I skipped a week of school to watch Back To The Future on VHS. My parents still have it. I think Back To The Future, hands down, is the greatest movie of all time. I have a few calls into Nike to try and get a pair.

CAS: While we’re on the subject, if you could travel back to a certain time period, which period (based on fashion of the times) would you want to visit?

A: I like periods like the Edwardian or Inter-War eras when men dressed in tailored, three-piece suits. Annabelle Tolman once told me that men's fashion is all about details, so a good outfit for a man always has details, intricacies and thought to them. I think these periods were a time when men focused on those details.

CAS: NYC Fashion Week recently ended, what were some of the highlights for you?

A: I love seeing the young designers who I’ve known since their inception showing at such a high-level, its awe-inspiring.
StyleCaster’s parties are also up there. At our Unofficial Official NYFW Party, we were able to bring the worlds of technology and fashion together, packing a room with New York’s top entrepreneurs. When Dennis Crowley (CAS '04) tweets about how packed the party is you know something is working.

CAS: For readers who are thinking to themselves, "I'd like to become fashionable" What would your advice be? Is there something one can do to take the first step to becoming a fashionable person?

A: Don’t become “fashionable.” Work on your style instead. Anyone with enough money can become fashionable by walking into Barney’s and buying everything on the mannequin. Real style is if you go to a vintage store first, pick up a piece or two there, grab a t-shirt from American Apparel and then go to Barney’s and put it all together, that’s style.

To find out more about StyleCaster, visit

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