Amber Venz Box leads a company that drives more than $1 billion in sales. She and her RewardStyle co-founder, husband Baxter Box, have a global reach, with seven offices on four continents, more than 250 employees and partnerships with more than 4,000 retailers and 1 million brands.
But it's the 30,000 content producers who have launched their own businesses that she's most proud of, for helping them take their passion for fashion, interiors, fitness, beauty — which they were already sharing online — and make a living.
Box is but one of the tens of thousands of women who are supporting themselves and their families through RewardStyle, she says.
"We found something and helped create entrepreneurs around the world."
Box and other editors of LiketoKnow.it, the shopping discovery app from RewardStyle that allows users to shop through their screenshots, are sharing the behind-the-screen stories of more than 100 bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, Pinterest users and content creators in a new coffee table book, "Stories From the Influencer Next Door."
Before there were "influencers," there was Box.
Yes, there have always been stylemakers and trendsetters that others tried to emulate and mimic. But Box and her husband harnessed the power of online inspiration and shopping to create an industry.
When they set out in 2011, Box was struggling to turn her blog into a money-making venture. She and her then-boyfriend, now husband, developed a platform and network that allowed people like her to get paid when their online and social media posts inspire others to make a purchase.
When a customer makes a purchase, RewardStyle and the influencer who posted the item get a cut of the retailer's profit.
That can add up. Last year, about 83 percent more of RewardStyle's influencers made more than $100,000 a year from retail commissions than in the previous year. And there are plenty of "RewardStyle millionaires," too, Box says.
Before they were millionaires or professional bloggers they were stay-at-home moms, teachers, stylists, students, Olympic athletes, reality TV stars and more. "We want you to get to know who these women were before they started sharing their lives online," Box says. "Their stories are empowering to any kind of entrepreneur looking to start their own business."
Box was raised in the Park Cities, launched her business in Dallas and has firmly planted its global headquarters in North Texas, so it's not surprising that the area is well-represented in the RewardStyle network and the new book.
"Dallas and Texas have a legacy of leading women — everyone from Mary Kay Ash to Kendra Scott," Box says. "Now, Dallas is the foundation of the influencer industry."
The book profiles more than a dozen Dallas-area influencers. "It's a show of our Dallas culture, where we dream big and love to curate really beautiful and happy lives and foster a belief that you can start a business," says Box, who in addition to her post with RewardStyle publishes to her site, Venzedits, regularly. She and her husband also have two young children and are expecting their third, about the same time the book publishes on Sept. 18.