Stephanie Nass, Founder

Having a conversation with Stephanie Nass, founder of Chefanie, inevitably leaves you inspired to host your next gathering or refresh your tableware, at the very least. A creative force, Stephanie founded her culinary-driven lifestyle brand just a year post-grad, and it has since evolved into a social media favorite and go-to source for stylish homegoods and beyond. Case in point: her book with Rizzoli, ‘Swing By!: Entertaining Recipes and the New Art of Gathering,’ just became available for pre-sale and will be released in September. Read on to learn how she develops her unique product offerings, how she’s navigated global expansion and the advice she’d impart on anyone launching their own biz. 

Tell us about your career before founding Chefanie in 2014.

There was not much of it... Only one year between graduating college and founding my company! In that period, I was a financial analyst at a database software company in Silicon Valley. 

It's crazy (and very lucky) to say, but from a young age, I knew that I wanted to create a culinary-driven lifestyle brand. I made many decisions based on this goal including my internships and stages during school. That said, having studied art and cooked a bunch in restaurants as an undergrad, I knew that I was lacking financial knowledge to start a business, so my first job really filled that gap and prepared me for what was to follow. 

What was the inspiration behind Chefanie, and how did it evolve into a culinary lifestyle brand?

The inspiration is a deep passion for bringing people together over edible and visual beauty. In terms of evolution, the supper club I started hosting in my first apartment led to a catering business, which positioned me to share my culinary knowledge on my social media platforms and TV, while also blossoming into a homegoods business. 

The fashion world and social media influencer landscape have unique demands. How did your background in these areas influence the creation and development of Chefanie?

The fashion industry does photos best, and content creators have taken note, following suit. People need to fall in love, and imagery is critical to helping that happen. Investing in photoshoots is a priority, and we shoot each holiday 4-6 months before it, allowing us to show our wholesale partners product with enough time to produce for them. 

Victory Club, corporate events, and hundreds of other engagements – how have these experiences shaped your expertise in the art of entertaining, and what lessons have you learned along the way?

Practice makes perfect ... or almost. All these events over all these years have honed my knowledge and perspective on the art of entertaining. More on this in my forthcoming book with Rizzoli :)

Your products, from Chefanie Sheets to the tableware and accessories lines, have garnered attention globally. Can you walk us through your approach to product development and the key considerations you consider when launching new items under the Chefanie brand?

I really focus on producing things that are not easily available in the market and/or can be made at a more accessible price. As I'm an avid consumer of tableware and homegoods and as a person who lives on Earth, I avoid redundancy. When i'm working on something totally novel, I create a mock-up with paint or Photoshop. 

Your products are available globally, from Revolve to boutique stores across various continents. How do you approach international expansion?

I really credit Instagram and other digital channels with this wide reach! I invest in sharing high quality photos and videos daily. Social media does not have international borders, and these platforms do an amazingggg job of serving our content to a relevant audience. So we've been able to connect with wholesale accounts all over the world by communicating our aesthetic. 

How do you connect with the millennial and Gen Z audiences who are enthusiastic about elevated entertaining?

Again, social media content - but more video than flat imagery... more Tiktok than Pinterest. 

Can you share any exciting collaborations or partnerships Chefanie has been involved in, and how do these alliances contribute to the brand's growth and visibility?

Nothing I love more than partnering with brands on campaigns. It is a joy to share products that I love with my audiences. The cross tagging means both brands benefit from double the audience. Also love design collaborations, which is something we've done from shoes to cookies. 

As a creator and entrepreneur, what advice do you have for aspiring individuals in the culinary and lifestyle industry, particularly those looking to create a brand?

My best advice is to start. Once you get going, you'll get feedback in the wild. Then it's up to you to decide how and if you want to incorporate it! 


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