Founded by Justin Stefano and Philippe von Borries in 2005, Refinery29 is a fashion, style and beauty website, broken down into six sections, with an additional section that offers content geared toward specific, metropolitan cities. Refinery29 has been ranked as #179 on the Inc. 500 list of “America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies”. In 2011, Refinery29 was positioned to make $8 million in revenue.

The overall website sections include Fashion, Beauty, Living, Entertainment, How-To and News. Since its launch in 2005, Refinery29 has grown to draw one billion page views per year. Focusing on city guide, emphasizing unique fashion discoveries that are specific to each local city, the name Refinery29 alludes to distilling information into its essence. The company headquarters is located in the Financial District, Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.

The Challenge

As the Refinery29 customer base rapidly grew and demands quickly increased, the company was challenged to scale at a rapid rate and manage their technological eCommerce challenges.   As the largest independent fashion and style website in the United States, Refinery29 faced technology and reliability issues. They lacked the information technology components to support their expanding customer base and online traffic.

Refinery29 required a trusted voice and a reputable company to create a strategy that would support both their expanding internal infrastructure as well as their vast customer needs.

The Solution

Technology Guidance Audeo began with an evaluation and consultancy phase to learn about the problems Refinery29 was experiencing. Audeo offered a trusted voice and a comprehensive strategy to address the rapid growth, system reliability, and performance issues.

Network Implementation Once Audeo introduced reputable content delivery network (CDN) providers to manage stack components, caching, and operational processes, workflow improved and sales became more manageable.

Streamlined Customer Services With improvements in the on-call rotation schedule along with 24×7 system monitoring and response services, Audeo was able to gain control. Outages were managed resulting in 99.999% uptime, and the team coordinated with third-party providers where needed.

Improved Performance With a network strategy and various cloud solutions, Audeo was able to align the IT infrastructure to Refinery29’s goals and growth patterns for improved performance and increased productivity.

The Project

Site Performance Improvements 75%
Website Traffic Increased 45%
Improved Customer Response Times 280%
Improved Customer Response Times 280%
Faster Page Loads 240%
Amazon Web Services Spend Decreased 35%
Softlayer Spend Decreased 25%

Products Used For Client: HP Helion Eucalyptus, Amazon Web Services, IBM Softlayer (bare metal + cloud), Devops Consulting, Audeo’s Merlin Software Suite (one-stop cloud instance provisioning)   Technical Products: Varnish, nginx, Ubuntu 12.04 / 14.04, PHP / Python, Persona MySQL, SOLR, Edgecast CDN The Conclusion: Audeo worked diligently with Refinery29 for a period of over 30 months to evaluate their problem and design a solution for success. Audeo helped optimize Refinery29’s cost structure by analyzing their cloud service provider spending and making recommendations that would cut operations expenses 30-40%.   Today, Refinery29 continues to operate as one of the largest independent fashion and style websites in the US. Audeo is there to ensure the company’s continued performance and reliability well into the future, allowing them to scale, develop, and deliver new content as they need it. The partnership with Audeo has allowed Refinery29 to focus on what they do best.


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