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Madeline Veenstra, 2011 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.

Madeline Veenstra, QLD (b. 1986)

Name: Madeline Veenstra
Age: 25 (Born: July 1986)
Gender: Female
State: QLD

Mix a bit of geekiness with a passion for fashion and you’ve got Wikifashion, the co-creation of Madeline Veenstra.

The site is designed to be no less than the one place to go to find historical fashion collections, information on new brands, and everything in between.

Veenstra quit her job as an economist for the Queensland Treasury to start Wikifashion in 2009 with co-founder Coen Hyde, who handles the technical side of the site. Today, about 40,000 people contribute to the site. There also are more than 400 fashion bloggers who are linked up to Wikifashion.

Veenstra says her contributors, who add and edit content in the tried-and-true Wiki fashion, compare Wikifashion with established sites such as Lookbook.nu, Chictopia, Independent Fashion Bloggers and Bloglovin. Maybe her success is at least partially due to her personal touch — she logged 16,300 driving kilometers tooling around the United States to meet the site’s contributors.

Wikifashion has caught the attention of fashion media. Frankie magazine referred to it as “Wikipedia’s little sister” (Veenstra notes that 96% of the site’s contributors are female, compared to 13% for Wikipedia). Other media mentions include Sportsgirl online, MX newspaper, Elle Girl and Paper.

Veenstra didn’t have the budget to make this year’s SXSW cultural mashup in Austin, Texas, but supplied branded tote bags for fashion bloggers at the event. She plans to attend SXSW in 2012.

“I’m driven by a need to be creative and involved in fashion in a different way,” Veenstra says of her work with Wikifashion. “I love the ability to think of an idea and materialize it myself. I love having full control over my site, and having others comment on how much they love the idea motivates me to keep doing Wikifashion.”

Anthill asks: Madeline Veenstra, what’s your superpower?

“I’m a Google super-sleuth. I have the uncanny ability to find out who to contact and their email address in under five minutes. This has enabled me to involve a lot of people with Wikifashion, reach out to others for advice and gain press coverage without the use of a PR company.”

Promo for Wikifashion

Wikifashion from Wikifashion on Vimeo.

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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.

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