Refinery29 (R29) is an American multinational digital media and entertainment website focused on young women owned by Vice Media.[5] It was founded in 2005 by Justin Stefano, Philippe von Borries, Piera Gelardi, and Christene Barberich.

Refinery29 logo.svg
Type of site
Media and entertainment
Available inEnglish
FoundedNovember 2005; 14 years ago (2005-11)
225 Broadway, New York, New York
OwnerVice Media
Founder(s)Philippe von Borries, Justin Stefano, Piera Gelardi, Christene Barberich[2]
EmployeesOver 500 (as of October 2017)[3]
Alexa rankDecrease 3,113 (August 2020)[4]
LaunchedSummer 2005
Current statusActive


Justin Stefano, Philippe von Borries, Piera Gelardi, and Christene Barberich co-founded Refinery29 in 2005 as a city guide, emphasizing fashion local to New York City. The name of the website alludes to the website distilling information into its essence.[6] The company headquarters is located in the Financial District, Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.[7]

Refinery29 has over 450 employees globally[3] with offices in Los Angeles,[8] London,[9] and Berlin.[9] In 2015, the company launched a UK edition at and the following year in 2016, a German edition at In 2016, Refinery29 announced it had raised $45 million in funding led by Turner.[10] As of 2017, Refinery29 reaches an audience of over 500 million globally.[11]

On October 2, 2019, Vice Media (owned by Shane Smith (20%), The Walt Disney Company (16%), A&E Networks (20%), TPG Capital (44%), and James Murdoch (minority stake)) announced that it would acquire Refinery29. The deal, worth a reported $400 million,[12] values the combined company at $4 billion.[13]

Charges of discriminationEdit

In early June 2020, top editor and co-founder Christene Barberich stepped down after women of color and black employees and freelancers took to social media to tell stories of discrimination while working for Refinery29.[14] A writer for the company wrote on Twitter, “I worked at Refinery29 for less than nine months due to a toxic company culture where white women’s egos ruled the near nonexistent editorial processes. One of the founders consistently confused myself and one of our full-time front desk associates & pay disparity was atrocious.”[15]

Barberich also faced criticism after a former employee recalled that Barberich once cried in a team meeting after being told she seemed "squeamish" when discussing race.[16] It was stated Barberich had decided to go home earlier that day due to the confrontation.[17] In Barberich's Instagram resignation post she said, “I’ve read and taken in the raw and personal accounts of Black women and women of color regarding their experiences inside our company at Refinery29 and, what’s clear from these experiences, is that R29 has to change. We have to do better, and that starts with making room. And, so I will be stepping aside in my role at R29 to help diversify our leadership in editorial and ensure this brand and the people it touches can spark a new defining chapter.”[15] Refinery29 parent, Vice Media, launched an investigation into Refinery29's toxic work environment.[5]


Refinery29 produces editorial and video programming, live events, and social, shareable content delivered across major social media platforms, and covers a variety of categories including style, health, food, entertainment, careers, technology, news, politics, and more. In August 2018, Refinery29 made an official section for music journalism on their website.[18] Although this official section was created in 2018, music writing on Refinery29 was widespread before this date. As early as 2013, Refinery29 published "The Best Music Blogs That Aren't Pitchfork," featuring other online music publications like The Fader, Obscure Sound and Earmilk.[19]

Refinery29 is known for the its series shows Try Living with Lucie and Lucie for Hire that are hosted by Lucie Fink.[citation needed] Refinery29 was listed three consecutive years on Crain's "Fast 50",[20][21][22] has won seven Clio Awards,[23][24][25][26][27][28] and seven Webby Awards.[29][30][29][31][32][33]

The company produces an annual pop-up exhibition, 29Rooms, where visitors commonly take self-portraits for sharing on Instagram.[34][35] 29Rooms was launched in 2015 on Refinery29's 10-Year Anniversary.[36]


  1. ^ "Refinery29 - Contact Information". Refinery29. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  2. ^ "How Two First-Time Founders Went From $28,000 Salaries To Owning A $100 Million Media Brand". Business Insider. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Steigrad, Alexandra; Steigrad, Alexandra (2017-03-01). "Refinery29 Charts New Course of Growth Amid Restructuring". WWD. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
  4. ^ "Refinery29 site ranks". Alexa Internet. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Vice Media launches probe into Refinery29's toxic work environment". CNN. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  6. ^ "life's essentials include a budget". Archived from the original on 2010-06-05.
  7. ^ Michael Nunez (12 December 2011). "Refinery29: Boutique Fashion and Design for All". International Business Times.
  8. ^ Spangler, Todd (2017-06-29). "Refinery29 Hires MTV Vet Joanna Bomberg as Head of Talent (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  9. ^ a b Crook, Jordan. "Refinery29 launches in Germany". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  10. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Refinery29 raises $45M more led by Turner at a $500M valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  11. ^ "Refinery29 Aims to Help Brands Connect With Women IRL". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  12. ^ "Vice Media Closes Refinery29 Acquisition, Sets New Management Team". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  13. ^ Spangler, Todd (October 2, 2019). "Vice media to acquire Refinery29, as both digital media players seek scale". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  14. ^ "Refinery29 Editor Resigns After Former Employees Speak Out on Racism". Vulture. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  15. ^ a b Robertson, Katie (2020-06-08). "Refinery29 Editor Resigns After Former Employees Describe 'Toxic Culture'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  16. ^ Jennings, Rebecca (2020-06-11). "Women's media seemed progressive in the 2010s. Black employees say otherwise". Vox. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  17. ^ Bauck, Whitney. "Refinery29 Founder Christene Barberich Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief in Response to Accusations of Racism and Toxic Company Culture". Fashionista. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  18. ^ "Top Music 2016, Best Concert And Music Festival News". Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  19. ^ "The Best Music Blogs That Aren't Pitchfork". Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  20. ^ "No. 12 Refinery29 - 2014 Fast 50 | Crain's New York Business". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  21. ^ "With $50M funding round, Refinery29 could join the ranks of Buzzfeed and Vox". Archived from the original on 2017-03-30.
  22. ^ "Seven media and entertainment companies make Crain's Fast 50". Archived from the original on 2017-03-29.
  23. ^ "Refinery29 - 29Rooms". Clios. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  24. ^ "Refinery29 - Refinery29's 2016 Stick Out! Calendar". Clios. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  25. ^ "Refinery29 - Daughter of Paradise". Clios. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  26. ^ "Refinery29 x H&M - In Motion". Clios. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  27. ^ "Refinery29 - Refinery29 This AM". Clios. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  28. ^ "Refinery29 Short Cuts x Cancerland - Cancerland". Clios. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  29. ^ a b "Fashion & Beauty". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  30. ^ "Refinery29 | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  31. ^ "The Skinny | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  32. ^ "Refinery29 | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  33. ^ "Refinery29 Social Content & Marketing Submission | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  34. ^ Herrington, Nicole (November 1, 2018). "Funhouse for Selfies: The Immersive 29Rooms Pops Up (Again)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  35. ^ Ryzik, Melena (December 22, 2017). "29Rooms Is a Creative Playhouse for the Instagram Set". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  36. ^ "History". 29Rooms from Refinery29. Retrieved 2019-04-12.

External linksEdit