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Talking Top Tens: Rachel Hofstetter

Co-Founder, Guesterly


For years, Rachel Hofstetter was paid to eat and drink as a food editor at places like O, the Oprah Magazine (dream!). But besides the copious amounts of chocolate and cheese, her favorite part of the job was talking with up-and-coming food entrepreneurs. Their stories led to Cooking Up a Business (Penguin), an insider guide to the world of food startups. As she wrote the book, Rachel picked up the entrepreneurial itch (it’s contagious!). When an idea she and her husband created for their own wedding turned out to be immensely popular, she left her formal food editor career to launch guesterly. Today, the guesterly software platform enables anyone to create a custom photo directory for life’s special events like weddings, reunions, and more. Follow Rachel and guesterly via Twitter.  

And more with Rachel Hofstetter…

What do you love most about your work?

Getting to celebrate people and create incredible relationships every day. That’s both the brand essence of guesterly and my personal mission—and it’s amazing to have that be the focus of my life right now.

One piece of advice you would give your 18-year-old self:

Go big or go home—the only person who can put you in boxes and limit you is yourself. Seriously. 

Your most recent culinary discovery and obsession:

I was a food editor for years, so finding cool new food is still one of my favorite things. I recently geeked out over the Boise Fry Company in Boise, Idaho. Their motto is “burgers on the side” and it’s all about the fries—you can choose from 7+ varieties of potatoes and mix and match them with over 30 dipping sauces and seasoned salts. I felt like a mad scientist testing different combinations, like the purple potato fries with vanilla sea salt that taste like dessert!

Your dream dinner party guest:

Could I get the characters of House of Cards and Scandal in the same room? I’d love to watch Olivia Pope face off with Frank Underwood.

Your motto in life:

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” The first time my mom asked me this question, it made me shift my career dreams from law school to magazines. The second time, it led me to start my own company. It’s a powerful question. 

Your celebrity girl crush and why?

Can entrepreneurs count? I’m constantly inspired by Alexis Hirschfeld, the co-founder of Paperless Post, and Carley Roney, the co-founder of the XO group (which owns The Knot, etc.). 

The beauty product found in your bag at all times:

Lipstick…one of hundreds I somehow collected during my magazine editor days. I’m lazy when it comes to most beauty stuff, but I’ve recently learned that a fast swipe of richly colored lipstick makes any ensemble look more polished.

You decompress each day by:

Heading to my rooftop with a glass of wine and a friend. There’s nothing like fresh air and watching the light shift to twilight to get out of work mode.

Your last great read and why you enjoyed it:

Rachel Bertsche’s new book, Jennifer, Gwenyth, and Me. It’s lighthearted on the surface but packs a powerful narrative punch and has genuinely useful advice (I even tore out the list of top tips in the back for reference!). 

Charity/charities you support:

I’m obsessed with She’s the First, which sends girls to school in developing nations. I believe (and studies show) that educating girls is one of the best things a community can do, and 100% of the donations that people raise through She’s the First go straight to the students—not to overhead! I love that transparency, which is why we’re thrilled to donate a percentage of guesterly proceeds to them.