When Rachel Dickerson walked into The Chop Shop restaurant one overcast afternoon last July, she immediately caught our group’s attention. We were attending a networking brunch, and Dickerson’s multi-strapped trapeze dress and killer stilettos quickly earned the ladies’ praise. Sis’ was FLY.
As we chatted it up, we learned that Dickerson was in the process of launching her style consulting business. And after the chorus of “We’d hire you” affirmations rang out, it was clear she just might be onto something.
But as any true fashion follower knows, it takes more than great personal style to become a successful stylist. Passion, talent and hard work are essential. And in Dickerson’s case- a good deal of moxie. She had recently quit the law profession to pursue her entrepreneurial endeavor full-time. (As it turns out, she had also declined job offers for styling from major retailers, including Neiman Marcus.)
Well, Dickerson was onto something. Within months, she launched Golden Style Consulting and is currently working with both local and out-of-state clients.
We recently chatted with the busy entrepreneur, who’s also studying at the famed Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), about her long road to styling, lessons learned as an entrepreneur and her passion for inspiring confidence in her clientele.
Tell us about your journey – how you went from lawyer to full-time stylist.
I’ve always had a passion for fashion. As a kid, I was always complimented on my outfits. My dad was a pastor. I would put my parent’s outfits together. And growing up a lot of my friends asked me to put their outfits together. I went to college and majored in Business Management because I knew I wanted to own my own business. But I wasn’t really sure about a business idea. I also knew I loved fashion and inspiration. I knew I wanted to somehow put them together but didn’t know how. My dad kept encouraging me to go to law school. About this time, I told my parents I wanted to go fashion school, but (at that time) they really couldn’t support the dream. I believe my parents truly wanted the best for me by encouraging me to pursue law. I think the idea of a fashion career for them was uncertain and that they wanted to me to have a career that would be a solid foundation for me. By the way- my parents now support my dream of being a style consultant and I’m grateful to have their support of me being authentically who I am. –So I went to law school. While in law school, I started interning for Harlem’s Fashion Row with Brandice Daniel. I worked for her about 1 ½ years. I was trying to figure out what specifically in fashion I wanted to do. I always knew I liked styling, but I was hesitant because it seemed like something a lot of people were doing. —After I graduated from law school, took the bar, got a job etc. I got married and people fell in love with my wedding dress. Everyone asked about it and people started asking me to help them find outfits. I thought maybe I should stop running from this styling thing. And at the time I was working in a really toxic work environment. My husband told me “you don’t have to keep doing something you don’t want to do.” So, we started saving like crazy for me to start the business- for the website, for me to take classes at F.I.T. I’m in the Imaging Consulting Program. And I have a husband and we don’t have kids, so I felt that if we’re going to take the risk, this was the best time.
What are your core services?
Personal styling/shopping; wardrobe revamps- we have a lot of professional women who want to move up in their organization, or new moms who want to get back in the groove; closet cleansing; we develop color strategies; body assessments and bridal styling. Bridal styling is my favorite.
I am here to help them know what looks best for their body type and then offer different looks and help them add their own style to it.
What unexpected obstacles have you faced since launching?
I would say the biggest obstacle is realizing that you don’t know everything. And giving yourself some grace around it. If there was something I felt like I didn’t know. It’s like “ ok.” But, I researched it and I figured it out. —I also want to meet my client’s expectations. I’m very hard on myself. I’m always thinking about “Am I adding value to (the client’s) life.” I really want to change the psychology of how you think about clothing. I want you to think about things differently after you’ve been with me.
Lastly, I’d say confidence. That was a real struggle starting out. But, my mentor told me, “ You have to make sure your confidence is solid. So often entrepreneurs get to the point they walk away because the confidence isn’t there.
What lessons have you learned?
Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. It’s a daily thing you have to be committed to. You have to be committed to the process. You have to be committed to learning and growing. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s not easy. You really have to think it through before you quit a job. ALSO, you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.
What is your vision for Golden Style?
It’s yet changing. What I right now know is, I want to create a consulting firm that feeds women both for style and for inspiration. I’m finding that a lot of clients need the confidence as well as clothes. I want to build something where when we are working on your style, we’re piecing together that part too.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE, RACHEL’S FAVORITE STYLE STARS, AND HER ONE PIECE OF UNIVERSAL STYLING ADVICE BELOW.
To learn more about Rachel Dickerson and Golden Style Consulting, visit www.goldenstyleconsulting.com.