I met Melanie Pace in 2010 and was instantly obsessed. Obviously she had the best outfit in the place, but her friendliness and welcoming smile was something you don’t see often. I expressed my interest in fashion styling, we kept in touch, and I spent my summer after freshman year of college interning with her. Since 2006, her business has prospered. She continues to be a personal shopper while styling celebrities like Giuliana Rancic, and producing and styling all of The Mall at Millenia’s annual fashion week. She runs my favorite fashion blog ever, and you should follow her Instagram here to see what’s the latest project she’s working on. Keep reading to hear how she started her own business right out of college, and has built her brand around her love of fashion.
What was your 1st job out of college, and would you have considered it your dream job?
My first job out of college was an apparel manager at Anthropologie. It was definitely not my “dream job”, but at that point I wasn’t even sure what my dream job actually was. I just wanted to feel like I was making enough money to support myself, but at the same time feel inspired to be at my job everyday.
Do you remember the moment you decided to become independent and create your own company? Or was it organic? How did your friends and family react?
I do – I was working part time as a personal assistant to the Vice President of Yves Saint Laurent beauty, and I was styling part time while working for the company. I got laid off due to budget cuts, quickly realized I needed to figure something out. I also realized that the time I was spending working for YSL, I could have been using that time to work on future business, or spend more time with personal shopping clients and making more money! A few meltdowns and anxiety attacks in the process, it all ended up working out in the end.
I’m so excited to be co-hosting a #BTSS celebration at @ShopFloridaMall on 8/8 with @teenvogue and @shopsimon! For access to a special VIP hour before the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “VIP EXPERIENCE – Florida Mall” saying why YOU should be chosen to be a VIP! VIPs will receive front row seats to a #BTSS style talk, meet-and-greets with myself, @sierrafurtado, and Teen Vogue’s @elainewelteroth, a special gift, and more! For full details: goo.gl/BBRy7q @liketoknow.it www.liketk.it/1CyhN #liketkit #lifeofastylist #fblogger #fashionblogger #fashionstylist #celebritystylist #wardrobestylist #fashion #style #ootd #teenvogue #VIP
How did the evolution of Melanie Pace, Everything Fashion roll out?
Well, I dropped the ‘Everything Fashion’. I always felt like I needed a business name (so people always told me…), but I have come to a conclusion that branding my name as my business is good enough for me.
The evolution hasn’t always been an easy task. Not interning with anyone in the styling industry put me back a few years, and also my pride in really wanting to figure it out on my own. Then there is the financial side. I had to pay my bills, and working for free to get my name out there wasn’t really an option. I spent lots of time at events and in the malls working really, really hard for the few personal shopping clients that I did have. Going above and beyond to help then with anything and everything they needed. I think I decorated for Christmas a few times, and helped decorate a few home interiors. I knew I needed to keep going in order to keep meeting people who ultimately understood what I actually did, and how I could help them with their wardrobe or their business.
What hardships and setbacks have you had to overcome?
Money, missing weddings, birthdays, not having as much time to work on relationships or friendships. I think owning your own business can have so many ups and downs. There are many, many rewarding moments, but it is not easy at all. I have to remind myself all the time that I’m not the 23 year old girl who is broke paniking about having $100 in my bank account. I also think in the beginning, it was difficult to get people to understand what I do, and IT STILL IS! A personal shopper? Like a secret shopper? A wardrobe stylist? Wait you shop for a living? Oh, my wife shops for a living too!!
But once Rachel Zoe came out with her show, I think people really started to see that there is a world out there where you never have to go to the mall, or ever think about what you are wearing for that super important event that is next week! It’s a genius business, actually, and I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do.
Who have been your mentors?
Debra who was my boss at YSL was hardcore! She knew how to say ‘FU’ without actually saying it. People listened to her, respected her, and she got things done. She was in the office from 9am -6pm everyday and only left to make lunch to bring it back into her office. She always encouraged me to save my money, and be outspoken as a woman. She also taught me to follow up, and never letting things go undone. My best friend Dana has also been my mentor. She has always been my sounding board. She is there to re-write my emails, to send out a press release, to tell me to calm down or how to not react emotionally in situations.
What do you think your next career move is, and do you feel like you’re always wanting to improve and do more?
I feel like my next career move will be more on camera work. I would love to focus more on being in front of the camera and being able to share my love for fashion in a way that’s aside from behind the scenes.
What advice do you have for those in their first job who see their future completely different from where they are?
Don’t give up. I know sounds easier said then done, but just don’t! Be nice along the way, always follow up, and know your worth without being cocky. Don’t get too frustrated when you aren’t making the kind of money your college professors promised you will make in your first job, and don’t be afraid to change paths if the job just isn’t for you. I always have to remind myself that we can’t always have everything in one day – where would the fun be in that?
What would you tell yourself right before you graduated college?
Hold on! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!!