Too often in our society, people picture men in their heads when they hear words like, “boss”, “entrepreneur”, or “CEO”. Being a small business owner has put me in touch with so many successful female business owners and entrepreneurs that when I hear these words, I often picture a woman or I just don’t assume anything at all. Women are obviously just as capable as men when it comes to the business world and it is high time that women business owners and entrepreneurs are more visible in the media in our society. This is where the idea for Women in Business was born. Women in Business is a bi-weekly feature that highlights female entrepreneurs and business owners. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to learn more about small businesses in various fields, but it is a great shopping guide for supporting small businesses.
An Interview with Nicole Otchy, Personal Stylist
Tell us a little bit about your business. What exactly do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I’m a wardrobe stylist and branding consultant. I started my business in 2011. I currently work with clients in Boston and in Washington, D.C.
I help women and men to craft wardrobes that reflect who they are and where they’re going both professionally and personally. I also style photo shoots from editorials to headshots. Finally, I work with individuals that represent their own brand like authors and entrepreneurs to create a cohesive presence both online and off. I create a strategy with them mapping out how they want their brand to resonate with their target audience and then work with them to make that strategy come alive through a variety of channels from photo styling for their websites to wardrobe styling for events, online videos, and marketing materials.
image: RLR Studios
What do you do when you need some inspiration?
My lack of inspiration is usually around staying motivated to do the behind the scenes work that comes with running my own business. I turn to other creatives who also own their own businesses like stylists and photographers for inspiration and advice. Another great source of inspiration lately has been podcasts. Right now I’m really into Being Boss by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson. They always seem to tackle the exact issue I’m struggling with at the moment.
On-set styling a shoot for Women First Magazine
What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?
My favorite thing about running my own business is that I get the freedom to work with the type of clients I want, how I want, and when I want. I get to make decisions about where I want to grow and the projects I want to take on. Another really amazing thing about owning my own business is the people I get to work with from my clients, who I learn so much from, to the photographers and other creatives I get to work with on photo shoots.
What are three things that help you run your business efficiently on a daily basis?
The three things that consistently keep me on track are my calendar, my moleskin notebook–where I keep everything from client notes, to reminders to blog post ideas—and, last but not least, my intern Kayla who joined me a few months ago and has made a huge difference in terms of how efficient I am in my business.
image: Ashely O'Dell
What goals do you have for your business over the next three years?
I am looking forward to growing my business through more collaborative projects and partnerships in the coming years as well as growing the personal branding side of my business.
While I plan my financial goals pretty specifically, I try not to get too stuck on the exact path that leads me to those goals. In the past year alone, my business has grown very quickly simply because I said yes to unexpected opportunities. Most of those opportunities I couldn’t have imagined when I sat down to plan my goals the year before. One of my overarching goals for the next three years is to keep saying yes to opportunities even when/if they seem a little overwhelming or they require me to try something outside my comfort zone.
image: Ashely O'Dell
How do you define success?
At this stage in my career I define my success by my growth. If I can look back on a four month, six month, or a year long stretch and honestly say I did things that pushed me to learn, try new things, and take new risks, even if they weren’t 100% successful, then I know I’m going in the right direction.
image: Ashely O'Dell