PHOTOS BY VINRELO
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you get your education?
My name is Niecey Josey, and I was born and raised in Southside Jamaica Queens, NY. I graduated high school from Queens Vocational & Technical school. My major was Cosmetology, but we see how that ended up working out. For college I started off in Business Administration, but switched to [American Sign Language], or ASL. Fast forward, I’ve been in visual merchandising for over 10+ yrs. Currently, I am a Brand Strategist and Minimalist Stylist located in Manhattan, NY. I am the owner of the brand named ‘Vinrelo’ and the ‘Brand on a Budget Network’ which consists of over 26 members and three interns.
What made you decide to go into the Fashion Styling industry?
I was fortunate to begin my journey through Visual Merchandising. As my skills improved I saw the need for Styling within Marketing like Ads, Product shoots, Music Industry etc. Even if there was a planogram in effect or visual notes to gear me towards the end goal of the project, I began to observe some components lacking that pertained to the Styling aspect. Colleagues would inform me how efficient my work was so I decided to focus my attention fully on Styling.
How did you get introduced with Dash Studios?
This past summer July ‘21 I met the producer of the show C.T.S ‘Celebrity Thrift Store’. I referred some of my clients to be on an episode. We filmed at Thrift Stores in Harlem and Manhattan. The mission of C.T.S is showing underprivileged youth how to get fly on a Budget. My Network ‘Brand on a Budget’ was a compliment to that show because we filmed on a Budget. It was a total shock to have Vinrelo named on the Production team for the show. Eventually, I shared my vision I had for my Stylist Fashion Show that I’ve been strategizing to produce for years. After discussing how I was structuring and building the set from scratch at a Film/Production Studio in Upstate, NY, C.T.S partnered with me for the first ever TV filmed Stylist Fashion Show. First ever? I believe this to be true because I’ve searched all over the internet for years but have yet to find a platform that has a fashion show SPECIFICALLY for Stylists. I could be wrong but I still haven’t seen it done yet.
What are some of the things you find help you to be a successful business woman, especially in the fashion industry?
Knowing who you TRULY ARE and what you TRULY REPRESENT is one of the foundations in business and in life that will never change in my opinion. You will have to adjust in certain situations but NEVER change your core. Being a team player will take you far as well, no one wants to look at you as a liability because time is money. Be proactive in strategic planning, you may not always have a guideline written out for you so it’s okay to make your own. Hold yourself accountable, it’s okay to make mistakes just not the ones that you know better. Don’t compare where you don’t compete; just because you’re in the same room doesn’t mean everyone processes the same skill set. Don’t hoard your work, unreleased work can lose value depending on the vision. Lastly, just have fun. The most creative ideas stem from enjoyment.
Are you considering franchising in the future to other states with your Stylist Runway Show?
As of right now, the goal is to have S.F.S ‘Stylist Fashion Show’ become a staple in NYC during the NYC Fashion Week. I know it will take a few times for that to happen but I’m willing to do the groundwork. In the future I wouldn’t mind the show being featured in major cities that have Fashion Week platforms. I think of it like this, if these fashion platforms are searching for the ‘Next Up’ Designers then let’s introduce the ‘Next Up’ Stylists as well. So, if asked about the S.F.S show being in other cities then I welcome a conversation.
If you could interview one of your mentors, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Hmm definitely Amy Z. We’ve discussed briefly my journey and how she took an interest in equipping me with business fundamentals. However I don’t think I’ve ever really sat down and discussed with her: Why me? What personality trait specifically did you notice or at what moment did you know I would be qualified to move up in the company? I would love to sit face-to-face with her one day and have that conversation. It’s important to me because I find myself subconsciously using reasoning techniques and implementing ethics into my business that I would observe her doing. As I continue beside her footsteps I am aware to treat my Interns and Team Members the same way.
Have you found social media to help or hinder you in promoting your services, especially during the pandemic?
I understand the goal in using Social Media. Technology is truly amazing and I know it’ll continue to advance past our comprehension. I also understand the limitations that are placed on Businesses whether a Small Business or MLM [Mid Level Marketing]. Some companies put hours into Reels & Tik toks etc to promote their business just to feel discouraged. I would say in my opinion it can be a hindrance more than a benefit in my field. About 80% of my clientele and companies I collaborate with are through Pitch Meetings. Honestly, Pitch meetings allow my company and Network to not only showcase our digital portfolio but affords the opportunity for investors, sponsors etc to see my passion and understanding for themselves.
How do you juggle the fast paced corporate life, being a business woman, and having a personal life?
BALANCE and a SCHEDULE. I’ve worked in fast paced businesses for years but we all know having your own BRAND changes things especially with an added Network. Dolcefleur on Instagram @Dolcefluer.shop has taught me some phenomenal Self-Care strategies as a business woman that has helped me have more time that I ever thought of for myself. Also since I’ve been in this field for a while, I know the importance of creating deadlines, having realistic goals and delegating.
What challenges have you faced this year and how have you overcome them?
I truly believe in bringing substance to the table. Social Media can at times be deceiving or tricky. There’s thousands of Apps used daily, i enjoy a few of them myself but I feel that sometimes a person may not want to work as hard because the App does it for them. Another challenge is work ethic. I’ve always been the person to get the job done even if that means completing someone else’s work. I’m learning that as a Business Owner I don’t have to settle, I’ve done the work and paid my dues so now it’s up to me to want better for my company. Fortunately, I’ve learned to not take everything so personally. If I’m creating the room then I have the right to make a reservation list.
What motivates you and keeps you moving forward?
Unexpected success stories and feedback motivates me the most. When I receive a thank you email, text message or phone call from a client or friend I feel like I’ve done my job WITHOUT knowing. Authenticity and genuine people push me to show up as the best version of myself daily. Even unsolicited advice motivates me too, it helps me examine how I respond.
Did anyone ever prepare you, or encourage you to move ahead in business? What about as a stylist?
Life prepared me. We can all tell a story of our upbringing until now. But throughout the difficult situations I’ve always been my own cheerleader. Cultivating a sense of SELF has saved me in so many ways.
Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 3-5 years?
Currently the S.F.S [Stylist Fashion Show] Courses will be starting January 2022. I see these Courses eventually becoming accredited courses. They not only cater to Stylists but each course ends with a Capstone project that will also allow the participants in the course to receive real-life work experience. I imagine Fashion Therapy being that ‘Napkin Note’ ‘Happy Hour’ Series everyone discusses. You’ll no longer feel left out of the room because we recorded it for you to watch in your leisure time. As a Brand Strategist, I am stepping into Executive Coaching and partnering with investors to troubleshoot problem areas within business practices, to identify phases of team development on the path to self-management as a corporation.
What makes the services you provide to your clients unique and stand out from others?
INNOVATION. For example: I not only do photoshoots or event styling but I stretch the catalogue into Product shoots, Ads, Commercials etc. I like to place things where you DON’T SEE THEM. I love connecting the dots and use strategic planning skills in my services. I’m also obsessed with deals for others and love to create budgets. Customizing realistic goals and deadlines helps relieve the added stress that comes along life whether a company or not.
What are some of the pros and cons of being a female business leader?
Pros: Eye for details, efficient and understanding. Cons: Individuals may try to take advantage of my patience or the fact that I may be super busy. My silence is mistaken for absence. Surprisingly, you’re expected to fit the ‘corporate’ or ‘flashy’ image of being a Stylist. I don’t see myself camouflaging to fit the masses, I love just doing the work.
Do you have any helpful advice to someone interested in starting as a stylist? Any tips that helped you along the way?
Truly understanding the responsibility Styling brings, whatever type of Stylist you are. When you are helping someone to identify their image, you are holding their PRESENCE in your hands. Styling is more than the actual fitting of pieces. Stratification is essential to Styling. In my platform Fashion Therapy I have brought these meaningful conversations to the table. You should be having consultations with your clientele to not only get a sense of their style but who they are and what room they want to be placed in.
What type of schooling prepared you to be where you are today?
School of REAL LIFE. lol. Having formal education is great but let’s be honest most ethical situations are not in a powerpoint. The whole ‘Learn as you go’ can be overwhelming. Informal training has been the forefront in my success that I am implementing in my Brand. Going forward, S.F.S Stylist Fashion Courses will address the in-field preparation needed to succeed in the Fashion Industry.
If you needed to start it all over again tomorrow and you had just one thing to change, add or subtract, what would it be and why?
I would bring more awareness to Imposter Syndrome. It’s a daily struggle I face. I meet so many talented and creative people in this world who end up settling or working harder than they have to or should. More of these conversations need to be had. I would slightly change my self-worth. I tend to always put others before me but go over budget when it’s time for myself. Also, Speaking up in the moment is something I’m learning. As a business professional, it’s important to maintain your image so when situations arise I have been attempting to diffuse them faster.
What makes you an expert in understanding the needs of your clients and putting them in the perfect look?
When I hear the word Expert I stop and think of the meaning first. A person that is skilled or adept in a particular area. Then I looked at the question where it says ‘ Perfect look’. So based off those words, I believe I can match the knowledge I’ve obtained of that client with the ‘mark’ they are aiming to hit. This past summer I styled a client for the revamping of your website. There was 6 looks to complete for a 2 day photoshoot. The first day I was not on set but all the looks and accessories etc were planned out. I received feedback that it went according to plan, The second day I was on set. When we got to the last look the photographer stated: Each look was flawless, they just got better and better. I wouldn’t change a thing! That’s what makes me believe based on that type of feedback that I am an expert in understanding how to connect their needs with their goals.
Did you always know you wanted to be in this field ?
The Funny thing is I never had the goal of becoming a Stylist. I believe working in Visual Merchandising sparked something in me. Love at first sight.
Name one defining moment in your career that was your ah ha moment.
The moment where I demoted myself from a position. A few weeks later my boss asked to speak with me. She asked me to reconsider my position but knew I would decline. She asked me what else I want to do. I didn’t have an answer. She said: I could help you and guide you to the next step but you’ve maxed out your skills here, you’ve done almost everything so you need to decide what’s next. That was one of the realest moments in my career. I realized I didn’t wanna become stagnant and I was ready to start my own company.
Tell us about one moment in your life that has had a lasting impression on you and formed who you are today.
Traveling to a visual project on a business trip. The hotel, travel and food voucher was paid for but I had $2 to my name. I wanted to just be in the room in Corporate. As I was steaming my clothes that night and eating the complimentary breakfast I saved for later I realized I completed my first day in my dream job. I realized I didn’t want the title, I realized I worked to the point that I was qualified!
What do you attribute your success to?
Being silent! I’ve been able to sit back and observe and take notes on what’s missing. What’s missing in Styling? What’s missing in Businesses? What’s missing in Fashion? What’s missing on Social Media? My Napkin Notes are full and I’m ready to share them starting with Fashion Therapy.
If you wrote a book and could only use 1 word for the title on your life story, what would it be and why?
Since I am already working on a book, unfortunately I wouldn’t want to give the title away right now lol. However, I would love to write a series of books. Another one would be called Fortitude. I learned that word for the first time when I was about 14 years old. I will never forget that moment. That word saved me because it defined me.
When you began your career, did you ever imagine that you would be styling celebrities and even creating Stylists Fashion Courses?
Pertaining to the Styling Clientele, Nope but working in the Fashion Capital definitely helped lol. I am truly blessed to work with some amazing people. As far as S.F.S Courses, I am still in shock. I didn’t intend on the Courses becoming a full program on the way to become accredited. 2022 will be historic in my opinion for Stylists. I’ve done the pitch meetings, put in the hours and created job opportunities for 2022. New York Fashion Week here we come!
What factors do you feel impact a woman’s ability to lead others?
Integrity, Loyalty, Confidentiality, Patience. These are some of the qualities that define me as a woman.
Tell our audience one thing about yourself that not many others know. I am obsessed with Home Makeover Shows. My inner self is a Carpenter, Interior Designer and Architect. I can watch those shows for hours everyday and never get bored lol. Can I execute that in real life? Absolutely not lol