The Wardrobe Stylist

The Wardrobe Stylist

"I got home to Syracuse and had to figure out how to create really good, valuable services for my clients in a virtual setting." – Jackie Terribile
Published: May 12, 2021

COVID in the Community series: The Wardrobe Stylist
Jackie Terribile is the founder of The Small Town Stylist.

My job entails me going into my clients’ homes and being in their closets and bedrooms, so I was always really in close proximity to them. At the time that the pandemic struck, I had started to invest all this money into my small fashion business, The Small Town Stylist, but then had to pivot because I could only really do things virtually. I was gaining all this momentum and then it felt like it came to a stop, because I couldn’t really give my clients the services that they needed.

I started my career in fashion right out of college, as an assistant to a commercial stylist in New York City, where we’ve worked on a lot of music videos. I even made a dress that a musician wore to the Grammys. But at some point, I got really, really burned out. I was working 24 hours, sleeping in the studio, and said I needed a break.

It was only after moving to Syracuse and working 10 years in advertising when I got back into fashion. My boss had offered to make me a website. People started reading my blog and asking to shop with me. I thought that I could actually make some money in Syracuse — there were really no commercial stylists around at the time. I quit my job because I really wanted to put 100% of my efforts into this business and be an entrepreneur.

On the weekend of March 8 last year, I was in New York City. I had the best week of my life. I met these amazing women from all over the country, and I attended this incredible, empowering workshop on getting PR and writing for magazines. This is a very vivid memory, because I said to myself, “Okay, you know what, I’m going to really start investing in my business and investing in myself.”

I was starting to get excited, because I was on this trajectory, and then it just came to a halt. I got home to Syracuse and had to figure out how to create really good, valuable services for my clients in a virtual setting.

Prior to the pandemic, I was going one-on-one with most of my clients. The main service I offered was called “the closet cleanse” where I go into a woman’s closet and decide what’s not working with their personal style, and then we would reorganize their closets and make a shopping list for them. The other big service I offered was called “shop and style” where the client and I would go shopping together for two hours, and then create a follow-up appointment, where I would go into their home, and we would create outfits with the clothes that we bought and the things that they already had.

I actually started putting together webinars, like a style starter session, and a virtual closet where my clients can upload photos of their clothes, and we can create the outfits. Prior to the pandemic, that wasn’t something that I felt that I needed to do, but it’s been an incredible investment, and I’m so glad that I created this tool.

In late 2020, my husband got relocated to Charlotte for his job. Because I work for myself, I had the ability to control my schedule and make my own decisions. So we thought, “Why not? Let’s just make this change and see what happens.”

Right now, on a typical day in my life, I go through my clients’ virtual closets and do some shopping for them. If it’s a day where I get dressed up and look pretty good, I’ll go out and introduce myself to local boutique owners because building those relationships is how my business has always grown, especially through social media.

Through all of this, I realized that you can make meaningful connections with people virtually. Especially when working alone, it can get lonely, so it’s great being able to create those partnerships. And during the pandemic, I’ve just had to find a new way to do it.

COVID in the Community

COVID in the Community

This as-told-to interview is part of COVID in the Community, a series created by students in the Reporting classes at the Newhouse School in Spring 2021. COVID in the Community documents the experiences of Syracuse area residents living through this extraordinary time.