Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Dot of Brilliance: Girl Chat with Stella & Dot's Senior Stylist Courtney Parham

Stella & Dot Senior Stylist: Courtney Parham

A year and a half ago I came across a website called Stella & Dot, a jewelry company, and instantly fell in love. Yeah sure, with jewelry it isn't  hard to do so, but it wasn't just the accessories calling me in, but the idea behind this blossoming business that kept my mouse clicking away from one necklace filled page to the next. Not only could I buy anything from chain necklaces to coral inspired bracelets  but if I wanted to sell them myself and start my business, I could. How cool is that? Pretty cool, considering the economy these days and how hard it is to get any job. During my journey on the site, I not only found a pair of great party earrings, but I found a woman just as amazing. Driven and Stylish, Courtney Parham is one of the Senior Stylists for the Stella & Dot empire.

Being the blogger and future fashion journalist that I am (fingers crossed) I was immediately curious to find out more about this self made fashionista! Several emails over Facebook and Yahoo later, I learned that Parham was an open book, gracious enough to share her life's story from being a Stylist for two years at Stella & Dot, to her celebrity fixes. She didn't hold back and my oh my was it great!

 Where did you study for college? University of San Francisco (go Dons!)
 Is your work based more at home or an office? I work from home in my PJs.
 Favorite Fashion Designer? Stella & Dot. Seriously, and I’m not biased at all. ;)
One celebrity that you personally would love to style one day? Michelle Obama
 Favorite guilty pleasure? Nearly any kind of dessert, especially fruit tarts
Your go to accessory? Statement necklace

    Katie: I first came across Stella & Dot about a year and half ago and thought to myself wow what a great website! Here is this company giving anyone the chance to have a job, in this struggling economy, where they can be involved in the stylist business by selling jewelry. What was it about this company that lured you into working alongside them? Was it an immediate decision or was it one that you had to think long and hard about?

     Courtney: In March of 2011, as I was looking for a job in social media, I stumbled across Stella & Dot on the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies. I thought the company had such a cute name that I visited the website to learn more about them. Like you, I was immediately blown away by the jewelry. My jaw was on the floor. In addition to the gorgeous product, I was really impressed by all the celebrities wearing Stella & Dot, top publications raving about it, the innovative nature of the company, and their commitment to social responsibility. Shortly after finding the site, I became enchanted by Stella & Dot and researching their work from home Stylist opportunity. It only took me a week to decide that it was something I wanted to try because I only found positive reviews of the company in my research, I loved jewelry, and I realized I had nothing to lose! Worst case scenario, I’d walk away with a lot of cute jewelry to keep and a new experience. Why not give it try?

      Katie: Prestigious shows like the Today Show and newspapers like the New York Times, have had nothing but great praise for Stella & Dot,  how does it feel to be a part of a company that is fast growing and has been seen in such a positive way by companies like these and many others?
Courtney: It feels fantastic! Spotting Stella & Dot in my favorite publications, in film and on TV is one of the most exciting parts of this extremely fun job. It’s rare to be part of a company that constantly has so much positive buzz surrounding it. Every day I see a news story about Stella & Dot, a blog post from a happy customer raving about how much she loves the product, or someone on a popular TV show wearing our jewels. Stella & Dot’s New York based Design Team is committed to designing irresistible, on-trend accessories. Clearly, they’ve succeeded because people cannot get enough it!

The Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev donning
Stella & Dot's "Tempest" Necklace
Photo Credit: Stella & Dot
  Katie: Now that we are on the topic of public praise, I could ask the same about celebrities. When celebrities are seen wearing Stella & Dot accessories on the Red Carpet, such as Vampire Diaries starlet Nina Dobrev, donning the Tempest necklace at a Direct TV event, do you get a rush of excitement knowing that these accessories that you work with are being worn by some of the biggest stars in Hollywood? Or for you, is it not a big deal?
Courtney: One of the reasons why I love this job is the rush of excitement from spotting my favorite celebrities proudly wearing Stella & Dot, everywhere from the red carpet to their daily errands. I think it’s important to note that Stella & Dot does not pay celebrities to wear our product. So, it’s really rewarding to see stars like TV personality Kelly Ripa genuinely going nuts over our jewelry in her video blog. It’s all wonderful publicity for a company that not only has pretty accessories, but makes positive social change by creating thousands of entrepreneurial jobs for women via the Stylist opportunity.

 Katie: Because an accessory that a celebrity wears on the Red Carpet can at times define their outfit and that’s why they choose the best to represent them, and with such top jewelry designers such as Lorraine Schwartz and Harry Winston being used all the time, what sets Stella & Dot apart from these other designers that you think makes people and even celebrities gravitate towards wearing their items?
Courtney: Our handmade accessories are very wearable, versatile, and have a “wow” factor. They’re designed with the modern woman in mind who needs quality, affordable accessories to take her from work meetings, to her kid’s baseball game, to a nice dinner on the town. Versatility never goes out of style.

     Katie: Aside from celebrities, for the everyday girls who love fashion and would love to be involved in the styling business one day, would you say this company is a great start and could lead to a booming career? What personal attributes does one need to become successful Stella & Dot stylist?
Courtney: The Stylist opportunity is an ideal springboard for anyone looking to gain solid experience in the fashion industry, entrepreneurship, and beyond. This opportunity is best suited for very self-motivated individuals with a positive and tenacious attitude. Furthermore, they need to have at least 5-10 hours/week (most weeks) to dedicate to their Stella & Dot business.

        Katie:  I have read throughout the website that anyone can work as a Stylist because of the convenience that Stella & Dot gives to all types of women, from working moms to single ladies trying to start their careers.  Has this been something proven to be true for you? Has it made it easier for you to juggle both a job and personal life?

Courtney gets candid for work while being filmed by Discovery Channel. 
Courtney: Yes, it was designed to be a flexible entrepreneurial opportunity that can be done right alongside an existing job or family. The average Stylist earns $75-90/hour per Trunk Show (it’s basically a girls’ night in). So, we have Stylists who do everything from a Trunk Show a month to have some “fun money” for shopping, to Stylists who do a Trunk Show per week to cover household bills or dance lessons for their kids, and those who are earning six figures as a full-time, yet flexible income. As for me, I came from a tech and marketing background with no experience working in fashion, but a love of jewelry. In a down economy, I wanted a job that would allow me to work from home and gain financial independence, plus impact positive change in the world. This company has given me one-on-one training and flexibility to succeed on my own terms. Better yet, I love helping other women to reach their goals and gain financial independence by sharing this opportunity. The icing on the cake is the cool perks I've earned, like a new iPad and thousands in free accessories!

    Katie: What I like about Stella & Dot is the creativity behind all the pieces and even the boxes that the jewelry comes in are absolutely adorable. It makes every piece feel as special as the last. Plus, whenever I check, the styles are up to date with what is current in the latest trends. What are some pieces that you are selling at the moment that go along with some of the trends seen on the runway recently?
Courtney: Our Design Team brings experience from on-trend, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Coach, and Ippolita. They attend top runway shows and travel the world to forecast the hottest trends. In the Spring 2013 Collection, we've incorporated the fringe trend that was seen all over the runways, as well as the neon ”pop” color and floral trends. For example, one of my favorite pieces from the new collection is the Spring Awakening Necklace. You can see the bright colors and floral motifs in that piece. It’s also very wearable so you can throw it on with a basic white top and jeans to make a striking outfit.
Spring Awakening Necklace $138
Photo Credit: Stella & Dot
  Katie: Now let’s talk about your personal style. What would you describe your personal style as and are you a girl with expensive taste or one who loves a bargain on quality items?

Courtney: I’m all about making a statement-- The bigger, the bolder, the better. That said, I enjoy getting quality products at a great price, which is why I adore Stella & Dot. The design team offers handmade, couture-style pieces at a sharp price point because they cut out the middlemen and sell exclusively through Independent Stylists.

      Katie:  For me, I found my love for the fashion business when I watched shows like Gossip Girl or movies such as Confessions of a Shopaholic. Through them I discovered that I wanted to become a fashion journalist and how I like to dress the most.  Was there a movie/show/ or person that inspired you to go into marketing and working around fashion? 
   Courtney:was introduced to working in the fashion industry because I was looking for a job and the Stylist opportunity seemed ideal for me. Now, I’m so glad that I gave this industry a try! It’s always very exciting and fast-paced, but with the flexible Stylist opportunity it’s not overwhelming.

      Katie:  Most great things in the present are inspired from the past…especially style. I have always been one to swear I was born in the wrong decade. If it were up to me I would have been born in the roaring Twenties. The flapper style of that decade is so pretty and timeless. Is there a time period that you say to yourself “I wish I existed during that time?” and why? Are there items by Stella & Dot that you think are inspired by past decades?

Courtney: Strictly in terms of fashion, I agree that it would have been a blast to live in the twenties. Yes, we take tons of inspiration from vintage pieces, specifically the 1920’s in our Spring 2013 line. For instance, the great grandfather of our Chief Creative Officer, Blythe Harris, owned a lace factory in the 1920’s. Blythe used those authentic, vintage lace pieces as the inspiration behind our “Lace Story” collection of jewelry.

Katie: Last Question. It’s not an interview without asking…If there is one thing that you would say to people out there now starving to accomplish their dreams, like you have done so far, what would you say to them to keep them motivated and believing in their dream?

Courtney: As my CEO Jessica Herrin said, “Success is nothing but a stream of failures. You just keep going.” Never give up… ever. It’s always too early to give up on your dreams and what you really want to do. Also, when you want to accomplish big, my advice would be to write down your goals first. Something magical happens when you put your goals and dreams in writing! Then, break them down into something specific, measurable, and realistic (it’s part of what’s called a S.M.A.R.T. Goal). Post those goals in a place that you can read them every day, like on the fridge or your bedroom mirror. Then, share them with people you trust to hold yourself accountable. And again, never give up!

One of My Favorite Stella & Dot Accessories ! 

Liz Drop Earrings in Emerald Green-$59 As seen in US Weekly
Photo Credit: Stella & Dot

Keeping Up With Courtney
Twitter: @CourtneyParham
Instagram: CourtneyParhem
Facebook: http: //www.facebook.com/courtneyparham
Stella & Dotwww.stelladot.com/courtneyparham


Pssssh...Want to know more about becoming a Stella & Dot Stylist? 
Check out this link:  www.stelladot.com/stylist?s=courtneyparham

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