Photo by MichelleRosePhoto.com
Not too many of us will take the gamble of quitting a comfortable advertising career and drive across the country to follow our dreams like Liz Teich. Especially, if those dreams have you starting from the bottom all over again to make it to the top of the fashion world in one of the greatest and most competitive cities in the world, New York City. We’ve caught up with Liz to ask about her journey to become one of the most sought-after fashion stylists in NYC and we are so glad she decided to be as candid as she is motivational.
What motivated you to become a fashion stylist? I’ve been entrepreneurial since a young age and was enlisting my friends to let me dress them, I’d hire them to sell my jewelry designs at garage sales, and I also made handbags and sold them to friends and teachers. Then after college, I’d have women lining up at my cubicle to purchase my jewelry designs after they’d see them on me. I quit my 9–5 (or really 9–9) job in advertising to become a commercial stylist on photoshoots, working for brands. I’ve worked on some incredible projects and even got to sell my jewelry designs on set to colleagues, but my favorite part of the job was connecting with real women and making them look and feel their best. As a blogger and creator, I often had people reach out to me to ask for my help with their own wardrobes, so that led me to expand my business into personal styling. Now I help women all over the country, that are often going through major life changes, shop their closets first, and shop more consciously, through my Closet Refresh™️ service.
What did you find difficult about getting started? When I quit my job in advertising, I took a month off, and drove across the country with my then-boyfriend, now husband, to regroup and figure out my next steps. I emailed and called anyone I could get in contact with to intern/assist/apprentice—even offered to work for free—just to get my foot in the door in the styling world. It was humbling to go from being an art director and creating ads that were published in magazines and on taxi cabs, to starting from square one with zero income or clout. I freelanced at a fashion brand I interned for under the condition that if I got an assistant styling gig, I’d have to take that. I hustled by making my jewelry designs at night, selling them at NYC markets and to boutiques on the weekends, and basically working 24/7, but it all led me to where I am now!
Was there anything in your childhood that motivated you to do what you are doing now? I lost my mother to cancer at a young age so she’s very much my motivation in everything I do. She was always impeccably dressed, though we didn’t have much money! You’d never know that because she was so creative and resourceful. She took pride in finding our clothing secondhand and often sewed garments to revive them in new ways. She’s the reason I’m so passionate about sustainability, as it was ingrained in my childhood. She was also a jeweler and silversmith, so it led to my passion for accessories as well!
There are 3 main stumbling blocks for entrepreneurs: funding, partnerships and motivation. Which one was lacking or the most challenging for you? Motivation has never been an issue! It’s really the funding to get started, especially when you’re taking in zero income, so I had to hustle!
Looking back, how much do you believe your success is owed to luck and how much is due to hard work, percentage-wise? 10% luck and 90% hard work for sure — there’s a lot of who you know and meet to propel your career but most of that comes with hard work.
Aren’t you afraid of the competition in your field? No— there are a gazillion people that call themselves “stylists” and so many are great at what they do, but I have a niche of teaching women how to dress for their new life/body and be more mindful of what they add/keep in their closet sets me apart. Anyone can pick out beautiful clothes, but my 20 years of experience in the fashion and advertising world, learning from some of the top stylists and tailors, and working for a clothing brand have given me so much expertise in what I do.
Who did you idol growing up? It can be an artist, sportsperson, or someone in the business. My mom was and is very much my idol, from her style and her activism (she was an early adopter of sustainable living and was on the cover of our local paper for it!). Her style influences were Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, so I’m quite influenced by the 60s and 70s fashions as well.
When did you realize you hit your stride? In other words, when did you become comfortable with what you were doing? I don’t think I’m ever going to be satisfied with where I am—I always want to accomplish more! Though I think the moment that clicked for me was when I styled a segment for a brand for Good Morning America’s Ambush Makeover and the woman I got to makeover was in tears because she hadn’t felt this good about herself in so long. The power of clothing can make a difference in how one feels and I knew I wanted to make that my mission, whether it was through my personal styling clients or even connecting and teaching women around the world via Instagram and TikTok.
How long do you think you have in this business? Until people stop caring about how they look, though I was quite busy with virtual clients who wanted to even feel better in sweats during the pandemic!
What differences are you making in the business? Affordability, streamlining or legacy? I’d like to leave a legacy of showing women how to spend less, appreciate what they have, learn how to feel and look their best and be more sustainable in how they approach their wardrobes.
If you don’t mind saying, who’s your main competition and what can you offer that they can’t? I suppose my main competition is fast fashion stores! They entice with their prices but often I have to teach my clients that they’re ending up with things that don’t make them feel great and ultimately their clothes end up in landfills. You don’t have to spend a lot, but quality well-made garments really make a difference.
Everyone feels like giving up at some point to find a “regular job”. What kept you going when you hit that wall and what did the wall look like? I’ve worked in an office and would never go back to not working for myself!
If you can do anything else in business, what would it be? I love connecting with as many people as possible, so being a style expert on TV is one of my favorite things to do. I’m hoping to do more of that again as my business and social media expand. I also would love to design again, but I don’t have the time so my dream is to collaborate with brands to do exclusive collections for them!
What’s your favorite organizing app? Does an old-fashioned written planner count?? I use HoneyBook for my business too and that’s helped me grow exponentially!