Hello, Working Girl: Stephanie Nickolich of Accessory Fanatic
Meet Stephanie Nickolich, founder and CEO of stylish e-commerce venture Accessory Fanatic! If you've ever desired a career in fashion, Stephanie knows exactly what it takes to make it to the top. Read on to learn more about her journey through the industry, what it's like running your own business, and more.
Q: To what or who do you attribute your interest in fashion, and how did you grow your expertise in the industry before launching Accessory Fanatic?
A: As early as age five I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up – a mall worker, of course. Although I have to say that this vision has changed slightly, it was clear at even that age that I was a fashionista in the making. Funny enough when I started college I was a pre-med major. Needless to say about one year in, I decided that pre-med was not for me and I ended up changing my major to fashion merchandising. I have to say that I have to pay an immense amount of credit to my family for supporting me in my journey of crazy decisions while figuring out what I really wanted. A few years later I graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology and went onto to have a career in wholesale home accessories and home furnishings. I worked in this industry for about 9 years. About two and a half years ago my life changed entirely, and this sparked the launch of Accessory Fanatic. I was working in what I considered my dream job, although what I quickly realized was that I was actually fueling someone else's dream. I was part of a two-man team at the time that had built a million dollar plus business in just one year of launching our sister company. At the end of the year and after blowing our sales goal out of the water, I was asked to sit down with the partners that owned my business. At that moment my commission was cut by 2/3 and I lost a huge chunk of my income. I vowed to myself to never let anyone control my time, my income, and my level of success. When I became really clear about my dreams, passions, goals, and vision, Accessory Fanatic was born. I am proud to say that we are just a few months shy of celebrating our second birthday!
Q: What would you say are the top three traits that women need to possess to excel in the fashion industry?
A: The top three traits that I believe women need to possess in the fashion industry are: confidence, motivation, and determination. I have to say that confidence is the biggest attribute that you need to possess when in the fashion industry, or any industry, at that. I can't begin to tell you the number of times that I have heard the word NO throughout my career and in my business and I keep moving forward because I genuinely believe in what I am doing. It's not the number or NO's – it's that one yes that can change your life.
Q: What is a day in the life of the CEO of Accessory Fanatic like?
A: I have to say that I have become extremely organized as a CEO. My time is limited and very valuable so as a CEO it's been vital to have a set schedule. I work a lot! This is not to say that I don't love what I am doing. In fact, the beauty of it is that I get to work in any city I want! How cool is that? So on any given day, I wake up, grab my coffee, and sit down for about an hour and go through my emails and my daily activities. In this hour I am able to clean out my entire inbox and categorize things into now, next, and someday. This system has been my saving grace. I use Evernote to stay organized. Most of the day I am either hosting or listening in on calls and webinars to support the vision. At least twice a week I attend live events to showcase the brand and the vision. Throughout the day I communicate with my team on where we are on our list of active projects and give approval or edits. We have a very interactive team working at all times on the newest collections to launch, website improvements, social media promotions, marketing, events, etc. I have a hand in all of this! Sounds fun right? All of the above sounds so business when I read through it, but I want to say that on any given day I might meet a friend for lunch, take an hour at the pool, or take a walk in the afternoon. I stress this part because I designed my life this way to allow me to have freedom, flexibility, and fun whenever I choose! I also created our Stylist program with the same mentality. This is a platform for women to earn on their terms, to be their own boss and to do something that they love while living fully. We have coined the phrase #StyleYourLife.
Q: Where do you hope to see your business and brand 5 years from now?
A: I would like to inspire, empower, and motivate 10,000+ women to create the level of success that they desire and deserve. I want to leave a legacy of creating the most female millionaires then any other company in the United States.
Q: If you could tell your 18-year-old self what you knew about your career and business now, what would it be?
A: Education matters – the more you know the more you grow. I am an educational junky. I am constantly watching online webinars, participating in E-courses, working with coaches and enriching my myself personally and professionally to become a better leader for my team and overall a more successful CEO.
I love connecting with female entrepreneurs, women in business, and women on a mission! Please connect with me via social media, I would love to get to know you!