We’re showcasing some of the city's chicest entrepreneurs and philanthropists in our annual "Women of the Year” issue! Keep reading to learn more about them and the innovative businesses they launched to bring positive change to Cincinnati and its women.
Rising up from a nightmare childhood of physical abuse, Jackie Neville now has a personal styling dream job that allows her to support a cause that helps other survivors rise up, too.
Neville has worked in retail management for more than 20 years. “I loved connecting with my customers and making clothing choices easier for them,” she says.
Finding a client the perfect items to add to their wardrobe and seeing their reaction to those selections was always rewarding for Neville. Whether it was an outfit for a job interview, a new job, a date, happy hour, evening events, or evening events, Neville always found a great deal of enthusiasm in searching for an outfit in which her client would love and feel good.
“I built relationships with my customers and they count on me for great wardrobe choices,” she says. “But as I grew in my retail career, I became further away from my customers because I had more responsibilities that took me away from them.”
Then, when the Great Recession hit in 2008, Neville became even further from her customers as the stores she worked in closed and filed for bankruptcy. Her team also shrank as job eliminations became a main source of cutting back on costs, leaving Neville to focus more on operations and less on her customers.
She eventually became burnt out on the operations tasks and was in search of a way to connect with her customers again. That’s when she took her 20+ years of experience and decided to go out on her own, launching Your Stylist, LLC in January 2016.
“Your Stylist, LLC provides personal styling, wardrobe consulting, and shopping services to women in the Tri-State area,” she says. “Based in Cincinnati, I plan to cover a 100-mile area with future plans of expansion. My services are aimed at making my clients the best version of themselves and improving their lives through their wardrobes.”
The full styling process from Your Stylist from start to finish is the style consultation followed by a closet audit.
“The style consultation is where I get to know my client by asking questions to truly understand the challenges she has with her current wardrobe,” says Neville. “We also discuss body types, style personalities, and color palettes that are all in printed packets for her to keep as guides.”
This consultation then moves to the closet audit, where Neville can see the issues and identify what isn’t working for her clients through a try-on session before determining what direction is needed in fixing a wardrobe.
Following the consultation and audit, Neville takes clients on a personal shopping trip.
“This is the where my client really takes the plunge in upgrading her style and finally having clothes that fit and flatter her unique shape while making her feel fabulous,” says Neville. “The value in having me as her personal shopper is that I pre-select all the clothes in the stores ahead of time with a detailed action plan in hand, so she never has to dig for a size, rummage through racks or even deal with sales associates. This service saves time, stress, anxiety and physical work for the client.”
Neville is extra qualified in this stage of her services thanks to her 22 year career in managing retail apparel stores, giving her the ins and outs of shopping, so that all her client needs to do is show up and try on already-chosen outfits. Neville is also there every step of the way as her clients try on items, telling them why it works or doesn’t, where and how to wear it, what else to wear it with, fabric care, how she feels in it, and what she thinks the clothes say to others.
After going through a client’s closet, all unwanted items are donated to Dress for Success Cincinnati. This organization helps disadvantaged women to receive that clothes and job readiness programs they need to dress professionally for interviews that land jobs to improve their lives and achieve economic independence.
Neville says she was inspired to take clients’ unwanted items to Dress for Success due to a personal connection to the cause.
“My mom and I are both physical abuse survivors at the hands of her second husband,” says Neville. “It went on for about 15 years and I know my mom could have escaped earlier had the resources like Dress for Success been available to her back then.”
“Women often end up trapped in bad situations due to not having the tools and resources to forge ahead to regain their independence,” she continues. “I feel that everybody deserves to feel like somebody, no matter their situation.”
Neville wants women to know that just because clothes are unwanted from her clients’ closets doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect for someone else.
When clients find out that she donates unwanted clothes to Dress for Success, Neville says they are ecstatic. She says they not just happy because the organization helps disadvantaged women, but because she drops the clothes off for the client and provides them with a donation receipt so they can claim it as they wish.
Not only is Neville providing wardrobe consultations and audits to clients, and donating items to Dress for Success, but she’s helping her clients with their own self-confidence and career aspirations.
“My style sessions are focused on the person first and the clothes second,” she says. “Because I spend so much time on discovering who she is and listening to what she has to say, it allows me to redefine her style in a way that will result in her being the best version of herself—no one else, no copying celebrities or models. I work with real women who have real lives, careers, families, budgets and things to do! I don’t talk about the latest designer, what’s on the runway, or insist on season must-haves, or what bloggers are saying (bloggers aren’t stylists), or what the trendy color is, etc.”
Neville uses an “ask vs. tell” method that has questions she created. She has her clients tell her everything so she can pinpoint what is going to work for her. “It’s not about my style where I shop or what I wear, it is about her and her style,” says Neville. “Then, I ask her what she wants her clothes to say to other people in certain situations, such as work situations where we all want to truly present our best selves!”
Neville says that she’s currently working on a rebrand for Your Stylist, LLC to repackage the styling services she offers and to give her website a fresh, new look. “There will be a new option on my website to select an ‘in-studio; option for the shopping, where all the clothes are brought to the studio for the client for a private styling session that is VIP all the way,” she says.
Her studio will also play host to style seminars, open houses, and pop-up shops in 2018. She’s also hoping to go into other avenues of styling, like services for men as well as a style service that will appeal to millennials.
“I am also proud to announce a new partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Fashion Design program to be a co-op provider for spring 2018,” adds Neville. “This will allow me to have a full-time co-op student working for me in a dual role in addition to my freelance assistants. I am really looking forward to seeing where this relationship with UC goes and can’t wait for what 2018 has to bring.”