Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace Thomas.
Hi Grace, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Hi, my name is Grace! From a young age, I always knew I wanted a career in fashion. Initially, I had my sights set on a career as a magazine editor, with Vogue being my dream employer. While trying to figure out my career path in college, an opportunity opened up I never imagined.
A friend put me in touch with his sister, who happened to own a personal styling company and was looking to hire a styling assistant. From the working interview to the days in the role, this job was fast-paced and I loved it! During my time there, I started to learn the day-to-day job of a stylist. We worked with high-net-worth clients in Portland, NYC, and LA to curate their everyday wardrobe, and seasonal closet, handle travel packing, and source limited edition luxury items.
After spending time in that role, I decided to pivot and went on to work for a corporate retailer, where I held roles in buying and merchandising. However, I always knew that styling was my goal and during that time explored editorial and personal styling gigs on the side.
During the pandemic, I was eager for more creativity in my day-to-day life and started exploring ways to bring that back into my life. I had seen how styling had pivoted to serve clients virtually and had friends and family asking me to style and shop for them regularly. That’s when the idea for Builtgracefully was created. I knew I wanted to work 1:1 with people again and wanted to build a brand that was authentic to me.
For three months, I worked quietly building my little idea. The only person who knew about it was my husband at first. Slowly, I started to put it out there into the world, and three months after my concept, I launched my brand. Two months later, I launched my website, and 1 month after that I had my first paying client!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Yes and No. Sometimes I look back and can’t believe how much I have done in such as small-time as a one-woman show. But other days, it feels clunky, overwhelming, and hard.
For me, being an entrepreneur has meant getting out of my comfort zone each and every day. Some days I will be pushing myself to get out there and network and other days I might be reaching out to brands to build relationships with them. No one else is going to push you but yourself, so every day you have to get up and trust in the process. It feels hard in the moment, but when you have a small win, it’s all worth it.
Another struggle for me has been building a network of other entrepreneurs that I can connect with. Coming from a corporate background, there is always a colleague, friend, or boss to check in with and get advice. Being a business owner, you are on an island by yourself.
Resources don’t seem to be out there for early-stage entrepreneurs, I have had mentorship programs deny my application to be part of their program, or other business owners charging for their time to connect over a coffee. In a phase of my business when I am so eager to brainstorm and connect with other people in the same situation, it’s been really hard to find those resources.
Right now, I have decided that for every struggle I encounter, instead of pushing up against it I pivot. That is what has kept me going!
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Builtgracefully?
Builtgracefully is a full-service personal wardrobe styling company.
I work with clients to help them transform their wardrobe, define their style, and curate outfits for special occasions. Most people think that styling is only for celebrities or don’t understand what the difference is between my work and a company like Stitch Fix. Let me explain!
When you work with me, we start with the basics. We take your measurements to understand your unique body shape and what styles will flatter you the most. Not everybody is the same, and having this understanding is key to feeling great in your clothes.
We’ll create your style together, by creating a visual mood board to define your style. From there, we work together to shop and create outfits for your specific priorities. Maybe you want to create a capsule wardrobe or need some new outfits to wear back to the office. We identify your needs and create a wardrobe to work with your life.
Not ready to invest in my Signature service where we edit, shop, and style? I also have an Occasion Styling package designed for clients looking to work with a stylist to create 2 specific looks for an upcoming occasion. I’ll do the hard work for you and scour the internet to come up with 4 outfit options and provide you with shoppable mood boards. Talk about seamless!
What sets me apart from big box brand styling companies is that I focus on you! I understand that each and every client is different and is going through their own personal journey. I’ll educate you along the way while being the guiding expert you’re looking for. I lead my business with kindness, inclusivity, and fun, so if you feel like fashion is intimidating, I am the girl for you!
So maybe we end by discussing what matters most to you and why?
In everything about my brand, authenticity is my #1 driver.
In order for my work to be successful with my clients, they need to show up as their authentic selves. I am asking people to open up their doors to me and let me edit their closets, share their biggest body insecurities, and trust in my expertise. The only way I can ask clients to do that is to bring my authentic self to my brand every day.
Over the years in the corporate world, I lost myself. I started Builtgracefully to get back to the roots of my true self and in doing so, help others feel confident being their best self. If I showed up as someone I wasn’t, then my brand wouldn’t be true to me. I lead with humbleness and kindness and treat my clients exactly how I would want to be treated.
Life is too short and fashion is taken way too seriously if you ask me. Builtgracefully is here to make fashion fun and take the stress away from something that shouldn’t be adding stress to your life.
- Virtual Occasion Styling – Starts at $350
- Signature Service – Starts virtually at $2000
- Virtual Bridal Styling – Starts at $350
- Website: www.builtgracefully.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/builtgracefully/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/builtgracefully
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/builtgracefully-portland