When Opportunity Knocks: Fashionista realizes dream after job loss

Making a career move from electrical engineering and information technology to become the owner of a fashion boutique is not for the faint of heart. When Danielle Nelson started Fashionista Exchange a year ago, she knew it would take hard work, determination and a lot of style.
“I grew up around people who worked really hard and worked long hours,” Nelson says. “Those are the people I look up to. I know you have to work really hard for what you want.”
When she was a teenager, she made her own clothes and enjoyed shopping at thrift stores. Nelson says her love of fashion remained even after she graduated from Devry University with a degree in information technology and went on to get her electrical engineering degree from the University of Phoenix. 
When she was faced with losing her job, Nelson realized she had the opportunity to pursue her dream of being part of the local fashion scene. Starting a business proved to be difficult for Nelson, a single mother. She knew she needed to save every cent she had. 
“I always kept in mind that I had to save money because I knew what I wanted to do,” Nelson says. “I didn’t go out as much as I wanted, and I had to be responsible with my money.”
Although she loves her new role as owner of a trendy resale boutique, her son, Kellan, will always be her first priority. “It’s been hard, trying to balance the time,” she says. “The business takes an extraordinary amount of time. It’s been an adjustment.”
Fashionista Exchange is closed Sundays and Mondays so Nelson can spend quality time with Kellan.
The colorful and chic boutique buys gently worn, quality, stylish items — from dresses and skirts to jeans and purses — every day and sells them at an affordable price. When she was starting the business, Nelson advertised for buying events and, after three weekends, she had more items than she ever expected.
“I love coming here every day,” Nelson says. “We always try to keep it looking new and exciting. It sets us apart when we give people a personalized experience. When someone comes in and they need something, we work hard to find it.”
Her goal is to have a one-stop shop for her costumers. “I love thrift store shopping,” Nelson says. “I wanted to take the thrill of the finding the treasure and have one-of-a- kind things all in one place so you don’t have to search through endless racks of things just to find maybe one thing you like.”
Nelson’s favorite stores include Anthropologie and locally owned Stuff in Brookside. She also carries accessories from local designers. 
“We sell Silvia Hall crystal-wrapped necklaces and Remnant by RJ just to name a few,” Nelson says. “I’m really inspired by local designers and artists. It’s inspiring to see what people design and come up with.”
Her advice to anyone struggling to establish a career is to keep looking for opportunities. “Even if you don’t know what you want to do, try to position yourself for an opportunity,” Nelson says
The Kansas Small Business Development Center proved to be a great resource for her while she was in the planning stages of Fashionista Exchange.
“It takes a lot of determination,” Nelson says. “I’m not an excuses kind of person. If there was a time I didn’t know what I was doing, I would try to figure it out.”
Fashionista Exchange, 8777 W. 95th St., Overland Park, Kan., buys, sells and trades brand-name and designer women’s clothing. For information, visit fashionistakc.com
Photo by Brooke Vandever



morisgrace's picture

Thank you for providing this quality and well written article.Loosing your job puts you in a difficult situation as you need money to go forward and to have a decent lifestyle.I was working in the night shift to an IT company and I've recently been fired.It is very difficult for me but I am thinking to run my own business in order to be independent.

morisgrace's picture

Even if you loose your job or you just pass a difficult moment it is very important to do the the right choices in order to stand up and to go forward.

imwilliam's picture

This is an amazing tale of switching career. I remember my days as a trainee fire fighter. As a trainee we spend most of the time learning the traits of being a fire fighter and at the time when we were getting evaluated for “People Person“ trait in our personality, I realized that I have got the power of interacting with people easily than most of other around me. With this realization I dropped out of the training and started pursuing my career as a sales executive. I now feel quite happy as I am pretty successful in my career.

Although she went through a harrowing experience she has finally found her calling. You could only have a brilliant career when you love your job and you have skills for it. If you are interested in the challenges of the health care sector then you should consider aiming for Positions in US department of Health.

its_me's picture

Although it is a common practice to follow career paths that are conventional and high paying not all the time you feel satisfied with your career choice. Such dissatisfaction results in change of organizations, often direction, it is better to follow the direction your heart wants you to follow.

The transition was huge and somewhat shocking but she got the opportunity to find her true calling. For a successful career you have to believe in your skills and passion. If you feel like doing a career change make sure your have the skills such as organizational leadership to fit into a new role.

its_me's picture

Although the change has been quite strange for her she has been successful in fitting into the new role. There are many women who transform their passion into reality, even after having a family they continue to balance work and family.

She is enjoying her work and that makes the whole thing even better for her. Entering the world of business could be a bit risky but if you persist and make the right efforts you would be able to overcome all odds, furthermore you need to learn to negotiate with clients.

its_me's picture

As a student of industrial organizational psychology course, we are often being told many motivational stories like this, especially to know more about the triggering factor of making a man want to come hard from a situation where he lost almost everything. These stories are interesting but often seem un-earthily.

Truth be told, it was a bold move for a engineer to start a business in the fashion industry, but life has ups and downs so we must adjust. With the social media management detroit every dream can become a reality, no matter how unreal might sound to us at some point. Technology provides numerous possibilities to start and run a business, we just need to find identify the one that fits us best.

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