It all started with $1,500 and a plan.
In 2015, Jessica Rich was working in PR when she decided to bet on herself and create something tangible from her love of fashion. She’d already amassed a large social media following thanks to her bubbly personality and a short stint on the dating reality show, VH1’s “Real Chance of Love”. She took this as an opportunity to leverage her visibility.
“I wanted to use the 15 minutes (of fame) I’d gotten from the show in 2009, so I spent the next few years networking to amplify the buzz I’d garnered,” Rich said. She explained that soon after, she started building an impressive contact list filled with celebrities, stylists, and brand influencers. The Michigan-native then quickly realized that her keen fashion sense could be turned into a multi-million dollar business. That’s when she launched her online store, initially selling costume jewelry, but quickly grew it into so much more.
“In 2017, I had $1,500 to create a prototype of a pair of transparent heels. I took 50 photos, sent them out to my list of influencers contacts, the influencers reposted it, and my business was birthed from there.”
Mere months later, she said she amassed enough revenue to walk away from her day job to expand her brand to include additional shoe designs, clothing, and eventually, bags.
The company’s success was swift, but it wasn’t entirely a surprise to her.
“My mom was a single parent, so I grew up watching her work two jobs, needless to say, she was always a hustler and an inspiration”, Jessica shared. “I just never wanted to work for anyone else because my attitude with life was always, ‘I’ll show up when I want to’. Even if I had a job, I was always, ten minutes late. I moved to my own rhythm. And my mom knew that. She looked at me one day when I was just a teen and said, ‘you’re going to own your own business one day.’”
And what a business it is.
To date, Jessica Rich, the brand, is sold in her own flagship stores, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom, as well as among other retailers. Jessica Rich has been worn by Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, and Chloe Bailey, just to name a few.
Her latest iteration includes an expansion into sneakers, touting her signature transparent style.
But with all of the success, she says she still always feels like there’s more she has to learn as an entrepreneur.
“I’m always looking to grow,” she shared. “You can never educate yourself enough in business and that’s the most exciting part about all of this.”