Christie Maruka, editorial stylist, contributing fashion writer, and founder of Fashion Fix, talks about starting her business and dressing for the job you want.Many women often dream of starting their own business but are too nervous to do so. Christie Maruka was one of these nervous women, but she didn’t let her anxieties get in the way of launching her dream.
Maruka is the founder of Fashion Fix, a mobile styling service that operates out of New Jersey and styles clients throughout the East Coast. Maruka has styled everyone, from newscasters to Real Housewives to everyday women.
When she’s not dressing her clients, she’s publishing fashion articles and making television appearances on shows like Tyra, The Doctors, and even on the sorely missed Style Network.
"There are two characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs possess; they are always well-prepared and they are avid risk takers." ~Christie Maruka
Maruka took a huge risk in 1998 when she signed a three-year lease on her first store. Without a college degree or entrepreneurial experience, she knew she might run into some obstacles. Luckily, she was extremely well-prepared.
Maruka’s career in fashion began when she was just 15 years old. She had obtained her first job in retail and loved styling her customers.
"I’ve always loved clothing, accessories, and anything glamorous," said Maruka. "It was so gratifying to help all of the mothers and daughters who came into the store!"
Later in her career, Maruka became an Account Executive for Calvin Klein. It was through this job, Maruka said, that she learned the wholesale and business end of fashion. Maruka is often asked whether or not her lack of a college degree has hindered her business. Judging by her success, not having a college education hasn’t affected her in the least.
"Experience is key," she said. "College could not have taught me all of the things that I’ve learned."
When the time finally came to start her dream job as a clothing store owner, she knew she had a lot of work to do.
"I did a lot of research before signing my lease," said Maruka. "I found the perfect location in a great community with no competition. After I signed the lease, I re-did the entire store and opened two weeks later."
From the time the store opened, Maruka worked tirelessly, coming in six days a week with no other employees and never taking a vacation. Her hard work paid off in 2007 when she sold her store for a profit and moved on to her next business venture: a mobile styling service.
"I used the money from my store to buy a Mercedes van and started the business the day."
Maruka had developed a large and loyal clientele throughout her community, after holding countless charity events and fundraisers while her store was still open.
Since then, Maruka has established herself in the fashion industry. Aside from being an accomplished and well-known editorial stylist, she is also a contributing fashion writer. In her articles, Maruka gives excellent style advice for working women.
"When it comes to dressing for corporate life, it’s important to remember three things," said Maruka. "Always be polished, simple, and sophisticated." She also stresses that even on Casual Fridays, it’s important to always look your best.
"Whether your workplace is strict or relaxed, it’s important to go to work in a neat, simple, professional manner...Your image and how you portray yourself in the workplace is imperative while representing your company."
Maruka not only helps people dress for success, but she also helps them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.
7 Tips from Christie on Building Your Own Business!
- Entrepreneurship is like a marathon, not a sprint; you have to build your stamina.
- Help others. Business Karma does exist. Play by the rules of what comes around goes around.
- Be grateful. Thank colleagues and advisors that help and support you along your journey.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you get knocked down, get back up.
- Take advantage of social media. You can build a huge following without spending a dime on advertising.
- Build your business with the right people. Do your due diligence when you recruit, don’t just settle.
- Get your business and logo name right. Make sure it appeals to your target market