Monday, April 18, 2016

What would you attempt to do if you were not afraid to fail? See how StyleChat’s Creative Director left finance for fashion & startups

How does one  jump from Wall Street to Seventh Avenue and finally land in Silicon Valley?   Just ask StyleChat’s creative director, Olya Dzilikhova. 

When you think of the financial industry, you envision men wearing expensive charcoal grey and black suits that all look the same. Maybe that’s why StyleChat creative director Olya Dzilikhova’s striking fashion sense stood out to her manager when she worked on Wall Street and sparked a change in career.

A childhood in Russia leads to a career in finance
Olya grew up in Russia, where she watched Elsa Klensch’s style segment on CNN International every week and dreamed of traveling and designing clothes for women across the globe. Her fashion dreams were put on the back burner, though, because of strong family ties in finance. She moved to New York to study and then start a career on Wall Street.

Her love for fashion could not be dimmed by the world of finance and boring suits. Her sense of style led to her manager asking her if she could help her choose an outfit for an event. Her manager’s request sparked an epiphany for Olya. The world of styling could be a natural bridge between her business skills and passion for fashion. 

Trading in finance for a fashion line
Olya left Wall Street for a corporate communications  firm that represented powerful women in business and entertainment. She met her friend and a future business partner, Mina. Together, they started Mina+Olya, the first luxury sustainable clothing line for women created in the US.

The line lasted for about four years before closing. Although it was difficult to see the line close, Olya took her learnings and started her own style and brand consultancy serving clientele worldwide from her office in the San Francisco.

Moving past imposter syndrome and into startups
She was later introduced to Prosenjit Sen, the founder of mobile startup StyleChat, a mobile social shopping app for consumers and stylists. He was hosting a meeting for fashion and tech entrepreneurs, where people discussed how to improve fashion commerce now that mobile has started to dominate.

With no tech experience, Olya wasn’t confident she could join the startup world. She had a case of imposter syndrome, where you feel like you’re somewhere you don’t belong. She was nervous she wouldn’t have much to contribute to the meeting but decided to go anyway.

Once she was in the discussion, she realized the opposite. While many startups had great technology, they still needed direction and strategy from a true stylist and fashion veteran. She wasn’t an imposter in the startup world – she was needed.

A few months later, she joined StyleChat as the Creative Director.  Olya’s story shows that careers may have twists and turns, but if you keep pursuing your passion and moving past self-doubt, you’ll find work that makes you happy every day.

About StyleChat
StyleChat is the ultimate shopping and styling app for all fashionistas! Browse your favorite online stores (or physical stores), style outfits with items on the web and in your closet, and chat with friends. Better yet, you can purchase an entire outfit in seconds with just one-tap, using the Universal Shopping Cart. When you're ready to show off your style creations, share them with friends across all your social media.

Download StyleChat from iTunes:


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  2. I'm definitely a vintage collector. I have a wardrobe of core basics that I like to spice up with different colors, new accessories, and I love to try on new things to invite something different. I find, with every new stage of my life, my self-image shifts with new duties and responsibilities, and so does my fashion style.
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