Several years ago, a bright young performer began creating and redesigning Levi’s jeans while on tour with Christina Aguilar and Destiny’s Child. She was creating her own costumes on a budget. With a Levi’s tour sponsorship, she had access to new denim every evening. Every night, Hilary Novelle Hahn created something new, which attracted the attention from the other women on tour and the head of the Levi’s design team. This led to being dubbed the “Levi’s Girl”. At this point The Style Club began to take shape.
Over the years since her time on stage, Hilary has made it a mission to create fashion that was both functional and inspirational. She has branded an empowerment line of clothing that inspires women all over the world. This continues to fuel her creative side. Through working with indie female artists that collaborate with her on designs, Hilary Novelle Hahn and her team now work together to continue to push for female empowerment through their designs. Additionally, The Style Club has had recognition from Forbes, Sara’s Scoop, and a number of other major media outlets, acknowledging the impressive success of this inspirational woman.
One significant goal for The Style Club is to be the fashion brand for the social media age. Hilary Novelle Hahn and her team have laid out the network to make social shopping a reality. Inspired by both major and everyday events, the whole team at The Style Club are able to bring brilliantly unique ideas to life.
Each one of their unique designs have been embraced by women from all walks of life. From celebrities to soccer moms, The Style Club has something for everyone.
When she’s not building her fashion empire, Hilary Hahn still enjoys music and spending time with her family. One exciting part of her life is working with her brother who serves as the CFO. Her hobbies include listening to podcasts, reading, and creating other forms of art.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I picked up an old hobby of mine which was bedazzling denim when making my costumes while on tour. It was something that captivated me, keeping my hands and mind busy creating when I would have otherwise been bored.
How do you make money?
I design and manufacture apparel and sell to retailers. Retailers purchase it in bulk, based on what I have in supply. From there they resell it and place another order with me.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It happened right away, I only spent money when I had a PO. Having a low overhead was advantageous when I began selling. While things have grown since then, I still have much lower overhead than many larger companies in this industry.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit all my life. At 12, I tried my first business and just kept trying until I found what worked for me. I tried to do so many things since I was 12; Music, entertainment, fashion. I failed a million times, but that’s how it works for an entrepreneur. This happened to be a random thing that stuck.
How did you get your first customer?
A friend of a friend saw something I made and placed a small order that snowballed. Before long I was getting orders for my creations from everywhere I could. It was really exciting to see so many people enjoy what I created too.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
There is no marketing strategy. Its pure grind. It’s full of cold calls and knocking on doors. It may be a slow growth process, but it is the one that has worked the best for me. I’m happy to have everything coming together.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Turning away orders that don’t make enough margin. You want to make everyone happy, but you have to be able to pay the bills. The balancing act requires saying no to some things that don’t cover it. In time, perhaps those orders will get to the size where the profit margin covers what I need it to.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I won’t give up. My grit and determination keep me striving to create the best products possible. It also keeps me going when I need to contact retailers and others about distribution and sales.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Empowering women. When another woman sees my experience and growth and it inspires her to do her own thing it’s thrilling to me. Giving another person, especially another woman, the inspiration and path to create their way encourages me to keep going no matter what surfaces. We learn from everything and when we share and grow together everyone wins.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We have a couple of new collections in the works that I’m excited about! They are creations after my own heart, which is a beautiful thing to see come together. Your art becoming reality is the most exciting part of anything we could do.
What business books have inspired you?
Not really one to read business books, however, I was inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and Rachel Hollis Wash Your Face Girl. They are the kind of books that speak to the heart
I do listen to a lot of podcasts. One of my favorites is How I Built This.