Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Pearson.
Kara, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a writer, stylist, and graphic designer. To tell my whole story of how I stumbled into starting a freelance business, I’d like to start from the beginning. In high school, I always knew that I wanted a career in the fashion industry and unfortunately, my school didn’t offer any fashion-related courses so I had to look elsewhere. I talked to the career center and thus, begun my first internship program at the age of 14 with Nordstrom for their Fashion Board.
Four years later, I graduated high school and decided during the summer after graduation to apply for an internship at Santa Barbara Magazine. I was given the job and decided to delay my college acceptance to allow myself one semester before school to intern for the magazine. I worked under the Art Director as a young 18-year-old girl and began to be inspired by all aspects of an editorial. I couldn’t get enough of the industry, so I began my search again for opportunities to grow.
After being present on photo shoots for SB Magazine, I met Dani Stone, head of the styling team called Danistyle, during a feature shoot that she styled for Beau Dunn. I reached out to her for guidance and she offered me an internship opportunity with Danistyle. For seven years, I worked my way up to be her styling assistant after numerous campaign shoots for Microsoft, Kay Jewelers, Honda, Miss Me, and Reverie Sleep. Dani has always been a mentor of mine and encouraged me to start styling.
Three years ago, I dropped out of college and launched my own editorial, celebrity and personal styling company called Styled by Kara and have recently transitioned it to include content creation and social media services as well as a personal fashion blog. I like to think of myself as a “jack of all trades” for freelance. The amount of knowledge that I had soaked up during those years of internships, opportunities, and school courses has given me the tools to pursue my dream to write, style and generate cutting-edge content for all my clients.
To this day, I am consistently encouraging others to go after their dreams, especially when it comes to career. My goal every day is to inspire others to never be afraid of the unknowns of starting a business. One of my favorite quotes that I live by is spoken by Michael Dell: “You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.” To succeed in your career, whatever that may be, you have to be curious, do your research, go after opportunities, put in the hard work and never be afraid of failure.
Has it been a smooth road?
Being an entrepreneur is never a “smooth road.” It always has its ups and downs. There are days when you are left feeling extremely full of satisfaction and other days you are left empty, haunted with doubt. For a while, I allowed myself to work a full-time job on top working my side hustle (my own business)m but I found myself putting more time into to other people’s dreams, who weren’t necessarily valuing me and the skills I brought to the table. It was a pivotal moment in my life when I realized I wanted to be my own boss. I was letting go of the idea of a 9-5 job structure and, not to mention, I was completely terrified of where to even begin. All I knew was that I had to make the leap of faith but honestly, it was more like a fall than a leap.
All I can say is that the process is what it is… a process. You have to hold tight during the hard times and when there are times of good, acknowledge and appreciate the successes even if they may be small. You’ll realize it very quickly, that balance is going to be key. Balancing your time to allow self-care and a social life is extremely important because, without it, you will feel drained or even uninspired. This means to take time for yourself to breath and refresh. Cultivating a support team around you is also very important. I try to surround myself with creative and inspiring friends (or family) who love and support my dreams unconditionally. These are the people who will be there when the going gets tough and trust me it will. But these people will also be there to celebrate and encourage your successes.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Styled by Kara story. Tell us more about the business.
Over the years, I have worked with various companies as a freelance stylist, writer, brand consultant, social media manager and strategist but have still maintained my own creative venture, the Styled by Kara blog. I have styled celebrities, influencers, red carpet events, editorial spreads for magazines, independent films and national/international campaigns for print and social media. In the past year, I have been writing and styling for Santa Barbara Magazine for their Fall 2017, Spring 2018 and Summer 2018 issues. I have also done social media consultation and content creation for a list of clients in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Because I do specialize in graphic design, styling, and writing, I was able to transition into social media work to facilitate the growth of other companies.
I think what sets me apart, is that I have maintained my own voice on social media. The Styled by Kara blog allowed a space for me to connect with other young women about style, lifestyle and so many more real-life topics that I have discovered through writing. Styled by Kara is my passion project that gives you a glimpse into my world. It allows me to reclaim my identity (apart from my career) and showcases how I prefer to style myself.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Read and research! Learning your industry in and out is the first step in understanding how your business will fit into it. Hit the bookstore, scroll through google or find a mentor are three great options to try before launching a business. I was lucky enough to find a program in Santa Barbara called Women’s Economic Ventures that helped me learn how to start my own business. There are programs out there (especially ones focused on women) and all you have to do is search for them!
- Website: www.styledbykara.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @styledbykara
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/styledbykara
Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine, Santa Barbara Magazine, iMute Magazine, Danistyle Team, Lauryn Alvarez