Styling for success
Insights from Tamika Price, Standout Style (Bridgeport)
2018 marks Tamika’s tenth year as an entrepreneur. And her boutique, Standout Style, is much more than a place to buy clothing. It’s a haven for women looking to learn about fashion, business, and themselves.
The atmosphere inside Standout Style, from its bright paint colors to abundant natural light, beams positivity. Signs in the fitting rooms proclaim the shop a “No Body Bashing” zone. Tamika stocks clothing in sizes Small to 3X, so anyone who walks through the doors finds options and acceptance. “No one can wear everything. We’re going to find something that looks good on you, your physique, your shape and that fits your lifestyle.”
From a child facing homelessness to owning a successful business on the very same streets, Tamika’s vision for her future was always clear even if the exact path was not. “I was going to be a successful business woman, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.” She used her Corporate Communications degree from NIU to start her own personal styling business, A-Line Style Services, which landed her on the Rachael Ray show after only six months. “Once that happened, I told myself that if you’ve been doing this for six months, and you just made national TV, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Just keep doing it.”
While continuing A-Line Style Services, Tamika wrote Standout Style, a guidebook for women who want to learn to style themselves for success. Just a few years later, after some encouragement from friends and family, Tamika opened a boutique by the same name in Lakeview. But her seemingly constant upward progress wasn’t without its stumbling blocks. When her Lakeview location closed, the future of Standout Style was unclear, but Tamika never gave up hope. “I refused to say going out of business party. I refused. We called it a moving party, and I said, we are going to find another space.”
One of her biggest pieces of business and life advice is to “remember your why,” and that’s exactly what Tamika did when faced with the possibility of not finding another location. “I thought maybe it’ll turn out to be an online store, but I told myself that’s not why you started… I started to have the relationship, the one-on-one styling. I can’t style you online, not realistically. And you can’t dance in my fitting room if you’re shopping online.”
After some uncertainty, Standout Style found a new home on Morgan Street that allowed Tamika to expand the business to include everything she could have hoped for and more. As a personal stylist and business coach, Tamika built Standout Style’s new location as a “female entrepreneur meeting space.” Far from the traditional retail shop, Tamika combines all of her experience to create a truly unique environment that encourages community building and empowerment.
Today, after two years in the new location, Standout Style continues to grow. Tamika hosts private events, one-on-one coaching sessions, business workshops, in-store styling and pop-up shops for other businesses. Where others may see competition, Tamika sees opportunity to help other women grow and thrive. “I’m always in the mindset of collaborate versus compete.” She’s not afraid to share her decade’s worth of experience because it may help someone else find success. Recently, she hosted a Boss Mom Life networking workshop at the store, focusing on how mothers can find success and support in business.
She is currently working on a second book, focusing on female entrepreneurship. One of the biggest pieces of advice she has for women looking to start their own business is to do their research and stay positive. “The easiest part is starting, but it’s so much work that’s in front of you, and you just have to not be overwhelmed with that, and just know that ‘I can only do what I can do, but I’m going to do my best, and I’m going to bite off a little bit day by day.’”
Day by day, Tamika has built a business designed with strong women at its core. More than a store, Standout Style is an experience. “The main goal is always the same: to make women feel comfortable in here. I want them to have an experience, not just shopping and sales. I want them to feel good about whatever they leave out the door with, whatever experiences they’ve had here, I want them to feel fulfilled.”