BrooklynButtah: Talk to us a bit about how you felt about the styling industry when you first started from a black woman’s perspective.
Jocelynn Jacobs: Being a minority in the industry is different. When you start out as an upcoming stylist, you’re an assistant, so a lot of times you get these jobs that aren’t the greatest, they don’t really pay anything, and then they might be on the “homeboy network.” Everybody’s experience is different but it can be a bit challenging being a minority within fashion especially as you move into the fashion houses.
BrooklynButtah: What is it about the fashion houses?
Jocelynn Jacobs: I did an internship at Yves Saint Laurent and that was awesome but I was the only brown girl here. Being the only brown girl at a fashion house like Yves Saint Laurent, there’s no one to really look to or have as a mentor to help you navigate that world. You want to work for a fashion house, how do you do it, what are the politics, you just don’t have it. A lot of us don’t necessarily make it for long within fashion houses because of that.
BrooklynButtah: Similar to corporate America and being the only brown person in the room, it’s all about seeking the mentors who are willing to provide the insight.
Jocelynn Jacobs: With corporate America you look to other brown people if they worked in your company or your division to help you navigate. Within styling, though, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great stylists that weren’t brown. It depends on your experience and what kind of blessings you end up getting. I’m at the point now where I have the ability to hire assistants, which is amazing because I enjoy teaching people the things that I’ve learned. Me being able to teach other people is awesome but me being able to afford to give my assistants the opportunity to have someone to call and ask questions – gives me the opportunity to be the mentor I never had first coming into this and offer tips like the importance of self-care.
BrooklynButtah: Self-care is so important,what are some things you do to keep your body and mind right?
Jocelynn Jacobs: I literally just hired a trainer and I got a fine ass trainer because that’s the only way I’m going to go to the gym. Of course, eating well and taking care of your self. I haven’t been at a place where I’ve been able to do any spa type of maintenance but I hope to be there one day with a weekly massage and monthly facial.
BrooklynButtah: As you mentioned before, creating different directions to work towards, what are you working towards?
Jocelynn Jacobs: Within the next year my true prayer and goal is to have my business – The Styling Cabinet – build a community. What that looks like is bringing together wardrobe stylists, make up artists, hair stylists, and manicurists together on one platform. This platform will be a source of education, inspiration, and networking to gain inspiration from each other and build a positive community. I know that doesn’t exist in the way that I would like it to so I’m working on creating that. From a personal perspective, I would also like to do more shows. I’m working on joining the wardrobe union and hopefully within the next five years I’ll be able to work on a featured film.
BrooklynButtah: What do you feel is missing within the community that your business is ultimately going to fill?
Jocelynn Jacobs: There’s a certain level of camaraderie within the styling community that is more so about who you now and who you’ve worked with. For wardrobe stylists, it is a very competitive industry so a lot of people are segmented and end up competing after the same work. What I would like to see is something that’s been done by make up artists – I would say that make up artists are far more collaborative and open to each other. Instead of specifically targeting wardrobe stylists, I want to target the entire team in hopes that all these people can get together and make magic. I’ve been blessed to work with some incredible people, I know some people who have worked with some terrible people, but I think there are more great people that are open and kind compared to those that are closed off. I would like to bring the people that are open together even for the greater good.
Someone asked me if I’m looking to set an industry standard and that’s not really the case at all, its all about networking, diversity, and see who’s doing what. If I’m a 21-year-old FIT graduate and I know that I don’t know everything then I would look to The Styling Cabinet to learn the things I don’t know or figure out who’s who, doing what’s what.
BrooklynButtah: Entrepreneurship is really built into the role of styling, though subtle, how have you developed your entrepreneurial skills?
Jocelynn Jacobs: The best way is to lose money. You do a job, forget to send an invoice, and then you need the money. You have to set up some kind of system for yourself. Another thing is, you get paid the money and then you don’t take taxes out the money. So that first year the IRS comes after your ass. I bet you won’t do it again. Some people are built with a certain business acumen but a lot of stylists in general are creative. You have to have a method to the madness, even with keeping receipts, tracking your jobs – bigger the job the more of a tracking system you have to have in place. One thing that I use that works well for me is Fresh Books. It’s an awesome service, like a cloud accounting service that you can create your invoice, send them to people, clients can log in and pay you through it, you can click a button to notify that you’ve been paid, and keeps track of how much you’ve been paid. It is a lot of trial and error but you can’t just be out here winging it because you’re going to end up in the red.
BroooklynButtah: With cuffing season looming ahead, what is it about the fall that makes it the best season for date night and what is your date night outfit go-to?
Jocelynn Jacobs: Fall is the best season for dates because the temperature is cooler and the makeup you wear won’t slide off you face leaving you looking like a hotmess. Also who doesn’t love a chunky sweater. My date night outfit go-to is jeans, heels (boots or sandals), cute top, simplistic jewelry, wonderful natural makeup and hair. This is the look for me because I get lazy and also want to be comfortable.