“Do what you love and success will follow.”
The famous proverb is easier preached than practiced. Am I right? In a city that has so much opportunity, it can be overwhelming to choose just one path to follow if your talents extend into more than one territory.
Realizing your passions can actually become a reality, though, is an exhilarating feeling.
I sat down with personal stylist Kristie Jorfald to find out what it’s really like outliving the dream and starting your own business in Chicago, and was surprised to hear just how attainable venturing out solo can really be.
From Hollywood celebrity stylist for clients including Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez to Chicago entrepreneur, Jorfald knows what it takes to acquire a CEO title in the Second City, and dished on a few secrets of becoming your own boss in this town.
“Take people you meet and experiences you have, and run with it,” Jorfald advises.
“Life is so exciting and you are going to learn from so many people in different ways, and you need to take advantage of that.”
Starting her career straight out of college during an internship in Los Angeles with Teen Magazine, Jorfald’s knack for putting outfits together was immediately recognized by top celebrity stylists. Before she knew it she was styling pop icons Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kendall and Kylie Jenner and more for red carpet events, magazine spreads and TV commercials.
Throughout her three months with the magazine, Jorfald worked hard to secure an impressive list of connections, which would lead to two more internships with Cosmo Girl and Showroom 7. After a few years assisting editorial shoots for high-profile models, actors and athletes, Jorfald felt like something was missing and was compelled to return to her native city of Chicago.
Setting out to make a difference in the Chicago fashion world, Jorfald knew that learning from other like minded entrepreneurs was going to get her there faster. So she put herself out there and did perhaps the most important thing a hopeful entrepreneur can do: networked like crazy.
It paid off when she ran into celebrity fitness coach Kay Yasin at a local charity event. The two clicked instantly, realizing their similarities for helping women achieve confidence through a positive body image and presence.
Jorfald can’t stress enough how important building relationships with people can be, both within your field of interest and outside it.
“Chicago is such an amazing place for meeting people because everyone is incredibly nice,” she states. “We are so lucky that people truly want to help each other out, and I think we should really take advantage of that because so much opportunity can come from it.”
Jorfald is making her way to creating a community network of stylists, photographers and other fashion-forward thinkers to weave that whole creative feel into Chicago, hoping that learning from each other’s unique talents will result in amazing work. Her extensive list of goals for herself concludes with developing a nonprofit that links back to her styling business currently in the works.
Jorfald discussed the difficulty of finding your identity as a young professional in Chicago, especially for those who feel like they aren’t passionate about something specific. To put yourself at ease if you are struggling with this, she advocates joining a local meetup, staying active by volunteering and meeting career-driven individuals for coffee. On your road to self discovery, you must first become genuinely happy with yourself.
“Don’t focus on other people,” she recommends. “Focus on yourself because your biggest competitor is yourself.”
She elaborates, saying, “Ultimately you need to create a business plan for your brand. Figure out what you are trying to create, and what your goal is, even if you’re unsure of the field you want to be in. The underlying things that are going to propel you are knowing your worth and taking risks by putting yourself out there.”
The take-home message from Jorfald is simple: Take risks and build relationships with people. Essentially, we all want the same things, which are happiness and success.
“My best advice is to try everything,” she says. “Try everything that interests you. I feel lucky having my business prosper in Chicago because it is the place for finding yourself.”
She recommends a simple exercise: “Notice what your happiness was when you were 10 or 11 years old when you didn’t need to have your life figured out. Go back to that.”