A Worthy Pursuit

A "Woman of Worth" is entrepreneurial, loves fashion and craves connections to others.

According to the latest consumer survey from the Conference Board, job satisfaction has reached its highest level since 2005. But, it still remains depressingly low: about half of respondents say they are not satisfied with their jobs at all. Half.

Why do so many people dislike their jobs? The reasons vary, and the causes are complex. Some people feel they're not being truly valued. Others are disappointed that their career path has led to a virtual dead end. Demanding bosses, cranky clients, and poor work environments are also burning people out while success remains elusive.

For women in particular, though, the hurdles to success are even greater. Even when women land in their desired field, glass ceilings are real. And in fields where women outnumber men, such as the fashion industry, achieving true success can be grueling and costly – and men still end up taking the top jobs such as CEO, director, and chairman. Moreover, the competition within companies is fierce, and many in the industry sadly note that "fashion eats its young."

But, what if you could work in luxury fashion, on your terms, as your own boss, setting your own schedule while helping other women feel good on the inside as well as on the outside? What if you could turn your love of fashion—regardless of the kind of work you do now—into a career that earns you as much as you want; from $6,000 a season to $200,000 a year (and beyond)?

That's exactly what fashion brands Worth New York and W by Worth are doing for a growing cohort of luxury fashion stylists.

Stylist Christine Harriss selling Worth Fall 2018 from her home in New Jersey.

New recruits at Worth quickly learn that being a stylist, hosting trunk shows, and taking appointments from clients is not a typical job. It's a home-based business that requires being adept at certain social skills and leveraging one's creativity while taking a strategic and tactical approach to business. W by Worth and Worth New York, along with its community of stylists, is essentially a platform built upon beautiful apparel that creates an authentic, personal connection between stylists and the client.

Worth Collection President, Kelly Collins, described the role of a stylist as "more than a business opportunity."

"I really consider it an entrepreneurial opportunity for a woman to discover their passion for fashion, and to try something that they have never done before with minimal risk and major upside," Collins explained. "It's also the opportunity that lends itself to a community of women who have the same entrepreneurial spirit and passion for what they do—dressing women to be the best that they are inside and out. Worth is more than being a stylist, it's about what makes the women of Worth, worth it."

The passion Collins noted is key to Worth's vision, which is anchored by luxury apparel that is sophisticated and fashion-forward. The company, founded in 1991 as Worth New York, is compelled by a values-driven ethos. Its mission is to "provide products with visible, intrinsic value through an enduring commitment to style, quality, and service."

When asked about what differentiates Worth and its stylists, the company easily cited 10 reasons, which includes products that feature styles "done in two-color ways with multiple mix and match combinations, so no collection is specifically piece driven." Product quality and consistency is ensured by the design and production teams. "We know who we are and who we are dressing," the company touted.

Other points of differentiation include a philanthropic component where a charity can earn 10 percent from a stylist's travel trunk show.

Stylists can also build an agency with associates, and Worth will pay the associate agency a 20 percent commission on sales—a payout that is one of the highest in the industry.

Other notable differences of the Worth business model are centered on flexibility in selling, which includes being able to sell both brands across two selling seasons. Stylists also have access to the Worth app—a selling tool that has a social media function as well. The company said given the current retail climate, which is focused on e-commerce as well as meeting consumer demands for a higher level of personalization, the app is a complete "game changer."

"With an iPad or iPhone, stylists can sell product with a swipe," the company explained. "Exclusive to Worth Collection, stylists can send closets, assets, looks and also share looks of other stylists to their clients while simultaneously posting these looks on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms."

But, the secret sauce to Worth's success is the culture, which the company described as one that "cultivates a corporate culture of women helping other entrepreneurial women. It is a culture of women who have deep bonds with each other, along with the desire to help one another, and work together."

So, who would make a good stylist candidate?

"Any woman who is looking to expand her entrepreneurial spirit in the fashion industry," Collins said. "It requires a love of fashion, but also working with a community of women who have a like-minded mentality to style and dress women."

Sally Cordovano, of Rowayton, Connecticut, is one of those women. Co-founder of The Empowered Closet, Cordovano offers a testimony that highlights her love of fashion and of people too. "Women have the advantage of presenting themselves in many different ways (work, PTA, church, party, vacation, special occasion, etc.) and I love empowering women through clothing," she said in her testimonial. "I like creating a unique look just for them—whether for a professional woman or someone who needs a few great go-to pieces each season. My clients appreciate the personal experience and service in a relaxed non-pressured atmosphere. It's truly rewarding to help women look and feel their best."

Worth described its stylists as being "relationship oriented" and often intentionally putting themselves in situations to meet new people. And like Cordovano, Worth stylists tend to be "genuinely interested in and value others. Regardless of perceived 'gain' from the relationship," the company said.

Of course, other characteristics of Worth stylists include women who are warm and approachable, someone who seeks "commonality and establishes rapport when meeting new people." They are great listeners, and truly want to understand others. They see every relationship as a potential connection to a new one. And they tend to be active in their community and are usually natural born leaders. Worth stylists also have diverse backgrounds, and don't always hail from traditional positions in the fashion industry. Worth stylists have resumes that include former positions as product managers, teachers, accountants, social media influencers, data scientists, retailers, stay-at-home moms—and attorneys too.

Christine Harriss was a creative director in advertising before launching her own business with Worth. "Women should become Worth stylists because having your own business, and all the flexibility it affords, is great," she explained. "I love that flexibility, especially coming from the advertising field. I just think that doing your personal best within a given framework is what motivates people to succeed in life in general."

The attributes of flexibility and limitlessness is frequently echoed among the Worth stylist community. Natica Wilson said the "beauty about being a stylist is that there are no limits. The more success I have, the more rewarded I am."

For self-proclaimed fashion addicts, being a stylist for W by Worth or Worth New York can be life-changing. Jenni Hummel, described herself as "a fashion junkie" who is glued to "every fashion publication and social media site you can imagine to feed my passion."

"Being a Worth stylist has changed my life," she said. "You can make it whatever you want it to be. The opportunities are incredible. Not only can I share beautiful clothing with women, but I have made some of my closest friends here. I have never seen such an impressive group of women. This company is about women—I love that."

For stylist Cindi, a "lifelong fashion addict," the Worth culture resonated most with her. "The flexibility was tremendously appealing," Shelby said. "I fell in love with the product... the quality and design aesthetic of the collection has never disappointed. Also, I love the company culture—there's a shared vision and commitment that's very meaningful."

Bianca, Worth stylist and social influencer, echoed Shelby. "If you're interested in making others feel good or helping that girl in the back of the room stand out, while having the flexibility to own your own company without missing out on special occasions, then this is the job for you," she said.

Collins added that culture and community are critical to the success of the company and stylists "because it makes our stylists feel a part of something beyond their personal lives."

"Our culture and community are what makes us Worth," she said. "We are a body of women empowered to help each other through triumphant times and hardships. We all rally around each other."

Stylist Spotlight: Kathy Sandven

"An outfit that could be worn to any occasion this Fall is our Maxi Cardigan and Turtleneck Sleeveless Pullover paired with our Knit Tea Length Skirt in Camel or Black. You can sport this outfit with heels or boots and easily accessorize it with a belt. You can also remove the Maxi Cardigan and wear the Sleeveless Pullover alone, making these pieces very versatile!"

Stylist Spotlight: Carrie White
"Our Evergreen Wool Bistretch Caped Dina Dress is a great statement piece. It can be worn to any event! I also love our Adelaine Leopard Silk Charmeuse Dress with our Brown Leather Luna Moto Jacket. You can belt this dress or pair with the simple leopard sash."
Stylist Spotlight: Maureen Yanke
"My favorite trend from the Fall collection is our menswear inspired suiting. Our Stretch Wool Hilda Jacket is a longer, leaner blazer that can be mixed easily back to a jean or leather pant. The feminine suiting when worn with matching trousers and an on-trend bow blouse gives a fresh feel to Fall."