Former reality TV personality turned full fledged fashionista, model, and fashion designer, Jessica Rich is making money moves in her clear stiletto boots! Celebs such as Khloe Kardashian, LaLa Anthony, Ashanti, and more covet Jessica Rich’s brand. With her newly opened, Jessica Rich Collection office/showroom housed in Los Angeles, down to her brand expansion to all DASH retail locations, Jessica Rich is living proof that anything is possible. From Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Los Angeles, this trendy power player continues to style it rich one step at a time. SHEEN had a chance to catch up with the green-eyed beauty to discuss her ever-growing fashion empire and what’s next.
I’m a huge fan of the Jessica Rich Collection. I’ve been following you for a while, so it’s really great to see the evolution of your brand and see you transition from reality television to fashion design. How did you get your start?
You know what, it’s crazy because I think one thing led to the next. I came from reality television back in 2010. I was on VH1’s Real Chance of Love and that’s how my whole entertainment career launched. I moved out to Los Angeles and I was like, “‘What do I do next”? Initially, I was thinking television and I tried acting. I realized that it wasn’t my thing. Then I started doing fashion blogs and stuff like that and then I was like, “‘I want LaLa Anthony’s career, she just wakes up and interviews people.’” (Laughs) I realized that at the time, there weren’t many African American correspondents, so I started my own online show, Style It Rich.
I was an absolute fan of your show. It was amazing!
Thank you so much! I am in talks with people right now to actually get my show on television so you might see me on your television screen again pretty soon. Hosting is my main goal. A lot of people think that fashion is my main goal but, I love teaching people how to look great on a budget, which was a main feature on Style It Rich. I also love teaching people how to decorate their home on a budget.
You’ve done it all. Tell us about your foray in public relations as well.
Well, I started doing marketing and public relations for fashion brands because while I was styling for a while, I started doing men consulting and closet makeovers. Then people started asking me to help them get this product on this person or that person. So, I started my own small boutique PR firm, Who You Know PR, and I helped them get their client’s brands on celebs. I started charging them a fee to do it. But after awhile, the client’s didn’t need me anymore, and I was like, ‘”Now what”? That experience taught me to go hard for myself, and that’s how the Jessica Rich Collection was born.
When did you launch your fashion brand and how was the transition?
I opened my store in May 2015. I opened with 10 products and I really didn’t know a lot of the back end stuff as far as shipping and all of that. I learned all of that by scooping around. I started running my own corporation and I started sending out products to the girls I knew who blew up the other brands I’ve worked with in the past. I had the connections so it was very easy for me. There’s no way I would have opened up my store and have had such quick success if I didn’t have the connections I had built over the last 10 years. One thing that I’ve learned in this industry is that you can’t burn bridges because you’ll need these people eventually.
How did your designs get into Dash chain stores?
I got into Dash which was like a one year process. A friend of mine was really good friends with them and they connected me to Kris. From there, I sent my line sheets, and the rest is history.
Congrats, that is huge! I read somewhere that your aunt is the legendary Patti Labelle. Is that true?
Yeah she is my great aunt. My dad married her niece. It’s funny because I tried to make her famous sweet potato pie and I made it but it tastes nothing like hers. She is amazing and I look up to her. I’m trying to actually get her to do an interview with me for my online show, but I think I want to save that for television if it gets picked up by a network.
So let’s talk more fashion. The Jessica Rich footwear Collection is amazing!
Thank you. I really wanted to focus on creating trendy footwear. The packaging is also what looks really major to me. I’m really focusing on shoes and to be honest, I will still design clothing for celebs. I just designed a coat for Khloe Kardashian and I hope she wears it. I really want to focus on shoes because that’s the niche and it’s less stressful because I design one shoe a month, as opposed to designing seven to eight different pieces of clothing.
What else can we expect to see from Jessica Rich collection?
You’ll see a million things. I actually had some people hit me up about shoes for men’s division so I’m definitely going to start a men’s footwear collection. I also have a showroom in Los Angeles, we just opened up, and we’re going to have a public showroom.
How would you describe the Jessica Rich girl?
She’s a mix, she’s edgy, outgoing, and she’s a mom. She’s the girl who likes to look good. She’s not the girl who’s in the gym all the time, doesn’t get dressed up, and always wears sneakers. She’s someone who can balance dressing up and dressing down with a touch of femininity.
Is there anything else we haven’t mentioned that you think our readers would want to know?
I want to give a discount code to SHEEN readers, it’s dolls for 15% off the website.
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All photos: Jessica Rich Collection