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Meet Christen Johnson of SCB Luxury Styling, Black Women Who Style, and Project Style University

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christen Johnson. 

Hi Christen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My styling journey started when I was just a child. Back then, my mother would dress me for school but 3rd grade was the year she allowed me to start dressing myself. I was ecstatic to pick out my own clothes and have a say in what I looked like every day. That passion grew into many different directions as I got older. I was always very creative. I drew, I sang, I did gymnastics, I played golf, soccer, I was a cheerleader and a model. But fashion was always my underlying focus. I started taking fashion seriously when I got to college in 2011. I joined a modeling troop, took a fashion merchandising class, started a fashion blog, and styled my first photoshoot. I even raised $500 to attend Teen Vogue Fashion University in NYC during my senior year of college. I soon realized that styling was the career path I wanted to pursue and was blessed to secure my first internship in my hometown, Baltimore, with a local boutique while working part-time in retail. 

In 2015, the same year I graduated college, I landed my second internship at Nordstrom and the rest was history. My resume continued to expand after becoming a stylist for Trunk Club D.C, an assistant stylist for Under Armour, an independent stylist for Worth New York, an online fashion stylist for Amazon, and now a Personal Stylist and shopper for Rue La La. Each of these experiences all played a big part in my own personal styling business that I launched back in 2014, SCB Luxury Styling. As I grew, my business continued to grow and pivot. 

My journey thus far has consisted of many transitions, a few losses, and a ton of opportunity that has put me in a space to want to give back to my community. I started an organization called Black Women Who Style in 2018 to shed light on fashion professionals, like myself, who also struggled to find consistent success in the styling industry. Since then, the organization has helped 100+ stylists of color connect with amazing opportunities and gain more experience. In 2020, I then decided to turn my passion for personal styling into a coaching course for aspiring and emerging personal stylists who I like to call, CEO stylists. I teach them all about mindset shifting and business fundamentals, which is something most stylists don’t think about. My passion for personal styling continues to grow as I find beauty in my unique journey. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely wasn’t an easy ride. As I mentioned before, I went through a ton of transitions. I started my styling journey as an Editorial Stylist and had no idea there were other paths I could take. Living in a small city like Baltimore, there wasn’t much opportunity or resources for stylists. Nobody wanted to pay me for my time and it caused me to second guess my talent. I was very insecure and didn’t make many moves on my own. 

After landing my first corporate job at Trunk Club D.C. in 2016, I transitioned into Personal Styling and haven’t looked back since. In 2017, my mindset shifted a bit. I started planning and styling my own photoshoots to build my portfolio and registered my business as an L.L.C. This all prepared me for my leap into full-time entrepreneurship in 2019. This was a huge move for me as I was swimming in student loan debt (still am) and had less than 5 clients. All I had was faith and the determination to make something of myself, on my own. Even though that leap led to financial hardships and losses, I don’t regret it at all. 

I never had a mentor or anyone to teach me how to run a successful styling business. I literally learned everything that I know from trial and error. Making mistakes has become the ultimate strategy for me to reach my goals and is exactly what drives both Black Women Who Style and Project Style University. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about SCB Luxury Styling, Black Women Who Style, and Project Style University.?
SCB Luxury Styling, also known as SophisticatedChic Brand, changed the game for me. I studied business in college but wasn’t quite sure what type of business I wanted to pursue until it actually happened. My personal styling firm helps professional, executive and entrepreneurial women make an impact and a statement with style. Why women? Well, I always enjoyed working with people I could relate to. As women, we have a ton of things to worry about, and sometimes, we save our appearance for last and it’s not okay. I fell in love with helping women feel more confident in themselves because confidence was something I struggled with, as well. But when I have on a cute outfit, I feel like I’m on the top of the world and I want other women to feel the same way. Why professional women? Well, I’m a professional and understand how easy it is to put your business and others before you. But I’m here to help professional women remember why they started in the first place and why their appearance should align with who they are. 

Black Women Who Style started at a time when I was working back in retail and wanted to connect with other stylists, who looked like me and lived in my hometown. A friend of mine and I were always traveling to other cities for fashion events and opportunities but wanted something similar in our hometown. BWWS launched with a brunch event that brought stylish black women together to uplift and encourage one another. We now host virtual events, live interviews with other stylists, provide digital resources and manage a growing community exclusive to stylists. 

Project Style University is my ode to Personal Styling. After transitioning out of editorial and into personal styling, my perspective on the business of styling completely changed. I began to believe that styling was more than just physically dressing people and more so transforming people’s lives with fashion advice and education. I truly believe that everyone should invest in their appearance and a Personal Stylist is an expert that was created to serve everyday people with their style needs. At PSU, I provide one-on-one coaching and an online course that teaches aspiring and emerging personal stylists how to run their businesses like a CEO. 

What were you like growing up?
I was very quiet when you didn’t know me but extremely goofy when you got know me. It took me some time to get comfortable with new people and new experiences. But when I got comfortable, you couldn’t tell me anything. I was always afraid try new things, but ironically, I never let that stop me from actually trying. I like to call myself an introverted extrovert. 

I was born a creative and my parents let me try everything I wanted to try. I liked to draw, I sang in a choir, I played golf, I played soccer, I did gymnastics, I was a cheerleader, I went to modeling school, I literally did everything. I also really loved computer games. But not just any games. I enjoyed creating lifestyles for online characters on websites like Barbie.com, Pollypocket.com, Myscene.com, Bratz.com, you name it. Fashion and style always made sense to me. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
@mamaphotog
@lostinthecityphilly

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