It Takes A Village to Raise A Child
Name: Rachel Schostak
Degree/Institution: Fashion Merchandising Management – Fashion Institute of Technology
Workplace/Business: SEEN THE MAGAZINE
Favorite app/website/blog: So many different ones for different reasons. For my fashion news - WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) and BoF (Business of Fashion) are my go-tos. In my personal life - I love the “CALM” app for meditation even if its just a few minutes every day, DAY ONE app for tracking special moments with George and of course my list app. In regards to blogs - I have to keep track of so many for work but one of the real fashion blogs I started reading and still do with enjoyment is Man Repeller – she has such an authentic voice and now brand.
Go-to power anthem: Girl on Fire (Alicia Keys)
Go-to local restaurant: Street Side for my fish fix, Townhouse or Luxe for a good Burger.
Go-to coffee shop: Common Wealth – love their matcha lattes!
Introductions: Name, Career, Business and # of kids
Rachel Schostak, Fashion Director at SEEN Magazine, and one baby boy – George who is 6 months old.
Tell me about yourself and your current gig:
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit – going back to the days of college while studying at FIT. I had various jobs within the industry and was fortunate to work for some incredible women and men in the business – experience-wise with both large and smaller independently owned companies. I think I always knew I would start a business one day. In 2012 I launched Styleshack.com which was a shop local marketplace connecting shoppers to independently owned boutiques throughout the country. In late 2017, Styleshack was acquired by Neighborhood SEEN Magazine. My current gig is being George’s Mama and Fashion Director at SEEN Magazine.
You owned a fashion startup called Styleshack, can you tell us about how you started, grew and eventually got acquired by SEEN Magazine?
It has been such an interesting journey. I had always been blogging on the side about fashion and used my original blog called “Notes from The Styleshack” to further grow my subscriber and email list. Once I had a certain number of subscribers I started reaching out to stores to see if they would be interested in being a part of my “shop local” marketplace. I had gained a lot of interest and put together my phase 1 business plan and deck and applied to Bizdom which was a start up accelerator program. While I was rejected the first time around, that did not stop me. I continued to build, grow through social media, word of mouth and was able to raise funding from a local angel investor. Months later – I reapplied to Bizdom and was accepted. Styleshack was growing, at one point we had over 150 stores using the platform and listed on the Marketplace. With growth comes challenges – we needed more funding and while we were figuring out our funding strategy I took a meeting with Kevin Browett, accomplished business executive and publisher of SEEN Magazine – I had known Kevin for many years. After a 2-hour lunch filled with amazing conversation – we thought it made sense if our brands aligned and simply started a partnership together. That partnership turned into the acquisition. I could not be happier working with Kevin.
As the Fashion Director for SEEN Magazine, what does a typical work day/week looks like for you?
I plan my work days around my major deadlines. Everything else is scheduled time for me to get emails, phone calls and other responsibilities handled (as I do a bit more than just fashion for the company). However, when focused on fashion and weeks leading up to a major editorial fashion photo shoot, I spend a lot of time reaching out to stores for the product pulls and getting the products organized and finalizing the logistics of the photo shoot. During photo shoot days, I am out of the office on location. Post photo shoot, I am focused on putting it all together. When not focused on photo shoot spreads, I spend my time working on fashion and style features for SEEN and I also oversee the shop local marketplace on our website. I meet and talk with stores who are interested in joining.
You mentioned Business Development and I thought that was interesting, can you tell us more about that?
Basically, meeting with potential clients and partnerships. Anything we think that can be beneficial to multiple parties by collaborating and further the growth of our company (i.e. working with influencers, events, advertisement, charitable ties etc.).
How has your experience building a company from the ground up impacted your work at SEEN?
It goes hand in hand. I am able to share opinions based on the experience I had with launching a digital company. I can further support the SEEN growth with my knowledge and lessons learned from building Styleshack.
Now, let’s talk fashion, shall we? What’s your go-to style for work?
Depends on what the day has in store, but currently I’ve been wearing variety of the “shirt dress look”. I love my mules, or slides. On a more casual day, I will go a casual t-shirt dress. I also tend to wear varieties of these outfits: white t-shirt with fitted jeans and black blazer, classic black dress, or black pants with a white button down blouse and great accessories. I love the Veronica Beard collections – I tend to wear a lot of their pieces because they are functional from work to entertaining or even a backyard bbq!
I love love your little man, how have you found balance or alignment as a working mother?
Having support is everything. I am grateful for all of my amazing husband’s and my family’s help and support. Family is everything and now I totally understand the saying “it takes a village.”
Have you found childcare to be manageable – what are the current wins and or challenges?
Leaving your baby is not easy, and I miss him when I am busy doing work or whenever he is not with me (regardless of work). But yes, it is manageable for our family.
Do you find that balancing motherhood, family, work and your business to be a challenge? If so, what support system do you have in place to manage that?
Of course, there are always challenges along the way in trying to balance all aspects of my life. I try to take each day as it comes and do the best I can for my family first and making sure I give my all at work. Something I have learned is that it’s ok to ask for help and I am grateful for the amazing support system I have.
How do you spend your free time as a boss mama?
I like to squeeze a work out in or just do something relaxing with my hubby. I also love reading so I’m getting back into my books this summer!
What’s next for SEEN as it relates to fashion?
We are working on a lot of amazing things at SEEN. We recently relaunched the website and have the shop local marketplace fully integrated - I am focused on getting the best local stores and designers onboarded. Also, this means you’ll be able to shop directly from editorial and fashion spreads you see/read in the magazine! We have the Blippar app that will take you directly from the magazine pages to specific online content where you can shop, or see more behind the scenes footage. Enabling our readers to have a seamless experience from print to digital. Also, I am working on some exciting features for fall fashion.
Photography by Diana Liang Photography for Mother Honestly