Sarah Ramsay enjoys helping fashion-phobic men create a confidence-boosting personal style. “When something fits a man, it’s just night and day better. When they love how they feel in their clothes, they actually start to care about who they dress. And the wives love me for it.” In fact, women were Sarah’s original clientele, back when she was the number one seller for a high-end women’s fashion designer.
After a track record of success, she experienced challenges starting in the fall of 2008. Following an amazing personal sales month, she dialed into a conference call with enthusiasm only to learn the company had just declared bankruptcy. Always industrious, Sarah continued working part time as a fashion writer and did trunk shows for an up-and-coming designer. When both of those opportunities ultimately collapsed because of the economy, she was out of work, out of money, and out of ideas.
Never one to stay down for long, Sarah recalled hearing about the J.Hilburn business from a former colleague. At the time J.Hilburn was a start-up with no local resources in Minneapolis to onboard new Stylists. So she borrowed money for an airplane ticket to Dallas. “I showed up on the doorstep of J.Hilburn and said, ‘Ok, train me. I have to start selling tomorrow.’ ”
One of J.Hilburn’s top Stylists, Sarah has been breaking sales records since her second month with the company. Her favorite achievement happened recently when she broke yet another sales record as the first Stylist to personally sell $50,000 in one month. She was proud to lead her team by example, showing Stylists that anyone could achieve the same goal. “The only way to fail is to give up,” Sarah says. “People who keep the end goal in mind are the ones who rise to the top.”
“I had been running my own brand consulting business for nearly a decade when a former colleague and close friend shared J.Hilburn. I was her second client when she started in 2009. Over time I became more curious about the brand story and direct retail. I attended my first Conference six weeks after joining and was like, ‘Wow, this has legs!’ ”
“I figured I’d work part time with J.Hilburn for six months, just to see if the income could cover my mortgage.” By the fourth month, Chris knew J.Hilburn could become his fulltime career. “When I finally admitted to myself that I loved this—that fashion is fun—that’s when my J.Hilburn business really took off.”
Now a Managing Partner at J.Hilburn, Chris is back in men’s tailored clothing—but this time around, he’s the boss. “Last year I was surprised to be the number nine seller in the company. I was surprised, and I’m really proud of it. I’m not wired to win; I focus on my personal goals and on helping others.”
Chris strengthens his team by sharing product knowledge and sales tips. He continually offers encouragement—sometimes with a quick text message but always with an oldfashioned, hand-written thank you note when they acquire a new client.
“When I first meet with a client I say, ‘This is not about what you buy. Our relationship is not about the J.Hilburn in your closet, it’s about your closet and your style.’ I saw three of my clients comparing their J.Hilburn clothes at an event, and they all said they aspire to dress better than me. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping clients feel proud about what they wear.”
& RACHEL GUSTAFSON
HIGHLIGHTS OF BEING A STYLIST?
Karissa: 100% it’s the relationships I’ve developed within J.Hilburn and with my clients.
Rachel: Seeing a client’s face light up when he puts on clothes that match his fi t and style preferences.
SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Karissa: My husband and I help lead a nonprofit called Stronger Families, which offers education and support to help relationships thrive in high stress environments.
Rachel: I helped start a business training center in Thailand to help prevent human trafficking.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW STYLISTS?
Karissa: Develop a personal plan and follow it consistently.
Rachel: Look at your goals daily and be intentional about your business.
Karissa: The freedom to control my time, my income, my life.
Rachel: Setting my own bar and being in control of what I accomplish—and being able to sleep in for a day and take vacations with my husband.