Rachel Parcell is a name Brand entrepreneur.
Not only did she help create, define and elevate the world of blogging as a thriving business model, but two years ago she launched her own clothing line, the Rachel Parcell Collection. She is an Instagram icon (at press, she was nearing a staggering 1 million followers), a detail-oriented designer, and a marketing maven.
Everything she touches turns to sold.
Born to be Styled
From a young age, Parcell was a dreamer. She was shy in social settings, but she expressed herself through “outlandish” outfits she put together on her own. And while she was sitting in school or performing pliés at dance class, she was also busy designing beautiful dresses in her head.
“I would daydream my life. And even to this day, the creative wheels are constantly turning,” she says. “But my mom has always said to me, ‘You are not a dreamer. You have vision.'”
Parcell’s life vision has had a few wardrobe changes — from fashion designer to wedding stylist to graphic designer (and back to fashion). She’d make her way down one path, get inspired, see an opportunity, and then pivot.
In 2011, she graced the cover of Utah Valley Bride (BusinessQ’s sister pub), and her wedding images and style were beloved. Dearly. She quickly catapulted to Utah (and Pinterest) fame.
“I had my little blog, rachskalla.blogspot.com, which was really more of an online journal at the time,” she says. “I started posting pictures of date night outfits or what I wore to church. People in Utah were re-pinning them. Then people in Texas were. Then everyone was. It started in Utah Valley and had a huge ripple effect.”
In every career avenue she explored, there were two common themes: fashion and entrepreneurship.
[pullquote]“I grew up believing I wasn’t smart. I never got the best of grades. I’d study so hard, but when it came time to take the test, I just froze. It was so frustrating. But what I did have was a support system. My mom taught me I could do anything. And because of that, I turned my daydreams into a career. Anyone can have ideas, but it all comes down to what you do with them. I don’t fit into a box. I am a brilliant marketer. I have great intuition about my business. I have endless passion. And I now know that I was wrong about myself. I am smart.” — Rachel Parcell, Rachel Parcell Collection[/pullquote]
The Business of Blogging
Thanks to her newfound wedding popularity, local boutiques reached out to Parcell asking her to wear their clothes on her blog.
“We were poor newlyweds, so I jumped at free clothes!” she says.
Parcell would post the outfit, linking everything she was wearing down to the shade of lipstick.
People clicked. People purchased. And companies noticed — big time.
“Everything I posted went viral,” Parcell says. “I was a fashion blogger before the world even really knew what that was.”
Soon, she went from free clothes to charging $20 a post to making $500 a month with sponsored ads. Then, she connected with rewardStyle, an affiliate marketing tool that links influencers to brands. Within four months, Parcell ranked in their top 10 influencers driving clicks and sales — and she was the only one not in New York or L.A.
“It changed everything. That’s when I started getting calls from the biggest brands in the nation that were willing to pay top dollar,” she says. “And everyone was like, ‘Who’s the random Mormon girl from Utah driving thousands of dollars in sales?'”
Dress The Part
The success of Parcell’s blog, Pink Peonies, led to licensing deals, her own jewelry line, branding partnerships, fame and now her own clothing line. And with her name on that brand, quality was non-negotiable.
“My readers trust me. If I put my name on something, it’s going to be of the highest quality.”
With money made from Pink Peonies, Parcell initially invested $78,000 into her clothing line.
“I have to say, it was pretty cool being my own investor,” she says.
RP launched in April 2016, and the first line immediately sold out. Today, they are poised for continuous, gorgeous growth.
As for future marketing strategies, Parcell will keep to her roots.
“This all began because I genuinely love sharing tips to help people feel beautiful. Everything I do is an extension of that.”
These Little Tips Went To Market
1. Be genuine. “To successfully market in social media, you have to connect through the screen. It’s not always about a perfect Instagram feed; It’s about a relatable one. Why do you think influencers have become so popular? People crave real Connection.”
2. Find your people. “Even though it’s my name on the brand, I know I can’t do it alone. THE team makes all the difference,” Parcell says. Fun fact: when she launched her clothing company, Parcell partnered with Tan France, who now stars on Netflix’s popular “Queer Eye” reboot. “He was an instrumental part of my business. I’m forever grateful to him. We came into each other’s lives at the perfect time.”
3. Know your purpose. “I know my client through and through. They’ve literally grown up with me by reading my blog. everything I do, I do with them in mind,” Parcell says. “This community we’ve created is one that shares and learns from each other. And whether it’s fashion tips or advice for moms, my goal is always to add beauty to their lives in an authentic way. Knowing your company’s purpose is the best marketing strategy of all.”