When Amber Duncan puts her mind to something, there's no stopping her. Over the course of her professional life, she has owned more than 15 businesses and helped several beginner entrepreneurs, all while raising five children. A few years ago, Duncan, a self-professed fashion lover, decided to combine her business savvy and her passion for inspiring women to create a unique service—Jackie, a clothing subscription service.
Here's how it works. Jackie ships quality boutique clothing to female subscribers around the country on a monthly, quarterly or as-desired basis. Company stylists hand-pick outfits for subscribers, and through a collaborative effort between stylist and client, special catered boxes arrive at clients' doors. In October 2017, Duncan launched Jackie's website and office space, a bright pad in downtown Bradenton where local women can also come for in-person styling sessions.
The unique business model began out of Duncan's frustration with other subscription services.
"I've always loved fashion and style, and because I was so busy running other companies throughout my life, I signed up for clothing subscription boxes, but could never find one that really 'got me,'" says Duncan. "I am a working mom, a businesswoman and I love exercise, but I could never find a service that combined all these aspects of my lifestyle, personalized to my needs. I knew there must be other women feeling this disconnect."
Duncan decided to meet with a branding team to discuss the idea of developing her own clothing service, with the original name Chatterbox, in hopes that friends would "chat up" the service. Duncan was later inspired by a movie about the iconic Jackie Kennedy to change the company's name to Jackie.
"I proposed the name Jackie after watching a particular scene in the film," says Duncan. "After JFK was assassinated, Mrs. Kennedy was walking with the Secret Service, and asked that they simply call her Jackie from now on. I admired how humble she was. She didn't need a fancy name anymore. Jackie was enough for her."
Identity established, Jackie staff began styling clients in person and sending out boxes, and grew into a nationally recognized company.
"Our goal is to make women feel like a million bucks, no matter their role in life," says Duncan. "We get to know clients on a personal level, their needs and desires, and stick with them the whole way through. We are the girl next door with all the styling and beauty secrets."
To join the service, clients begin by taking a comprehensive style quiz on the company's website. After answering questions about personal style, desired price range and frequency of box delivery, you will be matched with a personal stylist who will work with you to create your dream outfits, via phone, text or in-person, and as often as you want.
Jackie stylist and creative director Lily Cobb says most of her clients like to speak with her on a monthly basis, before boxes are shipped. "I always ask if they have upcoming plans, travel or business events so I can cater outfits toward that," says Cobb. "Some clients will even send me pictures of outfits they are inspired by, and I'll pull similar pieces."
Once clients receive boxes, they can try on pieces before purchasing, and return what they don't want. Return labels are included, and return shipping is free. Boxes cost $39.99 each, and if clients keep $100 or more worth of items, that initial cost is credited back to them. With each boutique item ranging from $35 to $500, clients are getting a deal on unique, high-quality brands. Jackie allows you to cancel or pause service any time, as well.
The company's stylists are also buyers, which means they search the latest fashion trends and purchase inventory for the company. All brands are American-made, with high quality material, textures and designs. Duncan says she thoroughly researches brands prior to working with them, and finds herself drawn to the brand's people and stories. She also finds textures and materials to be important when buying, so stylists attend clothing trade shows in major cities to get an inside look at what's trending for upcoming seasons. From there, Duncan works with makers to have clothes shipped directly to Jackie's office. This handpicked method allows for small batches of one-of-a-kind looks that women of all ages feel confident stepping out in. Some brands currently in rotation include Good American, Golden Goose and Alo Yoga.
"Our sources for trends rely heavily on street style and social media," says Cobb. "We find outfit inspiration on Pinterest, Instagram and by following fashion blogs like We Wore What, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and even walking the streets of a city's downtown area."
Besides high-quality clothing, shoes and accessories, Duncan says it's the dose of female empowerment the company provides that keeps Jackie clients coming back for more. The company's Instagram and website are curated with vibrant photos and blog posts giving styling and beauty tips, and the Jackie office space hosts monthly events where women can gather and form community.
"I'm big about space, whether in your house, closet or office, and how it makes you feel," says Duncan. "The energy at Jackie is contagious, and is welcoming to all women. I worked in the makeup industry for years, and it feels awful when customers are judged at the makeup counter. You'll never feel judged at our office. In fact, I've seen women come to life here, and gain a sense of confidence."
No matter a woman's stage of life, Jackie is determined to help females connect with one another and feel good about themselves. Duncan says her office's open door policy has not only helped women with styling questions, but with business advice as well, through her consulting company, Newborn Consulting. She believes that by gathering together the right team of people, like her "Jackie girls," you can succeed.
"This company and the Jackie girls have been a true blessing in my life," says client Kaci Stewart. "I have encouraged many of my friends, even those out of the state, to subscribe. I love that I don't have to go out and shop, and love that it's a women-run company."
From date night dresses to loungewear, from bright, bold patterns to muted monochrome, Jackie has options for every women's style. And for upcoming fall trends? Duncan says monochrome outfits of neutrals, pinks and blues will be popular, as will athletic-leisure wear. She says the "mom jeans" trend toward wide-legged pants is here to stay.
"Amber always says fashion is just our vehicle we use to empower other women and make them feel like a million bucks," says Cobb. "Especially for women who feel like they can't take time for themselves, when they can, and they should."
Jackie is located at 816 Manatee Ave. E., Suite 200, Bradenton. To learn more, click here, or call (941) 281-3300.