Our Brand Spotlight is designed to highlight small and up-and-coming clothing and accessory brands and their owners.
Downtown Chic founder Nicole Cosentino aims to inspire women with chic and versatile pieces that take working women from desk to dinner in style. Nicole talks to Workwear Inspiration about empowering women to dress for success, and what it’s like to run an online clothing boutique.
When did you start Downtown Chic?
I got inspired to start my business during my third trimester of my pregnancy in 2015. I quit my corporate job to stay home with my daughter. I spent my days raising Camila and doing research to start Downtown Chic. A year later I launched my business online.
Why did you start your brand?
I wanted to use my experience from the corporate world and create a brand to support women who worked by helping them build their confidence through clothes. I learned firsthand how valuable it is to invest in your image and the opportunities that come with that. I also wanted to inspire working women to maximize their wardrobe by buying things that could be used from day to night.
Who is your target customer?
My target customer is a woman between the age of 25-44. She wants to look successful without spending a fortune. She needs variety but also versatility so that she can wear clothes as many times as she can without looking like she did. She desires to look stylish yet professional. She is ambitious and has an active social life. She also knows how important her image is which is why she will never leave the house without making sure her outfit is on point.
What is your favorite DT Chic piece?
My favorite piece from my online store is my blazers. They instantly make you look and feel like a boss which in turn boosts your confidence. The blazers are all chic and modern so you can wear them with just about anything—pair them with trousers, skirts, jeans and shorts.
In 2017, I partnered with Dress for Success, a charity organization in Miami that empowers women to become economically independent. They help women by styling them for their interview with clothes donated from other working women and help them with their resume. I volunteer my time styling their clients and I also donate 15% of sales from the blazer collection. I love how my blazers make my customers feel but I’m also proud of the impact the blazers make in my community.
What inspires you creatively?
I get inspired by all the creativity around me. My background is marketing and advertising, so I see campaigns with a different eye. I quickly get inspired from what I’m exposed to. I also get inspired every time I go to church. The service is full of visual creativity and it just gets my gears turning when I see all of that. My customer also inspires me to create a brand that helps make them look and feel better about themselves.
What is the biggest challenge you face running your brand?
My biggest challenge is trying to reach my ideal customer effectively with the message my brand communicates.
How many people are on your team?
My husband is my biggest supporter and is always encouraging me. He’s been there since day one and he’s very creative. He also edits my video content. In addition, my graphic designer helps me develop massive changes to my logo or website anytime I need it. He also helps me with all my printed collateral for my local pop-up events. The rest of the business I handle personally and always provide a personal touch with my clients.
What’s your business superpower?
My business superpowers are my creativity, resourcefulness, drive and positivity. All these superpowers have helped me keep my business going despite the challenges I face. I have learned that my passion fuels my business and my desire to empower women keeps me going. It’s not easy being a mompreneur but when you have a passion for something, nothing can stop you.
Where do you see your brand in the future?
My vision for Downtown Chic is to grow into a big office space and warehouse. I want to establish a creative working environment for women who support the mission of the brand and empower our customers. I also want to create a space where a woman can be in business and be a mother. Some organizations make you choose one over the other and I want to cultivate a culture where women can hold multiple titles and never feel guilty. I also see my brand continuing to support our community in multiple ways.
Thanks to Downtown Chic for partnering with us on this post!
If you are looking for more ideas about what to wear to work, you’ll love to read the 6 Key Workwear Trends for Spring 2020.