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Life and Work with Jessica Obaseki

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Obaseki.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Cali, Colombia. My parents brought me to the United States when I was 9 years old. From my upbringing (coming from a Pentecostal household), I had to figure out creative ways to make my outfits feel like me since we had to follow a strict feminine dress code. This started at a very young age… I want to say from my early teenage years I started creating my own pieces of clothing. Once I started getting attention in school about my outfits, some of my friends would ask me to make items for them. Fast forward to my junior year in high school, my high school teacher took me and my fashion class on a field trip to HCC’s (Houston community college) Fashion Department. I was so happy to see that I could go to school locally, as I was still under a religious visa and would have to pay double the tuition fee once I started college the following year. I signed up for HCC, took so many amazing fashion courses through their fashion design associate program. During this time, I met my now-husband of 10yrs of marriage.

While studying, I got pregnant for our first son, 11 months later, my second son. I finished the program. Received the most creative award during our finale fashion show as well as “Top 10 finalist for the Neil Hamil Little Black Dress Contest”. I started a small tailoring-made to measure business from my house. Where I would sew for many Nigerian women in my community (my husband is Nigerian) followed by that. I realized my passion was not necessarily sitting by a machine all day, so I started looking for fashion jobs. I applied for a couple, then landed a sales job at Nordstrom. I stayed with them for five years where I learned sooo much about the selling part of fashion and how to be AMAZING at customer service. During this time, I started styling people wholeheartedly and realized a strong suit for me was in styling. I started the stylist program at Nordstrom. Which is a prestigious program only a few are selected to be a part of. Through that same route, I started a closet consulting business. Can you say, entrepreneur;-) while at Nordstrom I reconnected with a fashion school friend his name is Felton. We both shared a similar and different interest in the design part of fashion and started seeing items that were missing in the fashion world, or maybe not marketed as much. One being a male and female (black, Latino, and not rich) being promoted into big designers. Through that fuel, we started 86 and 90.

Three years into our 86 and 90 business, we have an online store, local and surrounding city clients while in tandem I change people’s lives by revamping one closet at a time. Oh, and did I mention I am the store manager of a contemporary fashion store in the River Oaks Shopping District. There’s never a dull moment in my life and thankfully it all involves fashion.

Has it been a smooth road?
The main struggle is faith. My parents brought me to this country to achieve a dream that’s easy for those who have money and immigration status. But super hard if you’re not from this country. Thankfully, I was able to change my immigration status. So that was one hurdle! The next would be exposure., you must put yourself in the right place with the right people. No, it was not New York for me. I thought, why go where everyone else is going. Make your breakthrough from where you are and then get to the other side of the mountain. I was exposed to so much knowledge at Nordstrom. I CHOSE to learn from constructive criticism and found mentors. I have mentors in all areas of my life. They have helped me avoid a lot of mistakes. The third but not the most important was money. In every part of my journey to be who I am today. I had someone trust in me, talking about $ (dollar signs) trust whether it was my husband (back when we were just dating, I would say he was my first investor) to friends who would come to my house to get items made and PAY for it, to clients booking me for closet or personal shopping appointments, or our first investor for 86 and 890. The hardest part would be to keep those relationships alive and not take anything for granted. Because all three (status, exposure and money) could have been my struggle but I CHOSE to have faith and make it work for my benefit.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with 86 and 90 – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am most proud of the fact that I have kept pushing. As a stylist, designer and retail manager. I carry so many hats. Going into seven+ years of styling and revamping closets, I am proud of clients referring others to me. I will get a text from a client that says, “you’re the answer to my prayer” or “your attention to detail is so amazing” and it reassures me that I AM the expert. In my contribution to our clothing brand 86 and 90, I am proud that we have anniversary three years in business. It is so hard, I hear people say that they never wanted to give up (I have and I’m not ashamed to say it) owing a business is sooo hard, but it’s all about disciple, so I am proud of our disciple. I am also proud that I pursued what I love, and that I am passionate about it. That is probably what I am most proud of!

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
My parents are super devotional people. They have been married for 30 years… that has been a HUGE example for me in happy perseverance. They also chose a faith that has been beneficial to my personal growth and I believe that through it all, I wanted and still want to show the world that there is a different perspective to Colombian women through clothing. That we do not all want to be super exposed (not that there is a problem with that) but some of us want to still be sexy and not give it all away. I believe my upbringing has a lot to do with that. Because of it, I have also been able to meet so many successful, classic and high-status women. I was brought up with great examples on how to dress, walk and talk from my grandmother. She’s a big social woman in the Spanish community her name is Luz Mouton. I think I’ll be like her when I grow up. She’s always giving back to the community while ALWAYS being super fashionable in the process!

Pricing:

  • My closet consults begin at $100 per hour
  • 86 and 90 price point between $150-$450

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Eryne Rae Photography and Carlos Nievez Gusman

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