Tampa, Florida Bred Style Setter

Fashion is second nature to a Black Southern Belle, and Melizza Williams from, Tampa, FL is making her job too. This southern bred style maven is styling people up and down the East Coast but always takes her southern and coastal influence with her no mater where she goes. Take some time out to learn about the fashion journey of this stylista today.

Your Name: Melizza Williams

Business Name: What Would Melizza Wear

Alma Mater: University of South Florida (2013) & Fashion Institute of Technology (2010)

Sorority if Applicable:

Hometown: Tampa, Florida (Native of St. Croix, U.S.V.I)

Current location: New York City

Website Link: http://www.whatwouldmelizzawear.com/

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What services do you provide? At Would Would Melizza Wear we provide editorial and promotional styling for our clients.

Why did you decide to start a business? I’ve always wanted to be a stylist. I was that go to fashion friend everyone has. But, while studying Business, I thought I needed to have a traditional 9 to 5 career and climb the corporate ladder at a Fortune 500 company.  Upon graduation, I became anxious just thinking about becoming a “9 to 5 robot” (no offense) and what my future held.

At the time, I was still a nanny. A few of the mothers noticed how I dressed and would asked for fashion advice.  I began offering styling advice which led to outfit coordinations which led to shopping trips. It was then that I saw a need in South Tampa for new moms needing a voice of confidence through their style.  I was later informed of and encouraged to enter  The Fashion Movement’s ‘EYE on Fashion’ stylist competition.  I told myself I’d enter and if I won, it would be my “coming out” moment. I won first place and haven’t looked back since!

Before you owned a business, what did you do? I proudly was a nanny prior to becoming a stylist. It was through being a nanny that I was encouraged  to pursue my dreams of becoming a fashion stylist. I saw a need  and that I could provide my skills to others besides the South Tampa moms I worked for.  I’ve also worked in retail so styling wasn’t so far fetched.

What is your favorite client story? Hmmm… I wouldn’t say I have one favorite story but comprised moments of the glow my clients have after we’re done. Just seeing their confidence immediately increase and the moment they see and acknowledge they are beautiful and worth the effort…  that is my favorite part…my proverbial cherry on top.  

What is the most interesting client request you have had? [HaHa] I was asked to help make Harry Potter themed baked goods for a one year old birthday party after choosing the outfits for a family portrait. I was actually excited to let my inner Martha Stewart out so I agreed. We talked about fashion trends and pieces that worked best for her body shape while baking and decorating Hedwig (Harry’s owl) cupcakes and Slytherin’s Locket for a smash cake. This was during my first few months of business. Would I do this now? I don’t think so… [HaHa}

What is the most important thing you have done to build your business? I believe my ability to uphold my strong work ethics is one of the most important things I’ve done to build my business.  I try to use the ‘Golden Rule’ with my clients and team members. I treat my clients and team the way I want to be treated…[HaHa] I guess it helps that I love luxury services, goods, and quality. But, on a serious note  having integrity, a sense of responsibility, quality, and  teamwork truly helps.

What do you love about Fashion? What don’t I love?! I love that I never had to stop playing dress up! I love that something can be so simple yet complex *plays The Devil Wears Prada Cerulean Blue Sweater Scene*. I love that I can be inspired by everything. I love the sense of pride I feel when I look fabulous. I love that you can express who you are without even speaking. Each day you have a chance to have people see you as you want them to. People still judge the book by its cover, why not have an alluring and attractive  book sleeve.

What do you love about southern style? There’s something about southern style that is charming that it is so inviting.  Who isn’t drawn to the person that looks refine with an amazing smile that welcomes all?

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What are some of your favorite southern inspired fashion brands? Reese Witherspoon did an amazing job with Draper James! Absolutely LOVE everything from Draper James and a local boutique in Tampa for men called London Philips. I consider my style to be a ‘sophisticated chameleone’ but at my core I’m ‘preppy’ if we should put a label on it. Brands like Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, J. Crew and many more may have been created in the North, but translates very well in the South.  The long list of brands I love correlate with my lifestyle.

Who are some of your southern style icons? Beyoncé and Reese steal the show! (Oh how I wish Kerry Washington was from the South! ) I enjoy the style of  bloggers Courtney Kerr, Latisha of Blushing Black, Shelby from Glitter and Gingham, Sabine Jean of The B. Stinger, and many more.

What do you miss about living in the south? The phrase “Southern Hospitality”  [HaHa] I’ll keep the list short, sweet, and simple. I miss the Southern hospitality, manners, beaches, and lifestyle!

Do you have any mentors?  Yes, I do. I believe everyone should have at least one amazing mentor that they respect, trust, and aspire to be like. You should be able to learn life lessons from your mentor and they should have the ability to act as  your lighthouse when the waters get rough.

What is your favorite thing about being southern? The phrase “Southern Hospitality“ includes “Southern” for a reason.  [HaHa] I’m sorry but it’s true.  There’s a warmth and kindness that is instilled at a young age. I love the fact that my smile and kindness stands out up here in NYC.

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What is your favorite southern entrees or sides? Why?  [HaHa] I’m salivating just thinking about baked Mac and Cheese, collard greens, yams, and fried chicken. I know this may not be anything special BUT  all of these recipes can all be messed up if not cooked by the right person so when I get this meal and someone has put their foot in it, I’m happier than a fat kid in a candy store! And it makes this even more special because I don’t eat a meal like this very often. Oh! And can we not forget about the Sweet Potato Pie with French Vanilla Bean ice cream. [Haha] Exercise is required before and after this meal.

What is your favorite item or piece of clothing to wear/use while doing business? I am known for my statement necklaces and always being in a dress. I feel empowered  and confident in a great fit and flare dress that accentuates my pear shape and long legs.

Images Courtesy of the following Photographers:  

Photographers: Dionysius Burto (@dioburtophoto)

Photographers: Bob Metelus (@mistadubb)

Photographers: Bruna Lacerda (@brunalacerda)

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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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