After months of frustrating dead-ends in the job search, Marquelle Turner-Gilchrist took matters into her own hands and became an accidental entrepreneur.
In the spring of 2022, the 35-year-old was looking for a job as a luxury fashion strategist and had several good interviews with a social commerce company. But a few days after getting a job offer email in his inbox, he got a call from the CEO, who rescinded the job offer — explaining that the company was largely funded by crypto investors whose digital assets is losing value every day.
“I’ve heard about offers that have been rescinded,” Turner-Gilchrist told CNBC Make It in June, noting that background checks or professional references sometimes don’t pass. “But it never happened to me [before].”
CNBC Make It caught up with Turner-Gilchrist about what she learned through a challenging job search and unexpectedly becoming her own boss.
Beware of job search fatigue
Going public about her rescinded offer on social media led to an outpouring of courage and even some job leads. Turner-Gilchrist hired someone to revamp her resume and LinkedIn page and set a goal of applying to 10 jobs a day. But after countless interviews and every recruiting mishap imaginable – recruiters ghosted him, leading the way in the cold, to get to the final stages only to be told the position he was interviewing for had been eliminated. in priority – absolutely nothing happened.
“I’ve never had an experience like this before so it’s been a year of navigating challenges and finding creative ways to keep a positive spirit,” Turner-Gilchrist said.
After a grueling few months, Turner-Gilchrist decided to stop applying for jobs.
The break came just in time. In August, with a clearer head, he reconnected with an old friend who owned a PR firm in Los Angeles. The friend had a fashion client that needed help with their marketing and strategy. Turner-Gilchrist has exactly the right experience they are looking for.
Embrace the unfamiliar
It wasn’t the full-time job Turner-Gilchrist was looking for, but she thought to herself: “Why not use this opportunity to continue to bring in an income, keep my skills fresh and try something new?”
She had never done consulting work but found she really enjoyed it, especially the aspect of being her own boss and having control over her time. A one-month contract was enough to give him the confidence to fully commit to himself and launch his own consulting firm.
On September 1, Turner-Gilchrist launched Atelier Lenora, where she uses her global experiences in the luxury, lifestyle and fashion spaces to assist clients with merchandising and product strategy support, trend forecasting, creative direction and more yet.
Launching her own company was never on her career vision board. “I never wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Turner-Gilchrist said. “There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in entrepreneurship, but I’ve been in an uncertain phase of life these past few months.”
By building her own client network, Turner-Gilchrist has more control over her career than ever before. “I always bet on other companies to determine the trajectory of my career,” he said. Now, he is in full control.
Think about what is really important to you
A year ago, Turner-Gilchrist said that her idea of luxury was very much related to her line of work, such as designer sporting goods and taking international trips. He cut those things out of his budget now that his consulting income is more volatile. But, as her own boss, says Turner-Gilchrist, “freedom is the new luxury.”
The luxury of choice and autonomy means the ability to work a 4-day work week, or take health and wellness breaks in the afternoon. It also means finding a way to support herself whether she has a full-time day job (which she’s totally open to, by the way) or not, and having the freedom to grow her business in by getting more clients and hiring employees (a definite possibility).
“The true meaning of luxury is choice, freedom, time,” he said. “Last year my definition of living the luxury life was different than what it is now. Now it’s freedom.”