Alumni in Motion: Molly Nelson (2005)


Mia Johnson

This week’s Alumni in Motion column features Mrs. Molly (Brown) Nelson. She was an avid tennis and lacrosse player throughout her years at LFHS, and was also a Rotary Exchange student her junior year, when she studied abroad in Bariloche, Argentina. “It was the best thing that happened to me in high school. It really opened my eyes to life outside of our Lake Forest and Lake Bluff bubble and put me on a different path. It gave me more confidence to get outside of my comfort zone more often,” explained Nelson. After her years at LFHS, Molly headed off to DePaul University in Chicago. There, she studied Art and Art History. She had declared her major and stuck with it for four years even though she did not totally love it. While she was in college, she made the effort to juggle five jobs at a time while still in school. Molly was a waitress, a nanny, in retail sales, did odd jobs via Craigslist, and had a small jewelry business. She participated in greek life as a member of the Alpha Phi sorority her freshman year.

After graduating from college in 2009, she started her first job doing outside sales for JCPenney, where she sold custom window treatments. While there for two years, she landed her current job at Trunk Club. Molly is now the Head of Office for Trunk Club at their clubhouse in Los Angeles, California. She leads a team of 105 people made up of stylists, sales leadership specialists, a sales support team, training servicers, HR, IT, and tailoring. Molly Nelson was one of the first twenty employees where they are now employing 1100 plus. Molly just hit her seven year anniversary at Trunk Club, so congratulations Molly!

I got in touch with Molly recently to discuss future plans for Trunk Club and what is like to be working in the retail/ fashion industry.

What teachers had a positive impact on you?

“Shout out to Brad Ruda, Richard Moore, Stephen Dunn, and Keith Freedman. They all made a positive impact on me and my high school experience, regardless of what subject they were teaching.”

Who started Trunk Club and what is it?

“Brian Spaly was Trunk Club’s founder who built the business from nothing to ultimately being purchased by Nordstroms for 350 million dollars in 2014. It was founded to solve a simple problem: shopping for clothes. Shopping can be overwhelming and inconvenient, so with Trunk Club, you can discover great clothes that are perfect for you without ever having to go shopping. We combine top brands, expert service, and convenience to deliver a highly personalized experience. We have seven clubhouses that are located in Chicago, New York City, Dallas, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, and in Charleston. If you live locally to one of our clubhouses, you can meet your stylist in person. Every clubhouse is customized with unique furnishings, fitting rooms, designed by our brand partners, and a full bar. If you aren’t local or don’t have time to stop in you’ll receive a curated trunk of clothes shipped to your doorstep. You try everything on, keep what you like, send back the rest, and you’re only charged for what you keep. Trunk Club carries an expansive variety of high quality inventory for both men and women including casual, business attire, formal wear, outerwear, shoes, bags, and select accessories at various price points. At Trunk Club, our stylists are real people invested in your personal style. All stylists go through extensive training and have hands-on experience to know which colors, sizes, styles, and brands that will look and fit the best on each customer.”

What do you think attracts buyers most at Trunk Club?

“Most of Trunk Club’s customers don’t have the time or the desire to go shopping themselves. The ability to have an amazing stylist who understands your fit, style, and your lifestyle is a huge value add. It’s also really fun to introduce customers to new brands and styles that they would never choose on their own.”

What do you see coming in the near future for Trunk Club? Any new locations?

“We’re constantly changing and evolving our business to keep up with the competitive retail landscape. I tell people if you don’t like change, don’t join our company. I can barely predict the next three months of our business, but ultimately we want to continue to give our customers the best and the most convenient experience possible.”

Do you get free clothes and/or a discount at Trunk Club?

“Yes! It’s the only way I can justify to my husband having two closets. I get a steep discount and freebies from our amazing vendors.”

What is a fun fact about you–tell us something interesting!

“I met my husband at a bar in downtown Chicago when I was a senior in college (he’s six years older than me). I feel like that doesn’t happen as often as it should with all the dating apps out there!”

If you could give advice to yourself while you were a senior in high school, what would you say?

“Don’t take school for granted! I never fully understood the importance of education till now. That also means inside and outside the classroom. There’s a lot of things you can’t learn in school, but when you’re a senior in high school you have the people, the time, and the resources that can help you.”

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in working in the retail/fashion industry?

“No matter what industry you move into, work with people you admire and want to learn from. Be willing to start at the bottom, work hard, make your boss’s life easier, don’t ask for much, and if you’re at the right company it will be rewarded. Be patient!”

Molly is someone that I personally admire not only based on what she does, but who she is and how she presents herself. She stays true to herself, is hardworking, and has come a long way getting to where she is now. Someone who studied Art and Art History certainly paid off. She now has an artistic side to her that she will forever hold within. Creativity comes in everything, especially in the retail/fashion industry. Let’s all keep Molly’s advice and keep being ourselves, stay patient, and always be creative.