Bailey Kloft is a woman who is comfortable wearing many hats.
At 32, she has been a Realtor for more than a decade with Nemmers Realty, based in her hometown of Bellevue, Iowa, with offices also located in Maquoketa.
“Born and bred, I love a small town, and I love it there,” she said. “Every time I drive home and I cross that Jackson County line, I’m like, ‘Woo!’”
She also has worked as a development and business partnership lead for approximately 10 years as well at Northeast Iowa Community College’s Business and Community Solutions at the school’s Town Clock location in downtown Dubuque.
Additionally, she is the beauty and the brains behind a unique fashion venture that is turning heads.
It’s called STELLA Vivian, and launched in 2017, it’s a humble but daring operation located within the Bellevue Mercantile Co. and online at stellavivian.com.
It includes an assortment of clothing and accessories handpicked by Kloft that boast “confidence and a dash of edge and class.”
The building of a brand
Armed with a masters degree in business analytics from Loras College in Dubuque and making a name for herself in real estate, Kloft said that while she was happy within her initial career, she also felt as if something was missing.
“I missed the creative aspect,” she admitted. “I had always had a passion for styling and for fashion. I liked the idea of having my own boutique, but I didn’t want to be tied down every weekend. I wanted someplace that had the clothes that I really wanted to wear. I also wanted people to be able to see my styles on others, recognize them and say, ‘That’s STELLA Vivian.’”
Kloft began incorporating fashion pop-ups into her home showings, then hosted another in Dubuque Historic Millwork District and other locations.
She set a goal to launch the STELLA Vivian brand by the time she turned 30. On May 12 — her 30th birthday — she did.
Not long after that, the opportunity to collaborate with Bellevue Mercantile Co. presented itself.
Since 2019, STELLA Vivian products have been housed within the location, which also offers a collection of carefully curated home goods and textiles.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” Kloft said. “Everything there compliments one another. It’s just perfect.”
Clothing and accessories, from jewelry to sunglasses, are competitively priced.
“I used to go online and look for certain pieces or styles, and they would be $500 — no, thank you,” Kloft said. “Everything with STELLA Vivian is priced at $39.95 or less.”
She also carries an inventory of only six of any one particular style, in sizes small through extra large — a bold marketing move that Kloft believes has created a sense of brand exclusivity with STELLA Vivian devotees who have learned about her brand through social media and word of mouth.
“You won’t see people all over town, wearing the same thing,” she said. “I think people really like the idea of something being limited and not looking like everyone else. There’s a sense of it being exclusive — something only they might have.”
The essence behind the name
Named for her grandmother, Vivian Achen, Kloft said that everything down to the logo carries the message behind the STELLA Vivian brand and that the clothing tells a story.
“If you look at the logo, both lines are represented,” she said. “’STELLA,’ in all capital letters, is bold and edgy. It stands out, while ‘Vivian’ is classic, elegant and timeless. STELLA Vivian is the combination of the two styles.”
In addition to hand-selected styles, Kloft also offers free styling services, working one-on-one with customers to achieve the perfect look for events, or simply to perk up their existing wardrobe.
“If clients are looking for a certain style for a specific event, I help them pull a look together,” she said. “I also work with what they already have.”
She also continued to host pop-up shops and private parties.
Her grandmother also does alterations on the garments for customers, if needed, while her mother assists in photography. Models — dubbed “STELLA Dolls” — also are handpicked by Kloft, and the backdrop of area locations always are used in promoting clothing and accessories.
“I like to keep it in the family and keep it local,” Kloft said. “Why go outside of the area when there are such great partnership opportunities here and so many cool and beautiful places?”
A delicate balance
When not pulled between three careers, Kloft is mom to 1-year-old Krewz and prides herself on being just as passionate in motherhood as she is in business.
“When I had a baby, people kept telling me, ‘Baily, you’re going to have to give something up. You’re not going to be able do everything you’re doing.’ It really freaked me out. But I thought, ‘No. I’m going to do this. And I’m going to be a mom.’”
Since welcoming the new addition and with the support of her husband, there are days Kloft can be found at Bellevue Mercantile Co., baby strapped to her and marking STELLA Vivian merchandise.
“I like to dabble in a lot of things,” Kloft said of motherhood coupled with her varied outlets. “It just happens that I’ve been able to build careers out of my hobbies. I’m very passionate about all of it, so it has just never felt like work to me.”
Megan Gloss is the Features Editor for the Telegraph Herald.