A passion for sharing fashion put Utah blogger Rachel Parcell on the map. Now she's offering up her style in a Nordstrom-exclusive collection.
By Solvie Karlstrom
If you’d asked a teenage Rachel Parcell what she wanted to be when she grew up, you’d have gotten a hands-down answer. “Fashion designer, for sure.” Everyone in her hometown of Salt Lake City would have predicted the same. The Pink Peonies blogger was your go-to when you needed outfit advice or to borrow the perfect dress for a school dance. And you didn’t have to be her sister or her BFF to get a little style support. As ingrained in her as her love for fashion is her inclination to share it.
Do you remember when we didn’t want people to copy our style?
It’s funny you say that. When I was in middle school—my first year—I went up to this girl, a 9th-grader. I loved her style. I was shy, but I got the courage to say, “I love your top. Where’d you get it?” She looked me once over, said, “I don’t remember,” and walked away. She wasn’t going to tell me because she didn’t like me. I was devastated. And from there, I said to myself, “I’m never going to be that girl.”
Middle school can be brutal. Was that exclusive attitude toward fashion new for you?
Totally. I have three sisters, and growing up, my mom ingrained in our minds that this is a shared closet. This top isn’t just yours. It’s for all your sisters. I mean, there were conflicts in the morning. Maybe I was envisioning wearing a sweater and then Emily put it on. And my mom would say, “You girls, you work it out.” Everyone asks how we’re best friends on top of being sisters, and I swear it’s because my mom made us share everything.
We shared with our friends, too. I’d wear a dress to a dance, and then my girlfriends, sometimes just acquaintances, would call me up like, “Hey, I loved your homecoming dress. I’m wondering if I can wear it to Sweethearts.” And I’d say, “Absolutely.”
And now sharing your style is a huge part of your career.
I think it made my career. It was a natural evolution when I started my blog—women were asking me where I got my lipstick or my top, and I’d respond, “Oh, here’s the link to Nordstrom. I found it for you.” I always wanted to work in fashion, but the universities around here don’t have fashion programs. My followers gave me the opportunity to do something in Salt Lake that typically you could only do in LA or New York. They showed me that I could build a business here, because I can reach so many women across this country and the world just from the computer screen.
These days your family is pretty involved, too. Were they excited to participate?
It’s been a journey. For one of my first blog posts I wanted to do a photo shoot. So, I asked my husband, Drew, “Can you take the pictures?” And he was like, “Seriously? You’re making me take pictures of just you?” He thought it was so weird. This was pre-Instagram. But he had to go to school and work and didn’t have time for all my shoots, so luckily, I had my mom. She’d be in the bushes trying to get the perfect shot, saying, “Let’s show this detail,” and “They’re gonna wanna see your earrings. Move your hair back.” She was so into it. Drew gets it now. It took him a while, but now he’s such an Instagram husband.
You’ve got an Instagram dog as well.
Oh, my heck, Dash was born to model. He will sit and smile. He’s the real star of everything. Everyone is obsessed with him. I will get messages saying, “Oh, your baby’s cute, but your dog, Dash,” and I’m like, “Oh, boy, you love the dog more than the kids.” Dash is always a hit.
Now that you’re sharing your style with the world, do you still find time to share with your sisters?
Oh, yeah. To this day my sister will call me when she’s packing for a trip and say, “I need your help. Here’s the outfit,” and I’ll say, “OK, go try on this. Add this to it. Change it here.” I still know exactly what’s in her closet.