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Who Says Accountants Can't Be Fashion Moguls? | Style

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Who Says Accountants Can't Be Fashion Moguls?
Who Says Accountants Can't Be Fashion Moguls?

Talking to Tamara "Hush" Lee, or Tam for short, is like conversing with a beam of light.  Her energy is contagious. I've known Tam for several years now and I've had the pleasure of watching her blossom into the fashion-centric expert she is today.  This month, Tam’s new blog - HushTalksFashion.com - will be launched and in 2015, she will be introducing her blazer line.  I spoke while she was driving home from her radio interview on WHUR where she talked about all things fashion. 

Vanessa:  What was your motivation for launching Hush Boutique?

Tam:  I graduated with an accounting degree and spent my weekends thinking about fashion.  I hosted trunk shows and participated in local fashion events.  Whatever I could do to get my brand out there.  I can remember a time at one of my first shows, only a few people showed up.  Your average person would have packed up and gone home….but I took that as an opportunity to learn and  perfect my formula for success. 

Vanessa:  Tam, I've known you for a long time.  You're not the average person.  

Tam:  Thanks so much.  I appreciate that. My husband was always very supportive of my dreams to have my own boutique.  He encouraged me constantly to step out on faith.  So, I went for it.  We will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hush Boutique in July 2015.  If it is your passion, you'll eat it, sleep it, breathe it, and do it. I learned early on that its best to figure out a formula for your success.  Once you figure it out, you can put all of your energy behind making whatever it is, a success.  I’ve had women come up to me and say, “you’re like the girl next door that’s made it”.  They’d say “you taught us how to be a supportive wife during your husband, Donte Lee’s, recent illness”.  Those sentiments meant more to me than anything and further inspired me to keep going.

Vanessa:  One of my favorite thought leaders is Malcolm Gladwell.  Malcolm created the 10,000-hour rule.  The rule states that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world class in any field.  What would you say is required to become world class in your field?  

Tam:  Wow, that’s a great question.  I’d say, paying your dues.  Pay your dues in blood, sweat , and tears.  I’d tell them to pray and let the Holy Spirit guide their way.  We sometimes get distracted on our journey, so we should practice patience and stay focused on the goal.   Everything will come to you in God’s time.  However, you must be deserving of your position and never stop studying your craft.

Vanessa:   I think you’re going to give Malcolm a run for his money.  Yes, indeed.

Vanessa:  If you found yourself stranded on a desert island for an entire month.  What would be in your survival kit?

Tam:  I’d say a Bible to keep sane; a blanket to keep warm; and a compass to find my way off the island! 

VanessaIf you could turn back the clock and have a conversation with your 17-year-old self,  what advice would you give her?

Tam:  I’d tell Tam at 17 not to focus on making money.  Instead, keep your eye on the target.  I’d tell her to be in it for the long run.  There is a difference between building a business and building a brand.  Savvy people can usually see through that and determine whether you’re authentic or not.  People usually do business with those they K.L.T.  Know, like & trust.

Vanessa:  If you were to hire an intern tomorrow. What would be the qualifications you’d look for?

Tam:  I’d like my intern to be fashion savvy, dependable and a go-getter.  I’d also like someone that’s an independent thinker.  Someone that doesn’t require a lot of hand-holding.  I’d like someone that’s really passionate about fashion and wants a career in it.

Vanessa:  What are a few important things you’ve done throughout your career?

Tam:  Early on, I sought out mentors and resources that could teach me how to build a brand.  That’s been the most powerful thing I’ve done in 10 years.  I made sure that Hush was everywhere.  As a result, the public started to take notice.

Vanessa:  What advice would you give to someone in the fashion industry that had not yet earned a college degree?

Tam:  I’d tell them to find a way to finish school.  Education is so very important.  I’d tell them to study and know cash flow and how a company makes money.  I’d tell them to partner with someone who has been where you’re trying to go. 

Vanessa:  Ten years from now, what would be your answer if someone asked you to reflect on 2014?

Tam:  My journey.  How I got here.  What I did to get here.  I’d tell them that I stayed true to myself and I made it here.  



Fashion-Conscious from a very early age, Tamara Lee lives by the saying, “Love, Laugh and Be Fashionable”, the words of a true fashionista. Born and raised in Washington D.C, Tamara was exposed to a variety of styles and cultures that she incorporates in her style today. Fashion was always her first love, however she wasn’t sure that a fashion career would be so lucrative in the DC Area.  Keeping the passion for fashion on the HUSH, she graduated from Bowie State University with a B.S. in Accounting. Corporate America opened their arms to Tamara as she birthed a ten-year career in Accounting. This experience allowed her to finance her dream of becoming a boutique owner and stylist. In 2005, Hush Boutique, a mobile boutique was birthed. Tamara’s style and warm personality grew her client list from over 1000 in a quick year. Ladies loved the personal shopping experience and uniquely affordable clothing.  Soon after Hush would began to travel to major cities on the east coast spreading the HUSH experience hosting shopping parties in hotel suites and venues. Although it was a well-kept secret Hush began to spread rapidly and before you know it the secret was out. In 2007, the ecommerce site was launched www.lovehushboutique.com.  It was her sizeable rolodex of clients, warm personality and connections that led her to her journey in styling. Her portfolio ranges from styling music videos, fashion editorials, album covers, fashion photo shoots, and runway shows.  She was led wardrobe stylist for R.Kelly, Birdman & Lil Wayne’s Music Video “It’s On”, as well as Lil Mo & Tweet’s Video “I Love Me”. She styles for several celebrities & local prominent businesswomen.  However more importantly, Tamara loves to see the transformation of her clients confidence. Whether it’s a push to try a pair of skinny jeans, a pop of the collar, or an added layer or accessory, she can change a person from a wallflower into a style icon in minutes. Her unique sense of style is as beautiful as versatile, combining classic sophistication with sassy chic and always a modern twist to create her unique brand of elegance. Tamara is a contributing fashion editor for Sister2Sister Magazine and a fashion blogger.  She has an audience of over 30,000 readers and followers. 

Tamara owes all her success to doing things in correct order: Faith, Family and Business. She adores her husband, Donte and daughter, Kinae but most importantly she loves GOD. She believes when you live right, love unconditionally, work hard and walk in faith then the sky’s the limit.