It's a teenage girl's dream.
She roots through designer dresses and expensive shoes in the closets of some of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood.
She shops all afternoon and gets paid for it. And she makes even more money selling celebrity hand-me-downs on eBay.
That's the only-in-L.A. life of Kimberly Kardashian, daughter of Robert Kardashian best known for his appearances on the O.J. Simpson defense team. As a freelance stylist, eBay vendor and personal shopper, the 25-year-old has turned her passion for fashion into a career.
Kardashian has been working with Paris Hilton, transforming a bedroom of the celebutante's house into a closet not a small task.
"Paris has so many clothes and it is not all organized when you get there," she said.
Her role as closet cleaner combines some elements of her role as stylist. Kardashian's closet job is to make suggestions about what is fashionable and what needs to go. Her system for discarding old clothes is simple: everything out of style must be sold.
"I am not into keeping clothes that are older and dingy unless it is completely sentimental or something the client really wants to hold onto except great vintage pieces," she said. "My theory is if it comes back in style, it will be cooler the second time around."
At the beginning of a consulting appointment, Kardashian gathers all of the client's clothes in one room. She goes through them piece by piece with the client and separates the clothes into categories including dresses, skirts, jeans, and T-shirts.
As part of the project, Kardashian hires contractors to build closet racks and shelves. Hilton's new closet includes 15 racks exclusively for hanging clothes, set up like a store. Kardashian orders hangers, color coordinates the clothes, and if need be, has a second closet built in the garage for coats and other off-season garments.
A big part of the job is dealing with clutter.
"You don't want work and business stuff and pictures together with your clothes," she said. "The clients I work for have assistants or secretaries. Sometimes we hand what we find off to them."
Clients appreciate her efforts.
"When you have kids, your closet can be like another kid," said Bernadette Leonard, wife of former boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and Kardashian's godmother. "I feel 15 years younger now that Kim organized my closet."
When Kardashian reorganized the closets of Sugar Ray and Bernadette Leonard she spent four days on each closet working 15 hours a day. And her work is not done when the closet is clean: She does monthly maintenance for some of her clients.
KTTV (Channel 11) weathercaster and morning personality Jillian Barberie is her next client.
Then there's the sales angle selling the discarded duds over the Internet.
"That's what I do myself and that's how I got into the business on eBay," she said. "I buy all the trendy stuff and then get over it when it goes out of style. If I didn't want to give it away to my friends, I would sell it on eBay and get new stuff."
She keeps a room in her Los Angeles apartment for racks and mannequins filled with celebrities' clothes. She limits her business to seven clients at a time because she doesn't have enough space to handle more.
Sometimes her clients don't want a closet reorganization they just want her to sell their clothes. She's sold for celebrities including Cindy Crawford, Rob Lowe and Kenny G. Kardashian recently worked with Catherine Bach (the original Daisy Duke in "Dukes of Hazzard") to sell her clothes when the new movie came out.
She keeps everything on separate shelves with labels.
"I have a computer and a camera I load it all up and post the products on eBay," she said.
Leonard took away $25,000 after the discard sale.
"It was a huge overhaul of my closet," said Leonard. "We got rid of 10 to 20 percent of my clothes." Leonard used the money for a down payment on a Mercedes.
Kardashian charges a one-time fee for reorganizing a closet. The fee varies depending on the size of the project. She also keeps 25 to 30 percent of whatever she makes on eBay.
Kardashian works on eBay late at night, leaving her afternoon for one of her favorite pastimes: shopping. She owns about 500 pairs of shoes and several hundred purses. But she also acts as the personal shopper for many of her clients including her boyfriend Ray J, an R & B; singer; and Brandy (Ray J's sister); and Hilton. "For clients, I love to shop at Barneys and Neiman Marcus. Personally, I love Vionnet and Curve."
However, Kardashian expects that to change when she opens a new high-end couture boutique next month with two of her sisters, Khloe, 21, and Kourtney, 26. At that point she expects to do all of her client shopping there. The store will sell fashion labels including Chloe, Moschino, Blumarine, Alice + Olivia, and Erica Davies.
"My sisters and I are so different personality wise. When we went to do buying for the store in New York, it was crazy. I'm very trendy, Khloe is classic, Kourtney is very bohemian/ hippie. So the store will have a variety of styles."
Called "Dash" from Kardashian and in honor of their late father, the store will be located in Calabasas next door to a children's clothing boutique called Smooch,owned by Kardashian's mother Kris and sister Kourtney.
Before she was a celebrity stylist, Kardashian worked full time for six years at her father's company, Movie Tunes. The family inherited the company upon his death in 2003 from esophageal cancer. Kardashian still goes in several times a month to keep up to date with sales. But her forte is fashion.
"When I was at Movie Tunes I would shop in my free time. I would come back to the office with all these bags and my dad would laugh. Sometimes I shut myself in my office and sold clothes. I couldn't really get in trouble because it was my dad's company."
Kardashian paved a path for herself as a stylist through celebrity connections. She knew Ray J when she was a teenager. "Ray J would always tell me, 'You act just like Brandy. You guys really have to meet,'" Kardashian said.
They were introduced by a mutual friend several years later and, true to Ray J's prediction, became shopping buddies.
The pair would visit the hottest stores on the weekend, buy everything they liked, and try on the clothes together when they got home. Brandy liked Kardashian's taste.
So after Brandy appeared on a worst dressed list in a celebrity magazine, the singer asked her to work as her stylist.
"I still kind of thought she was kidding," Kardashian said. "But her record company called me the next day to hire me."
The following week, Kardashian was jetted off by Brandy and Atlantic Records to Europe for a three week promotional tour for "Afrodisiac," Brandy's new record at the time. Kardashian was responsible for dressing Brandy and her backup dancers. "It was how we always shopped," said Kardashian. She would go out to the store and bring back clothes for Brandy to try on.
That was two years ago. Since then, her business as a freelance stylist has continued to grow and her services have expanded.
She's been approached about doing a show in which she would overhaul a celebrity closet each week for viewing audiences. A pilot featuring Serena Williams is in production.
As her success grows, Kardashian wants to increase client donations to Coach for Kids, a program sponsored by Cedars-Sinai Hospital that works toward providing free health care to underprivileged children.
Currently her mother and stepfather, former Olympian athlete Bruce Jenner are donors, as well as some of her other clients.
She's considering a name for the business: Closet Case.
"My mom made it up," she said. "She's amazing with names. I needed to do her closet but I always postponed. She was like "Come on Kim! This is the biggest closet case ever!"
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