When Danielle Williams moved to Israel seven years ago, she never expected to open up her own store in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Philadelphia native didn’t grow up connected to Israel, but fell in love with the idea of “fulfilling the dream of millions of Jews who didn’t have the privilege to call this place home.”
Williams, upon arrival in Israel, began having her friends come to her bedroom to shop for secondhand clothes. More and more people fell in love with the concept of having someone personally help them figure out what to wear. Her business began blossoming while she was studying in university, and she recently opened her first store in Tel Aviv called Dressed by Danielle after spending four and a half months fully renovating an old tuxedo store.
Her company uses “secondhand fashion as a vehicle for empowering women to authentically express themselves.” But the concept of private shopping experiences is not one that many are familiar with. Because of this, she often takes time to open her shop’s doors to passersby to explain what the concept is and tell them they can’t just walk in like a regular store.
“It’s extremely fulfilling to see how this service I have created helps women feel more comfortable and more confident in the clothes they wear,” Williams said. “It’s a lot of work to explain what I do and the benefits of what I do. I’ve never seen anyone else offer a private shopping session.”
The road to success
The journey started 11 years ago, when Williams started selling secondhand clothes. At first, she was only selling clothes to friends. Then, it expanded to a WhatsApp group. She was modeling clothes, selling them to friends and people started to ask to try things on. From there, a business model slowly developed to become what it is today. She had two home studios prior to expanding to an actual store with over 2,000 clients.
Personally, she’s kept over 30,000 items of clothes from landfills. Yes, 30,000. As she became more invested in expanding Dressed by Danielle, she learned about the benefits of utilizing secondhand clothing. She also learned that the clothing industry is the second-most pollutive behind oil. The life she’s created has been fulfilling, she explained, and she loves the fact that she’s changing the world.
Going forward, Williams is just living in the moment. At the start of every day, week, month, and year, she creates a list full of goals. She loves lists and checking off each box is important to her. Within the next five years, she is aiming to scale Dressed by Danielle to make it a phenomenon.
“As long as I continue to work with my values in mind every step of the way and keep bringing people into my team who also live and work by these values, the universe and my intuition will continue leading me down the path I’m supposed to go down,” Williams shared.
And looking even further down the road, besides expanding the business, Williams wants to be a contributing member of “several companies that are doing good in the world.” She wants to expand her horizons as a community leader, sharing the knowledge that she’s obtained while going through her own personal journey.
Williams said, “I just know that the future really really excites me because I see how successful you can be when you are making money in ways that truly benefit people and the environment.”
Secondhand clothing is on an ascent in the fashion industry, and Williams believes this is something that can expand within Israel. As one of the few who are leading the charge, Dressed by Danielle is bringing Israel into the new wave of secondhand clothing and in a unique way. The future is bright for this industry, and Tel Aviv can be the center of change.