About Us

The Apparel Agency introduces a new era of companies in the fashion industry. Our unique combination of services covers every step an entrepreneur must take to launch their own clothing line.  We have a true understanding of what it takes to start and run a business in the apparel industry. We offer our experience, knowledge and education to help guide our clients through the process of building a fashion business. We hope to eliminate the costly trial and error of doing it alone, by providing expert advice and industry insider information.

Our goal is to work closely with our clients to determine their specific needs, and develop a plan of action to help them succeed in starting their own apparel or accessories business. We offer various services and packages to fit the needs of any start-up fashion company


Nichole Rairigh

nicholeOwner / CEO

Nichole holds a wealth of industry experience that forms the foundation of The Apparel Agency. After attending Columbia School of Fashion & Design, Nichole went on to launch her own children’s clothing line, Ashor’s Room. With many seasons of success under her belt, she realized her passion was in the development side of the industry. Nichole soon began consulting with clients on all stages of product development, which shaped the initial groundwork for this company.


Xochil Herrera Scheer

Product Development Manager

xochilXochil’s passion for the apparel industry began at a young age, when she learned to sew at age 7. While still in high school, she took advanced sewing and pattern making classes at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin. This, along with classes in drafting, AutoCAD, and Adobe programs, gave her a solid background before continuing her education at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, where she earned her BFA in Fashion Design. Xochil then worked for a Chicago boutique, where she designed and produced a small in-house clothing line, custom handbags and offered fashion re-design services. At the same time, she attended DeVry Univeristy and earned a Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship in 2009. She later worked as a tailor for The Image Studios, while simultaneously operating her own pattern making and product development business, working with local designers and companies. Xochil’s passion remains in pattern making and technical design. Xochil is an active member of the local fashion community, and prides herself on keeping her knowledge and skills up-to-date with the ever-changing industry.


Jessica Steffes

Operations Manager

jessicaJessica has worked in many different aspects of the fashion industry. Her original interest in fashion design stemmed from her height and the lack of clothing that would fit her properly. She attended Joliet Junior College, where she studied fine arts including ceramics, painting, illustration, fashion, metal smithing and jewelry. She earned her BFA in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago. Currently, she is pursuing a MS in Recreation, Sports and Tourism through The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. This degree has focus on events planning, finance and budgeting, strategic management and advanced research methods. Jessica has a broad range of skills from the many positions she has held in the fashion industry. Her work with start up companies includes consulting, business processes development, fabric sourcing and technical design for domestic and overseas manufacturing. Her experience with large companies includes designing for soft home (bedding, drapery, towels, rugs, etc.), Textile Print Design  and Product Development for Motivational Marketing. Jessica is focused on the details and timelines to guide companies in their growth. She has a keen eye for forecasting future issues and ensuring solutions for the best possible outcomes.

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