For the past two years, this site was the home page for my wardrobe styling business. If you visited debbieroes.com up until recently, you could find information about how I worked with clients to help them clean out their closets, discover what looks best on them, and hone their personal and professional style. While aspects of this work were very fulfilling and I was able to help a number of women feel better about their wardrobes, their styles, and themselves, I’ve decided to move on.
Why I’m No Longer Doing Styling
Before I divulge my reasons for closing the doors on my wardrobe styling business, I’d like to share a bit about why I opted to start that business in the first place. My entry into personal styling evolved out of my own style transformation as I neared the age of forty. I wanted to transform my quirky way of dressing into a more sophisticated, mature, and classy style.
After a lengthy period of self-exploration and immersion into the topics of style, fashion, and body image, I started applying what I learned to not only help myself but also friends and family members. Since the feedback I received from these key people was overwhelmingly positive, I decided to launch a new business offering wardrobe consultation services, including closet audits, “shop your wardrobe” styling sessions, and personal shopping. I believed the unique background I brought to the profession – a lifelong passion for clothing and shopping combined with my education in psychology and life coaching – would offer my clients knowledge, compassion, and perspective.
My primary reason for becoming a stylist was to help women increase their confidence, improve their body image, and feel more empowered to take on the things that matter to them in life. I wanted to focus the bulk of my time on my strength, working with clients, instead of on the process of finding and securing business. Since I’ve long struggled with the sales and marketing aspects of business, I opted to join a nationwide group of wardrobe stylists (at a considerable cost). I believed this association would give me a greater chance of success, as well as allow me to partner with others in my new profession.
When my styling group collaboration failed to yield the client referrals I hoped for, I hired a marketing consultant to help me hone my message and promote my business. I also joined several networking groups and professional associations, attended regular business seminars, and started blogging to raise my online profile and search engine rankings. While these things helped somewhat, I still had a very difficult time obtaining new clients. In addition, due to the nature of the personal styling business, most new clients only worked with me for a total of ten hours or less. I was constantly struggling to find new clients and I did not enjoy that part of the business at all.
Then There’s the Shopping…
Part of the reason I decided to enter the profession of styling was because I loved shopping and was good at it. I was always able to find nice clothing, shoes, and accessories at good prices. Whereas many women find shopping overwhelming, tiring, and draining, I relish the experience. I can shop and shop – and never drop! In truth, I shop too much and have struggled with a fairly serious shopping problem since my teenage years. As a result of my overshopping, I’ve experienced debt, an overloaded closet, and relationship issues, as well as feelings of being out of control.
By becoming a wardrobe consultant and personal shopper, I felt I was making “lemons out of lemonade.” I reasoned that if I could help others shop and get paid for it, then some good would be coming out of the otherwise bad situation of my compulsive shopping problem. What I didn’t know was that my work as a stylist would plunge me even deeper into shopaholic hell. The intense pressure I felt to “measure up” in terms of my appearance and style as a de facto member of the fashion industry had me visiting the online and brick and mortar shops far more than ever before. In addition, when I shopped with clients, I found myself wanting more and more new things, and the buying cycle intensified.
All of the focus on fashion, style, and new trends had a negative effect on me. Not only was I shopping pretty much all the time, I also started to feel shallow and like I wasn’t being true to myself. I wanted to help women feel better about themselves, but I worried I was potentially helping to create more shopaholics to feed the consumption machine in our society.
Recovering Shopaholic Blog
As 2012 drew to a close and I conducted my end of the year clothing inventory (I started tracking my wardrobe at the beginning of 2011 as a way of getting my shopping and wardrobe under control), I was forced to face the grim facts of my compulsive shopping problem. I had a hopelessly bloated wardrobe and close to half of what I owned had only been worn once – or not at all – during the entire year of 2012! Clearly, something had to change, especially since my husband and I had made great strides toward simplifying our lives in virtually every other way.
Inspired by Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe,” who healed her shopping addiction through setting rules for herself and blogging about her progress, I decided to start a new blog. In January 2013, Recovering Shopaholic was born! At first, I had no idea if anyone would even read what I wrote, but I was surprised at the tremendous response my blog received within a few short months. I grew a committed readership and started receiving many comments and emails in reaction to my writing.
As I’ve blogged about my journey to overcome shopping addiction, I’ve started to recover. What’s more, I’ve also been able to inspire others to face their compulsive shopping and simplify their wardrobes. I started to post more often and spend more time on my blog and less time on my personal styling business. Over time, what I was doing with the blog felt more important and more in line with my values and personal path.
While the blog does not provide much income (save a bit of affiliate income from Amazon and other businesses), my styling business was not exactly lucrative either, despite the large amount of time and attention I gave it for two years. Although I was happy to be able to help a small number of women with their closets and image through my styling business, I’m able to touch many more people though my blogging. It provides me with tremendous personal fulfillment to know my words touch women all around the world who struggle with shopping too much as a way of dealing with their emotional issues.
What’s Next for Me?
I’m not exactly sure what’s next for me in terms of my career. I’ve tried a number of jobs and several businesses over the years and while a few of them were promising, none of them quite felt like my true purpose in life. While many people would have given up by now at the not-so-young age of 47, I still believe there is hope for me to find work that both makes a difference in the world and pays a decent income. I’m inspired by the words of the late, great Steve Jobs:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
As I considered shutting down yet another business, I found myself consumed by worry about what other people would think. I didn’t want to have to tell my family and friends that I had experienced one more “false alarm” in the professional realm. I feared they would consider me a flake – or worse, a loser. But as I pondered my decision and my future, I was reminded of another powerful quote by the inimitable Mr. Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
So I soldier on and will follow my heart and intuition into the next chapter of my life. At this point, things are still quite cloudy. I don’t know the specifics of what I will do other than that I’ll continue blogging. I feel passionate about that pursuit and know I’m making a difference through my writing. While I struggle with self-confidence in so many ways, I believe in my abilities as a writer. I’m also considering getting back into life coaching and pursuing potential speaking opportunities, but I will let things “percolate” a bit more before making concrete decisions and plans in those areas.
Watch This Space!
Over the coming months, this site will change to represent my new professional ventures as they evolve. In many respects, I see myself coming full circle with previous pursuits instead of branching off into something completely new and different. As things become clearer to me, this website will shift to represent the exciting career developments I feel confident will come my way. I just have to trust myself and life and listen to the inner voice Steve Jobs spoke about. As he says, everything else is secondary.