There are tons of awesome fashion bloggers that I follow on a daily basis, but when I heard that Catherine Sheppard (blogger at TheLifeStyled.com) was doing a Fashion Feng Shui class in LA, I knew I had to interview her for #RWDRT!!! If you’re not familiar, feng shui is a Chinese system of thought around spatial arrangement and orientation (usually with furniture!), in relation to the flow of energy. Essentially, it’s a practice based on the idea that our environment should be in alignment with who we are and where we want to go. It’s all about energy :) Of course, when you think about it, it makes total sense that this practice can also be applied to personal style!
Our homes are a mirror of our lives and what’s happening in them…however, when applied to fashion, it’s all about encouraging you visually to affirm your intentions in your personal and professional surroundings, in order to create them in your life. “Fashion Feng Shui, which considers clothing to be your body’s most intimate environment, applies Feng Shui philosophy and principles to personal appearance,” according to the official website.
Here’s what the stylist, blogger and Fashion Feng Shui expert has to say about her career path and the lessons she’s learned along the way…
How did you get your career start?
I moved from New York City to LA in 2008 right when the housing market crashed and no one was hiring. I had been working in event marketing since college, but it wasn’t my passion. While I had all this time on my hands while looking for jobs, I thought why not create my own job doing something I love? I flew to Boston within weeks after moving here did my certification training in Fashion Feng Shui. At that point it was just to try something new, but I really loved the holistic approach it brought to an otherwise standoffish industry and realized it was the perfect starting point for my new styling business and blog. I wanted to work with regular people to help them dress to honor their true selves, rather than feel like they have to keep up with the world of fleeting trends.
Tell us about Fashion Feng Shui:
In short, Fashion Feng Shui is incorporating the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal) into your wardrobe to make how you present yourself on the outside match what’s on the inside in an authentic and fulfilling way. Rather than constantly feeling like you have to keep up with all the trends out there, it’s really about knowing yourself from the inside out and creating a style that’s truly you, both for your personality (your essence) and your intentions. The elements are all represented in different ways (colors, fabrics, patterns, etc) in clothing and you can use them to dress in a way that can basically manipulate how the world perceives you. It’s literally dressing for the life you want. I wrote an intro to it on my blog, so if you’re interested in knowing more you can read that here. If you’re in LA, I’ve got a workshop coming up at WMN Space on June 17! More info on that here!
Tell us a little about everything that you do!
I’m a wardrobe stylist and run a fashion/lifestyle blog The Life Styled. I work both with individual clients on their wardrobes (things like Closet Detox, Fashion Feng Shui, and personal shopping) and I do wardrobe styling for TV, brands, and editorial. It can be a lot at times but I love all the different parts of my job!
What’s a typical day like for you?
Wake up at 6:30, try to fit in family time, working out, coffee, and getting myself ready before my hubby leaves for work at 8:30. Then on the days where I have childcare help, it’s onto everything from emails to getting the next day’s blog post ready, shopping for wardrobe for a TV show, keeping up with social media, prepping for a blog shoot or Fashion Feng Shui workshop, etc. On shoot days (which I do a couple of times a month), it’s a total marathon of banging out posts with my photographer. Those days usually leave me completely exhausted for a few days following.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
As a stylist, I get to work with people to make them feel more confident and authentic to themselves, and that’s a really rewarding job. As a business owner, there is nothing more freeing than working for yourself. You get to wake up everyday with only your own goals and priorities in mind, rather than a boss or a company that’s not your own.
What has been your biggest career accomplishment to date?
Honestly, I never thought I was going to figure out how to be a mom and have my career. I never felt like there were enough hours in the day, and I thought having children was going to mean giving up my own priorities. I never wanted to JUST be a mom so I needed to figure it out. It took a solid year before I sort of learned how to juggle it all and I still struggle, but I eventually found a groove and now I feel like I can do anything. Getting some extra help was the key because I learned the hard way that you can’t do it all. That may not be exactly the type of answer you were looking for but right now looking back at my career so far, it really feels like my biggest accomplishment!
What’s your number one piece of advice for someone who wants a similar career path?
Becoming a stylist is pretty doable this day in age. You can assist another stylist, or start a blog which can basically serve as a styling portfolio. You just need your own wardrobe and a friend to take photos of you which is enough to show what you can do! Blogging can be pretty lucrative if you stay consistent with it, and connect with brands on social media. Both styling and blogging work pretty well alongside each other.
What other women in business do you admire and why?
After moving to LA and starting my business, I have been lucky to meet so many inspiring women entrepreneurs, many of whom have become close friends. I admire them all and learn so much from them. There are too many to name them all but a few who come to mind are: Jaimi Brooks (a marriage and family therapist), Caley Alyssa (a yoga, health and fitness expert), Paige Appel and Kelly Harris of Bash, Please and Midland shop in Culver City, and the two photographers I work with for my blog who are so talented, Ashley Burns and Heather Kincaid. Also, my sister-in-law on the east coast who runs the most amazing wedding/event planning business called All Who Wander. All of them are women who know how to go after what they want and whose talent, savviness, and smarts inspire me to be better.
What’s one work-related thing that you know now that you wish you knew when you first started?
I wish I could have gotten rid of the notion that you have to be successful right from the start. It takes time, so be patient with yourself. Even if it means stepping into a job like working in a clothing store to pay some bills while you build up your clientele/following. I did that, but I remember feeling like I didn’t want anyone to know that I was doing it. Swallowing your pride is the best thing for building something new, and I have so much respect for people who can work a low paying job in the name of creating their best career in the long run. No matter where you are in your career you will always be wanting to get to the next level. So every part of the journey is important.
For more info on Catherine, check out her blog, TheLifeStyled.com!
Photos by Heather Kincaid