Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A (male) client has their say...

"So here I am…In the last 2 years I have been made redundant, become director of my own company and after a long wait, received full custody of my 14yr old daughter. As you can imagine, it has been a real time of change. Surprisingly, the biggest challenge has been to discover my brand. I have always dressed for the occasion, I find that I cannot truly relax and be myself if I do not feel comfortable in what I wear. Enter the Wardrobe Angel…How do I combine my love of skating and the outdoors with being a business man? I am turning 40 and I don’t seem to feel comfortable in my style!

Stephanie arrived at my house at 9.30am and over a quick cuppa discussed my homework. Stephanie had put together a Pinterest board for me, containing images of different outfits, styles and fashion tips. I had a good look and gave her some feedback on what I liked and didn't like. This on its own was a great help, the images were of men my age and showed me that “business dress” did not have to be the corporate suit: it could be expressive, comfortable and still look professional. We finished our cuppa and dove into my wardrobe… I was so nervous at this point you would not believe, even though I had given Stephanie permission to be blunt (gulp!).

Stephanie was amazing, kind, encouraging and knowledgeable. We spent the morning going through my clothes with a fine tooth comb, ditching the “strong no’s” and keeping the “definitely’s”. I learned about pattern size, what shirts I should be wearing, textures and best of all accessorising…yes, 40 yr. old men can accessorise! I felt great, better than I had felt in years!! At first I felt a little silly but with some gentle coaching from Stephanie, I started to enjoy myself and get into it.  Stephanie took away all of the “strong no’s” to donate to charity and left me with a wardrobe full of potential and the new me.

Stephanie continues to inspire me by updating my Pinterest board with new suggestions and my gorgeous girlfriend has arranged for Stephanie to be my personal shopper for the day as a birthday present. I can’t wait!! Everyone should experience the Wardrobe Angel and I mean everyone!!"

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


They've been having a bit of a fashion 'moment' of late. About 7 years ago I treated myself to a pair of Nike hightops - I was about 7 years previous. They were kindly donated to charity and the only time I've worn trainers since was to go running in.

So can an invite to the exclusive sneaker event hosted by Fresh Laces at Harvey Nichols change my mind?

I'm really looking forward to it: I am a heels girl at heart but I bought a pair of leopard print skate shoes last year and they have me yearning for that feeling of foot comfort more and more. So what's happening on Friday then? For one day only the menswear department will be transformed into a pop-up sneaker fest offering rare and exclusive kicks, bespoke sneaker customs and accessories. This isn't the first time Fresh Laces have pulled off such a stonking event - Fresh Laces joined forces with the Knightsbridge Harvey Nichols in July last year and they are bringing that same electric atmosphere to Manchester this week.

I'll let you know how I get on! ...til next time! x

Monday, 10 February 2014

2014 has started with a BANG!

I entered the Network She Business awards late one Friday night at the beginning of January. As I trawled through my computer files finding evidence to support my entrance for Networking Woman of the Year, I stopped: Danielle La Porte's Truth Bomb (pictured above) sums it up.

  • Did I have a newspaper column two years ago? I do now. 
  • Did I even have a Twitter account two years ago? I do now. 
  • Did I have anyone to help me when I set up? I have my three musketeers now:  a book keeper (HOORAH!!! Even though my Dad is a maths prof, my brain just isn't designed for all those numbers and Excel? Don't even get me started on Excel), a PR savvy lady and a wonderful, wonderful business mentor.

I've had my business over 2 years now (2 and a half to be precise) and though the journey to and through self-employment has been a struggle at times, I wouldn't have it any other way. Self-employment forces you out of your comfort zone, it stretches and pulls you like pizza dough, makes you realise just what you are capable of and exposes the vulnerabilities of your personality and character in brutal and unrelenting ways. Yes, the hours are long, yes the weight of responsibility to yourself can be like a 10 tonne brick but oh...the joy when you get a glimmer of recognition for what you do.

This year I have had two such glimmers: a business award nomination and an invite to a rather swanky fashion event in London. On March 7th I will be extremely honoured to be in attendance at the Network She Awards as a FINALIST in the category of Networking Woman of the Year.  Facebook was my first port of call for my announcement:

"So this happened...

Congratulations Stephanie

It is with great pleasure that we inform you that you have been selected by the judges as a finalist at this year’s Network She Foundation International Women’s Day Awards 2014. 


The most awesome thing? The outpouring of support from my peers, friends and family: over 70 people turned their thumbs skyward and left messages of congratulations. I was STUNNED. Then Semple magazine got in touch and asked me to appear as a guest at their next Semple Secret event. 

See that photo? That's me alongside 2 of the UK's most prestigious fashion bloggers wearing a coat from a charity shop and 10 year old jeans that I bought with my first wage packet from M&S!! Click here to buy tickets for the event in London. 

So - to all you self-employed folk out there. Pull over, see how far you've come. Enjoy, bask, and live it. 

Monday, 3 February 2014


When I first started The Wardrobe Angel I met Isla from Ruby Star Associates at a networking event. What struck me, alongside the bright red lips and the vintage dress, was the sheer energy that Isla expended. There were over 40 women in that room that day and Isla stuck out. A year later I was in need of some help - my business was off the ground but it wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted it to. I seemed to be unable to articulate what made me special and different: in other words I couldn’t distil my own awesomeness into words. I needed help with sales and could’ve gone to a hardcore sales pit-bull for some wise words but I cowered at the thought of using language to ‘hard sell’ and ‘close a deal’. So I called on Isla, and thankfully I am still here today.

I wanted to kick February off by finding out what was next for this sales powerhouse. And after about 10 minutes of Skype chat we hit gold: in conjunction with Salford University, Ruby Starr Associates are interviewing the spouses of entrepreneurs to find out what effect self-employment has on children, money, time, sex – everything. By finding out what really goes on in those relationships, Isla and her team of associates can start to tailor make their products to suit those people: by finding out what people really want, they can give them what they need. The interviews will be conducted anonymously but I have a feeling that the information will be wildly anticipated, sought after and shared. Here’s one example of self-employment affecting a relationship which Isla shared with me:

“A stand-up comic is working the comedy circuit work all weekend. His partner is doing a normal Monday - Friday job. Consequently they get little time together. The partner was able to change her work pattern to work Wednesday – Sunday thus giving the couple a full ‘weekend’ together on Monday and Tuesday, when the comic returns from the stand-up circuit. The mind shift that took place in the relationship was that days aren’t so traditional anymore.”

This is so true! Being self-employed I set my own hours and yes, sometimes they are crazy: when I’m listing items on eBay I can work up until 2am in the morning if I am on a roll. I am also available to clients 7 days a week which is my choice but this has affected some friendships along my self-employed journey with people who worked that typical Monday – Friday and simply didn’t understand the effort and commitment having your own business demands.

Just take a look at the cool, childish images on rotation on their website homepage: this research is anything far from dry and ordinary.

Tweet Isla up by clicking here
Visit their well-branded website by clicking here