I was chatting to a friend, Rachel, at a course that we were both on last year. The course was 8 days long and each day I commented on how stylishly dressed Rachel was, always something different, always stunning. Everything she wore suited her personality and body shape so well, her looks so well put together. Her style exuded confidence. Mid way through the course Rachel revealed her secret to me. She had met a lady called Stephanie Roper, AKA The Wardrobe Angel for a ‘style and declutter’ wardrobe consultation. The process involving the two of them going through every piece of clothing that Rachel had, trying everything and then creating outfits from what they decided to keep. Stephanie also gave Rachel advice on what wardrobe staples to invest in, tips on clothes that suit her body shape and how to wear the latest trends. The result was perfect.
I decided to connect with Stephanie on Twitter and soon found we have a lot in common. We share a love of genuine personal style, of quality wardrobe pieces over fast fashion. And we both love a good brew!
To Stephanie, her work is a joy, not just a job. She inspires and motivates by re-connecting clients to their innate sense of style and helping them to style themselves, bringing them back to their authenticity and awesomeness.
Steph has also developed a system that gives her clients money back! She offers to take unwanted clothes and to sell them on eBay or to dress agencies. She has also organised successful clothes swaps and is on a mission to keep good clothes out of landfill. I’m really excited that Steph has agreed to meet with me today and share some successes and inspirations she has gained in her journey as a sassy and stylish entrepreneur;
Hi Steph, it’s lovely have you here, how are you today?
I’m awesome thanks. Brew in hand, sequins on my back I am ready!
Sequins and a brew, sounds like a perfect way to start any day! I saw you recently on TV talking about the way that people shop and how you are on a mission to stop ‘throwaway’ fashion by encouraging re-selling, swapping and upcycling – it was really interesting to see you expanding your business into new areas. How different is your business now from what you envisioned when you first started out?
Very different. In terms of size – bigger, in terms of the opportunities I could’ve hoped for – unprecedented.
My business was born out of personal experience of rapidly downsizing and re-styling my own wardrobes.
Initially I envisaged visiting clients and sorting out their wardrobes, helping them go through the process I’d been through. Gradually I started to do more research into the fashion industry and became more interested in the life cycle of our clothes. Did you know that the average British woman has over £1000 worth of unused or underworn (worn once and put back) clothes hanging in her wardrobe? And that 10,000 items of clothing are thrown away in the UK every 5 minutes? That’s equivalent to 1 in 4 purchases. Those figures are shocking. So with that sustainability became a business pillar for me.
As my brand has grown so has my client base; it has evolved to include working for Corporate clients (including Pure Collection Cashmere and Morrisons) writing and explaining dress codes and styling new collections.
After doing one talk at Didsbury WI over 3 years ago I am now a sought after speaker at women’s groups, I’ve organised my own networking events, been shortlisted for a business award, won a business award and have become an eBay Power Seller. I’ve also been lucky enough to be asked to add my two pence worth on BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Humberside and BBC Radio Manchester with the occasional TV appearance thrown in.
(I’d better show my Mum and Dad this – they are always asking exactly what it is that I do!)
It’s wonderful to see your business thriving, have there ever been hard times? Have you ever been tempted to give up? What advice do you give to others who might feel that way?
Yes; I think it’s a natural and healthy part of being an entrepreneur- makes you think about how much you really want it. Do a brain dump on everything that is a worry or concern regarding your business. When it’s out in the open it won’t seem as big. Look at the list – who springs to mind who can help? Call in your tribe. Then list everything you have achieved. EVERYTHING. This forced me to see that I’ve come a long way and that giving up when it was all to play for was, in fact, ridiculous.
I love that, and totally see the importance of looking at our achievements. It can be so easy to think that you aren’t getting anywhere, when in actual fact you are doing things your past self wouldn’t even have dreamt possible.
What techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated?
If I have a day in the office I know I work best in the morning, the earlier the better, and in silence. By about 3pm my mind wanders off and I find myself staring out of the window or trying on new outfit combinations. This is when I allow myself a couple of hours of dance music to bring back happy feelings of summers in Ibiza and get my focus on again.
In January I implemented “Fuck It Thursday”. It’s the day of the week where I think – “just do it, what’s the worst that can happen?” This has involved emailing Marie Claire telling them I’d be a really good columnist for them, tweeting Sue Perkins to offer myself up as a stylist on her afternoon show on ITV and seeking out guest blog posts to spread The Wardrobe Angel word.
I also have my goals written out and placed on my desk so every day when I sit down I look and think “yep, that’s where I am going.”
Rich always asks me at the end of every day “what have you achieved?” This could be getting a new client, being asked to speak at an event, receiving some wonderful feedback. This is like posthumous motivation for me – it makes me look at the day in a new light.
I think I may have to adopt ‘Fuck it Thursdays’, the best results definitely come from outside of our comfort zones and make us into more confident and formidable business women. What else would you consider to be the important qualities in an entrepreneur?
Singular focus which incorporates the strength to fail and the determination see their idea succeed.
How important is it to you to have a support group? Who are those people to you?
So important!! Last year I was invited to join a power team called Bird Board in Leeds. Those women, my tribe, have changed my life and my business. They are sounding boards, friends, business colleagues and common sense rolled into one happy package.
Yes, I’m in total agreement, business groups are so good for us, as well as mentoring and coaching to get the very best out of ourselves. It can also be pretty lonely working towards something for yourself. Support, even from friends via social media can be such a key to success. I’m very happy that I connected with you, you are an inspiration.
Thank you so much for answering my questions today, I’d love to see you in a few days and take a peek into your handbag!
If you want to find out more about Stephanie, you can visit The Wardrobe Angel website, or find her on the socials, I’ve added all of her links below. She is such a dedicated and inspiring woman, I highly recommend getting to know her a little better.
Find Stephanie on…
or visit The Wardrobe Angel Website
I think I’ll take a little time to think about what to do for my own ‘Fuck it Thursday’!