A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne at workshop she hosted with Smithery Style. We learned how to understand and define our own personal styles, clean out our closets and shop for what we love and need rather than for what seems to work or is just on sale. It’s safe to say that this came at the perfect time for me as I was de-cluttering our home (aka my closets) to stage and sell. I can’t even begin to explain how much Suzanne’s advice and ideas helped me through this process. I tried things on, kept only things I love and now know exactly how to define and shop for what I need and really like to wear. Thanks so Suzanne’s workshop and suggestions I can now define my own style and to be honest, I’m truly owning it in a way that I never have before!
Suzanne Colmer is the creator of Your Shop Girl, an image consultant company that focuses on educating and empowering through style. She provides a multitude of packages from individualized virtual packages to corporate workshops, all of which focus on helping you feel your best in clothes you actually love. If you’ve ever wanted to simplify your closet and embrace your own personal style, Suzanne is the perfect person to chat with.
Suzanne is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, she’s genuine and so relatable. As a mother herself, Suzanne offers some amazing tips for those style struggles that come with the territory and a fabulous “get ready in 12 minutes” tip (read more about this below). I am so thrilled to share Suzanne’s story with all of you!
- After learning so much about you and your company at the workshop you held with Smithery Style, I was so intrigued and couldn’t wait to hear more about what you do and how Your Shop Girl came to be. Can you tell us a bit more about Your Shop Girl and how it came to be?
It feels like a few lives ago! I graduated from U of T with a double major in Sociology and Gender Studies and no clue what I wanted to do with my life. After flipping through a Continuing Education catalogue at George Brown I discovered “Image Consulting” courses. I had no idea what they entailed or where they would take me but I signed up anyway. After my first night, I was hooked. The idea of being able to help women find confidence through clothing and knowledge was a perfect fit. I finished up, spent a summer in Paris and came back to start my company. It was really just me doing a huge nose dive into the ocean and deciding that I would learn how to swim once I got in. Luckily almost a decade later I am still floating;)
2. I’m so happy we had the chance to meet and talk about Your Shop Girl and the multifaceted company that it is! When I learned that education and empowerment was such a huge part of what you do I was immediately hooked! What are some of the services and programs you offer at Your Shop Girl?
My main focus is definitely on education, whether we are doing a closet cleanse or shopping for a new wardrobe I want to make sure I can teach you how to do it on your own. So with that in mind, I offer packages including cleaning out your closet, shopping for a new wardrobe or simply learning how to shop. I also launched my online learning program that will be relaunched this spring and new workshops including a Mother Daughter one I am really excited about.
- As a mom and also an entrepreneur how do you make it all work? What advice would you give to other moms looking to start their own project or business?
I don’t think I do make it all work! On days where I feel like a really great entrepreneur I usually feel like a crappy mom or vice versa. The key for me is my village. It is really more like a town. I wouldn’t be the mom I am without them. So I guess my best advice is ask for help and surround yourself with people that love you and that you love back. We can do anything if we have enough people cheering us on, on the sidelines.
- Getting dressed is something we all do everyday, but we tend to over look so many fun elements about this process. Style and personal image is such a huge part of who we are. How do you help people to find that personal style that fits with who they are and their lifestyle?
This is such a great question. I often find clients don’t know how to describe their style and yet they can easily describe what their style isn’t. We all have an ideal style, it is just a matter of focusing in on it and asking ourselves the right questions. I could lay out 50 pieces of art in front and even if you didn’t know a thing about art, you could tell me what pieces you liked and what pieces you didn’t. The same goes for clothing. It is so important to try pieces on and figure out why you like something or, more importantly, why you don’t. Once you know exactly what style you like it makes it quite a bit easier to find them.
- As someone living in a “cozy” city home, with the tinniest closet (it’s practically non-existent) you really helped me to understand the importance of shopping smart, picking multipurpose pieces that fit my personal style as well as my lifestyle. Can you tell us a bit more about this process, smart shopping and how it all works?
It really all comes down to making sure that you have a high standard for pieces that are going to live in your closet.
First, not only should they fit and mix and match with other pieces (three pieces to be exact) in your closet, they should also make you feel amazing. We too often settle for styles because they fit or are cheap, when we should be asking ourselves how they make us feel. Even if you don’t understand your colouring or your ideal style is or know what cuts work best, if you really feel amazing in a piece it is going to be great on you.
Second, I also recommend shopping with a list and a purpose. Imagine trying to grocery shop without a list, you will either come home with snacks you didn’t plan on buying or you will buy the same ingredients you always do. The same goes for clothing shopping. Decide what you need (and what you don’t) before you head out and make a game plan about what your budget is and what stores you want to check out.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to come home empty handed. I consider that a success, because you didn’t buy something just to buy it!
- Now that spring is here, I am desperately trying to clear out our tiny space and simplify our lifestyle a bit more. I’m really learning that less is more and trying to apply that to my closet as well. What are some of the ways that you can suggest some small steps, big impact changes, for someone looking to ‘clean up their closet’ this spring?
Try everything on. Everything. If you aren’t looking to part with a less than perfect piece throw it in a garment bag, put an expiry date on it and toss it under your bed. There is no point in staring at pieces you aren’t wearing. It distracts you from focusing you on the pieces that you could be playing around with.
I also recommend organizing everything. If you can’t see it you won’t wear it. Put like items together and file you tees so they stand up rather than piling them on top of one another.
- As a mother of two little ones I have very little time to think about my clothing choices, especially when we are running out the door. I know you’re also a mom and know the feeling. What are some tips you could offer mom’s who are looking to make their wardrobe more functional and fill it with pieces that work well together and that they love?
I’m all about getting ready in twelve minutes! I spend five minutes on makeup, two minutes throwing on clothes and the rest on my hair (hence the short cut!) The secret is buying pieces that mix and match easily. That means that they are a similar style and colouring. You want to be able to close your eyes and pick two pieces to match together. It also helps when you like everything in there
- Your Shop Girl has so much to offer already (various packages that work for different lifestyles, workshops etc. …). What are your hopes for the future of this blossoming business?
I plan to have a team of women who are as dedicated to making people feel as great in their clothes (and skin) as I do. One step at a time though! I just need to take my kid to her first day of Kindergarten first.