Birdsnest’s Tan Ward took me aside briefly last Saturday and asked me whether I’d stopped to look around at the 200 guests in the room. Up until that point I’d been frantically running around, making sure the event was set up just how I’d imagined, greeting guests, talking on stage and taking in the fashion parade.
Tan made me stop and look around. And I’m so glad I did. What I saw was a room filled with laughing, smiling women of all ages, shapes and sizes – from across Australia. Two guests even flew in from Perth! There were mums and daughters; there were grandmothers and daughters; there were sisters; girlfriends and women who came on their own but who walked away with new friends.
It may have been just a small sub-section of the Styling You community but suddenly there was something in my eye. Let’s just say I had a lot of somethings in my eye that afternoon. I laughed, I cried and I smiled. A LOT.
Building a business is not easy. It’s certainly not an overnight build, nor is building the community behind a business. But there in that room was a representation of the Styling You community and the reason why I do what I do.
I want women to feel good about themselves and connect with others who feel the same way. That connection thing is key. We live in a world that is so full, so noisy, that often it’s difficult to create meaningful connections. In previous generations, families provided that. The online world can get a bad rap but there are a lot of corners of the Internet that do good and do offer the chance to connect with people who “get” you.
That we have such a supportive and judgement-free space here at Styling You is my greatest achievement. We’re about women supporting other women, when too often women are not known for doing that. I’m very protective of this space and we ensure that anyone entering knows and understands that’s how we are. I’m unashamedly a positive person. My coffee cup (and wine glass) is always half full.
I know I’m for everyone but that’s ok. If it’s for you, then you’re very welcome here.
My MC with the mostest was very good friend, Beth, a friend I would not have met except for blogging. It was her blog, BabyMac’s, blogging birthday on the weekend too – her 12th. In this post, Beth writes about the power of connecting and turning online friendships into real friendships. On the day we also talked about those rewards of those connections but we also touched on the not-so-good stuff. We talked about how many (other female bloggers) have dished out some nasty stuff about us online over the years. Beth writes (and we spoke about it on the day): “How could we forget that line delivered to us in New York by another blogger who said ‘you do you know everyone hates you right?’.” Yep. And this from grown women.
I refuse to buy into the online trash talk. Well-meaning friends have alerted me to it at various times over the years but I choose not read it or take it on board. I’m only human and I’m a soft human at that. You can’t “grow” a thick skin. If you could, 20 years of journalism should have given me that. I choose instead to focus my energy on the work I do in my community and in my business.
In my unicorn-and-fairy-floss world, I like to think that this community can help educate other women about how to support and uplift other women, to stop another woman from gossiping, to stop another woman from putting someone else down, to scroll on by on social media if they see something that they “feel” they need to have a go at another person about and to help another woman be pragmatic instead of dramatic.
What the Styling You community has taught me is acceptance: acceptance that no two people are the same; that one person’s style may not be yours but that’s ok; that it doesn’t matter our shape or size, we all have issues with some aspect of how we look.
We’re all perfectly imperfect. It would be a boring old world if we all looked and dressed the same.
I say, let’s celebrate our differences, keeping working on our self confidence and shine a light of positivity out in the world, so that others feel free to do the same.
Sermon over, let’s get down to the the nitty gritty of the event. Watch the video below for an overview of the vibe in the room. I tell you, if I could bottle it and share it, the world would be a better place.
We raised $10,000
Thanks to all the businesses which donated raffle prizes (they’re all listed here – please support them when next shopping for yourself or others). We raised just short of $10,000 for Dress for Success Brisbane (operated by Suited to Success). I topped that about up to the $10K mark because I’m someone who loves an even number. Please tell me, I’m not alone! HAH.
In a little more than an hour, my team had worked the room selling up a storm. Thanks to everyone who bought a ticket. These funds are going to make a huge difference to an organisation which helps disadvantaged women get back into the workforce.
The gift bags
A friend said she loved leaving the venue later that day seeing a stream of women carrying their red birdsnest gift bags with them. We mention all the gift bag donors in this post. I’m extremely grateful for their donations and discount offers. A big shout-out to Little Tanning Dress which donated a dress to all guests!
We got our FASHUN on
I could have booked professional models for our salon-style parade but this is Styling You. I want to see how clothes look on everyday women – and I know you do too. So, I called on six members of the #everydaystyle Instagram community to werk it. And werk it they did. If you’re not following these women, do yourself a favour. What I love about the #everydaystyle community is that every day on Instagram, we’re flipping on its head the fashion industry notion that consumers “want” to see clothes only on tall, skinny models. Spoiler alert: we don’t just want to see models in the clothes we might consider buying. We want to see a diverse range of ages, shapes and sizes, so that we have a visual cue that’s closer to what we see reflecting back at us in the mirror. And you know what? The women of #everydaystyle are selling a lot of clothes, footwear and accessories on behalf of other brands. Who’d have thunk it? HAH. Me!
See any of the fashion pieces you like? All of them are gathered in one place on birdsnest. Footwear? Shop FRANKiE4 Footwear HERE. Accessories? Shop Miss Monogram HERE. Jewellery? Shop Jan Logan HERE.
It takes a lot of work behind the scenes and on the day to bring an event like this together. I’m so grateful for all the help I received from my team in the lead up and on the day (Sarah, Rachael, Jasmine, Simone, Cate, Alana, Lucy, Beth, Alex, Maddy, Ella and my husband, Mr SY). It takes many bodies to stuff 200 gift bags, wrangle six models and keep the day flowing “effortlessly”. Thanks to Rydges South Bank for a venue that showed off Brisbane in the best way possible, for the yummy food, constantly filled glasses and the delicious 10th birthday cake.
Let’s do it all again soon. HAH.
If you came on the day, what was your best part?