Being a busy working mom in New York City is just that… BUSY, and shopping for myself is just a luxury that I wish I had more time for. How many of you can relate? But then I heard about styloko.com, a new fashion site that basically does the shopping for you — kind of like an online personal shopper. It organizes my favorite brands, gives me the 411 on trends (and sales) and lets me “shop the cover” from the top fashion magazines – a great “crash course” on style! We had the pleasure of talking to Shannon Edwards, the CEO of Styloko.com, for a Train Mom Chat (#TMC) about how she balances fashion, work and two preschoolers.
1. Who is/was your working mom role model and why?
I like to think that every mother is a working mother and some of us just also have second jobs. While having an occupation might allow you (and require you) to bring on outside support, the truth is that the job of being a mother is universal in its requirements. So for me inspiration comes from all the women I know as a composite. I’m constantly looking for tips, tricks, ways of being for women in all stages of their life; from those who work with kids; and even from those who don’t have children. I’m fascinated by anyone who has found happiness and fulfillment in their lives and are able to nurture those around them. I even sometimes find myself mentally taking notes when watching movies or television…I’ll admit I have even found myself thinking on the odd occasion ‘What would Alicia Florrick do!’ (The Good Wife).
2. For the busy mom who wants to feel fashionable but doesn’t have time to shop, what are three tips to help them feel like they’re in-the-know?
Shopping can become a luxury that you don’t have the time to enjoy when you are being pulled in every direction. I’ve been quite single-minded in my professional quest to help solve for this issue. At Styloko we are working to find solutions to reduce the noise and get women to the products they want and need with tools such as visual recognition technology. The three things that I often use to feel fashionable and contemporary without making myself crazy:
- Know what suits you. Make a list of the shapes and styles that look best – and feel best – and stick with them. The same with color. Don’t be distracted by a brand you love or a color that is pretty. Once you have that list of your personal profile it makes shopping easier.
- Know your go-tos. I have certain brands that tick the box in every which way for me. I know that whatever they come out with next will be fresh, fashionable and make me look and feel good.
- Find your trusted sources. There are so many blogs, news sites, shopping sites out there. Take the time to find those that represent your aesthetic well and who you can trust for tips and advice. Then sign up for their email. I also email articles and ideas to myself. It’s a great way to scrapbook ideas. And you can review again when commuting or when you have a moment of silence.
3. What are your favorite closet essentials for a working mom? Both work-wear and mom-wear?
I’ve recently taken a strategic look at my wardrobe and spent some time thinking about what I wear to work, socially and at home. If you take the time to really put to paper what it is that you go back to time and again, you can then take about 50% of what’s in your closet to a charity shop! When I’m off duty I’m often exercising and for many years I’ve worn workout related attire, so I’m very excited about how it has advanced over the years to be a celebrated and accepted wardrobe staple. It’s actually where I have a little fun with color; and there is no harm in stocking up. While on the work front I have certain rules that eliminate all distraction for me: I only wear the colors that I enjoy and suit me. For me it’s roughly blue, grey, black. Boring? Maybe, but it makes shopping so easy. And as I mentioned above, I also have certain shapes that I wear. In both cases – at work and with the kids – comfort is king. And comfort no longer means dowdy or unfashionable. I like soft, synthetic materials that also wash easily (no more dry cleaning for me) and flattering pieces with a bit of stretch. I once read that the most successful innovators and creative geniuses wear the same thing day in and out because it reduces the stress and wasted time in making decisions. Something to take to heart.
4. What are the biggest shopping mistakes most women make?
They get distracted by bright, shiny, pretty things. Period. I once bought a lavender, patent, super shiny Versace bag in Rome. There was sun, there was wine. Considering nothing (I mean nothing) about that bag screamed ‘me’, it was the ultimate shopping mistake.
5. What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you about being successful in work and in life? And what would you want to share with young women entering the workplace today?
Take it day by day. And never give up. I live by those two mantras each day. Every drama, every upset, every mountain to climb looks a bit less daunting when you consider how much of it you can tackle in small bites. And you can’t give up. No one ultimately ‘has it all’, everyone struggles, but you need to be tenacious and believe that you can do anything.
6. Do you have any secrets to share on how to master the work/life balance?
Keeping life balanced is keeping a sense of humor about it all and giving life your best effort. Keep yourself healthy and be good to those around you. And don’t sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t matter if you can’t make it to something at school or be at a friend’s wedding or a million other places that are impossible to stretch yourself across, what does matter is that you are present (so put down that smart phone).
7. What inspires you to get out of bed everyday, go to work and do what you do?
My daughters. I work because I have to and I enjoy it. But I’m also working in the technology space and want a world where women are equally represented in this industry. It’s only going to happen if we don’t give up — because girls need role models and trailblazers so they can believe in themselves.
Shannon Edwards is a London-based writer, entrepreneur, online shopping expert who is currently the CEO of ‘fashion discovery’ site styloko.com She’s been in the consumer internet space for more than a decade, having worked at brands such as Netflix, eBay and ShopStyle. She has appeared on a number television programs around the world including the BBC, CNN, CNBC and ABC’s The View to provide fashion insight and expertise. Shannon is a mom of two preschoolers and takes it one day at a time.