Our Entrepreneur Empowerment series is here! From the world of cloud-connected technology with Patrick Kelly to this week, our delve into fashion and personal style with sustainable fashion tech entrepreneur Chantelle Znideric Award-winning Personal Stylist.
“If what I do makes me happy then that is a success, for me,” Chantelle says. Never a truer word spoken, we say! We take a look at what brings her happiness, the importance of accepting changing motivations, and listening to your gut instinct.
If you’re desperate to launch that business idea you’ve been daydreaming about, or are pivoting your business to keep up with how we’re doing business now amid Covid-19 — Chantelle has got some great tips on how to make the most of those initial stages.
A Bit About the Founder, Chantelle Znideric
Fashion, shopping and loving clothes have always been a big part of my life. Before starting my style consultancy, I launched a successful fashion blog in 2005. It was a fabulous platform to share exciting industry news and styling advice. It was a labour of love and started out as a hobby. I found a new passion in fashion journalism and I got a huge amount of satisfaction from helping people online with ideas on capsule wardrobes, work and holiday looks, and sharing style advice.
Since relocating to Devon, I have renewed energy, a lively positivity and fresh outlook on my role as a personal stylist. More than ever I am conscious about our precious environment and I have been in the process of adopting a greener mindset personally and with my clients.
The notions of less is more, quality over quantity and style not fashion have enabled me and my clients to make better buying decisions, ultimately saving them money and minimising unnecessary waste.
When I’m not working, I’m living my life to the fullest in the countryside and planning a variety of globetrotting adventures with my two girls and husband!
About the Business, Chantelle Znideric, Award-winning Personal Stylist
Shortly after training professionally to become a personal stylist, I won an award for Most Inspiring Newcomer at TFIC (The Federation of Image Consultants) 2008 Annual Conference which commended my fashion blog. Winning that award helped me achieve my own monthly fashion column in Surrey Life magazine.
Subsequently, when Westfield London first opened its doors to excited shoppers, I took the opportunity to become an in-house personal stylist, which was momentous! During that time, I also trained in Corporate Image with the Blink, Dubai which has enabled me to work with some remarkable organisations over the last decade.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to continue to absolutely love my job whilst having the privilege of working with so many amazing individuals. I still get a huge amount of satisfaction helping my clients achieve their goals, often by increasing their confidence and building trusted relationships.
Why did you set Personal Stylist up? What were you looking to do both on an entrepreneurial and personal level with running your own business?
I set up my style consultancy, Chantelle Znideric, Award-winning Personal Stylist, to help women and men discover a unique brand identity through determining their body shape and proportions, natural colouring, style preferences and lifestyle, ultimately instilling confidence to help achieve their professional and personal goals.
I had never run my own company before; however, I have always been a determined individual — I vowed if I worked hard, I would make it work. Fashion and shopping had always been a huge part of my life from an early age and it was a hobby I enjoyed by myself and with others. I revelled in the challenge.
On many occasions, running my own business has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and still does! Over the years, I’ve grown in confidence, conquered many mountains that I thought I could never do, and I quickly realised that being me was the thing that made me unique. Being a stylist is not just about looking stylish — it’s your work ethic, empathy towards others, understanding, and of course, creativity.
What do you remember about those early days and how have things changed for you since then?
In the early days, I remember wanting to do everything and anything! I don’t regret it, as I had to try everything to gain experience. Now, after 12+ years in the industry, I know what I like to do, and what I don’t. These days, I’m not afraid to say if something isn’t for me. I’ve also realised that my gut instinct is a good gauge and it will guide me into the right opportunities.
My motivations have also changed. In the early days, it was all about gaining recognition in order to build the business and I had all the time in the world to network and attend high profile events. Since having children, time became a bit more precious. My time management improved, and I was committed to making my work schedule work around my children and family life.
What/Who has helped you along the way to continue to grow and evolve?
My husband and I are both entrepreneurs so there’s an understanding of what’s involved with running our own businesses and experiencing the highs and lows together has only made us stronger. I know he’s always there to support me, whatever grand plan I have to drive the business forward. Likewise, he’s a listening ear and will always tell me if something doesn’t sound like a good idea.
Even after all these years I still have the ambition to evolve the company. I’m currently working on a new fashion tech project which will allow me to pivot the business to accommodate the ‘new normal’ way of life. Nothing is certain but I am very hopeful!
With this new project, I have been very grateful to be part of SETSquared Exeter, a business acceleration company. At the moment, I am working with an innovation company who is building a minimum viable product (MVP) for me. As part of the programme, I am also lucky enough to have access to various mentors who are supporting me with different aspects of the business, as well as helping me to develop the project.
Do you have mindset musts’ that you swear by?
There is one mindset must I swear by — fresh air! It might sound a bit strange, but I find fresh air a saviour. I like to walk with friends, and I also run occasionally, although I’d like to more. Fresh air and exercise are a winning combination for me!
I also make an effort to meet up with friends and work associates who are positive and enthusiastic, as these meetings always energise me. Taking time out and making time for yourself is really important.
How do you cope with and overcome barriers?
There isn’t really anything that stands out. Time is always an issue; I’d like more of it! I guess it has just made me better at time management.
What do you define as success for you and how do you celebrate it?
I try not to think of it as success or try to define it. If what I do makes me happy then that is a success, for me. I’ve achieved so many things personally and professionally, I am grateful for all the opportunities, which I never thought I would ever get the chance to do. The good, the bad and the ugly all play a part in this journey.
For me, going on holidays and having fun is usually how we celebrate! Experiences and making memories, as a family is what I love to do.
What are the top lessons that you’ve learnt as an entrepreneur?
Listen to your gut instinct, pick up the phone and don’t take things to heart.
What are your top tips for anyone dreaming of setting up their own venture, struggling with getting it off the ground, or equally, are in it, but finding it hard (particularly amid COVID-19)?
For those starting out and for those in business already and looking to pivot their businesses amid COVID-19, research and planning are key! You may think you have a brilliant idea but don’t just take your own word for it.
Talk to your peers about your concept, don’t get defensive and be open to answering questions as well as people playing devil’s advocate.
Immerse yourself into deeper thinking mode, think of every scenario and revisit the idea if you have to — it takes as long as it takes. At the end of the day, you’ll have a business, more likely to succeed, if you take time on this initial phase.
For style inspiration, tips and more about Chantelle Znideric award-winning Personal Stylist, follow her on Instagram @chantelleznideric.
You can also find out more about our entrepreneur empowerment series @lionspiritmedia.