Styling my life


Wednesday 28 October 2015 by Rosalba Clay

Less than a year ago, I found myself in a strange place. I was three weeks away from my 40th birthday, my husband and I had just put an offer in on our dream home – things seemed pretty good in general.

Then I was reminded how quickly all of that could change.

I was laid off as part of a reorganization at my company and I was crushed. We had to back out of the deal on the house for fear that I could be out of work for a long time. We were living with my parents as we had already sold our previous home. And I was heavier than I had ever been in my life – I was feeling pretty horrible. Who wants to be fat, 40 and living in their parents’ basement? (Truth be told, I wasn’t in the basement, but during the intense self-pity parties I was having in those moments, it sounded much more dramatic.)

In between job hunting and feeling sorry for myself, I found myself on a Pinterest binge and came across a quote from renowned basketball coach John Wooden that really struck me and woke me from the madness:

"Things work out best for those that make the best of how things work out."

It was a moment of clarity and has become my mantra. Things could only look up from there, right? I knew I had to take control of my situation and making the best of what was laid out in front of me. So I started exercising regularly and I networked like mad. It was the start of a journey that would teach me a lot about work/life balance, networking and branding.

Upward trajectory

The inspiration from Wooden worked. I became a Frameworker in January and, with a healthier way of living well underway, I was feeling more like myself (as well as 30lbs lighter). My positive streak didn’t stop there: by March we had bought our new dream home. Things were looking up. I was making the best of how things work out, so I thought: why not throw one more thing on my plate?

While I like my role at The Frameworks quite a lot, I felt like I needed to take control of my path even more. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed and something I felt in full control of both financially and personally. I needed a new challenge.

Stylish career move

My love affair with fashion began in my youth, when I helped my seamstress mother create dresses and select fabrics. If you know me, you know I love to shop and have always had an eye for styling other people. Then, almost seven years ago I discovered cabi, a direct sales clothing brand, by attending a “fashion experience” event at my friend’s home. I was immediately enamoured with the clothing, and I felt inspired by the experience and the bonds I made with other women in such a unique shopping environment.

Finally, after years of wearing the clothing and hosting my own cabi fashion experiences, I recognized that this was more than just clothing and shopping for me. It was an opportunity to make connections and inspire women to look and feel their best. In my quest to continue making sure that things work out best, I decided to become an independent cabi stylist. Now I get to socialize with friends (old and new), I get to share fashion trends that I adore and I am in charge of my financial destiny in a new and fun way.

Direct sales as a retail method might not be new, but it still provides a completely different experience for the seller and the consumer. Retail brands constantly focus on customer engagement and providing the best possible experience. Direct selling has been built on that for more than 50 years. It’s all about person-to-person interaction, building relationships and providing personalized shopping experiences.

Combining my role as a direct sales stylist and managing my position at The Frameworks hasn’t always been easy – and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

Give and take

Time management, of course, can be tough. Balancing my family, my career, and now my business is a constant work in progress. There’s been an increased focus on maintaining a healthy work/life balance in recent years and it’s easy to see why. A recent study claims that more than a third of us over-work by adding five hours or more onto our working week. Staying organized, leveraging my support network and establishing realistic goals helps all of this come into focus. For me, it’s important to recognize when to say no and when to give my all, and to balance my desire to be successful with the need to be flexible.

Don’t force it

The concept of balance applies to networking too. How do I promote this business and succeed personally without alienating myself from some family and friends? I’ve supported many other direct sales and social sales efforts from friends, colleagues and family in the past, but does that mean I expect the same in return? The onslaught of invites on social media alone can be daunting at times – there was even a viral blog post insisting these efforts are a sure way to lose “friends”.

I have to say, I agreed with that post at the time and still do to an extent. Although social media opens a whole new avenue for networking, I’ve seen the negative effects of overzealous marketing efforts from eager new consultants selling any number of things from bags to candles and everything in between. Social media should be about connecting with people, not collecting people – and in my opinion, there are far too many collectors out there. There needs to be a balance of the genuine excitement about your new endeavors and the sales pitch.

Transferrable skills

Branding is vitally important in this respect. For me, this means I am forming authentic connections with people by sharing my enthusiasm for a brand I have pride in representing. It’s the place where my “real” job intersects with this new business endeavor. I am building my own personal brand with my new customers while simultaneously building, developing and promoting brands in my day job. The skills I have learned in the latter definitely benefit me as I look to progress in the former.

As I continue on this journey, things are still working out for the best – and I will always look for ways to make sure that continues to be a trend in my life.

Rosalba has left The Frameworks.

Categories

  • Social media
  • Retail
  • Working life