It’s no secret, I have a true passion for styling. I think most everyone who’s been following along with my blog, whether you’re an OG from 8 years ago or a newbie, knows my brand is based on my love of all things style related. Fashion, beauty, home and even my kiddos have a flair for their own personal style. However, I realized that I’ve really never shared just how my love for styling was born, or why I even decided to start my styling service – Cammeo Head to Toe Styling.
How Cammeo Head to Toe Styling was Born
Honestly, I’ve loved styling clothes ever since I can remember. When I was a preteen my mom would take me to wholesale shops down in Houston where she’d buy clothes and accessories for her business, and I would spend hours going through racks, just taking in all the new trends. I remember girls at school asking me where I got all these outfits, and I was so embarrassed to say because I was afraid they’d make fun of me for not shopping at the mall like everyone else. Even at a young age I yearned for more options, more ways to creatively express myself through my own personal style. I’d go with my best friends to raid the racks for vintage tees at the local Goodwill. I’d get inspired by actresses, musicians, models etc. and recreate their looks with whatever I could piece together in my own closet.
Fast forward years later, I packed my bags and decided to move to NYC. I lived in the heart of SoHo, where fashion came alive right before my eyes. All the years of admiring it in magazines – I couldn’t believe I was actually there, right in the thick of it. My own style evolved overnight with the sheer inspiration that was on every corner. As you could imagine on a 24 year old’s salary, I had to get creative with my shopping habits. I’d scour H&M and Zara for the latest fast fashion trends, and hit up the local boutiques during their half yearly sales, until I built up a wardrobe that finally represented what I’d yearned for all those years.
Next thing I knew, I started getting asked by coworkers who saw my passion and wanted me to style them. I’ll never forget my first client. She was my account director at the ad agency we worked for, and one day she admitted to me her struggle with her identity as a new mom and a professional. So the next weekend I took her shopping around my favorite spots in SoHo, and it was like something awakened in me. This. This was my calling. To this day, I’ll never forget the joy I felt when I saw how confident she was when I helped her find her own personal style. She tried convincing me to start up a styling business, saying how she knew so many moms just like her who still wanted to feel stylish. As tempting as it sounded, I shied away like the fearful 20-something I was, but it stuck with me.
A few years later, we moved to LA and I tried the whole west coast agency life, but I found myself time and again daydreaming about becoming a stylist. I’d spend hours searching for ways to become a certified stylist, and again I shied away. Who did I think I was after all? Did I really think I could compete with all these other more qualified stylists to the stars? Well I quit my agency job and took a mini hiatus to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I ended up taking a job at Los Angeles magazine which had also been a dream of mine, and I was instantly more at home surrounded by fellow creatives and style enthusiasts. In fact, it didn’t take long before I was reminded of my other true passion – writing. So I decided to start a blog and soon that blog turned into me offering up styling sessions to friends and coworkers. My new boss was my biggest advocate and I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to have yet another strong, successful woman believe in me, and truly support something I was so passionate about.
Then my world got turned upside down in the best way possible. I became a mom.
Suddenly everything I thought I knew I wanted in life was being questioned all over again. This job that I thought I loved, felt more like my own personal prison and I just had to finish out my sentence. I suffered from a combination of PPA and Postpartum Thyroiditis (which I’ve written about here), and I struggled like that for close to a year. But the fog lifted and I was even more determined than ever to find my true purpose in life, if not for me, then for my family. I felt a tug at my heart to start blogging about my experiences as a new mom, and I knew I had to find a way to marry my love of style with what it’s like to find yourself as a mom. That’s how my series “Mom Jean Confessions” was born. I had flashbacks to my first boss, the one who so desperately wanted to feel like herself again, and I finally understood. It’s like you’re an imposter in your own body and clothes are your burden to bear. But what if we stopped trying to dress for that former childless version of ourselves, and embrace a new body, life and confidence that deserves to be celebrated.
So I did just that, I celebrated. I forced myself out of bed everyday and put together new outfit combos that I couldn’t wait to share with the world. I kept blogging and started my Instagram account ( back when IG didn’t hate us), and I made it a point to share an outfit a day. I channeled inspiration from other LA fashion bloggers, as well as all the powerful and creative women around me (our office at LAmag was predominantly women). I befriended other stylists who were established in LA, and their mentorship will always mean the world to me. I gave up feeling sorry for myself and realized that the only person who had been holding me back all these years, was me. Well no more excuses. If I was going to do this, I better get serious about it from a business perspective. So I worked with our graphic designer at the magazine to create a logo, and began learning all I could about blogging and styling as a business.
It’s a good thing I did because the next thing I knew, we were uprooting our life of 7 years in LA to move back home to Houston. All those years of wishing and hoping for an opportunity to present itself, and here it was. I knew that there would never be a better chance at a fresh start like this again, so I took it. It had been 10 years since I let fear control my destiny and hold me back from taking that leap of faith. A leap of faith in myself, and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. It’s been almost 4 years and I’ve never been happier. I get to freelance from home, blog on my own terms, and share my love of style with all of you. It’s not always easy, and money doesn’t grow on trees, but I’ve found that if you put passion behind what you love to do – there will always be opportunities that will come your way. I started this journey as a young wide-eyed girl, and I hope to always hold onto the people and life experiences that led me to where I am today.
photo cred: Ellie Kay Photography