Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christine Mattsson, Independent Stylist for J.Hilburn Men’s Clothier, located in Oakland, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
For the last 12 years, I have been a men’s stylist. My clients are men aged 18-92. I help men build a lean wardrobe of clothes that fit their body and their life. Not too many clothes, just the right clothes. Men look to me because they don’t like to shop, have a hard time finding clothes that fit, need help putting themself together, and love being able to wear clothes that are made for them with details that make them special and/or their significant other is tired of shopping for them and wants me to streamline their lives.
Tell us about yourself
In 2002 I became an entrepreneur. I started staging homes in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area) because it looked like fun, and I knew I could do it after years of helping others and having a natural eye for color and what looks good together. In 2010 I got a call from a childhood friend who suggested I become a stylist representing J.Hilburn. I thought, no way, I have a husband, two young kids, a border collie and two cats and am staging homes full-time. But the idea stuck with me, so I checked it out and was inspired by the high-quality custom clothing I would be offering to clients. It looked like something my dad would have worn when he was working in the business world. So for three years, I ran both businesses and in that time built my clientele with a goal of 200 clients. I loved it and decided to sell off my substantial staging inventory to focus on styling men. As I now say, I went from styling inanimate objects to styling animated objects.
My motivation is solving a problem for my clients. I love helping them feel good in their clothes and seeing the end result. The change that having clothes that fit can make for a man is significant. They look and feel confident, perform better at work, and actually enjoy the process of selecting fabrics from which the clothes are made. When they tell me this was fun, I know I did my job well. I start each day being grateful for the opportunity to work with a great company that makes running a business less complicated.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building not one but two businesses from scratch that were and are successful in providing for our family is my biggest accomplishment. In that process I learned so much about myself and was a role model of an entrepreneur for my children who both have chosen fashion as their career direction.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I have learned to handle things in a straight forward way and show them that I am committed to making it right. They know that I am there for them.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
It takes three years to build a business. Be patient, and don’t over-extend yourself. You don’t know what you don’t know - be humble and learn from others. Build a network of like-minded entrepreneurs with whom you can meet regularly to inspire and share leads.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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