Monthly Archives: August 2014

Seven seconds

Ah, back to school.  One of the most evocative times of year for sure.  We all seem to be transported back in time to thoughts of crisper air, new beginnings and new clothes.
 
As kids those clothes were so important to ensure the best first impression, so critical to establishing your place in the social pecking order.  Heaven forbid we showed up without the brand name item all the cool kids were wearing!
 
As adults we have been taught not to judge a book by its cover and yet when we grow up, first impressions still play a huge role (think job interview) with even bigger consequences than our lunchroom seating arrangements.  
 
In fact, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell tells us in his book “Blink:  The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” that we have seven seconds in which people form hundreds of opinions about us. 
 
Engaging or aloof?
Assertive, aggressive or doormat?
Down-to-earth or diva?
Ally or adversary?
Status: Social equal? Professional equal?
Team player or lone wolf?
Smart cookie or speak a little slower?
Trustworthy or tread carefully?
Competent or out of their league?
 
We can wish that people weren’t seemingly hardwired to pass snap judgments or we can accept that this bias exists (only in others, of course) and use the knowledge to broadcast our professional worth accordingly. 
 
Research shows that non-verbal cues are more important than anything that comes out of our mouth when it comes to influencing the initial judgments people make about us. 
 
“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and poet  (1803-1882)
 
Ways we give non-verbal cues include posture, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, and you guessed it, clothing. 
 
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”
-Rachel Zoe, stylist and fashion entrepreneur
 
A suit implies you’re a professional and you should be taken seriously.  Right?
Consider this popular and controversial meme:  


Source: memes.com
 
What if the well-fitting suit was in leopard print with red satin lapels?  Would it still imply the wearer had a respectable rising career?  Uh, hell no.
 
Like it or not, there are unspoken mental associations with our appearance that lead to conclusions about who we are as people.  Here are some oft-cited DON’Ts if you’re looking to nail that interview:
Loose or ill-fitting clothing = sloppy, unprofessional
Scuffed shoes = lack of attention to detail
Non-neutral manicure, too long nails = unprofessional, reads as immature or not classy
 
This is where we well-endowed professional women run into serious trouble. 
 
We want to be noticed for the whole package: the polished and professional woman with the great presentation and solid recommendations. 
 
Rather than being the chick with the huge rack… what did she say again?  We’re talking macro-economic trends, they’re thinking about motorboating our ample assets.
 
Despite our best efforts we have such a hard time finding clothes that fit well, have the right proportions and keep the girls from busting loose, the bra from showing. 
 
We have to choose between tent-like (big to fit the bust but huge everywhere else) and therefore somewhat sloppy; or tight (fits the torso but not the bust) leading to gaping buttons or pulling at the bust that lean towards the trashy side.
 
That’s where Front Room comes in. 
 
We make beautiful clothes for the professional woman (you bosslady, you) who happens to have big boobs, because yes – you can be stacked and successful and you need clothes to wear befitting the boardroom (seems obvious, doesn’t it?).
 
Front Room makes it easier to nail that first impression, whether for the big interview or the presentation to the big fish. 
 
Shameless plug:  Limited edition first collection coming fall 2014, available only to our newsletter subscribers.  Sign up for content about success, fashion and life here.

How do you deal with your own initial biases?  Do they stick or are they open to change?  How do you judge someone’s appearance when hiring?  Share your comments below
To your success,
Melanie

To silver linings

In my previous post, I talked about how not owning my idea or my power had me manifesting MAJOR delays (2+yrs!) that cost me time, money and anxiety.

Once I took ownership of the idea, made it mine – within two weeks everything started to fall into place.  TWO DAMN WEEKS!

Even though I’m not (yet) a success, I am already grateful for the two year delay.

It allowed me to really really  have an understanding of what I want to deliver and why.  (Check out my about page for more on the backstory if you’re interested.)

Most importantly, it gave me the time I needed to be ready to put ME into the business.  To inject my own personality, take credit for the design works.  Even though they are tweaks on classics, they are MY tweaks according to my design philosophy.  However simple, it is my own personal take.

During the process of claiming my idea, I came upon this quote (via Marie Forleo’s B-school) that really hit home for the first time, even though I’d read it before.

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
– Martha Graham, mother of modern dance

Talk about an A-HA!

Every time I hear the itty bitty sh*tty committee (you know, the one between your two ears with the incessant yammering) chime in about some aspect of the business isn’t going to work because I don’t have a fashion background, I remember this quote and get back to work at doing the best I can at being me.

Have you ever had a delay, or (gasp!) procrastinated, only to find out that there was a benefit you didn’t expect?

I’d be honored if you’d share your comments below.

Best,
Melanie

P.S.  New to Front Room?  Want more stuff like this?  Sign up for content about success, fashion and life here.

How I secretly sabotaged my start-up

I promised content on success, fashion and life.   This covers a bit of all three by sharing how one single thought was sabotaging my start-up clothing business and how I got the frick outta my own way.

I have accomplished more in the past two months than I have in the past two years towards getting this clothing line to production and into your hot little hands.   I have factory samples in hand and I’m so excited I could pee my pants! (Timing: October-ish for the micro-launch of Front Room).

So what l have I been doing for the past two plus years? Well…  spinning my wheels, banging my head against the wall and generally going out of my mind with frustration because I kept attracting all the WRONG people.

People who said they would help, loved the concept, can’t wait to get started!   And then… crickets.

They either couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver – doesn’t matter which.  They chewed up my time and money like squirrels at the annual tulip garden buffet I plant.  All the while my dream of delivering busty women from clothing hell was being held up.

I would fire them and move on to the next person, who would show their enthusiasm then fail to deliver.

Rinse. Repeat.

I know what you’re thinking… why? OH WHY, dear Melanie did you create this?  (yeah, I had that thought a few times too)

I checked in with myself:

Fear of success?  Nope.  This business is more about being of service than being rich and famous (though I’ll take the riches, and as much fame as required to advance the cause).

Fear of failure?  Nah.  Been there, done that.

Attachment to outcome?  Not really.  Aside from getting it started, I have zero official plans for where this will go with success.  I have lots of ideas and strategies around those ideas but I don’t think that one way HAS to be THE way.

So what was it??

One single thought was sabotaging the whole thing…
WHO AM I TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL FASHION BUSINESS?

I am the least likely candidate to become a fashion entrepreneur (because I have no background in fashion, either training or deep and abiding interest) and as much as I know how to analyze businesses (I am a Chartered Financial Analyst by trade), I’ve never run one.  It is one thing to read the manual on how to drive the car and entirely another to be behind the wheel going 60 miles an hour.

I wasn’t owning my idea, my ability or my deeper authentic power.  And as much as I wanted the good stuff – for you and for me – these deeper, darker fears were driving the bus and causing all of the delays.

Once I took ownership of the idea, made it mine – within two weeks everything started to fall into place.  TWO DAMN WEEKS!  I was both relieved and seriously peeved with myself for not recognizing it sooner.

So I have to ask you:
Where are you not seeing the results you really want?
Where are you holding back or not taking ownership of your good, your power?

I’d be honored if you’d share your comments below.
Best,
Melanie

New to Front Room?  Want more stuff like this?  Sign up for content about success, fashion and life here.