This interview is part of Exelon magazine’s celebration of Women’s History Month. Throughout the month we are releasing several interviews, stories and articles from established as well as emerging women entrepreneurs.
In this interview with seasoned professional Brigid McGrath Stassen, she talks about her brand – Bridge Your Style. For Brigid, Bridge Your Style is a promise to her customers and community to create a wardrobe that suits their personal style, regardless of their lifestyle.
Please tell us a little bit to introduce yourself and your company Bridge Your Style.
I refer to myself as a seasoned professional. In addition to having an extended family that I love, I’ve built a career based on relationships. My early days in sales nurtured my love for fashion which inspired me to launch Bridge Your Style. The essence of my brand is to ensure that women feel confident wherever they go; I say from the carpool line to the cocktail. Your wardrobe can be the armor of your confidence or the expression of that confidence that is shining through. I prepare my clients for what they need on any given day.
What according to you makes a powerful woman? How do you integrate that same idea into your leadership?
Power comes from confidence. When a person feels confident, they carry themselves in a certain way, they connect with people, and they have the courage to try new things. I believe that confidence is an important component in leadership.
I work with many powerful women leaders. We curate a wardrobe that supports her confidence and style in any aspect of her lifestyle. We inspire each other and my leadership style grows from my experience and what I’ve learned as this journey continues.
What was the idea that led to Bridge Your Style?
The Designer Collection I Carry represents some of the highest quality fashion that will take you from work to the weekend. Before launching Bridge Your Style, I realized that my reputation was closely associated with working women and there was a perception in the market that I only wore work clothes.
Bridge Your Style is a promise to my customers and community, that we can build a wardrobe that suits their personal style regardless of their lifestyle. I want my customers to feel confident that we will build over time a wardrobe that supports them in every aspect of their lives. It will incorporate elements that are on trend and integrate timeless pieces that never go out of style.
What does a day in the life look like for you? How do you ensure work-life balance?
My day has no template, and for the record, I don’t believe in work-life balance. I’m lucky to have made a career doing what I love, so work doesn’t feel like a chore. However, I have to protect my well-being, so I will strategically block off my calendar for dinners with my husband, babysitting opportunities with my grandparents, time with girlfriends, and time to travel. .
Regarding the average workday, it varies by season. As a new collection is being launched, I gather as much information as possible about the pieces. I start mentally drawing pieces for clients because I know they’ll fit their wardrobe, or for an upcoming event they’ve told me about.
This time very customer centric. When I have a trunk show at my residence, my days are filled with a flurry of personal appointments. I love this time with my clients as I catch up on their lives, learn about new adventures, or just enjoy a glass of wine with them.
At other times of the year, I network feverishly. I love meeting new women, hearing about their journeys, and finding new causes that I can support. A huge part of my business that I haven’t seen mentioned is our charitable work. In connection with my larger sales and appearances, I donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity or cause.
As a woman entrepreneur, how has the journey been for you? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
As a ‘seasoned’ professional, my journey began when women didn’t have as many options as they do today. Until the Women’s Business Ownership Act in 1988, women were not able to obtain business loans without a male co-signer. Thankfully, that has changed.
Today, social media, affordable digital advertising and SaaS based business tools have made starting a business very easy. But don’t be fooled, it takes a lot of hard work to run and grow a business. If I were starting today, I would do things differently. I would have become an entrepreneur long back, if not from the start. It’s not easy but it has a lot of flexibility.
What advice would you have for women entrepreneurs struggling to take the leap of faith in starting their own business?
have a plan; Not the type of business plan that sits in a binder on a shelf, but rather a plan for how to present the company to a target audience. Also have a plan that will keep you financially stable for 6-12 months depending on your net worth.
In the lines of business that I have experience with, and I think this is true across the board, invest in building relationships. The number of overnight successes or venture capital unicorns is exceptionally rare. Diligently seek out networking opportunities and start attending them religiously with a purpose.
Find and collaborate with people who are growing their companies. Find people who have some success on their resume and ask them for advice or to serve on an advisory board. It takes time and effort, but you don’t have to be alone.
Finally, what does the future look like for you and bridge your style?
We have all gone through incredible changes lately, both personally and professionally. We had to re-think our business and also look at how we provide services. I’m optimistic because my business model is very much in line with how more and more women want to shop. However, I believe that my continued success will come not because I sell products but because I sell a concierge service that instills confidence. Confidence never goes out of style.
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