This article is a part of our monthly Women Evolve(d): How She Did It Series
Each month we feature inspirational women who are undergoing career reinvention or have made it to the other side. Read about how they did it and take away usable tips from their career journeys! This month, we're featuring Tania Sterl, a personal stylist & self-care coach. She is the founder and principal of Sterl on Style. Tania brings her 20+ years of fashion expertise to dress women for success.
What is your personal mantra, mission or manifesto? "Styling women to achieve their vision" What inspired you to launch your current career/launch your business? I worked as a fashion designer for 18 years, and saw the disconnect between the fashion industry at large, and the real working woman. I wanted to be the bridge, and help make fashion make sense for women. I was designing for a New York City based designer, and it was through that experience that I started to style women from head to toe at trunk shows.
The power that the right color, cut, outfit, accessories, all the details from head-to-toe can give a woman to feel confident, look and feel like herself again, is why I love the power of fashion. Thus I left my 18 years in the indsutry and launched my personal styling business in June of 2013. And it is so much more fulfilling and rewarding to style women to give them that edge to truly see themselves again, find joy in dressing, and achieve their goals. What is unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities? In your 20's, it's like Ok, I went to school for this (for my fashion design) and thought that's what I would do forever. Then you hit 40, and it's like, hmmm...my interest and passion is changing. But left to our own devices, how do we find the guidance or the courage to change careers? I know I couldn't do it alone. I joined a 14-week group course with 14 women all strangers, led by a faciliator to help us get to the other side of a career change. I wish I had Evolve back in 2012! We must seek out the support and guidance of a career coach, or life coach, or a supportive group life Evolve. We shouldn't think we can just make the leap alone. It's important to get guidance, resources, and support.
What’s one intention you have for your work in 2020? In addition to my 1:1 personal styling services, I plan to launch an online group program, and turn it into a live group event as well for women over 40, like a "make-over for the soul inside and out." Transformation doesn't happen overnight. And when your self-perception, your role and your goals change, so does your image.
I look forward to leading a group of women through these changes in our style and beauty with humor, humility, and honesty together so we can get through the changes in our appearance with humor, humility and honesty. Oh! And finish my book, the first and only "Style & Self-Care" workbook for women over 40 (who still like to journal and write by hand, too!). Along with the online course.
What are you most passionate about right now? Working with women of all colors, shapes, and sizes, and disrupting all the negative talk and pressure of we need to be thinner and look younger. To show women over 40 how stay vibrant, hot, and radiant they truly are inside and out. I want to be a part of dissovling all the negative retoric and show women to be kinder and gentler on ourselves and one another when it comes to our appearance and accept ourselves at all stages of life.
What does a typical day look like for you? I take a good 2-hours in the morning to prepare for my day. Extreme self-care. Silence, meditation, stretching, writing, refiling my own "well" before I launch into work. Then it's making sure my clients are taken care of first, online shopping, virtual styling, attending networking events and attend to my role as VP of Membership for NAWBO NYC. I also schedule in "behind the scenes" time for writing my newsletters, marketing, vidoes. I am like an ambivert. I love to be out there and speaking at events and on webinars. But also need times of reclusiveness and reflection.
What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year? Visibility. That was my mantra for 2019. I spoke at many events, elevated my online marketing and image, got interviewed for podcasts and webinars, and connected with more and more women's groups to be the voice of style as a tool to be seen that's in tune with one's uniqueness.
My word for this year 2020 is integrate, integrating all my talents and passions to advance women into leadership positions, speak up, stand out, show other women how to be more visible to achieve their goals. Because when one woman is dressed and ready to be seen as an expert or leader, she shows other women what's possible.
Favorite book, app or podcast? Favorite book: From Head to Heart by my friend and brilliant coach, Jenifer Madson. I read an inspriational quote every morning to set the tone for my intentions for the day. Favorite app: Co-Star for my daily astrology. Favorite podcast: 2 Dope Queens, they are hilarious!
You’re granted an extra hour in the day, how do you spend it? Dancing, playing my cello, painting watercolors, writing poetry
The advice I wish I had given to my 20 year old self is… "Stop being so worried and nervous! Chill out. You don't have to figure it all out now. Take one day at a time. You are following your dream, even if that dream my change. Trust your intuition."
The advice that I want to give to my 75 year old self is... I want advice from my 75-year old self, now ;)! lol. So I would advise my future self to move to Paris or a quaint little place in the south of France, and relax, practice "dolce far niente" the art of doing nothing, dance more, paint more, write poetry, dance, and play cello.
Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be?
"Fashion" by David Bowie
Best career advice for other women? Plan ahead. Save money to be able to take time off or give you that cushion when changing careers. Think about the next decade, how do you want to retire and when? Or what will keep you busy in retirement. Reach out to coaches and experts to help and support you and give you guidance, and groups like Evolve!
When did you feel you got “you” back? When I finally resigned from 18 years in the fashion industry and created my own business, defined the form my work would take on my terms that lights me up even more.
What’s up next? Finishing that journal-like book as a guide to Style & Self-Care for women over 40!