Elaine Yu - Simply Chic Styling


I came across this gorgeous business coffee table book while reading articles on entrepreneur.com. Look at the cover, don't you feel like you just have to have this book? I did and ordered it immediately! The photography is beautiful and the stories are inspirational. The book features women from different walks of life sharing stories about their careers. I keep it next to my reading chair and sometimes before I dive into a book, I pick up In the Company of Women to read one story -- and I feel instantly inspired.

Women inspiring women is a powerful thing. I often get asked about my journey as a personal stylist, so I'm using this wonderful book concept to share my story with you. If you're interested in learning more, read on. I'm answering the questions author Grace Bonney presents to the 100 entrepreneurs in her book.

Order your copy of In the Company of Women here.

Elaine Yu

Personal Stylist

Summit, New Jersey

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to be a ballerina.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out?

Personal styling is about relationships.

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

That it varies day to day. Somedays it's at home, somedays it's at the Short Hills Mall, somedays it's at Starbucks.

Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.

Not living up to my client's expectations.

What does success mean to you?

Success to me is having the flexibility to do a job I'm passionate about while still being around for school pick up, my kids' after school activities, and dinner with my family.

Name the biggest overall lesson you've learned in running a business.

That I love it and wish I had done it sooner.

What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?

Live big!

At what point in your life did you first learn about your field of work? What called you to it?

My journey into personal styling started when I volunteered as a Personal Shopper with Dress for Success. Having the intention to style women in order to help them soar in their lives and careers is something that is unique about me, I think. At Dress for Success, I learned that being a personal stylist is 0% about me and is 100% about the client, and this mindset has served me well in my career.

What's the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

I wake up at 4:15 and go to the gym from 5 - 6 am. This way, there's never a chance that I'll miss a workout and I'm home in time to get my kids breakfast and pack their lunches. It also extends my workday so I have the full 7 hours that my kids are in school to move my business forward.

Name your greatest success (or something you're most proud of) in your business experiences.

This season, I had a stretch of client appointments for two weeks straight - that's 12 shopping trips in a row! This is a personal record which makes me proud because I've built a business from an idea, and that business has turned into a success.

Has learning from a mistake ever led you to success?

I always strive to do better and so I spend time reassessing my business priorities every few months. For a while, I was working on a lot of projects that moved other people's businesses forward but not my own. As a working mom of 3, I only have so many hours to commit to my business, so I made the conscious decision to focus on my brand and only work on projects that move my business forward a step.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

I re-center myself by writing down what's important to me -- my family, my friends, providing my clients with a 'wow' experience. Everything else is just noise and I try to cut it out.

What inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?

Well, I'm comfortable in my own skin which really helps me to be myself. And then in terms of staying motivated, it's really simple - I LOVE being a personal stylist.

Name a woman (or women), past or present, whom you admire or look up to.

She's not a woman yet but I would say my teenage daughter. She derives very little of her self worth and confidence from the outside world which seems rare in today's social media driven world. She's kind and true to herself. I'm incredibly proud and aspire to be like her every day.

Click here to order your copy of In the Company of Women.

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