We talk to customers every day, whether it’s through social media or our team, including our CEO and Creative Director, calling someone to get to know them better. We’re confident when we say that our customers are really, really awesome people. We want to start sharing all that awesomeness with you, so here’s our very first Customer Spotlight! Meet Malia, a 36 year old wardrobe stylist from Sonoma County, California.
ELOQUII: Being a wardrobe stylist sounds like a dream job! How did you get started?
Malia: I started in the fashion industry in 1996 or 1997. It wasn’t my plan. My plan was to go to culinary arts school and become a wedding cake decorator, but the first class started at 3am so I quickly dropped those courses and went with what I loved – fashion. I studied Fashion Merchandising and started working backstage at local fashion shows in San Francisco. I was working at a show and the only plus size model didn’t show up. The director told me that it was my lucky day. I was scared out of my mind, but I walked in the show and caught the modeling bug! I modeled in shows, stores, bars, and nightclubs all over the Bay Area. Then I started managing other plus size models and teaching them modeling. My first styling credit came in BBW Magazine in 1999. When I met my hubby I thought it was time to give up the dream, but I didn’t want to leave northern California so I got a job and thought that was the end of it.
In 2008 I was working as an advertising salesperson at our local newspaper. Blogging was big, but I had only been doing these funny red carpet reports from my couch because I felt like fashion was something I could do for fun. I had been helping friends get dressed for events, but it was totally a side gig. The newspaper wanted to start a food, fashion, and wine blog and they asked if I would help. That’s how Style by Malia was born. It would be 3 years before I was running my business full time. In 2011 I was laid off, like lots of other people in the world, and I had been building Style by Malia. My hubby came to me and encouraged me to take it full time. That was almost 4 years ago.
E: What does a typical day at work look like for you?
M: I wish I could say I spend all day shopping, but that’s not really true. Don’t get me wrong, I shop a lot just not all day. I start my day at about 8am from my bed checking emails, social media and seeing what my day looks like. I head into my studio at 10am to return phone calls & emails and start getting client prep done. If I’m online shopping for a client, I unpack boxes, hang clothing, steam, and label pieces for clients. If I am shopping in store, I head to the mall about an hour early to pull clothing and set up a dressing room so my client can come in and try on. Once I’m done with clients, I start the process all over again, as well as pinning & online store research.
Some days I have photo shoots I need to be on set for, so I’m pulling jewelry and accessories, working with the photographer, and hair/makeup teams, as well as talking to the client to make sure she has what she needs. Usually around 6pm I’m finished with client work and I’ll finish up with the administrative end of running a business before I head home or to an event. I finish my day in bed with a book and my hubby around 10pm.
E: What is the #1 piece of advice that you give your clients?
M: Dress for the body you have RIGHT NOW. I feel there is no reason to wait to look good. If I waited until I lost 60 pounds to look and feel good, trust me I’d still be waiting. I love my body. I love my curves. I eat right and exercise for health, not vanity, so if I can rock great looking clothes at 6’ tall & a size 24, my clients can do it too. I believe when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good there is nothing in the world that can stop you!
E: What are you most looking forward to wearing this holiday season?
M: This holiday season for me is about sparkle. I got the navy Sequin Pencil Skirt and I think I’m going to wear to Christmas. I’ll be rocking the white Artisan Glam Dress for my bday this year. I picked up gold glitter peep toe pumps, and I’ll be wearing all of the Kate Spade bling I can put on.