Her dream job secured, corporate fashion merchandiser Catherine Cassidy found herself looking up to two women she worked closely with: her creative director and her boss. But both were constantly working nights and weekends—even though they had kids—and Catherine just couldn’t see a future for herself where she surrendered so much of her personal time to her job. Minus the less-than-perfect hours, the type of work Catherine did left her feeling creative and strategic. So what if she flipped the existing model on its head and launched her own business focusing just as much on the women selling the clothes as the women buying them?
Catherine took this idea and ran, launching U*styled, a styling company specializing in outfitting professional women. Her goal with the company is to help power women find a style that helps them get dressed effortlessly with ease and confidence. “U*styled is about strategically building a wardrobe our customer loves that will support her personally and professionally,” she says. “And we always want our customer to leave looking—and feeling—fabulous!”
“Always find a way to make it work. I don’t believe in excuses or problems.”
What does your position involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
There is no daily basis! Every day is different, especially as the company’s growing quickly. I could be out shopping for clients, meeting with potential design partners, meeting with interns on marketing and content strategy, in session with a client or writing.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love to make women’s lives easier and richer. When a client’s eyes light up with a fabulous new find/outfit that is so them that they would have never picked for themselves is really rewarding. I also love when a client starts seeing the possibilities of what they can try on their own. I like to show them that it really is easy and fun to get dressed each morning.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
In the beginning, it was very much about finances. While that still comes up as we grow, it’s more about systems and getting things organized so we can better serve our clients. It’s also more about creativity than worry now.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
It certainly used to be when I worked my corporate job. But then I found myself without the consistency of a steady paycheck and I realized my success was on me. It turned me into a workaholic.
That said, I created a morning routine that is all about me, so I can take care of myself before I do anything for anyone else. I meditate for 8 to 15 minutes and then read something empowering, inspiring or educational for about 30 minutes. I’m a huge business nerd, so I love a good business book in the morning to get my day going. I also make sure to move my body at least 3 to 4 times a week with an intense workout. This is necessary to fuel my creativity.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I can't believe I have this job?" What was it?
I feel that way daily, especially whenever I’m working with a client in-person. I have the most amazing clients. These women are really making a difference. I love that I get to make their lives a bit easier while helping them look and feel amazing—easily and effortlessly.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I also cannot tell a lie, so honesty and integrity are really important to me.
Finally, always find a way to make it work. I don’t believe in excuses or problems. There’s always a solution and probably even a reason why something didn’t work out the way you wanted it to.
What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?
There are a lot of successful stylists out there and they’re all very different. In general, having a good eye, good taste and understanding of how to dress different body types is key. Also, being able to style someone in her personal style—not in a cookie-cutter kind of style—is important. Not everyone gets this.
In particular, for U*styled, it’s our company’s goal to intuitively understand a client quickly to know her personal style. We’re also working with professional women, so having an understanding of different professional/corporate settings is important.
What are your favorite sources for inspiration?
For style, I look to the women I love. I love witnessing their creativity, the risks they take and how they express themselves individually.
For life and business, reading Wayne Dyer’s “The Power of Intention” at 22 changed how I looked at things and really helped launch my career. I also read Fortune and Inc. magazines regularly. I love reading about how companies are succeeding and how they’ve gotten to where they are now.
For creativity, it’s all about nature. I love that here in LA, we have the juxtaposition of urban next to nature and all of our local hiking trails. Moving by body outside always helps me creatively solve a problem.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Don’t be so serious. I’m an old soul and always in such a rush to get to the next step.