Sandra Veum, personal Wardrobe Stylist, helps people enhance their current style while becoming a better version of themselves! She focuses her efforts on individual’s needs, body-type, lifestyle, and budget rather than a specific designer, brand, or store. She has been working with individuals, groups, and companies for the past 16 years, helping them find the “New Version of You”.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Sandra Veum: Hello, I am Sandra Veum of Mariposa Style in San Diego, California. I’ve had my business for over 16 years and love helping people achieve their style goal with being the best version of themselves. I work with women, men, teens, and groups. My services include closet evaluations, personal shopping, personal styling, style & packing for both leisure and business trips, shopping tours, private shopping events, style presentations, dress code expert, style branding, and virtual shopping/styling/closets, just to name a few.
In addition to my services, I am a Content Contributor on shopping for the San Diego Tourism Authority, Fashion Valley’s luxury mall Style Ambassador, and have partnerships with Nordstrom, Michael Kors, Rubyintheskies, liketoknowit, Shopshare, and a guest lecturer for Pivot on-line school. I love helping people and companies take their style to the next level, while still remaining true to themselves or mission statement.
I like to think of myself as a style concierge by creating a personalized VIP experience that matches each individual or group.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Sandra Veum: The last couple of years certainly threw a curve ball into most businesses. I still to this day remember when everything shut down in San Diego, California. I had a style event planned for a luxury condominium and made the call, a few days before shut-down, to postpone it. Who knew that the postponement would be for the next two years? I knew for myself that I had to pivot quickly and keep my momentum going. Utilizing Zoom, I was able to continue some momentum on-line and in group settings. I was able to book my first group event on-line a few weeks after our shutdown with a large company in San Diego. The event was based on keeping the morale up during unknown times.
I created a style presentation for both women and men called “Style Quarantini Time”. I saw the success of this idea and started collaborating with some partners to create unique on-line style experiences. I have even copyrighted one due to the huge success it became. Most of my experiences are still occurring now, but just in person. I had already an on-line presence with clients so by adding zoom, we were able to keep some of the momentum going.
Speaking from my experience as a business owner, I believe businesses can thrive in 2022 by continuing to pivot quickly, have pre-planned action plans in place in case of another shutdown, be mindful of your customer’s needs and wants and how they may have changed since shutdown, collaborate with likeminded businesses, enhance and evolve your social media, stay informed with your partners to continuing being that go-to expert for your customers.
I have learned that I am not alone in change or curve balls, it is better to collaborate than to compete with other businesses, and not to dwell on negativity but rather take the change and create something that helps or enhances people’s lives.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Sandra Veum: Speaking from my line of work even with the disruption of our economy, my business has actually been thriving. While the pendulum does go up and down, I am prepared for that by knowing how to pivot quickly. I think every business needs to have quicker check points with their businesses. If something is not “speaking” to their customer, knowing when to change or modify quickly to something else is crucial.
I also believe that creating focus groups, asking your clients directly, or creating quarterly surveys for customers might help in our ever-changing world. I have experienced that everyone’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter, and that loyalty does not occur like it did in the past, so creating solutions will help in retaining your market share.
At the end of the day, I think businesses should focus on listening to your customer’s feedback, asking for your employees’ feedback at all levels, and not taking a changed idea personal.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Sandra Veum: The retail world has changed quite a bit since the pandemic. Some of those changes that I have experienced are as follows: not as much inventory with regards to multiple size availability, on-going struggle with brick and mortar competing with their on-line store, turn-over of staff with stores, clients wanting to be more strategic and mindful with regards to their wardrobe and shopping, and confusion with what workwear looks like now. These are just a few examples of the changes.
I have adapted to these changes by pulling clothing and accessories at multiple stores verses just one or two, keeping up to date on stores current inventory, ordering on-line for customers with items I am unable to find in person, knowing what to shop for in-person verses on-line for clients, creating shopping itineraries for clients to be more strategic with shopping, knowing ahead of time the stores to shop in depending on budget, and keeping up-to-date on dress code specifics to help corporate clients navigate on the new professional business casual guidelines and what that looks like today.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Sandra Veum: The best advice I wish I would have received when the pandemic started would have been don’t panic and look for those opportunities even small. Be patient with the changes as they occur. Continue to be part of the solution. I guess since I have lived through this pandemic and survived with regards to my business, I am voicing my own advice that I hands on experienced.
I will continue to improve my on-line presence and continue to create other virtual services at different price points for potential clients who do not live near me. I will continue to do presentations in-person and on-line as well as consultations via Zoom for a more personalized experience. As I mentioned before, I am looking to create a subscription service for people who do not live near me or want to have a sneak peak of what it is like to work with a personal wardrobe stylist.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Sandra Veum: My expectations for 2022 is to keep plugging away at creating solutions for my customers and empowering them with all of the changes taking place in their lives. I am all about building confidence within people so by continuing to utilize Zoom, Teams, on-line shopping/closets, etc. I will just enhance my services. The key is to have a hybrid approach to everything.
I personally do not think having everything on-line works for me and my businesses. It is important to have as much in-person experiences as much as possible. I also want to stress how important it is for human connection no matter what industry you are in. This is truly how communities are built, friendships are made, mentorships are done, and leadership opportunities are truly based on.
I worry about lack of in person communication skills, even something as simple as eye contact, with no in person experiences. I always say, there is an art to communication! Lastly, specifically in my business, trying clothes on in person outweighs on-line for sure. I am not saying it can’t be done, it just takes more trial and error and patience.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Sandra Veum: That truly depends on what that day looks like with regards to in-person and on-line customers. Most of my customers are in-person. I would say on average about three to four hours a day.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Sandra Veum: I do not necessarily have a team since I am a one-person business. I do look at stores, designers, and partners though as my team. I like to actually use story telling with my clients. I actually give examples of my own personal experiences with things to humanize what they may be feeling at the time.
A lot of psychology goes into shopping, styling, and doing closets for people. There are usually personal things that people can’t get rid of, or they still see themselves a certain weight, body shaming, etc. This is why, I believe, that as I get older my personal experiences of life help me with my clients since I relate better to them and help guide them through the process. Yes, this includes men too. 🙂 I believe story telling helps create visuals for people to help make a point or communicate better.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Sandra Veum: Overcoming obstacles will never change in anyone’s business. The key is knowing when to change and pivot accordingly. I try to look at obstacles as goals or lessons to learn from. It is important to recognize the obstacles and conquer them head on. In our current environment I believe the real obstacle is finding longevity with employees. I see this more and more with sales associates at stores and the turnover that is occurring.
I would think it must be frustrating to hire someone, invest in them, train them, and then have them leave soon after. I believe businesses might want to look at modifying their idea of long-term employees and see how they can still make it work for them. I wish I had that answer. With regards to my business a current challenge is working with smaller inventory and quick sell out of items on-line.
The key for me is to consistently know current inventory and where to look for items. The days of finding what I need for clients at two stores now has grown to 3-4 stores and then maybe some on-line follow up.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Sandra Veum: I am in the process of creating a subscription wardrobe service to help reach a broader audience. My target is for on-line marketing and the creation of my idea. This subscription service would help broaden my targeted audience and help introduce me to someone who is afraid to work with a wardrobe stylist or maybe does not have the immediate funds to work with one. It would be an affordable introduction to my services and how I work.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Sandra Veum: As I mentioned before, bosses need to listen to their employees at all levels. It is crucial to hear what is working and what is not in every department. Creating focus groups with representation from all levels will help come up with a more unified solution. Getting buy-in is important to create a “heard” workplace.
I have sometimes seen bosses make decisions based soley on numbers and sometimes that is not enough. It is important to always be “in the trenches” with your different departments and employees so you can make better decisions based on facts. I do realize numbers are important, but it is seeing how to unify that approach with your employees to make it a well-rounded environment.
On the flip side I also feel that employees need to realize that some hard decisions as a business owner need to be made at times, and that patience and understanding of bosses need to occur. At the end of the day, it is about mutual respect at all levels.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Sandra Veum: Is there such a thing as a business superpower? Having a superpower, to me, is something for the movies. 🙂 I believe knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a business creates a powerful environment when you enhance your strengths and work on changing your weaknesses. At the end of the day, it is about staying true to yourself and others.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Sandra Veum: Success in 2022 means a feeling of closure to our world shutting down for so long and knowing that moving forward is key. We should be better prepared now and have programs in place that can help continue business even if things change again.
I feel successful in not only keeping my over 16-year personal styling business up and running but having record numbers with growth. I created my business from grass roots being my authentic self and will continue to do that for 2022.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Sandra Veum for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Sandra Veum or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.