A Creative Minute: Dacy Gillespie of Mindful Closet
All photos courtesy of: Celeste Boyer
Today I'm so excited to introduce Dacy Gillespie, the creator and owner of Mindful Closet, a personal styling business that aims to bring style and simplicity to clients through custom consultations. I first met Dacy when I attended a minimalism workshop in St. Louis last winter, and instantly fell in love with her no-fuss approach to paring down a wardrobe to the most stylish essentials you can imagine.
Read on to learn more about how Dacy began her business while in the pursuit of living a slower life, how she manages running her business as a busy mom and how you can take steps toward pursuing a more minimal wardobe right now!
Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what events in your life led you to pursue the path of a personal stylist, and what initially ignited the idea to launch Mindful Closet?
A: I’d always wanted to work in fashion, but just thought it was something that was off-limits to me. I pursued other career paths (classical music, teaching, arts administration), but always considering fashion (shopping, styling, getting dressed) my “hobby.” In my mid-30s I came to a point in my life where I wanted to do something that allowed me more of a healthy lifestyle and the space to live a slower life. I researched all the fields in the fashion industry and realized that I’d already informally been acting as a personal stylist to many of my friends and family. I’d also recently minimized my own closet and was feeling so much more at peace with my wardrobe and my style. My husband encouraged me to give it a go and luckily, it's worked out well!
Q: I love getting a peek into the day-to-day of creative entrepreneurs. What does your workday routine look like, and how do you manage to successfully balance your personal styling work with Mindful Closet on top of being a mom?
A: I don’t know if I manage to successfully balance it at all! ;) This has been a huge struggle. The biggest surprise with motherhood is how often the situation changes. For a planner like me, that’s tough, because by the time I figure out a good setup, it no longer works. For the first year after my son was born, I was still building my business and was able to spend most of my time with him. The second year of his life got much busier and I would schedule clients when my husband could watch my son (we both have irregular schedules) or when I could get a sitter. We were constantly trading off, and I also never got any time to myself or to work “on the business” instead of “in the business”. Because we were getting worn down, we decided to put my son in full-time daycare/preschool when he turned two. Those were an interesting few months because while I was getting to work on my business and with 4-5 clients every week, my son wasn’t adjusting well and that caused other stresses. It was clear after a while it wasn’t a good fit. We tried fewer days a week, with no better results, and a few months ago, we took him completely out of school, and he’s home with me. It was a hard decision because I love what I do so much, but I wanted to be home with him more. At the moment, I work with clients 2 afternoons a week (usually covered by my husband), try to work on my business one morning a week (usually have a babysitter for that one), and also do things like social media and blogging after he goes to bed. I never plan to do anything during nap time because I need that time to recharge after being drained by handling a toddler all day! I worry sometimes that I’m falling behind my competition or that I’m going to miss out on something, but I really love hanging out with my kid and this is my only chance in life to do it. I will probably continue this sort of arrangement for a couple more years until he starts school, and then I can start to put more time back into my business. That was a long answer!
Q: What is it like meeting with clients and evaluating their closets, and what does your process look like? How different is it cleansing a closet for clients as opposed to yourself?
A: You can get a really detailed description of the process on my site, but what’s really important to me is helping people uncover how they want to feel, without all the societal pressure of what they’ve been told they “should” wear. I send a detailed questionnaire first, then we sit and talk and look at photos for a while before even looking at their clothes. For the most part, the process isn’t too different from my closet to a client’s - I’m able to zoom out and see the overall picture - what someone needs or doesn’t need. The difference is that even I have an emotional attachment to my own clothes. I don’t have the outside reasonable voice letting me know why it’s OK to let go - which is what I provide to my clients. When it gets to that point, I make my husband tell me what he knows I’d say to a client!
Q: What is your favorite part of the personal styling process, and how do you ensure that your vision for a curated wardrobe also aligns with your client's?
A: My favorite part of the process is challenging my clients’ long-held beliefs about their clothes and seeing the light bulb go on when they see another perspective. For example: you don’t have to wear red because your mother told you it was your best color, you don’t have to hold onto the sweater your mother-in-law gave you, you don’t have to wear what’s most “flattering” on you if it’s not your style, you can wear things more than once a week...
Q: What would your #1 tip be for other women who are seeking more intentionality and minimalism in their wardrobe?
A: Cultivate your awareness about your wardrobe. Notice when you go to put something on and then change your mind. Why? Notice when you feel tempted to buy something. Why? Notice when you are wearing an outfit that you feel badass in. Why?
Sign up here for updates on Dacy's upcoming Making Space e-course, which will give you all the skills and know-how to minimize your closet. You can also keep up with Dacy to learn more about her services with Mindful Closet on her website, and stay in touch on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!