With a focus on style, empowerment and sustainability, qualified fashion designer Shiana Weir helps women find their sense of style, curating beautiful, preloved clothing, footwear and accessories that make them feel amazing. She launched Sheshe Styled This to encourage a move away from cheap, ill-fitting fast fashion that has a disastrous impact on the environment, and to help women reclaim their wardrobes. With the treasures she finds in thrift shops, Shiana styles women to look and feel their best. Here, she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business, the positives that came out of lockdown, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Three words: style, empowerment and sustainability. As a qualified fashion designer turned parent, I struggled to find my identity with a changing body and the realities of mum life. Talking to friends, I realised it was common: women often feel trapped in their ‘mum clothes’ and feel lost without a sense of self or a sense of style. Many were reaching for easily accessible, cheap, fast-fashion meaning poor quality, ill-fitting and environmentally disastrous. Often the intentions of more sustainable options were quashed by not having the time or energy to trawl through the seemingly overwhelming racks of second hand shops. I know what it is like shopping with toddlers – hands on EVERYTHING and often Mum walks out empty handed!
And so the dream was born. I wanted to style women to feel amazing in the treasures found in thrift stores. Through my Sustainable Styling & Personal Shopping services, my clients were having success with eco-friendly style that helped them find themselves again. My services all of a sudden take the toilet training incidents, toddler tantrums and misguided purchase choices out of shopping. I have a passion for the environment, I have passion for women reclaiming their wardrobes and I LOVE combining the two.
It’s been exciting to see my business expand rapidly beyond new mums, and is now embraced by female-identifying people from all walks of life.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
My first Sustainable Styling Clients were my friends and other mums I had met through playgroup and preschool. I was so lucky to be surrounded by so many supportive and encouraging women who loved the concept of a Sustainable Stylist. They loved the idea that they could live a more sustainable lifestyle without spending the hours trawling second hand shops themselves. It ticked the boxes for self-care, sustainability and time-saving for each of the mums I worked with. The added bonus that came out of a Styling Session was a much-needed confidence boost for each of these awesome women. The feedback was incredibly validating along with the notion that the services I am offering are truly worth something to them and they’re so happy with the results that they’re telling all of their people!
I quickly began working with clients outside of my initial circles as each of my clients had been so encouraged by their own experience and wanted to introduce me to their friends – word of mouth is truly golden! It wasn’t long before I was brave enough to launch @sheshestyledthis on Instagram and Facebook in May 2019. Since then it has grown – surprisingly though, it has continued to be my clients offline who are my walking advertisements and that has been truly humbling.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
A big breakthrough for me, surprisingly, came about because of the 2020 lockdown. I quickly connected in with a business support hub, Manaaki that was advertised on the big NZ Made Products Facebook Group. They were offering free websites to New Zealand businesses – something that was on the to-do list! With my entrepreneurial brain switched on, I thought it was a good plan to connect with them simply by tagging them in my posts, and see if they’d just re-share my new business website … it worked. They noticed me tagging their socials and invited me to record a promo video for Instagram with Monty Betham. Since that first connection, I’ve been given so many phenomenal opportunities, including the BIG ONE.. A LIVE Skype interview on TVNZ 1 Breakfast – interviewed by John Campbell! THAT was a big breakthrough! It put me in front of a much larger audience than I could ever have dreamed of! All of a sudden I had clients across New Zealand. I could pivot my business to offer my Styling Session service & Custom Thrifting service as a virtual experience and no longer confined to the Wellington Region. The connections I made from that interview have been heartwarming and enduring! The increase in Sustainable Styling service bookings that came from this meant that I could throw myself fully into the services side of my business, and not rely so much on reselling of preloved goodies as my main source of income. It meant I could commit my time to what I really wanted this business to be.
For me, the biggest breakthrough is connecting on a personal level with each client. It is about meeting them where they are physically, mentally and emotionally, in relation to their body and their wardrobe. It is about helping them see that they can be their most authentic selves through their style and feel like they have their own identity again – no longer lost in mum-land or resorting to activewear as a default.