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10 Questions with Amy Brubaker

Q. How did you come up with the concept for your business and at what point did you decide to make it a reality?

A. Becoming a personal wardrobe stylist at Amy Wardrobe was something I had been thinking about for approximately 2 years. I had worked in wardrobe for movies and TV for 10+ years. After being on the same entertainment news show for 7 years, and having our second baby, I decided to leave the stress behind and venture out on my own. I wanted to be able to bring personal styling to the folks who thought this type of service was out of reach for them. I took sometime to formulate a plan and started moving forward to make my dream a reality.

Q. Inquiring future business owners want to know: How do you make the leap from a secured paid job to starting your own business?

A. Well, I have to be honest and say it's very scary at first, and sometimes still is. In my case, the job I was in, although very secure and well paying, also brought with it a large amount of stress and time away from my family. It became clear to me that to improve the quality of my life I needed to make a change. With the support of my family and friends I knew it was the right move to make, even if it meant making some changes.

Q. How much money should someone have saved before starting their own business? How long did it take for you to be profitable?

A. It's hard for me to put an exact amount of money on this. I definitely think the answer here changes depending on what type of business you are thinking of starting. In my case the overhead to start up was not very expensive but I figured I had to have about 6 weeks of my previous pay saved up to give me time to formulate my plan. My business started being profitable after the first few clients started to roll in. It's a totally different world working freelance and there has definitely been an adjustment but a happy adjustment just the same!

Q. Was there a moment when you wanted to give up but pushed on through anyway?

A. I wouldn't say that I ever felt I wanted to give up. I have had days where I felt insecure about my decision to leave a regular gig for something that may seem uncertain, especially having a family to help support. When I am having one of those moments, I remember that now I have more time with my family to do the things I was never able to do before, like volunteer at my daughter's school book fair, or stay home with them when they are sick instead of having to call a sitter. These are the moments I am so happy to have now so I wouldn't want to give that up.

Q. At what point did you consider yourself successful?

A. When I finished the session with my first private client I immediately felt success! I had just spent 3+ hours doing a complete closet overhaul with basically a total stranger. She invited me into her home an into her closet, completely open to the process of changing her look. Her husband had purchased one closet audit/consultation with me as a gift with the hope that we would hit it off and she would want more in the future. We had an amazing time and have since booked two more sessions. Walking to my car after that first day, I knew I had made the right decision and this is what I was meant to always do.

Q. How do you balance your work/home life, or is there even such a thing?

A. Haha—that's funny because I sort of always feel like I'm barely holding it all together! The truth is my work now is on my own terms. I can be as busy as I want to be. That being said, juggling working and home life takes a tremendous amount of organization and discipline. Monday through Friday in our life is pretty planned out, if we are flying by the seat of our pants that's when things get crazy. I would not be able to balance anything without the help of my husband—he's amazing and so supportive.

Q. What was the best advice you ever received? Worst advice?

A. think there were some people that thought I was a little crazy for leaving a pretty secure job to basically start over. Someone had mentioned to me that I should do what I love and most importantly something that makes me feel happy and appreciated. That's what I'm doing now. I have to say nobody really gave me 'bad' advice, there were people that were wondering when I was going to go out and get another "regular" job ... I'm glad I didn't do that.

Q. It takes a village for any mom, but for a mom starting her own business, it must take a huge village. So who are your go-to people/services?

A. Adjusting to the income change we have had to cut some of the services we used to enjoy. However, one thing that keeps me a little more sane is having our cleaning lady still come every other week. Not having to worry about deep housecleaning has freed me up to do more things to get my business going. Something else we do at least once a week to make things easier, on the day I have to stop by the grocery store I also pick up ready made dinner for us on that night and lunch for my daughter the next day. This makes menu planning for the week a little less stressful.

Q. What do you do to unwind and recharge?

A. Exercising is an essential part of my life in order to unwind, recharge, and get clarity. I like to do yoga and Pilates, and be outdoors. When I get very busy and have a few days I can't fit in a workout, I start to get a little anxious, then I know its time to get moving!

Q. Take us through a day in your life?

My wakeup is usually 5:30–6a.m., depending on when my 1-year-old gets hungry! From 6:30–8 a.m. I am packing the children's food for the day, getting all of us dressed and ready to walk out the door between 8 and 8:30. This part of my day is a bit hectic, I sometimes wish there was a hidden camera so I could show other people.

By 9 a.m., I am dropping them off at school/daycare, both my children are at the same amazing place. As much as I miss them during the day, I am so happy to have some of the best teachers/caregivers available to us. From 9–10 a.m., I am picking up my chai tea (because I can't do all of this without caffeine—haha), then heading to shop when the stores open at 10 a.m.

Depending on which clients I am shopping for, I will usually hit 3 or 4 stores. This type of shopping is not for the faint of heart—it is fast and furious and very focused. There have been times where I have shopped for up to 5 people at a time. I guess there is a special part of my brain where I can compartmentalize each client's needs. One of my most recent shopping days, I was shopping for a red carpet dress, the perfect black pant, black tie wedding attire for both husband and wife and an outfit for a TV appearance—these were all different clients!

About 3 p.m., I try and wrap up whatever I am doing and head to pick up the kiddos. From 4–5 p.m., we are pulling into the driveway and making a mad dash to unload and get ready for dinner. By 6 p.m., we are usually sitting down for dinner, all of us, we talk about the day and try not to rush through. Bath time is 6:30–6:45 p.m.—this is another fun and hectic time for us.

By 7:15 p.m., the baby is going to bed; after this, we try and spend some time with our 5-year-old daughter—since her brother was born this has become a special time. We will read, play games and sometimes she helps my husband cook food for the next day. She heads to bed at 8:30. Then, 8:45–9:30 p.m. is the time for us to get food together for the next day.

Around 9:30–10:20 p.m., my husband and I try and sit down on the couch, maybe we watch a little TV or just chat, and I try really hard not to fall asleep. At 10:30, we wake the baby to have one more bottle—he usually sleeps eats through the whole thing. At 11 p.m., we are hopefully headed to bed to get rested for the next day. It's a busy life but I wouldn't change it!

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