By Ali Munday
Coco Chanel, one of Time magazine’s
100 most influential people of the 20th
century once said, “Fashion changes, but
Styles are perennially in fashion and in
high demand, as two Saratoga businesswomen
will attest. These entrepreneurs
— separately — help people navigate their
way to a new look.
Jennifer Armstrong and Kathryn Mademann
come from different business
backgrounds, but both possess extensive
professional experience and both have
found a niche they love in the growing area
of personal image styling, for both men and
Armstrong’s story involves a complete 180 degree turn, professionally. Mademann’s might be considered a more natural progression. Either way, each has designed a unique pattern for their respective success.
Mademann worked as a fashion model, founded and owned a publishing company, launched two magazines, and authored three children’s books. In spring 2013, she launched her newest company, KM2Style, blending her fashion and business experience to help people rediscover and update their personal image and style, and regain confidence.
Armstrong has also authored books for children and teens. Then, she decided to get into business and fashion. “I needed a new challenge both intellectually and emotionally,” she said.
Armstrong became an independent stylist for J. Hilburn, a direct sales company that handles suits for men. She is also a representative for the women’s wear line, CAbi.
“Fashion is a relative newcomer to direct sales, however, it is uniquely suited to the men’s market. When a guy learns that he can have a personal stylist come to his office and then get custom-tailoring at a ready-to-wear price, it’s a slam dunk,” she said.
“Because J. Hilburn has compressed the supply chain, a client gets beautiful clothes at a great price along with unbeatable customer service and time-efficiency … Many men are only too happy to let a woman make fashion decisions for them,” she said. “Once I have a client’s measurement profile and he knows the clothes will fit perfectly, he can leave the rest to me.”
Twenty-five years in the modeling industry exposed Mademann to many designers, brands and retailers, and she was taught “how to dress.” She began to understand the importance of her own personal style. She continues to model in print and TV.
Mademann speaks at corporate events, offers personal Skype consults, seminars on building confidence and dressing for success, and finding a personal style. She works with business women and men, in group settings or one-on-one consultations, to assist in updating their professional image.
She also offers “creating a professional image” presentations for sales and administrative staff. Additionally, she leads small group shopping sessions for groups of friends, and private wardrobe sessions during which she weeds out closets and create a cohesive and versatile wardrobe, she said.
“There is an expression, ‘You have seven seconds to make a first impression,'” said Mademann. “My role is to guide clients through a process that initiates positive momentum, and that changes their lives for the better. I help them understand proper fits and colors, and help them create a wardrobe that is a ‘wow’ every day.”
“My clients include women, men, and couples. I love when a husband and wife decide together to update their image with a personal makeover. It’s fun to watch them rediscover each other during the process,” she added.
Said Armstrong, “Think about how much attention people pay to their website design, or their business cards. We understand that visual representation is meaningful. Yet many people neglect the most significant aspect of visual representation: our own bodies. You don’t have to look like a model, but you should make an effort.”
She said she can also save a client money by steering them toward clothing that will be flattering, appropriate, and functional. “Your stylist understands what silhouettes and styles are most flattering to particular body types,” she said. “When our mind’s eye is fixated on the marketing images, we don’t necessarily see the real image in the mirror.”
Armstrong said a stylist looks at the big picture, or the whole wardrobe. How well do each of the pieces work with each other? If a client has to travel often, do they have a go-to collection of garments that travel well with a minimum of fuss? “Ours is increasingly a visual culture. Most of our communication, even face-toface conversation, is visual … A pleasing appearance builds trust and rapport. Forget whether or not this is fair, nice, or logical. It’s just how it is,” she said.
On juggling daily responsibilities, Mademann said, “It can be challenging when a woman has a family and she wants to launch a business. Not because she isn’t smart or capable, it comes down to there being only so many hours in a day and we run out of hours. It’s an art to manage the kids, family, and your business.”
“Come up with a plan, and delegate responsibilities with your family if possible, so you don’t burn out. As you grow your business, be sure to hire help and build your team so you can use your talents to grow the business.”
Armstrong is a single mom, “and any single mom will tell you that’s like running a business, too. Because my job as a fashion consultant is something I do from home, it allows me the flexibility to meet my family’s needs.”
Direct sales works well for women because “it is a very flexible format that can expand or contract according to a family’s needs,” said Armstrong.
To learn more about Armstrong, visit www.jenniferarmstrong.jhilburn. More on Mademann can be found by visiting www.km2style.com.