Behind The Seams With Kleinfeld’s Mara Urshel

Mara Picture

Mara Urshel is assuredly a highly respected executive, having co-founded and managed Kleinfeld Bridal, New York’s iconic and the largest bridal boutique in the country for 17 years. Urshel began her journey with Kleinfeld as a business consultant from Gordon Brothers. Six months in, she brought in a proposal that required a crucial amount of spending to be made, but the management at the time decided to put the company up for sale instead. Urshel saw this as an exciting opportunity to take a chance and to revive Kleinfeld, shaping it into a massive bridal retailer that would eventually make the dreams of thousands of brides-to-be come true. She brought up the idea of buying the company to Ronnie Rothstein, her business partner and together, they’ve established Kleinfeld into a renowned bridal retailer, where brides-to-be travel from all over the world to receive the ultimate wedding experience.

Kleinfeld carries the largest selection of bridal gowns from top American and European bridal designers. They receive new styles nearly every day and Urshel says that they are constantly searching the world to seek out designers to add to the merchandising mix. They are staffed with close to 200 dedicated professionals which includes on-site stylists and bridal consultants, and custom fitters, sewers, beaders, embroiderers and pressers. The bridal store also has its own reality show on TLC­­, Say Yes to the Dress, a series that allows viewers to witness the private experience of the bride’s search for the right dress.

With around 10,000 gowns sold a year, Kleinfeld is unquestionably a leader in the bridal industry under the leadership of Urshel and Rothstein who call the store and its employees, their family. Urshel recently sat down with Dress for Success to discuss how she revived Kleinfeld to become a leader in the bridal industry, the growth she experienced as a senior executive at Saks Fifth Avenue and the importance of the customer experience when a bride-to-be shops for that perfect wedding dress.

Dress for Success: You were the Senior VP at Saks Fifth Avenue for 19 years prior to Kleinfeld. Did you find yourself having to fight for this role at first? Were there difficulties to overcome in this position? How did that experience influence your role when you took ownership of Kleinfeld?

Mara Urshel: My 19 years at Saks were exciting and gave me great pride in the initiatives I started and left behind. I was extremely dedicated and driven to success never realizing any obstacles. Promotions for Assistant to the VP of Couture to Senior VP of 55% of the stores volume came as anticipated. In my sportswear divisions I developed a strong classified business that led me to one day desire a “niche” business in a classification. Then one day I received an offer to be a business consultant for Kleinfeld in a turn-around situation. And voilà there was my classification waiting for me. I am as excited about Kleinfeld’s development and growth as I was in all my years at Saks.

DFS: What strategies have you implemented over the years in order to establish Kleinfeld as the leading brand for wedding fashion? How have the designers you carry and invested in influenced your growth as a major retailer?

MU: Strategic merchandising and unparalleled customer service are the most important strategies at Kleinfeld. It is important that we stay ahead of the market and competitive by offering the largest selection of designer bridal gowns in the U.S. The designers we carry directly influence our growth. We travel the world to seek out exclusive designers you can only find at Kleinfeld in NYC. This, plus our customer service, positions us as the leader in bridal retail.

DFS: Kleinfeld is known as the largest bridal retailer, catering to more than 17,000 brides a year. You’ve said that a reason for the success is the customer service, that you give clients your cell phone number to ensure that they can reach you at any time. What other ways do you continue to establish a service that is satisfactory for your clients?

MU: Every day we discuss new ideas and suggestions to improve the Kleinfeld experience. We are dedicated to making every bride happy and to stay on the pulse of bridal and listen to our customers. We are currently building a new website which will be optimized for mobile – since 60% of our web traffic is mobile. We are also working on creating more content to position ourselves as the leader in weddings – not just bridal fashion.


DFS: When a client walks into the store, walking out with a wedding dress is the obvious goal. You’ve said that it’s the wedding dress that can bring tears to the client’s eyes and a fluster to her face. How do you and your sales team help identify the right dress for the customer?

MU: Sales consultants must be great listeners and know their product! The conversation our bridal consultants have with the bride is very important. The consultant must listen to the brides’ requests and how she envisions herself on the wedding day. Taking her requests, wedding location and budget into consideration, the bridal consultant must find the right dress to say ‘yes’ to.

DFS: When your clients leave with the wedding dress, what do you hope they take from their experience working with your staff?

MU: We hope the bride remembers us as the first and last (and favorite) stop of her wedding preparation. After a bride purchases a dress at Kleinfeld, she has at least 3 more visits to the store to alter her wedding dress. Along the journey she meets with a team of  Kleinfeld employees to bring her vision to reality – from her bridal dress selection appointment to her accessory selection, her fittings and her press and pick-up appointment – all 200+ employees are involved in making the process memorable.

DFS: How has the success of Say Yes to the Dress impacted the brand and your business? Are you grateful for the continued success of the show? In your opinion, what has made the show so successful?

MU: As we enter into the 16th season of SYTTD, we believe that the success of the show is not only because of the talented production company and network, but because of the brides and the dresses they select. The dress is the ‘star’ of the show. We are thankful that the show has turned a national brand into an international brand promoted in over 200 countries around the world.

DFS: Your business is continuously expanding into product offerings outside wedding fashion. What are the areas you have expanded in that you are most proud of? What more do you envision in terms of expansion? What’s next for Kleinfeld?

MU: Kleinfeld continues to expand our exclusive and private label dress brands. As well as support Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay located in Toronto, Canada. We also have expanded into stationary. Kleinfeld Paper offers wedding invitations, save the dates, thank you cards and day-of stationary such as escort cards and menus. Kleinfeld has also added a hotel room block booking service – Kleinfeld Hotel Blocks. They find and negotiate the best rates for your out of town wedding guests. As well as, Kleinfeld Name Change, Hitch Switch, a unique free service to easily change your name, driver’s license, credit cards, etc.

DFS: What does it mean for you to take part in the experience of finding the dress for a woman in such a monumental stage in her life? And is there a particular client’s experience in the store that is most memorable and why?

MU: We are honored to be a part of the most important day in a brides’ life. We meet with over 17,000 brides annually and we love receiving wedding photos from every one of them!

Poise in the Workplace

Guest Post by Jennifer L. Scott

Do you know what your most valuable asset in the workplace is? It might not be what you think. If you acquire this asset, you will instantly stand out in your job as a valuable employee. People will take notice of you for all the right reasons. You will command respect, no matter what your position in the company is.

So what could this mysterious asset possibly be? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not something that you can buy. It has nothing to do with money. I’ll give you another hint: it’s something that anyone can have. Yes, anyone. Here’s one last hint: it is something you can’t quite put your finger on, but when someone has it you just know there is something special about them.

The asset I am talking about is poise. Poise is a graceful and elegant bearing in someone. Poised people have good manners, good decorum and present themselves well. This is such a valuable asset in the workplace because all of these traits show that you are reliable, dependable and committed. Your behavior and the way you present yourself puts others at ease, whether they realize it or not. Poise is powerful because those who have it command respect.

A major part of poise is personal presentation, not only with good posture, diction and eye contact, but also with how you dress and how you express your personal style.

Every morning when you get dressed, you make a choice of how you would like to present yourself to the world. As a poised person in the workplace, your wardrobe choices should be appropriate, professional and reflect your individual style. You do not need to buy expensive clothes or even have a wardrobe filled with lots of clothes to do this. You just need a few key outfits that fit you well, are appropriate for your job and reflect your personality.

If you are unsure what your true style is, it is a great idea to pick neutral, basic clothing. You can always inject personality with your accessories like scarves or jewelry. If you work in a conservative office environment, for example, you can never go wrong with classic looks like a simple, black dress, navy or beige trousers, a white blouse or a black blazer. These items can be worn in so many different ways with many combinations that you will never get bored of, but can feel confident in. The great news is you can find outfits that meet this criterion at any price range.

We all make visual judgments every day and your employer, customers and coworkers are no different. As we work on our poise, our newfound changes will be reflected in our wardrobe choices and set us up for success in whatever career we choose.

Jennifer L. Scott is the New York Times bestselling author of Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic (Simon & Schuster) and creator of the blog The Daily Connoisseur.

She is a contributing writer for Huffington Post Style and has been featured on CNN, BBC, and CBS News, and in The New York TimesVanity FairUSA TodayNewsweek, and The Daily Mail. She lives with her family in Los Angeles, California.

How to Answer When Success is Calling!

There’s nothing easy about the job search, but if asked to pinpoint the most unnerving part of the process, many would say it’s interviewing. Yet, even more harrowing than a face-to-face meeting is the initial phone interview. Today these preliminary interviews are so prevalent that 92% of HR managers surveyed say they screen applicants via telephone before ever requesting an in-person meeting and 95% rely on these conversations to gauge a candidate’s qualifications.

Over the years, we’ve seen many talented and intelligent women come through our doors who are more than capable of getting the job, but were simply unprepared to handle a phone interview.  It was these women who inspired us to partner with TracFone to create Success is Calling.  As part of the program, TracFone created a series of training videos that offer career tips from multi-talented performer Vanessa Williams. Check out the videos below to find out Vanessa’s advice for nailing a phone interview, as well as fashion tips and practice questions to prepare for your next big opportunity.

Spring Into Work With a New Wardrobe

After one of the coldest winters on record, we’re all ready to shed the black and reemerge to welcome warmer weather with colorful cardigans.  Spring is known to many in the fashion world as the perfect union of office chic and out-of-office casual. Meaning it’s the best time of year for you to mix and match your wardrobe for both work and play.

To prepare for this glorious revival of color and shape in our closets, we wanted to find work-appropriate wear that instills confidence without compromising style. Knowing that many hardworking women share our spring fever, we teamed up with Talbots to kick off an empowering season of success and style. Which is why from now until March 22nd you can make a monetary donation to Dress for Success at any of their nearly 500 locations across the United States and Canada.

At Talbots, they understand work wear should make you feel powerful and still maintain a stylish edge. Known for their quality and classic pieces, Talbots recently rolled out their new spring line dabbling in powder pinks, fuchsias and peaches with a few bold reds and greens that transition seamlessly between seasons.

To help us showcase some inspiring looks, we brought along Dress for Success client, Addie, who made interview attire look effortless and enchanting. Previously working in medical research, Addie has a degree in biology as well as experience in real estate. She took some time off her job hunt to meet us and the Talbots team at the Madison Avenue store in NYC. After fawning over some accessories we’ve missed all winter, hello Jackie O shades (see below), we settled on four different outfits that would ace any interview, meeting or even casual work day.  Warning: Outfits may inspire feelings of warmth and happiness, and require you make a change in your shade of blues.

Our always stylish client, Addie, meeting Talbots store manager, Tim, before the shoot.

Just browsing the four-story Madison Avenue store and falling in love with the sleeveless blouse-blazer combinations…

This Navy Avanos Suit coat and matching pants (Dress for Success nickname: the approachable power suit) are complemented by the Veria Striped Shirt, in sugar coral, adding a pop of color to brighten the look. The white block-collar allows Addie to stand out to employers while maintaining an overall professional profile.

Dress for Success Tip: Tuck the striped shirt in for a more polished look, perfect for a meeting or an interview.

This Wispy Floral Pencil Skirt and Pointelle Cardigan is the ultimate spring office wear. Two looks in one, the sea lily colored cardigan complements the floral skirt and gives off a vibrant but sophisticated look that’s suitable for any day at the office. For a more high-profile meeting or second-round interview, easily remove the cardigan and the Wrinkle-Resistant Poplin Shirt showcases a crisp, sleek appearance that elevates the look from casual office wear to polished power woman.  Our favorite accent? The Pippa Patent Leather Kitten-Heel Pumps give you a little extra height, but are comfortable enough for all-day wear. For a quick switch, pair these heels with pants for a night out or dinner after work.

Dress for Success Tip: Adding a necklace pulls out the floral pattern in this pencil skirt and gives you a chance to add even more charisma to the ensemble.

Once you’ve got the job, this Status Chain-Links Dress, a play on the versatile wrap dress, is wearable for almost any occasion, including your 9-5. The white and black pattern complements any skin tone and three-quarter sleeves (our favorite detail) are the perfect compromise for spring.

We paired it with the Navy Anos Suit jacket from Addie’s first look to show how you can mix and match outfits without compromising style or professionalism. The suit coat breaks up the patterned dress, giving it a little extra edge. Or, top it off with the Botanical Flowers Scarf  for a softer look. Hint: the peach and powder gray-blue tones are a guaranteed mood-booster for spring.

You’re guaranteed to make a statement with this Gladiola-Print Sateen Dress. The A-line, pleated cut flatters any body type and is appropriate for most offices.  For those that may be a little more conservative, simply throw on a shrug  (we recommend the Cameo Pink).

Dress for Success Tip: Pair with the Leather Bucket Bag in Buff, the shade is completely neutral and will work with any spring outfit. Better yet, it’s large enough to fit a portfolio, make-up bag, deodorant, Tide to go and all your other work and interview essentials.

And what can we say? After you’re new wardrobe from Talbots you feel like Jackie O. But seriously, the sunglasses are named Jackie O.

How to Keep Your Sweaters Looking Their Best!

Don’t you love autumn?  One day it’s warm, one day it’s cool.  Fall is just the unpredictable season that, despites its ups and downs, you just can’t help but love.  One way many of us ladies combat the turbulent temperatures of the season is to simply keep a sweater stashed in our bag or steadfastly hanging from the backs of our office chairs for those times when we don’t plan for that dreaded drop in Mercury.  The best thing about sweaters is that they’re a great way to warm up without dressing down, so we want to make sure that your favorite knitted wares are cared for properly and live a long, purposeful life!  Follow these tips to keep your sweaters looking great season after season:

Wash: Make sure you follow the instructions on the tag. Most wool, cashmere or mohair sweaters will require you to hand wash them. Baby shampoo is a preferable substitute to detergent for these fabrics, which have very delicate fibers. If you are washing rayon, cotton or linen sweaters in a machine, turn inside out and make sure to separate them or only clean with like items. The clasps on bras, zippers and buttons can snag a sweater and create holes or pulls in the fabric.

Dry: Most sweaters should be dried on a flat surface so they do not lose shape after washing.  You can use a towel to dab and soak up excess water before laying them flat and reshaping, but never wring dry. Gather the waist and wrists, button any buttons and straighten the sleeves–pressing and pulling gently to lengthen and restore the sweaters original shape.

Maintain: When your sweater gets “pills” from rubbing and overuse, you can use a razor blade or small electric shaver to remove the excess fibers. After each cleaning check the armpits, elbows and sleeves where rubbing occurs most often.

Fold & Store: After your sweater dries, fold. Do not hang on a hanger or the sweater will stretch out and lose its shape. When storing for the season, make sure your sweaters are washed and fully dried so it does not grow mold or mildew. To further protect, you can use cedar balls in your storage box or drawer as a safe and easy solution to moths, pests and odor.

These few extra steps will keep your sweaters a wardrobe staple and equipped to take on the seasons!


The Two Fall Handbag Trends You Need Now

Guest post from Rie Yano and Jie Zheng, Co-founders of Material Wrld

We all know the confidence boost that can come from a perfectly pulled together outfit. You walk a little taller and feel like the best version of yourself. You’re ready to conquer anything. Head-to-toe styling creates a polished look, and always requires a little piece of arm candy to complete the look. We broke down two of our favorite fall handbag trends that will make you feel like a million bucks, whether you are heading out to dinner or to a big job interview.

 1.)   Don’t Be Flat. Texture Tease.

The first trend we are loving is all about texture. This season’s hottest bags feature everything from slick patent leathers, rich animal embossing, intricate weaves, and nubby fabrics that evoke opulence with every wear. A textured bag can make even the flattest outfit pop. Pick textured bags in deep or neutral colors and avoid venturing into the vivid color spectrum, which can risk your NEW handbag looking less than luxurious.


 2.) Be Bold. Rock White After Labor Day.

If texture isn’t your thing or you are ready to add additional pieces to your collection, our second trend seems to break all Fashion 101 rules. Yes, it’s time to be bold and ditch one of the oldest rules in the style book…wear white after Labor Day! These crisp clean bags add a polished look to any ensemble and work all the way through winter. For a groundbreaking fall look, pair one of these white bags with an outfit composed of whites and creams, and accent the look with one jewel-toned piece, such as an oxblood-tone belt or emerald blazer. You’ll instantly feel pulled together and ready for the fresh, fall season.

Whichever trend you choose, make sure to rock it with confidence and pride!

As co-founders of Material Wrld, the ultimate luxury fashion trade-in service and Dress for Success partner, Rie Yano and Jie Zheng help women refresh their closets by offering a convenient way to mail in designer apparel and handbags they no longer wear to earn upfront gift cards and shop new. With over 130 accepted apparel brands and 30 top handbag designers like Burberry, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Prada, they see their fair share of new trends come into the showroom.

How to Look Like a Million Bucks While Flying Mile High!

It can be difficult to maintain a polished look from even your home to the office during these summer months, but add in a few hours on a flight and you’re taking the chances of a fashion catastrophe to a whole new level! But this doesn’t mean you can’t look chic and sophisticated while flying sky high. We aren’t saying endure your neighbor’s drool in the next seat while constricting yourself to heels and a starchy suit, but appearance is still important, especially when traveling for business. Research shows that flight attendants are more likely to dole out extra attention to well-dressed and neatly groomed travelers. So we’ve broken down your business travel stressors into a few easy steps that will leave you confident, prepared and maybe even upgraded to first class!

Dress Like a First-Classer, Even When Flying Coach

So how do you look professional, kempt and still remain comfortable on a flight? The key again is to dress in layers. This is practical for temperature control, as well as presentation.

Choose breathable fabrics such as cotton, silk or linen. Other synthetic fibers act as incubators for sweat and can make you feel even dirtier on a long trip.

Bottoms: Try a pair of ankle dress pants or an ‘A’ line skirt that won’t be constricting.

Top: Pair with a blouse or loose fitting tank and add a blazer overtop. The blazer will give the outfit a touch of professionalism and style, but is easily removable to accommodate conditions while traveling.

Shoes: Choose a pair of slip on flats or low heels that won’t have you tripping over drink carts in the aisles. The flats can slip easily into a carry-on and be swapped for a pair of heels if you have to run off to a meeting. If it’s colder, try wearing a pair of low-heeled boots and save room in your luggage.

Accessories: Light-weight scarves work great for any season and won’t weigh heavy on your body like a necklace or dangling earrings. If you can’t part with the bling, store it in your carry-on and put it on after the trip.

Maintaining Healthy Hygiene While Mile High

Face: Exfoliate your skin the night before and then apply moisturizer the next morning to combat the dry air on planes. Dead skins cells can block the moisturizer from actually absorbing in the skin. While on the flight, ask for an extra cup of ice with your beverage and wrap a cube in a napkin.  Hold it under your eye for a minute to decrease the inflammation that adds to a jet-lagged appearance.

Mouth: Not only does it feel like the Sahara in there, it probably also has a sour taste from ‘option 2’ on the mid-air menu. Try snacking on a green apple or ask the flight attendant for a lemon wedge.  Both have a tartness that activates salvation and a natural cleansing.

Hair: Blow-dry your hair the night before or the morning of your flight to add as much volume as possible. While traveling, use a neck pillow to protect from flat hair while relaxing. Don’t forget to stash some dry shampoo and hair spray in your bag for a quick touch up on your way out.

Makeup: Try to avoid applying too much make-up before a long flight and focus on bright neutral tones to accent natural features. On your way out of the airport, stop in the restroom and apply some mascara to your top lash, but skip the bottom, to avoid adding to any dark circles.

Full-body: The idea is to trick your body into staying hydrated and full when you’re not expending much energy. The air is usually dry and poorly circulated on a plane, so drinking water or even coconut water, which has an added electrolyte boost, will keep your body looking and feeling good. Also, snack often and strategically. Portable snacks like nuts have omega-3 fatty acids that will do wonders for your complexion and keep you full longer.

Have some travel tips of your own?  Tweet them to us at @dressforsuccess!

Quick Fashion Fixes for Women on the Go!

Some days you can do everything right—you got up and actually got out of bed to the first alarm, beat the traffic, and prepped for your morning meeting.  Oh, and did we mention you’re wearing the perfect outfit? But somehow you did not foresee the giant crater in the sidewalk or the gum stuck to the train seat that has now found a new home on your silk skirt. In the absence of a fairy god mother and some pixie dust, we have the working women’s Houdini moves– to get you out of any Fashion Faux Pas (FFP) without ever having to leave the office.

FFP: When you scrape your shoe on the sidewalk.

Fast Fix:  For black patent leather, apply some petroleum jelly with a cotton ball and rub in a circular motion to remove the scrape and then wipe clean with a damp cloth—follow up with a little Vaseline to restore the shoes original shine.  For leather, lightly brush toothpaste onto the scuff with a toothbrush to remove the mark. If you completely scraped off the leather, use an appropriate color marker (black or brown are the easiest to disguise) to fill in the scratch.  For suede, repeatedly brush an eraser in the one direction over the scuff to get rid of any dirt trapped in the fabric. This trick will also remove marks on vinyl!

FFP: When you break a heel.

Fast Fix: Crazy glue it.  Or for black heels, try wrapping the broken area in electrical tape—this is not a permanent hold, but it will look seamless and more importantly, get you through the work day.

FFP: When you find a deodorant stain on your shirt.

Fast Fix: Rub a cotton sock back and forth over the stained area. Don’t have a sock handy? Vigorously rub the fabric against itself.  You can use a dab of white vinegar to speed up the process.

FFP: When you’re a victim of the static cling.

Fast Fix: Use a dryer sheet to rub the inside of your skirt or dress where there is cling. If you don’t have a dryer sheet, rub a small amount of lotion together in your hands and then quickly run your hands between your clothes and your skin.

FFP: When your zipper is stuck.

Fast Fix: Rub the tip of a graphite pencil over the stubborn area to loosen the stick. If that does not work, try applying lip balm as a lubricant to both sides of the zipper.

FFP: When you bring your furry friend to the office—on your sweater.

Fast Fix: Grab a packing label or duct tape from the supply room and wrap it around your hand like a glove —dab and repeat until all of the pet hair has been removed!

FFP: When you have a run in your panty hose.

Fast Fix: Use some clear nail polish or even hair spray at the top of the run to stop it from spreading.

FFP: When you sit in gum.

Fast Fix: Fold a piece of duct tape around your hand and stick it to the gum, then carefully lift it off. If that isn’t doing the job, squirt the gum with hairspray to harden it. Wait five minutes and then scrape off with the tip of a coin.

FFP: When you have “hanger bumps” on your shoulders.

Fast Fix: Wet two fingers and rub out the entire area—the wet fibers will eventually flatten and mold to the shape of your shoulder. You can also use an ice cube for really stubborn bulges.

FFP: When you tear your blouse on a file cabinet corner.

The Fast Fix: Pull the threads and ripped fabric through to the inside of the shirt.  Then apply tape to close the gap from the inside, making sure to cover all the edges and loose threads to prevent any unraveling and subsequently unwanted stares.

FFP: When you lose the back to your favorite pair of earrings in the “under desk abyss.”

The Fast Fix: Break off a small piece of an eraser and use it as a replacement back until you can buy a new one.

FFP: When you spill…

The Fast Fix: Soak the stained area in club soda or tonic water then blot repeatedly. For ink stains repeat the same process, but with dry erase board cleaner or hairspray.


The Success Diaries: Kathy Wilson

Dear 12-Year-Old Kathy,

It is with great relief that I get to say to you that all of your dreams will come true.  Your work will be featured in magazines, television, and film.  Your clothing will be worn by celebrities at major red carpet events.  You will even be featured on a new type of television genre called a “reality show” where you will get to experience stress on a whole new level.  You will have successes that you did not even imagine could happen.  You will learn that balance is the key to a happy life.  You will also learn what makes you happy evolves and changes as you evolve and change.

All of the lessons you learn at each workplace will be useful to you later as you embark on your own business.  Never underestimate the power of hard work.  Always remember that job security is based on being someone that people need.  It is important to understand that doing what you love is fundamental to your happiness; however, loving where you work is just as important.

Traveling overseas is extremely significant to who you will become as an adult.  Seeing how people live all over the world is what inspires you to become the best version of yourself possible.  Seeing how misunderstandings can occur and how to resolve them diplomatically becomes a great asset. Also, being open-minded and a willingness to learn about another culture helps you build great business relationships.  By the time you are 35, you will have lived in Japan for three years and traveled to China, Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic for inspiration.

The best lessons come from the most difficult experiences.  Whenever you find yourself in a tough situation that seems to be too much to handle, try to find comfort in knowing that it is these experiences that will be the ones you will learn the most from.  The challenges you overcome will mark significant moments that forced you to become stronger than you knew you was possible.

Do what you want to do, not what you think others think you should do.  The things that you think will make your 12 year old self happy will change.  The idea that you will never get married or have kids, because you want to be a career woman, will change.  You will learn that you can have more than one identity at a time.  You will also learn that success means more than making a ton of money.  Thankfully,  you will learn that early enough to enjoy what life has to offer outside of professional glory.

Lastly, follow your gut.  When you get a bad feeling about something or someone, do not ignore it.

Everything is going to be better than you dreamed of, so enjoy every moment.

Sending you love, courage, and wisdom!

Kathy Wilson

Kathy Wilson is a women’s and men’s custom and contemporary fashion designer.  She founded her namesake line in 2009 after dressing Stevie Wonder for the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  She was profiled on Season 2 of the critically acclaimed series, “All On The Line With Joe Zee” for Sundance channel in December 2011.  Kathy’s celebrity clients also include Michelle Pfeiffer, Sophia Bush, Chris Jacobs, Diplo, Masi Oka, and Adam Lambert.  In 2011, Kathy was recognized as an emerging Asian American fashion designer by the Asia Society.  Check out her designs at!