Have you ever come across a stylist who first helps you to overcome your internal limitations and then moves on to styling you?
Whether you call her a coach with a twist or a stylist with a twist, my Page 1 Woman, Abigail Rebecca is all about enabling women entrepreneurs to ‘get their style s..t together’ so that they develop a solid personal brand that boosts their business.
So who’s Abigail Rebecca? A travel enthusiast, her adventures around the world, included deportation from the States, before landing her dream career as a travel rep based in exotic places. ‘I had an amazing life, living the dream. And I'm thankful, because it made me the person I am today’.
Being ambitious, she reached the top and then the fun disappeared. So she returned to the UK scared, penniless, jobless and homeless, in search of the next chapter of her life.
That next chapter saw her in a high status, high salary, fast moving and influential leadership position, driven by results and targets. “I didn't suffer fools gladly. So, if somebody wasn't pulling their weight, they would leave the team”. Despite being respected, she had to compromise her values and never felt she belonged; all this alongside coping with the impostor syndrome and the aftermath of serious ill health. The upshot was that she gained weight, lost her confidence, became increasingly miserable and went into hiding in her black dress, black tights and black boots. “That's when I understood that your clothes represent you communicating to the world how you're feeling inside. I didn't want to be seen, noticed, or form relationships”.
An epiphany in a Goan treehouse, highlighted that she’d replaced her previous life of fun and fulfilment with a life without meaning. So she plotted her exit strategy, and quit. “I thought about what brought me joy. And it kept coming back to helping women with styling, and self-confidence. So I trained at the London College of Fashion”.
Here’s more of Abigail Rebecca’s journey in her own words.
Describe your work
Abi: I'm a Personal Image and Empowerment Coach working mostly with female entrepreneurs who are ready to play big, so that they attract the right clients and make more money. My mission is to help women feel and look incredible.
Sometimes I meet women who look in the mirror and hate themselves. With them, I help with the internal work and then the external work. As a trained personal stylist, I know what shapes, fabrics and colours look great on each woman and how to align that to their business, and create a unique personal brand.
Your personal brand is what people say about you when you aren’t there. Walk into a room and people make appearance-based assumptions about whether they want to do business with you. So, be aware of the messages you’re giving through your presence. I’m not saying, "You must look this way or be that size, or wear designer clothes”. You can make an impact walking confidently into a room, looking amazing in a bin bag that you’ve styled right.
If you feel bold, like a leader and you’ve got your style right that’s a great personal brand. And your behaviour will mirror that and attract your tribe. Each day you should feel as amazing as if you’ve dressed for an occasion and communicate that to the world through your clothes.
I find that increasingly more people are approaching me about how to be camera ready for Facebook lives, webinars, sales and other online videos. So I’ve niched in this area. I’ve coached hundreds of people on how to do this in the corporate world and I’m now combining this expertise with my styling work to show business owners and their teams how to create kick ass videos that will make them millions.
What essential steps got you to where you are now?
Abi: It was my inner work. As a holiday rep, I dealt with some nasty situations -deaths, rapes, muggings, suicides. So I drew on those experiences to turn my own unhappiness around.
And then an amazing business and mindset coach, Kelly Quinn, changed my life. She helped me transition from corporate, to my heart work, using the Law of Attraction, visualisation, gratitude, self-acceptance and understanding that this corporate person wasn't me. I re-discovered my feminine side and reconnected with my inner goddess. As a start-up, I wanted to be a celebrity stylist, taking people to Harrods. But that's not me; I had to find my own niche and the inner work helped me.
What was the most significant thing you did that got you to where you are?
Abi: It was working with another great business coach, Shanda Sumpter of ‘Heart Core Business’. When my business was doing well, and I was working with clients here and abroad, I considered what I wanted for the rest of my life. It always came back to travelling and working anywhere in the world. So, my next step was to move online, and Shanda enabled me to do that. In business it’s important to find a coach who’ll help you grow and remove internal limitations. Her coaching opened up possibilities and eliminated a lot of my barriers.
I do internal work and styling with clients online. I look at their body shape, colouring, the brightness of their faces and I know the colours and clothes they should wear when they’re on camera. I give clients the tools to choose their own items, and I enable independence and confidence building so they’re self-reliant and camera ready.
What was your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Abi: Fear of failure. My family culture is based on being the best. You had to give everything 100% and failure was bad. The work culture was similar. As a holiday rep, there was service, sales, and your performance. If you weren't selling or achieving your service targets, you might be managed out. It was the same in corporate. It was tough. I never showed my weaknesses. Failing at a project was unthinkable – damaging for my reputation, my team and my boss.
Looking back, I didn't make mistakes but I was scared of being seen as a fraud and losing my job. So, starting my own business was massive. I realised I needed to fail to learn and develop.
My biggest fear of failure was not making money. I’ve learnt to manage that fear.
I do lots of mindfulness work now, silence the ‘what if’ voices, and focus on what's happening now. And when I think about the future, I reflect on what I've learned over the years and I know it will all work out.
"Everything you ever wanted to achieve is on the other side of fear” is on my website. It's about conquering that fear. I still check myself sometimes, when I’m thinking ‘What if I don't get any clients next week?’ But I think abundance, and all those people needing my help, and all that money for me to earn.
What was your greatest light bulb moment?
Abi: Realising I'm good at this; I’m changing people's lives and this is my purpose. I started to see my clients become more joyful, confident, and radiant.
Client’s say they feel more confident. They tell their story about how they were in comparison to how they are now. You can see it visually too, with how they speak and hold themselves and their choice of clothes that make them look and feel amazing. And there’s the money they’re making! It makes me joyful. I never got that in corporate.
What resource was crucial to your success?
Abi: Having a great coach. She stretches me then enables me to stretch my clients. If you don't stretch, you don't grow. It’s important in order to move onto the next level.
Also the internet; you can connect with anyone you want to and find incredible resources. I do most of my business through connecting with great entrepreneurs on social media.
What do you understand about leadership?
Abi: A leader takes people through change and holds a space for them to think, reflect, grow and problem-solve, rather than telling them what to do. A leader looks back and forward and gives people a helping hand.
When I was in corporate, we were told what to do. And that’s how I thought. But as a coach, I lead my clients through change, by holding a space for them to develop themselves. I also lead myself, and my business. A leader is empathetic and self-aware, and knows their impact on others. And listening for what's being said and unsaid is crucial. It's being aware, and connected with that person.
What difference has it made being a woman leader?
Abi: It's that connection, the sisterhood. Each client reflects me on my past journey. So, automatically I attract people experiencing what I've experienced as I identify with their blockers and can help them through.
Previously, I preferred working for men. I found them straight forward and easier even though I respected women. I worked in a business that had many senior female leaders and I was proud of that. Then I started reporting to the most amazing woman director and I changed my tune.
She took time, going above and beyond, to develop me, massively taking me out of my comfort zone and scaring me. I will always thank her for that.
What are your three top tips for women who want to be leaders in their field?
Abi: First, play to your feminine strengths; don't try to be a man. You're not and you’re being inauthentic. I see women trying to be men in corporate, trying to be somebody they're not. That was me. They can't be happy as they're taking on a persona that’s not natural to them. Also, it’s a poor example for other women.
Second, listen to your heart and find and do whatever brings you joy. It's easy to go through life saying for example, "I have to be a lawyer because I trained to be a lawyer." You're not bringing joy into your life. My keyword this year is ‘joy’. If something doesn't bring me joy, I don't do it.
Third, don't care what people think about you. Not everybody will like you. If they do, you're beige, unexciting. When you're passionate and stand for something, you'll make a difference. Those that dislike you, won’t work with you, won’t be your clients. That’s fine. Send them love, and bid them farewell. Those that love you are who you want in your life.
To find out more about Abigail Rebecca, click here.
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