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Meet Trailblazer Vanessa Contreras

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Contreras.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Vanessa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Since I was young, I have always had a passion for art, fashion, and music. I would sketch outfits with my color pencils: I would take any type of material I could find and create dresses out of them. I always enjoyed getting dressed up and creating looks even when I was a little girl.

At 17, I started working in retail, then in my ’20s, I started working with luxury brands. My first job was at Celine when Michael Kors was designing for them. I was introduced to a different world and I instantly fell in love. From there, I worked in sales with different luxury companies, built my clientele and created relationships with my clients. This was the foundation that helped me start styling and personal shopping on my own.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Like everything in life that we truly desire, it takes dedication and hard work. It has not been smooth or easy at times. I have had times when I’m working on a photo shoot and the clothes maybe don’t end up fitting correctly, or I am styling a client and she doesn’t like anything I’ve chosen for her. Instead of getting discouraged or giving up, I just stop, take deep breathe and say to myself “it’s okay we all make mistakes, it’s an opportunity to learn something new and come back the next time and just kill it!”

For anyone starting their journey especially young women, don’t take criticism to heart. Everyone has an opinion. Don’t let their opinion of you get in the way of your success. Their thoughts and comments about you do not define who you are or who you can be. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with positive people who are also striving to achieve their dreams. You can create the life you want as long as you believe in yourself. Don’t forget to thank the people who helped you along the way. Those are the people who believed in you even when you didn’t believe you could do it.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a stylist and a personal shopper in the Orange County and Los Angeles area. I style models for editorials, and I style my clients for their everyday wardrobe or for special events. My specialty is giving clients the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their own home. I hand deliver merchandise to my client’s homes creating a new shopping experience for them. We choose the pieces that fit them best, and they keep what they want. I take away what we did not like. I do all the work so my clients can relax and enjoy themselves without the hassle of having to search for everything themselves.

Even though I am still on my journey for success, I have to say something that makes me proud about my work is seeing my clients or the models I work with enjoy the different looks I choose for them. Seeing their eyes light up or take a look in the mirror and love what they see, has made it more enjoyable.

What sets me apart from others is my ability to create this moment with my clients and give them a one on one shopping experience from their own home. We create looks, incorporating their new wardrobe while also using pieces they already own.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
I would say some of the biggest barriers for female leadership is having to balance work and home. Women are expected to multitask, and some days like everyone, I have bad days and need a time out from my busy life. Taking time out to regroup and center myself is what helps me come back stronger. Always take time to give yourself some love.

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        Image Credit:
Aryanna Martin, Jennifer Wang, Vanessa Contreras, Yenitza Munoz

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