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    Changemaker: Anthea O’Connor, Stylist


    Anthea and I met in late 2011 when I was interviewed about meditation on The Circle. As it turned out, we later discovered we have friends and clients in common and we live about five minutes from one another.

    Anthea is one of those warm and genuine people you like straight away. Despite her impressive resume and her impeccable sense of style, she’s down-to-earth, approachable and she has a lovely positive energy. She’s someone we could all do with a daily dose of!

    She’s recently launched her own styling business, and I have no doubt, her services will be in great demand. Have a read of our interview, visit her gorgeous new website (designed by another incredibly clever friend-in-common Pip Howard) and book yourself in for a styling session.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your business?

    I am a fashion stylist and my work comprises of a number of components. I work with individual private clients, assisting women with their wardrobes and sense of personal style. I do this by working with them in their home to go through their existing wardrobes and clothes before working with them at a retail level to “fill the gaps” on what they need to reinvigorate and refresh their sense of style.

    It is often an ongoing relationship with each client, meeting a number of times throughout the year for different occasions, the start of a new fashion season or to find something special for an occasion. It’s very rewarding to see a client’s sense of self alter when they have a renewed sense of confidence in how they look.

    Ultimately it’s about presenting the best version of ourselves. This is the core of my business.

    The second part of my business is consulting to fashion brands such as Country Road, hosting their in-store styling workshops and new “How To Wear” video series on their blog. I have hosted Country Road’s in-store styling workshops for a number of years, presenting the new season’s collection to their customers and showing them how to integrate the pieces into their wardrobes and individual lifestyles.

    I really enjoy delivering practical fashion information to real women, to make it accessible and achievable. The “How To Wear” video series is a new initiative on the Country Road blog and was a natural progression, taking our brand of information to a wider audience.

    What do you love about your working for yourself?

    The flexibility is the number one benefit. It allows me to combine family life and three children with my work. My last job as a permanent employee was at Vogue Australia magazine where I spent ten years as the Melbourne Editor, and ultimately I needed greater flexibility as I had kids throughout my time there and I needed to be more flexible for them.

    I love the prospect of working on different projects, and saying yes to things that come out of left field, like working on a Working Dog film a few years ago, styling the lead actress Rachel Taylor’s character.

    In working for myself I have been able to combine my core styling work with TV work like being on The Circle in 2011 and 2012.

    Who are your role models?

    I have many and varied role models. Intelligent, empathetic, positive, balanced and measured women are big role models! I don’t think you “can have it all”, so I really admire women who seem to be having a good shot at trying to keep it all going and moving in the right direction, combining family, kids, work/study and all the relationships that spin out of those facets of life.

    Some of these women are close to home, personal friends who are keeping their heads above water as they navigate their own paths. In the fashion world I am constantly inspired by women such as Emmanuelle Alt (Editor French Vogue) whose personal style is emulated and revered the world over, she is such an influential fashion voice. I could look at photos of her and what she is wearing all day long!

    Other fashion leaders such as Phoebe Philo (Celine) and Clare Waight Keller (Chloe) are both at the helm of major fashion houses and are influencing the global fashion agenda with their designs and brands. They are both a similar age to me with families, and I am so inspired by their creativity and subsequent commercial success.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum my role models extend to people such as Deng Adut, a former Sudanese child soldier and Western Sydney University law graduate now working as a lawyer assisting Sudanese refugees. The university profiled Deng’s story in an incredibly moving ad, and it is one of the most inspiring things I have seen. Deng is an extraordinary example of triumph over extreme and harrowing adversity. I am blown away by what he has survived and gone on to achieve. He shows that anything is possible.

    How did coaching help you?

    By clarifying my goals and objectives. I can very easily get swamped and overwhelmed, working with Kate clarifies and prioritises what I need to do to move to the next stage. As a result I feel more confident about my goals and what I am trying to achieve.

    What are you reading right now?

    I am currently reading “The Clasp” by Sloane Crosley, just into it and loving it. I am also at the tail end of Garance Dore “Love X Style x Life”. Such as fabulous fashion read, she writes with such humour and wit, it’s a fun account of how she has grown her business and her brand in NYC with style tips thrown in amongst it. I have met and interviewed her, so I always enjoy reading her musings on life and her illustrations are so beautiful.

    What are you looking forward to?

    Finishing and launching my new website! It feels like it will be the start of a new chapter in my business, with some new opportunities and work frontiers around the corner. I am excited about growing my business, whether it is working with more lovely new clients, new corporate brands or maybe working on another film or TV production.

    What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting to go into their own startup?

    Have a very clear outline and definition of what you do and what you offer. What makes you different from your professional peers? What is your offering to your target market and what makes you unique in this space? Have faith in yourself and patience!

    Posted in: Changemakers
    Kate James

    About the author

    Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher. She works with female leaders and business owners to help them clarify their values and strengths and discover a mindset that allows them to live confident, purposeful lives.