Meet this week’s Woman in Business – Michele M. Bishop, Founder and CEO – Styled Clique
Tell us about your business…
Styled Clique an online digital styling service for women. We curate “Clique Books” that are inspired by icons, celebrities, and everyday occasions. Our themed Clique Books feature of 17 pieces of clothing and accessories that are fully shop-able directly from our affiliate vendors. We number each piece and create unique fashion forward outfit combinations that make getting dressed as easy as paint by numbers. We cater to professional working women who want to look and feel modern but have no time or interest in shopping. We also cater to women who don’t want to look like everyone else. Women who are not afraid to try new trends in styling. Styled Clique provides women with an alternative to styling services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. Each week we feature different themed Clique Books that are curated for a “curvy or universal” body type. For example, this week we featured a Clique Book called Color Wheel that’s inspired by an influencer named Blair Eadie who always wears colorful outfits. Other themes include: The 70’s, Wedding Guest, Date Night, Professional dress, Meghan Markle, J Lo, etc.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
My passion has always been centered around fashion. For example, when I asked my mother why she never signed me up for piano lessons, she answered, “because all you wanted to do is dress up your Barbies and draw outfits.” The problem was that 20+ years ago, a career as a personal stylist didn’t really exist. It wasn’t until Social Media exposure helped it to become mainstream. Consequently, pursuing my dream was put on the back burner while I taught middle school for 15 years. Eight years ago I began styling clients after school and on the weekends before resigning from teaching permanently. Last year I changed my business model from one-on-one to digital because it’s much more efficient for both the client and myself. I realized in order to launch my “new company” I would need more support and education. I applied and was accepted into an accelerator program sponsored by investors and VC’s. 35 hopeful entrepreneurs began and three graduated….myself and two other men. That was a very proud moment. I like to say that Styled Clique saved me. Literally. My last years as a teacher were challenging. My drive and passion were gone for the profession and I wasn’t making enough money personal styling clients. Depression set in. With support from my husband, I began creating Styled Clique. I remember that day in the summer when I sat down in front of my computer, crying, and Googled, “How to start a business”. I have poured my heart and savings into this company. It is all I think and dream about. Everyday I’m faced with a new challenge. I meet that challenge head on. I look at it like an opportunity to learn and grow. Being an entrepreneur is like being on a roller coaster ride that never ends. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It never feels like work because I have created my dream job.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
-Years ago I read a book entitled, The Journey of Souls, and it changed my life. The book is about how we are all here on earth to learn and evolve into better beings. “Roadblocks” or challenges are in place to teach you. Drawing from this philosophy, I try to see every interaction as a learning opportunity. In short, we are here to be influenced by others so that we can become the best version of ourselves.
-My dad: He is the perpetual business man that appreciates great customer service and is very vocal when he doesn’t get it. He compliments and praises people when they go the extra mile and is very vocal when service is bad. He once told me that life is one big interview so act accordingly. That sentence plays over and over in my head as a reminder to always have positive interactions with people because you just never know when…….people are always watching so leave a great impression.
-Unknown Educational speaker: I don’t remember his name but in 2001 he spoke at the Adams 50 School District’s kick-off conference to welcome teachers back to school.. He said, “No one rises to low expectations.” If you expect the best of people they will rise to the challenge. Everyone is capable with the right training and clear expectations.
-Family and me: I am influenced and motivated by my family and the fear of not succeeding. My husband has made a lot of sacrifices that have allowed me to pursue my dreams and I don’t want to let him down. He is my number one supporter. I am so afraid of failing and letting myself down. One of my mentors at the Founder Institute Accelerator told me that “the only way your business will fail is if you give up.” I am not giving up, I have no backup plan.”
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
-My greatest professional accomplishment thus far has been launching my company, Styled Clique. .
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
-The advice I can offer is always trust your gut, it’s ALWAYS right!
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
-Marketing is challenging. My most successful social media posts are of clients wearing outfits that we put together. By far the best strategy is when clients refer and complement us.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
I have learned a lot over the years and I am still learning today but it is important to ask for help. People really do want to help you succeed but you have to ask. Also, educate yourself on every aspect of your company but hire people “smarter than you”.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
Graduating from the Founders Institute Accelerator provided me with a great network of mentors, however this avenue is not for everyone. Before entering the program, I joined a site for entrepreneurs called, The Cofounders Lab. It’s kind of like a Facebook for start-ups. You can post questions,, problems, or concerns and get great feedback and advice. You can also watch videos and read useful articles on topics like funding, equity, and hiring. I regularly listen to podcasts like The Goal Digger, Entrepreneur, Startup hustle, and How I Built This.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
-We will be launching a spring hashtag campaign that focuses on celebrating women and their “cliques of support”. Photos and stories about women supporting women. “Behind every good woman is her girl clique”.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
-I am a huge tennis player. My daughter and husband play as well which is a great way for us to enjoy the outdoors and each other. I love to take walks, bike, and ski.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
-I plan to grow our email subscriber list. Continue to grow and empower women through fashion.
You want to write a book on…
-Coffee table book that shows women shining in their cliques. It’s so important to find people who are positive and truly want to see you happy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
-Personal styling is no longer a privilege for the wealthy, it’s more affordable than ever. We want all women to feel special and unique. We work directly with you to make sure you we get it just right. We would love to offer your subscribers ½ off a custom Clique Book with the CODE: WEMAG2019 .
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?