Dressed for success
No one loves playing dress ups more than best friends and business partners Jacinta Emms and Hayley Stephen. Drawn together by a love of fashion, these local personal stylists are on a mission to help men and women look and feel their very best, starting with their wardrobe!
Hayley Stephen and Jacinta Emms bounce into the Profile office with boundless energy, looking every bit what you would expect from a duo who help people look good for a living. Rocking eclectic outfits that perfectly showcase their unique personalities and shapes, they are effortlessly chic and refreshingly down to earth.
I’m not the first person to suggest the energetic partnership bear an uncanny resemblance to famous British fashion advisors Trinny and Suzannah, and if their success so far is anything to go by, they could be heading for the same fate.
Despite hailing from very different backgrounds, Hayley and Jacinta have always had one thing in common – a love of all things fashion and style.
It was while working as volunteers at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival last year that the duo discovered their shared passion for “making others feel awesome through fashion” and their business, Style Edit Elite, was born.
“Ironically I was a bit of a tomboy growing up,” says Hayley. “I have a science degree and was working in the medical field, but after I had my daughter; my sister and I started a swimwear line and I discovered fashion was a much more fun environment and I absolutely loved it.
“We were part of the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival for two years and when we ended our business, I became a volunteer. That’s when I met Jacinta and we hit it off instantly, we just had so much fun and we thought why don’t we do something together that we love?”
“I have always been into fashion,” says Jacinta. “I worked for a well known sunglass retail outlet for 10 years and I loved matching frames to people’s faces, your glasses can make your whole outfit.”
After a short stint in banking, Jacinta decided she was not suited to a desk job, and it was while working in a marketing role, where she was part of the creative process to relaunch a business, that she discovered her true calling.
“I loved the photo shoots, the fashion, the styling … I knew I wanted to be part of that excitement, I just wasn’t sure in exactly what capacity. I started a diploma in fashion design, then after falling pregnant with my second child, I met Jacinta at the fashion festival and the rest is history.
“Everyone thinks we have known each other our whole lives,” says Hayley. “I think it’s because we really leverage off each other and we are so genuinely excited about what we do.”
Specialising in one-on-one consultations, wardrobe reinventions and personal styling for men and women, the girls are all about helping people re-invent themselves, changing lives by changing wardrobes.
“If I’m running late and I go to work wearing something I am not 100 per cent happy in, I don’t feel confident. If I’m wearing something I feel good in, I can conquer the world,” says Hayley.
“It might sound superficial but we do judge each other based on how we present ourselves. First appearances are so important. Let’s face it, when you look great, you feel great.”
“We genuinely want to help people, we are women, we are mothers, we understand,” says Jacinta.
Whether it’s helping people find the best style for their body shape and personality, overhauling their wardrobe, or even helping them shop for some key pieces they are missing, the girls say the most important thing is having a bit of fun along the way.
“We get a real kick out of it, especially the wardrobe edits,” says Hayley. “We get you to try everything on in your closet, but you can’t cheat, you can’t hide anything or put them in your wash basket. We then sort it all into piles and decide whether it’s going to charity, needs mending or going back into the wardrobe in an orderly fashion.
“Often people are a little bit scared initially, but afterwards we get text messages about how good they feel. There is no judgement, it’s just a matter of getting rid of the daggy stuff you never wear and making use of what you have. People often have so much gold in their wardrobe that they don’t even realise they have or don’t know how to wear it or what to wear it with,” says Jacinta.
“We’ve helped new mums, people going through divorce, people starting a new career, older ladies who want that little bit of extra confidence. It’s fantastic to see the change in them afterwards.”
And most importantly, it doesn’t have to cost the earth to look great. In fact, some of the best outfits the girls have pulled together have come from their local op shop.
“Oh we are right into recycling,” says Jacinta, excitedly jumping up to show off the fabulous statement belt she picked up for just three dollars.
“Some people are afraid to go there because they are afraid of what people think, but seriously you can pick up some absolute bargains that look a million dollars.”
The vintage clothing enthusiasts are doing their bit to give back to the community too by donating any clothing their clients don’t want to Beautiful You charity.
“It all comes full circle,” says Hayley. “At the end of the day, if you are walking out of the house with that little bit of extra confidence, then our job here is done.”