Susan Padron is a Philadelphia-area personal stylist, fashion stylist, and style blogger. In June 2017 she left her job as a teacher to join the world of style. The Philly entrepreneur has been featured on CBS 3 and Business News Daily. In her interview with The Flat Circle, she discusses why she became a personal stylist, how Philadelphia plays a role in her own style, and the celebrity she wants to give style tips to.
Flat Circle: You left a full-time job as a teacher to become a personal stylist in 2017. What motivated you to take the leap and make style your profession?
Susan Padron: I was a middle school music teacher for seven years. In 2014, I took a year off from teaching after my son was born. When I returned to teaching, I realized how unhappy I was.
So, instead of just being complacent with that, I had to figure out an action plan for myself. I had to ask myself, besides music and teaching, what else was I passionate about, and what am I good at doing? Right around the time that I was doing this soul searching, a lot of the clothing subscription services were becoming popular. A few of my friends had been using them, and they kept telling me that they liked the clothes that I selected for them more than what they would get in their monthly box. That was my light bulb moment.
I have always loved helping people feel and look their best. I knew that I didn’t want to work for one of the subscription services or a department store, so my focus went towards developing my own personal styling business. I took online courses through FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), began working with a mentor who was an image consultant, and used every second of my available time to put towards growing my business. Every time I was frustrated with something that happened with teaching, I immediately channeled that energy into something for my business.
So, after spending about a year and a half growing my business while working full time, I decided to leave teaching and take the leap into the entrepreneur life.
FC: How does blogging impact your profile as a personal stylist?
SP: I enjoy having my blog as another way for my audience to gain insight into who I am and what I do. I usually keep the focus of my blog on style and fashion tips, but occasionally, I like to throw in a different kind of post to keep things interesting.
Just a few months ago, I was dealing with major health issues that were debilitating. It absolutely effected everything in my life. I knew immediately that I wanted to turn my experience with what I was going through into a blog post series. I wanted to use my platform to share with my readers, and hopefully create more awareness around the specific medical conditions.
In addition to the occasional personal post, I also share about other aspects of my job. My work as a stylist is multifaceted, since I do photo shoot styling in addition to working one on one with clients. So, I also enjoy using my blog to provide more than a quick glimpse into what that part of my business is also like.
FC: What are some challenges that you face as a style blogger?
SP: Sometimes it can be challenging to feel like you have an audience. I used to struggle a lot with feeling like I wasn’t unique, especially in the style blogging community. Now, I focus more on being me. I share information on the styles that I enjoy. I talk about tips that my clients have found to be useful.
My current challenge is prioritizing time to write posts regularly. When I’m busier with work, blogging gets pushed to a back burner. I’m always visible and present on social media, but my blog gets neglected sometimes.
FC: The Internet presents a lot of options for people looking to enhance their wardrobe. What are the advantages that a personal stylist has over an online company?
SP: I like to describe working with me as shopping with your best friend, if your best friend was a professional. I always provide honest feedback to my clients when we are shopping. When you’re working with someone online, you don’t even have the opportunity for a dialogue. When you’re shopping in store and working with one of their “stylists”/sales associate, you can never tell if their opinion is genuine. When you work with me, we have fun together! We chat, we laugh, and you end up having a wardrobe consisting of clothes that you absolutely love.
FC: Style and fashion are influenced by movies, music, and television. Do you draw inspiration from any particular part of pop-culture?
SP: Oh yes!
Movies: Clueless (probably one of the first major fashion inspiration memories that I have was when I saw Clueless for the first time).
TV: The Bold Type, Younger, Gossip Girl, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Sex and the City, Grace and Frankie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Good Place, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Music: Katy Perry, Cardi B, JLo, Janelle Monae, Childish Gambino,
FC: Philadelphia is a diverse city with a unique flavor. Does your home turf factor into your own sense of style?
SP: I definitely think that Philly has its own style. Philly fashion has some strength behind it, there’s a little edge, and it comes with a side of confidence. All of those factors come out differently for everyone when it comes to their style. For me, I show my strength and edge with having lots of visible tattoos, and my confidence with a sassy, short haircut.
FC: If there is one celebrity that you could give style advice to, who would you choose?
SP: Probably Tina Fey. She is a beautiful, brilliant woman, and her style has become notorious for being all over the place. I want all women to know that even if fashion isn’t a top priority for them, it can still reflect any aspect of their personality that they choose.
FC: If you are traveling and find yourself marooned on a desert island, what book, movie or TV box set, and luxury item are you taking with you?
SP: My TV box set choice would be Parks and Recreation. My choice luxury item (assuming my laptop, iPhone, and coffee pot aren’t possible options) would be slippers. I only like to be barefoot for so long, and I’m sure that would be even more intense on a desert island haha.
This is the second post in a recurring spotlight series on some of the best Philadelphia bloggers to follow. To read last week’s interview with Philly-area travel blogger Tina from Traveleidoscope, you can click here.