Fay Andreola, founder of tellstyle.com, was tired of weeding through department store racks and disorganized online shopping sites. She created tellstyle to make shopping fun again.
When did you fall in love with fashion?
I was always in love with fashion. From my earliest memories as a child, I can recall playing dress up in my mother and grandmother’s closets. I loved their jewelry, dresses, shoes, bags, and furs. I remember my mom getting the Spiegel catalog and I would go through it and rip out outfits I liked and then try to replicate them with the pieces in my closet.
I wasn’t the child that complained and whined when their mother dragged them school shopping. I loved every minute of it. Buying new clothes and accessories has always made me so happy. I love to shop even if it’s for someone else. I look at my clothing, jewelry and accessories as a collection.
How do you define style?
Style has a lot to do with confidence and knowing who you are, or being comfortable with who you are. I would define style as the way in which you put yourself together. And often it changes depending on how you are feeling and where you are going. Two women can have on the same amazing silk printed top with the same black slacks, but if one of those women has terrible posture and doesn’t look like she’s comfortable in the outfit, and moreover her own skin, then she loses. Her style isn’t being portrayed in a positive light. So style most definitely has to do with whether someone prefers classic black slacks and a white button down versus a Boho hat and maxi dress, but it’s much more than that when done correctly.
What does a typical day for you look like?
A typical day for me starts off at 6am. I wake up before everyone in order to get 30-40 minutes of alone time. I love to have my first cup of coffee and check out my favorite sites. Then, the craziness begins…I get the kids dressed, fed and off to school. Then I sit down to work.
I fill orders, blog, create slideshows for www.tellstyle.com, deal with vendors, and plan photoshoots. Every single day at noon I go to the gym. It’s my time to be alone and mentally decompress. I always feel less stressed and more calm when I leave there. I then rush home, shower and get back to work until the kids get home.
Then it’s dinner time. We eat, clean up, and then it’s homework time for the kids. After homework they shower and head to bed. I’ll usually work for a few more hours and then hit the hay! So glamorous, huh?
Why did you first decide to create tellstyle.com?
I decided to create tellstyle.com because I was always shopping online and while I had my favorite sites, none of them had exactly what I wanted. I wanted a site that was easy to navigate but also gave tips on how to wear each piece. So often we come across tops, skirts, etc that we love, but just can’t visualize how to wear them. I also love to have a creative way of wearing something.
When I style the shoots I try not to pair a white button down with just a pair of jeans. I try to give my clients fun ways to wear things and fun colors to pair together.
If you didn’t have tellstyle.com what would you be doing?
That’s hard to even think about! It’s what I live and breath now! But I suppose if I didn’t have tellstyle.com I would probably have gone back into medical sales. But I thank God everyday that I have tellstyle.
How did you take your leap of faith into solopreneurship? What was the journey like?
I wanted to do something like this for quite sometime but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. My degree is not in Fashion so I always felt like I had no place in the market. Then one day I was chatting with someone who owns a boutique and she said:
“I was at a trade show buying spring clothes and all I kept thinking was Fay would love this.”
The funny thing is, it was that conversation that made me take the leap. I thought, you won’t know until you try.
The journey has been amazing. I learn something new and make mistakes every single day. When I first started I would work until 2 or 3 am. I learned that those hours can burn you out quickly so I try to have a balance. But the journey has been incredible. I recently came across some notes I made when I first began putting the concept together. And I laughed because it’s amazing how much I didn’t know then, that I know now. And again, I learn something new from this every day.
In 10 years, what do you envision your life to look like?
In 10 years, I envision tellstyle.com being quadruple in size. I envision a huge warehouse and a gorgeous office with white walls and white furniture and huge cool chandeliers. I envision my kids happy and healthy and enjoying school and I envision my husband running the financial side of tellstlye.com. Is that a vision or a pipe dream?
What has been your biggest challenge in life and work?
My biggest challenge in life and work is the balancing act of being a working mother. I find that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Working from home, it’s hard to walk away from my laptop and stop working. And I find that I have a hard time walking away from work simply because I love this. In my former career I took vacations and often cut out early. With tellstyle, I actually get excited for Mondays! It’s so lame, but it’s true. I feel lucky that I am doing something that I love. I just wish I had a better balance.
How do you overcome, or try to overcome these challenges?
I try to overcome these challenges by setting goals and giving myself cut off times during the day. I try to manage my time well so that when the kids get home, I can take a few hours to hang out with them and cook dinner without feeling stressed. Going to the gym and getting a good workout in helps me sort of get back on track for the rest of the day. But to be honest, I think it’s going to take some time to get over the work/life balance. Tellstyle is so new that I feel like it needs a lot of my attention and I love giving the attention to it.
What has been your most prized accomplishment?
My most prized accomplishment is becoming a mother. It’s the most surprising, challenging, life altering thing (not all good, either!) I’ve ever done. And while some days can be very hard, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Before I had kids, people would say “Kids don’t really change things.” And I realize now that they were big liars! Kids change everything. So it’s a huge adjustment, especially if you’re working.
What is your most favorite quote?
“Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle.” -unknown
How would you describe your lifestyle to classroom full of impressionable kids during your Career Day presentation?
I would describe my lifestyle as happy, fun, and challenging. There are days when things just go wrong all day and I’m challenged. There are days when things go right all day and I’m happy. And there are days when things are going both ways but I’m just having fun. But I have learned that it’s very hard to be happy when you don’t challenge yourself in one way or another. And that’s something I will always tell my own children.
What is your personal style like?
I would say my personal style would be described as casual glam. I love to mix casual pieces with glittery glam pieces. I love to throw on my boyfriend jeans, a button down gingham shirt, a pair of sky high heels and a bunch of bracelets and sparkly necklaces.
If you could go back to your 9 year old self, what would you tell her?
There isn’t enough paper! I would tell her first and foremost that no matter how hard things get, you will always be ok and things will always work out. I would say let your heart break one or two times, it’s good for the soul…but after that, be sure you always have a rich enough life so that someone walking away from you doesn’t matter. I would say always cherish and surround yourself with your good girlfriends. They are THE MOST important thing in a woman’s life (without my girlfriends I would be lost or worse). I would also tell her that all those things that mom and dad are telling you are right, they actually do know what they’re talking about and that they’re just looking out for you! And I would also say work hard. Work hard every single day because in time it will pay off and it will make you happy and confident and fulfilled and everything else will just be a bonus!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
There’s a laundry list of things I would change, but I guess I’ll go with I wish I could be more organized. Not just my desk being a mess, but I often miss people’s birthdays and anniversaries and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t stay on top of things like that. I wish I was better at that. I have friends that send me a birthday card every year and I rarely send cards simply because I’m just not organized enough. I’m going to work on that. 😉
What 3 words best describe you.
Fun, loyal, and stylish!