Interview with Teresa Dinnen of Estilo
Sometimes, regardless if you have OCD like I do, you need some help with organizing. I am fortunate enough to know a woman with an amazing sense of style and knows how to clean a closet like no other. Teresa Dinnen sat down with me to give a little insight into her business and her success as a woman and mom of two.
What inspired you to start Estilo and where did the name come from?
My heritage is Mexican and Estilo means ‘style’ in Spanish, so it seemed like the perfect fit for my company name. Estilo came to fruition after going back to work after having my first child back in 2013. With an office job, a commute and monthly travel, I only saw my daughter for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. That isn’t the way I envisioned raising my children. That is when I started planning and taking the steps to make my passion for styling and organization into a business.
Once you decided to start your business, how did you get to where you are now?
For a long time, Estilo was just a hobby. Something I did for my friends on the side when they had styling questions or needed fashion advice. I always had it in the back of my head that I would eventually start my own styling company but was scared to take that leap. I kept at it, doing styling and closet organization when people asked. Then, out of the blue I was laid off in July 2017 that was the push I needed to launch Estilo.
What obstacles did you have to overcome starting your business?
The biggest obstacle has and continues to be my fears. Do I have the right experience? Am I good enough? Can I do this? Can I continue? Just one more email? How do I do this or that? There are so many questions and fears of the unknown with starting a business and that hasn’t changed since I launched. But with each client and project I complete, it gives me the courage and the confidence to keep going.
What did your life look like before this?
Life was just as crazy as it is now, but in a different way. I was working as a sales rep in the fashion industry so spent most of my days in an office or on a plane traveling to accounts. It was fun when I was younger, but now I love the routine of the life my husband and I have created with our two kiddos.
What is your biggest reward since you have started your business?
Hearing how free my clients feel after an organization session. Having them say a ‘weight has been lifted from their shoulders’ when they have clean, organized space…makes what I do all worth it!
What is something you have learned through this process?
How to build a website. I felt I needed a proper website to launch Estilo, so I did just that. All on my own, in two weeks…and in the process I learned so much more.
Where do you see yourself in the next year? Do you have a business goal?
I would like to grow my team and have an organization expert in each service Estilo offers. I want a kitchen expert, and I garage expert and an office expert. That way my clients are getting the absolute best for all their organization and styling needs!
How do you balance being a mom and your career?
If I had that answer I’d be rich! It’s a day to day battle that I try really hard to make work. When I am home I try to focus 100% on the kids and our family. When the kids are at school and asleep is when I focus 100% on Estilo. It doesn’t always work that way as schedules are always changing, but I try.
What do you do for fun when you are not working?
Drink wine I love Spending time with family and friends, either out to lunch or dinner, cooking and working out. We also LOVE the beach in the summer and just being outside. Its why we live here, right?
I know this is a new career for you, what did you do before Estilo?
I have been in the fashion industry for 15+ years as a sales rep. I started my career at Quiksilver, then J Brand and then TOMS. All were amazing companies to work with and made me the professional I am today.
What was that Aha moment that made you take that leap?
I was laid off, which now I say was the best blessing in disguise. If it wasn’t for that Estilo would probably still be a passion, not a company.
What have been some of the most difficult challenges for you with your career?
Doing this as a solo venture has been the most difficult. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t have a question or need advice and it’s hard to not have a team to bounce ideas off of. Thankfully I have some amazing friends and past colleagues that I am able to contact for advice and even my clients have become a great resource for ideas.
What is the best thing about your job?
My clients! They are the best and make what I do all worth it. Oh, and that I get to fulfill my OCD habits every day!
What advice would you give to other women wanting to start a business or make a career change?
I say absolutely do it! It’s not easy and it has its ups and downs, but if you have the experience and the passion for your field then 100% take that leap. Even though it has been challenging, it has also been the most rewarding year because I did it. I took the chance and I will never look back.
What is the greatest resource tool that has helped you and your success?
A women’s networking group called Heymama. It is the premier source of community, inspiration, career intel and support for modern working mothers who hustle to make things happen.
What is one thing you have learned starting your own business and being your own boss?
I have learned that you never stop learning. I have gained more knowledge in this first year of business than I ever thought I could or would. I had a background in fashion, not business or marketing or any of the other fields that make a business successful. But I want to be the best at what I do and offer my clients the best service, so for that reason I have learned that owning my own business is all about learning.