Lady Bosses I Love: Jessica Myhr
I met Jessica Myhr right after a big snow storm here in Philly when I was pregnant with my youngest child, which means it was either December 2017, or January 2018. Jess had recently moved to the Philadelphia area from New York City and we were put in touch by a mutual friend (and fellow Lady Boss!), Kelsey Fox Bennett Boyd. As someone who has successfully made the move from NYC to Philly myself, friends often see me as being the welcoming committee for their friends making the move--and I am happy to play that role. It's a great way to meet new people and reminisce about my time in New York, while also talking up all the things I love about the place I now call home.
But I was a little nervous to meet Jess, because she was an actress and a style maven and I really wanted to impress her with my outfit. So of course, that morning when I looked in my closet full of clothes I felt like I had nothing to wear! The problem was that although my life and body (two kids!) had changed since my years in NYC, I still felt edgy and cool on the inside even if how I was presenting myself on the outside was more about comfort and efficiency. I showed up to our brunch together feeling more than a little self-conscious, but Jess immediately made me feel comfortable. She made me feel understood and seen, because as she explained her business, Inherent Style, to me I felt like I was her ideal client. And I also came to realize that afternoon that she understood her clients so intimately because she's experienced all those complicated feelings about life and transitions herself.
Needless to say, that in addition to striking up a wonderful friendship that afternoon, Jess and I also have created a beautiful business partnership. I've been helping her to navigate a rebrand and figure out how to expand her offerings, and she has helped me clean out my closet, which in turn, has left me feeling inspired and more connected to myself, something I really hadn't felt since having kids. Jess has so much more to offer people than just making them look pretty; she really has a talent for helping you figure out where you lost your way and get you back on track to becoming your best self.
And with that, I'd love to introduce you to the amazing Jessica Myhr of Inherent Style.
Jessica Myhr: Inherent Style
What is the name of your company (or companies) and what do you do?
Inherent Style is my company name. I wanted to create a name that celebrated authentic style from within each person, which is why my tagline is: "A New You From the Inside Out." I am an image consultant, wardrobe stylist and actress.
How long have you been in business?
I started doing image consulting for friends, family and close colleagues -- personal shopping, color analysis, and style work-- right after I left graduate school at Rutgers University just to make some extra money on the side and have fun while doing it. “Inherent Style” officially formed in 2010. I developed a name, logo, business website, business cards, etc. and having all of that in place made my business feel very real - not a side hustle.
How did you decide to launch your own business?
I never thought I would have my own business. I had worked for other small companies before, and didn’t really want the hassle. But I got laid off from a creative branding manager job that I loved, and needed to make income quickly - so I thought I would give it a go, doing my image consulting work as much as possible. I did well enough, but it would take me another 3-4 years to actually commit to doing Inherent Style full time, with no other part time jobs, probably because I was scared to make the leap to being fully self-employed.
What challenges did you face in the process of launching your business?
I was pretty lucky. My business doesn’t have a lot of overhead costs - I don’t need a space to work out of, as I meet people at their wardrobes, in retail or online. Registering my trademark was a bit stressful because there was someone in LA that had a similar name. Mostly, it was facing my self-doubt that I could do this full-time and make enough money to earn a living.
Did you feel as though there were resources available to you, specifically as a woman business owner?
I felt like I had to go back to school. I was good at my business, but not good at business in general. I didn’t have a 5-year plan, I didn’t know how to use demographics or target specific clients. I had learned a lot already from different companies I had worked for...but to do it on my own felt overwhelming. Especially as a woman. No one really understood my business or why I even wanted to do it. My elevator pitch was often explaining to people what an image consultant even does. I started doing research on popular business books at the time and how freelancers make a living. There were two resources that really helped with my business’s clarity and infrastructure:
Marie Forleo’s B School - I went through this course with a couple of friends that were entrepreneurial minded. I found it so helpful in identifying specifically who my client was, and what I wanted to put out into the world, what services I wanted to offer and my general company aesthetic.
I was working at Columbia University at the time, in between jobs - and I found out about their Small Business Development Center. I qualified to be part of their small business program and I attended meetings learning about the various aspects of how to develop and run a business. They were instrumental in connecting me with lawyers that would get my trademark officially registered and my LLC paperwork finished all pro bono. I was so grateful to have this legal support.
Do you have a mentor?
I wouldn’t say I had one specific mentor, but learned from all the women around me. I had strong female allies that were also entrepreneurs. One of my dear friends, Erin Williams, launched her own make-up and skincare company Erin's Faces around the same time as me. We have always supported each other's businesses, and have been good sounding boards for each other. Also, good role models - many of my bosses, managers and employers at the companies I worked for were women. In fact, I wouldn't be here today without all the badass women in my life.
Books you recommend?
I don’t have one book that I would recommend above all others. Different books are valuable at different times. If you are just beginning in business, I recommend Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why.” I am a big fan of Seth Godin and Brené Brown. I think the more you read, the better. I always have a stack of business books I’m trying to tackle. On my desk now is “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, and “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle.
What do you love most about running your own business?
The flexibility of making my own hours. Changing people’s lives one person at a time. I love working with my clients. The knowledge that I created my business and unique methodology around a need I saw in the community - for individuals to reveal who they authentically are from the inside out.
What is your least favorite aspect of running your own business?
Ha! Scheduling and accounting. Being a creative person it's hard sticking to a routine and schedule, time management is often my struggle. Anything involving numbers, especially doing taxes, is something I do not enjoy!
What is your best piece of advice for other women who are thinking about launching a business?
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who believe in what you are doing and will be supportive and honest. Do as much research as you can on your industry, and celebrate how you are different. Honor what makes you stand out from the crowd. And finally, know that you will never be truly ready. I waited years to go full-time with my business until I felt it was “safe” to do so. I would have probably been a lot happier and not juggling so much for so many years if I had just jumped into the unknown. Having your own business means having the ability to take risks!