Today we’d like to introduce you to Wanda Stephanow.
Hi Wanda, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
As I look back over my life and ponder on how I became an influencer, I guess it was really always in the cards for me. One sweet memory comes to mind as my family and I just recently watched some old movies and I must have been around 12 years old, hogging the video camera and sharing “made up sponsored” videos while decorating our Christmas tree. I laughed so much thinking, wow this looks like something I am currently doing today. Ha! Truthfully, I have always been an entrepreneur since I was a young age. My parents have always worked full time, but also always had a side hustle that was filling their passion in life. When I was 18 years old, I would assist them with their side business, called Teamwork, which consisted of a ten-week workshop at the Bally’s fitness facility. Within this workshop we had competitors preparing for the Reebox aerobic National Championships. I was in high school about to graduate and was on the drill team and was asked to choreograph aerobic routines. I would make up the routines, teach them to the individual, and go to the competitions with them. Not to toot my own horn but they would win first place. It was such a fun experience that had nothing to do with fashion at the time, but I quickly noticed what it felt like to work for yourself and I loved it.
A few years after that I had the opportunity to work for a local fashion designer Vicki Papas and my role was working on the design team. I was able to see what all went into designing clothes. We had to source the fabrics from all over the world, determine what type of zippers and buttons would work on the outfit, and then try to put it all together. It was high stress, but when it all came together it was like magic. I learned so much about fabric content and how it feels on the body. At the time, I was a size 8 and was used as their fit model for a standard all-around fit. Not to mention, Vicki brought me to market to assist her in selling and pitching her brand to big retailers. I was on a ride I never wanted to get off. I am not sure Vicki will ever understand the impression that one job had on my life. It was the best most fulfilling job yet. Let’s skip a decade or two to now. After working full time for an Oil and gas company for 14 years, I had this desire to doing something in fashion but didn’t know what. Influencing never crossed my mind even though I was a loyal follower to many influencers today.
So, I created a side business where I would be a personal stylist to fill that passion. I built an amazing clientele and styled women for many years. I taught them to love their bodies and to have confidence in their own skin. But, it wasn’t enough. I kept thinking I have to do something more and boom Wanda Loves Sharing was born. I officially started blogging in 2018 part-time but never really knew that I had actually been influencing the whole time. I wasn’t sure how it all worked but I knew that I would just be me, show up every day online and fill my passion for fashion, and help other women feel more confident about themselves. My moto is that Confidence feels and looks better than any designer outfit. At the time, I was working full time in the Oil and Gas industry as a Contracts analyst but was recently laid off due to the global pandemic. I look at that day as the start I have been looking for my entire life. Can I actually do this full-time? Is this a dream? So many fun opportunities have opened for me this year. I was just recently selected to be 1 out of 25 ULTA beauty ambassadors for 2021. I have signed on with many brands to represent them and all I can say is WOW! God is good. I know that I have a winding road ahead of me, but with God and my family by my side, I can’t wait to see where the road will take me.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Whoever said, “Success is not a straight line”, was right! Losing my corporate job was definitely frightening. I grew up in the generation that you need to work for a large corporation and retire from the same company. It felt odd to say that I would one day work for myself. There are definitely struggles when starting your own business. How to budget, save for taxes, negotiate for yourself and know your self-worth. However; I discovered that the 14 years of drafting and negotiating corporate contracts were actually preparing me for the financial aspects of running my own business. My best advice to anyone who is struggling with finding their passion or how to get started would be to just start! I am so thankful that I took the leap in 2018 and followed the desire for wanting more. Just listen to your heart, be true to yourself and follow that calling. You never know what doors will open for you.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am Wanda with Wanda Loves Sharing. I am a Blogger/ Influencer. I’m a wife, and mom of two girls. Although I was born in Australia, my Texas roots are strong. I am addicted to hair spray and lots of lip-gloss and believe laughter is the best medicine. I have a huge personality and share it all the time on my social channels. I believe I have a strong dedicated following because of my real, authentic personality. I started my own personal styling company in 2012 with clientele in multiple states. I then started my blog Wanda Loves Sharing in 2018. My mission is to teach women in their 40’s how to feel beautiful inside and out and Wanda Loves Sharing is my way of doing just that. I believe there needs to be more of a representation for Women in their 40’s in the Influencing world. I am happy that I can do just that and teach Women that they don’t need to be in their early 20’s to feel confident or beautiful.
My other unique quality is that both my girls are involved in making Wanda Loves Sharing a success. My teenage daughter Charlotte (15) takes my photos and helps me execute a lot of what happens behind the scenes. Charlotte, became so inspired with influencing that she decided to start her own blog (classiccharlotte.com) to help curvy teens love and adore their bodies. (Proud mom over here). My youngest daughter Olivia (11) takes over my Instagram and has her own segment called “Livey Lip of the Day”, where she gives tips and techniques when applying lipstick. Did I mention she is only 11? Like I said, Wanda Loves Sharing is such a success because it truly is a family affair and people really want to see real life and more behind the scenes. I love what I do and I am so Thankful for the journey I am embarking on.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: wandalovessharing.com
- Instagram: wandalovessharing
- Facebook: wanda loves sharing – Personal Stylist
Houston’s Photographer Kate Robinson Photography