Rowena Sampang is a mom of two young boys, a Marketing/Communications/Digital Consultant, and the Owner of an adorable boutique based in Calgary and Okotoks called Pink Liberty, offering women cute, modern clothing at an affordable price.
In this episode:
- Strategies for success as you carve your path and pursue your passions.
- Looking and feeling your best in clothes that fit.
- The winning formula for shopping for clothes online.
- Having fun and being authentic and vulnerable on social media.
Connect with Rowena for fashion advice, style advice, and, even, life advice!
- Website: https://shoppinkliberty.com/
- Instagram: @shoppinkliberty https://www.instagram.com/shoppinkliberty/
- Facebook: @shoppinkliberty https://www.facebook.com/shoppinkliberty/
- Book: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – The method that Rowena uses for her morning journaling is based on this book!
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had an amazing conversation with Rowena about carving her path, pursuing her dreams, and strategies that have helped her along the way. We also talked about looking and feeling your best in clothes that actually fit, the winning formula for clothing shopping online, and having fun as well as being authentic and vulnerable on social media.
Rowena and I had a fantastic conversation! She is genuine, kind, has an incredible sense of style, and has some pretty fantastic dance moves! Have you checked out her fun TikTok videos on Instagram? You should! Rowena’s words of wisdom: “Don’t forget yourself.” She built Pink Liberty as a haven for women to remember their inner fabulos-ity through fashion and style. Her mantra is—put on a little lipstick, a great outfit and take a deep breath, because YOU matter. She wants to help women look and feel their best.
PAYING ATTENTION TO THE NUDGES
Rowena used to work full time in marketing and communications in the oil and gas industry. She had a comfortable position reporting to the president of the company she worked for. Rowena had a salary, benefits, and a car allowance. She enjoyed her job and the people that she worked with but she always knew that she would start a business at some point. Rowena had an itch that this would be something involving fashion.
ASKING THE QUESTIONS
So…. she proposed, to the company that she was working for, that she move from a full-time salary position to a part-time contract role. Because of the relationship that she had with them, they were fully supportive of this option! For the past three years, she has been juggling this part-time contract work along with building Pink Liberty.
In general, making the transition from working full time with your work friends, bringing your lunch to work, commuting, having set office hours, having someone dictate your day TO being an entrepreneur and planning your own day, getting up, getting dressed, motivating yourself, and doing work for yourself has been challenging! When she first made this transition, it was especially tough. She went through somewhat of a depression, she had some regret, and she questioned things: “What did I do?” “Why did I do this?” ‘How am I going to do everything and manage the kids?”
A BIG CHANGE
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was let go from her part-time position and this was quite devastating. Her work in her part-time corporate contract had been a connection to the corporate world and corporate life. This position had been her safety net in taking on Pink Liberty. She still had her family obligations, mortgage, and car payments. Fortunately, Rowena has had fantastic support from her mom, who looks after her kids while she is working, and she has an incredibly supportive husband who also plays a very active role with Pink Liberty. Thankfully, she is now contracting as a freelancer but she feels like she is in a weird transition period at the moment.
STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
Rowena finds that setting a routine, especially in the morning, is an effective tool for her success. Important elements of Rowena’s morning routine include:
- MORNING JOURNALING: Rowena journals in the mornings using a stream of consciousness method by Julia Cameron from the book “The Artist’s Way”. Rowena wakes up first thing in the morning and writes down anything and everything. She gets it all out on paper, she sets out intentions and goals (no matter how lofty or how small), or really anything at all that comes to mind. Rowena has been doing this for several years now.
- LIGHT EXERCISE: Rowena likes to do some light stretches, yoga moves, or even some pushups to get the blood flowing.
- GETTING READY FOR THE DAY: Getting ready and dressed everyday including doing her makeup and hair makes such a difference for Rowena. She found that staying in her PJs or sweats all day, in these times of COVID-19, did nothing for her motivation. When she gets ready, Rowena feels that it sets her intention for the day. She is a beauty junkie and her family knows that this routine is part of her day and part of her “me time”. Rowena knows that it is so important to give this time to herself.
Other strategies that are helpful to Rowena are:
- DRINKING WATER: Rowena drinks a lot of water throughout the day because she finds that it helps with her energy.
- ASKING FOR AND ACCEPTING FAMILY SUPPORT: Rowena’ s mom and husband are a fantastic source of support for Rowena.
WHAT IS MY STYLE?
Many women struggle with discovering their style and how to dress for their current lifestyles and/or their bodies. These are the most common challenges that Rowena has heard about from the 100s of women that she has styled. She hears women say that they don’t even know what their style is any more.
BODY CHANGES WITH MOTHERHOOD
Rowena talks about how when you have a baby your body changes exponentially. In fact, it can almost be traumatic. Sometimes, we can lose our identities in being moms with all the things we do for our children. In the early days, your newborn is spitting up on you, you could be figuring out breastfeeding, and to top it all off, nothing fits! Rowena says, in these early days, don’t even worry about style. There is enough to worry about! Give yourself some grace.
THE POWER OF FASHION
Style, fashion, and beauty can be a “pick me up”. Rowena describes this as the power of fashion. Your body is completely amazing and women can be very hard on themselves. Don’t worry about the old clothes. Maybe it is time to do a wardrobe edit and to get some new pieces. Take out those clothing items that don’t make you feel good!
FIND CLOTHES THAT FIT
Women often get stuck on size when shopping for clothing and this can often be more of a mental obstacle than a physical one. They get stuck on the idea that they are a small, medium, or large. The trouble is that so many manufacturers have different versions of what small, medium, and large sizes are.
Rowena asks us to think about when was the last time that we took our measurements? This is important. Take a tape measure and measure your body and see where you are at. Put your pre-pregnancy body aside. Find clothes that fit your body now. And… sometimes it’s hard to give ourselves fashion advice. Having an objective eye or stylist can really help! This is something that Rowena loves to do!
ONLINE CLOTHES SHOPPING
We have probably all experienced the disappointment of ordering clothing online, waiting with anticipation for it to arrive in the mail, and then, it not being quite what we thought it would be or what we had hoped for.
ROWENA’S WINNING FORMULA FOR ONLINE SHOPPING
- KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS: Check your measurements and use the size guide that is on most retail websites. Keep in mind that the clothing models are generally 5’7” to 6’. Reach out to the store to ask about clothing item dimensions if they are not listed on the website. Rowena encourages her Pink Liberty customers to reach out to her with questions about sizing. She is really good with giving accurate size recommendations as she has the product in front of her and she knows how things fit. I can definitely vouch for this from my personal experience shopping on the Pink Liberty website! If you provide Rowena with your measurements, she can send photos with a tape measure on the garment and provide you with guidance in finding the right length for example.
- CHECK THE FABRIC: Take note of the material that the clothing is made out of. Different fabrics have different properties in terms of how they perform, how they drape, and how they will feel in different weather. Rowena recommends using your desktop or laptop computer for better image resolution. Zoom in to the photos to get a closer look at what the fabric looks like.
- READ THE REVIEWS: Check to see if the store has reviews on places such as Facebook, Google, and Instagram. On social media platforms, look for photos that show how items look on people in “real life”. See what people have to say about clothing items in terms of wearability, fit, and overall satisfaction.
- SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NEWSLETTERS: Sign up for emails from the stores you love and shop at. Yes – another email! Rowena has these go to her junk email folder and then, she looks there as needed, for deals and promotions, when she is looking to shop from a particular store.
- TRY THE RAKUTEN WEBSITE: Rowena and I both love this! If you haven’t tried this yet, you really should! Why? Because when you buy things online, you get money back! There is a Canadian Rakuten website https://www.rakuten.ca and an American one https://www.rakuten.com . It is free to sign up for an account. Before you purchase from an online store, first go to the Rakuten website. Search for the store that you are looking to shop at. Each store will have a different % cash back, usually anywhere from 1% to 8%, and this can vary from time to time. In Canada, they work with over 750 different stores! Click on the link for the store and online shop as you normally would. You can choose to get your cash back as cheque that is mailed to you, a PayPal direct deposit, or an Amazon e-gift card. Cash back is paid out in February, May, August, and November. It’s really that easy!
SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE INTIMIDATING
Social media can be incredibly intimidating in terms of putting yourself out there as well as just keeping up with the platforms and tools. Rowena has been doing this professionally, through her work in digital marketing and building websites. However, she points out that using social media professionally vs. personally are two totally different things!
PUT THE FEAR ASIDE
Rowena didn’t realize how much work it would be to put everything out there! She has done things that she never thought in a million years that she would do. She often gets asked how she does it? Many people worry that they will look stupid or silly. Rowena says that you just need to get over the fear of embarrassing yourself. At the end of the day, nobody cares! People will see it and scroll by or they will like it and move on.
GET MORE COMFORTABLE ON CAMERA
Rowena encourages us to just post it and just do it because we have nothing to lose. It takes practice to build your confidence with getting on camera, getting on Insta Stories, and connecting with your audience. At the end of the day, though, that is what people want. So you just need to let go a little bit and just accept who you are and that you are going to look silly for a second but everyone is going to forget eventually
THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHENTICITY
On Rowena’s Instagram business account she tries to find a balance between commercialization and selling products online and maintaining authenticity. She tries to show her journey, what’s happening behind the scenes, and when business doesn’t look pretty. And… there is a great deal of work involved behind all the pretty with steaming garments, tagging products etc.
People seem to really resonate with that. They want to see the face behind the business and not just the brand. They want to see that someone is physically getting your order ready. People want connection. Rowena says that she has met so many wonderful and supportive people through social media and that 80-90% of her business comes through social media
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING AND SMALL BUSINESS
Rowena’s social media is amazing! She recently discovered TikTok which she finds very fun and an opportunity to be creative. Rowena says that the beauty is that you put things out there and you never know what will happen. Photo and video social media posts can take days to edit. It is a lot of work! There is also product styling and sometimes choreography.
The likes and comments from her audience make a difference. She likes to take advantage of these free platforms and tools to create content as small businesses don’t have big marketing budgets. Overall, Rowena finds that it is fun and refreshing. It helps her to get out of her shell even though at times she can feel afraid to show all the realness and the rawness
IT IS OK TO BE VULNERABLE
In this time of COVID-19, Rowena lost her job and had to shut down her physical shop. She filmed an IGTV video and got really emotional on camera. She is generally not an emotional person but this was very much in the moment and what she was feeling at the time. Social media has taught Rowena that it is ok to be real and that it is ok to be vulnerable. This makes people feel connected to you and that we are all in this together. The community has been so amazing for Rowena. She feels so supported without anyone wanting anything in return.
KEEPING IT REAL
When I asked Rowena to share a #mommymessup, a mistake, something she wished she had done differently, a learning opportunity, I love how Rowena kept it real and said “Do we have 5 hours?” I hear ya! I could talk for hours as well.
Rowena talked about going into “mom mode” when she was trying to leave the house with her family one day to go to Lake Minnewanka. She was trying to get everything organized and packed, then she would realize that she was forgetting something, and then would having to run back inside. She and her family were heading out one day to Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park. When they arrived, she realized that her one son had shoes on but that they didn’t match. She also realized that she hadn’t even checked that he actually had shoes on at all before they left the house. The win was that at least he had a left shoe and a right shoe!
REMEMBERING TO BREATHE
These things happen to every mom. We are juggling all the things and sometimes not remembering to take a breath. These things usually happen when we are rushing through everything. The lesson here for Rowena was acknowledging that she was trying to do way too much and that she needed to pay attention a little more. Rowena reminds us to give ourselves grace. We can be really hard on ourselves. We are our own worst critics. Oftentimes, we don’t ask for help. And we should! Sometimes we just need to take the time to breathe a little bit so that we can refocus.
DON’T FORGET YOURSELF
Rowena talks about how we can get so absorbed in the day to day and how we can fall into a negative mindset trap because we have so many things to do. It is so important to take a little bit of time for yourself. Rowena says, “Don’t forget yourself”. This was the biggest reason for Rowena wanting to start Pink Liberty. She wants women to remember their inner fabulos-ity through fashion and style!
Recenter yourself. Remember the things that you take joy in doing. Make yourself a priority. You can’t be of any service to anybody if you don’t take care of yourself. Rowena talks about how you really need to schedule this time in and to get everybody else on board with this. Maybe it’s getting help with child care or having some quiet time to get ready in the morning. We want to do everything and we want to be perceived as being able to do everything but this just is not possible.
For Rowena, this time of COVID-19 has been a time to reflect on the hamster wheel that she had been on with her consulting job, her kids, and her store. She has been working so hard and she feels that she could really only continue on that path, working in that way for so long. In a way, Rowena feels like she needed this whole slow down to focus on what is important, think about what she is grateful for, to look at things with gratitude, and to just breathe. She has been trying to reframe everything in a positive light and trying to remember to prioritize herself in the whole scheme of things.
Thanks so much to Rowena for this awesome conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!