Are you tired of spending a fortune on clothes your kids outgrow in a blink of an eye? Meet Stylette, the revolutionary children’s clothing rental and resale platform that’s taking the parenting world by storm. Led by CEO and mompreneur Sheena Jongeneel, Stylette is on a mission to make parenting easier, more sustainable, and more affordable. From the founder’s personal struggles as a single mom to the company’s innovative approach to fashion, Stylette is more than just a business – it’s a movement. Keep reading to find out more about Stylette’s inspiring story and game-changing mission.
Tell us in your own words what you do?
I am the CEO and co-founder of Stylette. Stylette is a children’s clothing rental and resale platform. We believe that parents should spend less, kids should wear more, and we should promote that in an ecological and seamless way. On top of being an entrepreneur, I am also a single-mom of an eight-year-old girl. With that said, I am a mompreneur and proud to be a role model for my daughter. I wear many hats throughout the day. The operational hat, the marketer hat, the sales hat, the mom hat, and so forth and so on. But most importantly as the CEO of Stylette, I’m always raising capital for the company and scaling its growth, and as a single mom to a little girl I’m raising her to grow as a fearless leader.
What was your thought process behind starting Stylette?
The concept of Stylette came to me while l was in school getting my MBA. As a single mom, one of my personal pain points at the time was shopping for my daughter’s clothing that she quickly outgrew. Kids grow too fast to maximize their clothing and I found myself wasting time and money on her clothes that she wore once, or even at all. Then one day my neighbor asked to borrow one of my daughter’s ski outfits for her little boy. It was then that I knew I had to create a platform where parents could rent clothes for their children, whether they were looking for special occasions outfits or everyday looks. I wanted our business model to also offer the option to recycle kids’ outgrown clothes. I find that’s another strong pain point as a parent, having to discard the clothes our kids can no longer wear.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career?
I started my career in the health and wellness space over twenty years ago. I’m a licensed acupuncturist so pivoting to the fashion space was a drastic change for me. But after a divorce and my mom’s passing, I felt I needed that change. I wanted to build a business on a much larger scale and in a different sector. I’ve always loved being a business owner, so I decided to go back to school and get my second master’s (MBA) to see what was next. I had no Idea what my next company would be, but it actualized while I was in school going through my personal struggles as a parent. Even though I was discouraged to go back to school and start a company by my family and ex-husband, I did it anyway. I am so happy I didn’t listen to them or try to play it safe in life as everyone encouraged me to do.
What is a personal strength that has been useful to you in your business?
I’ve had to develop my personal strengths along the way as an entrepreneur. Raising capital to scale your company is a very daunting journey. You get a lot of nos before you get the yeses. I had to learn to not let that affect my momentum in building the company. I embraced my previous background in health and wellness to propel me forward in this new journey with those skills I learned in the wellness space. I used to meditate quite a bit as an acupuncturist to keep me grounded, so I welcomed meditation back into my life and in my new venture with Stylette. Meditation has been my saving grace throughout this process. I would advise entrepreneurs to find a practice that grounds them from the startup world. Whether it’s writing in a journal, meditating, or chatting to a mentor with whom they can process with.
Being an entrepreneur is physically and emotionally intense, so health and wellness is vital to success. Eat well, exercise, drink lots of water, take vitamins, get sunshine, and get enough sleep to thrive. And most importantly, work on any subconscious blocks that could be sabotaging your success. This is why I think meditation is so important. You can sit quietly and see what negative thoughts arise and work to destroy them, so you act and think differently. It allows you to regroup your state to be a more productive entrepreneur. Behave with confidence, faith, energy, and passion, no matter what comes your way.
Tell us something about Stylette, who’s it for and what are the services you’re providing?
Stylette is a children’s clothing rental platform. We offer special occasion and everyday styles for children’s fashion. We also offer a resale program to collect back kids’ outgrown clothes that we put back on the platform or we donate to charity for kids in need. We issue our customers Stylette credits to stay on the platform and shop. We are creating a one-stop-shop for kids sustainable fashion.
What are the best and worst things about being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is like being on a constant roller coaster ride. The highs are very high, and the lows are very low. The highs are any wins you have for your company. That would be an investment, the perfect hire, a new partner, media coverage, etc. Anything to take your brand to the next level. The hard part about being an entrepreneur are the nos you encounter in fundraising. Otherwise, it’s all a fun and invigorating journey for that immense payoff after you get acquired or have an IPO. But the best part is being able to create your own future and vision of what you want your life to be.
How do you balance work and life?
I’m a single mom of an eight-year-old and an entrepreneur, so finding a way to integrate both into my life is vital. I’m fortunate I have a children’s clothing platform or by design on my part, that allows me to easily integrate my daughter into my work life. I include her as much as I can- viewing line sheets, practicing my pitch with her, bringing her to the warehouse, to tradeshows, etc. She’s getting her own mini-MBA course to say the least, and she’s having a blast being part of my work life.
What sacrifices have you had to make during life?
I feel the sacrifices I have made as a working parent are felt the strongest as a mom to my daughter. I haven’t been able to cultivate playdates as much as I would like to and I sometimes miss her school activities and events. Nonetheless, she is my biggest cheerleader and I have her complete and utter support. I’m always communicating with her about the company’s endeavors which is key to having a good relationship with her. However, it’s not easy and I do the best I can as a mompreneur to ensure she’s aware that I am doing the best by her. My success is her success too. I’m doing all this not just for me, but for her and her legacy.
How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?
Modern women can be fulfilled in many ways. I support working women, working moms, and stay at home moms. Whatever makes you feel empowered is the right choice for you. But for myself and for my daughter, I’m raising her to think for herself, believe in herself and know that anything is possible to feel truly fulfilled in life. What she envisions she can create with her thoughts and her actions alone. Personally, I’m teaching her to create her own income and to be free to make her own decisions in life.
I feel a modern woman will feel more fulfilled if she has her own interests, career, and passions that lift her up, so she is not dependent on others for her happiness. That is what I’m teaching my daughter, to be fulfilled by her own life. To not look outside herself to be fulfilled, but to find it inside of herself. I teach her to change her thoughts if they are negative and to feel happiness first in order to be happy. It all starts with a feeling. Feel fulfilled and you shall.
What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?
A skill that all women should learn is the art of negotiation. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, wife, mother or powerhouse boss, we should learn to negotiate so we can ask for what we deserve and know our worth. We don’t learn this as women, but in business and in life, it is crucial for our success. For men, it is natural and shameless to ask for what they want. As women, we tend to feel shameful asking for what we want. It is an important skill to have as a modern woman, in divorce, business, or even with a home contractor. Learn to negotiate at all times and know that you deserve it!