BOSS LADY INTERVIEW: Reachel Bagley from Cardigan Empire

1. How do you stay inspired and fuel your creative vibe?

The truth is I'm not really interested in fashion. I appreciate it as an art
form, but what I'm actually fascinated by are the people in the clothes. What the
clothing says about them. How it connects them to their environment, their peers,
their values. Clothing is personal marketing. It introduces our attention to detail,
our background, even our sense of humor. It can be clever, unexpected, exquisite,
but it's only chance at a meaningful existence occurs when it is matched with a
symbiotic host. Be it the most banal t-shirt or the most extravagant gown. Clothing
exists to ornament. Unlike a painting or sculpture it can not thrive independently.
We do not complete the piece, we allow it to fulfill the purpose of its creation.
People inspire me; they are endlessly interesting and individual.


2. What does the typical day in the life look like for you?

First and foremost, I’m a mom. There will always be more collaborations, more
clients, more opportunities to make money, but my children only have one chance
at childhood. When it’s gone-it’s gone. But I also want to show my children what
it is to work hard, to follow a dream, and to be inspired.

I try to slot different parts of my day for different life roles. Mornings are mom time: cooking, cleaning, etc. Afternoons during naps and a movie I answer some e-mails and maybe edit a video.  Most evenings are back to family time until the kids are asleep and then the real work begins, other evenings I teach or work with clients.  It isn’t always a perfect balance-perfect balance is a myth. But having a plan helps me to know when I need to re-prioritize and make adjustments.


3. Why is balance important in your life?

I love being a mother, but I don’t want to live vicariously through my children. It’s not their job to fulfill me. I also love working, but that alone isn’t enough either.  The opposing roles in my life strengthen different aspects of myself. Diversifying allows me to feel more complete as a person and better execute each of the aspects of my life.


4. What is an essential practice or ritual you do weekly to help you stay balanced and grounded?

I exercise 6 days a week. I don’t exercise to look a certain way; I do it to feel a certain way. It’s my form of self care. I tease my husband that it keeps me docile, giving me at least 5 more seconds in my response time to the people I love the most. It also helps me to squat toddlers simultaneously and run fast enough to catch the extra naughty ones.


5. What is your personal mantra?

Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back." Henry Mackay


6. What does happiness look like to you?

I don’t expect a perfect life. I don’t even expect perfect hours. But I do relish the perfect moments. I try to drink those in.  Happiness isn’t something that happens to you; happiness is a perspective on life.


7. When you look at a photograph of yourself when you were younger, if you were to write a letter to her, what advice would you give?

Don’t over plan things. Have standards and values and ambition, but don’t expect things to go as planned. Some of the best things that happened in my life were either mistakes, accidents, or completely unexpected.


8. What do you love the most about your life right now?

I've never been a "key of C" kind of girl. And by that I mean, literally, I like my music with a few flats or sharps adding depth, but also I've never been a naturally cheerful straightforward "life liver." (And by liver I mean a person who lives, not the organ). I guess my happiness comes not in seeing everything that is going right, but rather in loving what is going different. And most days are going to be different: at least one of my children is going to be crying 65% of the day, at least one is going to wear socks with sandals, and at least one is going to do something so unexpectedly sweet it’s almost impossible not to cry. That's the way I like it: non-symmetrical, unexpected, beautiful. It's a good life, and I'm glad all this chaos is mine to love.


9. What current project has you fired up?

I’m excited to convert the textbook that I wrote for my Wardrobe Strategies course into something that can be appreciated by the general public.


9. Any final thoughts, words of advice, or a favorite quote for the Happy Grace community?

8 out of 10 women are dissatisfied with what they see in the mirror.  Women aren't looking in the mirror repeatedly for vanity, they look in the mirror for validation. They're hoping what they see in their appearance will be enough.  As a stylist my goal isn't to help women look trendy or thin or even pretty, at least not directly.  My goal is to robe my clients in their own souls. To customize their wardrobes so that their true selves are visible in every thread and button. Our bodies alone will never be enough. The only way to love our appearance unconditionally, regardless of age, weight, or a lack of similarity with the publicized ideal, is to see our souls as a part of our body. And that isn't pretty, it's beautiful.



Reachel Bagley
Cardigan Empire

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