I am so excited to introduce you to our fifth “Real World” Women interview series with none other than the beautiful and uber stylish Sarah Clark! Sarah is the founder and Creative Director of Mode & Affaire .
“Mode & Affaire began from my innate love of fur,” says Sarah. ”I grew up dressing in my grandmother’s fur coats. This was my first memory of what ‘glamorous’ felt like and I quite literally fell in love with that feeling.” We are about empowering the everyday woman. As well as nailing it in her business, Sarah has also recently become Mum to beautiful little Poppy and is now enjoying the Mumma juggle that comes with that. I cannot wait for you hear more about Sarah’s journey below. AND, if you do nothing else, make sure you get onto the Mode & Affaire Instagram page here and see the dreamy clothes they have on offer!
Sarah, can you please give us a bit of a bio of who you are, what you do and what’s your jam?
My background (and true love) is marketing but I have always had a love of sparkly things and all things fun and fluffy. Somehow I combined both loves and made a career out of it! I fell into the fashion industry many moons ago starting a little hobby business, and as the years rolled on the business has continued to grow.
Today I have three labels; Mode & Affaire, Mode & Affaire Bride and our newest Mode & Affaire Bambini (which is definitely an excuse to go shopping and make gorgeous small things now that I am a mum!)
I am also a self-confessed musical theatre nerd, who will likely break out into song mid-sentence, and a gin lover who will drink any kind of gin, so long as its alcoholic.
What is the biggest personal risk you have taken and how did you arrive at the decision to take the leap?
OMG, leaving my full-time job to pursue my own business. That shit was petrifying. Definitely one of those moments where people thought I was mad, but I just had to commit and give it a crack. At the time I really valued my career, so it was hard going from full time pay to, well, nothing. Definitely had many moments rocking back-and-forth in a corner whispering “What am I doing with my life…?????”
You have already achieved such amazing things with Mode and Affaire – how do you stay motivated and how do you work out what you want to achieve in your work and life?
Firstly – very kind of you to say, but I never really ever feel content with where the business is at. Or if I do, it isn’t for very long! I continually set new goals for what I want to achieve, and I will work towards that until I reach it *hopefully*, then set a new goal. I think you are always your own harshest critic, so I won’t ever let myself be complacent with how things are tracking. I will always put pressure on myself to keep going and reach that next goal and that is how I stay motivated.
What does “success” mean to you? What is your definition of it?
Success to me is building a business out of a passion; creating a pathway which involves going to work everyday to a job I love, with people whom I adore that share the same dream for the business & in a workplace that my little girl will grow up in! That is my definition of success.
Have you ever experienced Imposter Syndrome or a time where have felt like you weren’t good enough, smart enough, experienced enough etc? How did you deal with this? What advice would you have for other women who struggle with self-doubt and low confidence?
Yes! ALL THE TIME! Don’t we all? I live for the quote “The older you get the more you realise that no one has a f*cking clue what they’re doing. Everyone’s just winging it”. This gives me confidence that everyone experiences self-doubt at times, some people are just better than others at faking it ‘til they make it! Doesn’t it make it easier knowing that we are probably all just secretly winging it together?
The Eating your cake too methodology talks a lot about getting the fuck out of your own head and your own way. Can you tell us about a time where YOU were the one getting in your own way, how did you realise it and what did you do about it?
I am can be the queen of self-sabotage. Starting things and getting almost 80% of the way through and then giving up when I am … almost… finished. I am so able to talk myself out of things at that very last moment. I think it’s the slippery slope of overthinking. So, when I recognise I’m beginning to overthink, I try and exercise the art of underthinking! Commit to the task with the end goal in sight and then aim to give insufficient thought or consideration to the actual process of getting there – just committing to getting it done!
What advice do you have for women who might not be sure of what their purpose is, or what they want to do with their lives?
My Nan was an incredibly progressive woman and really ahead of her time. Her advice was generally unorthodox (and often not what you would ever want to hear from your grandparent!) but my god she was such a big influence on me and my approach to life. She would always say “A good butcher will always make more than a bad doctor.” So, it doesn’t matter what you decide to do, if you are authentic, passionate and absolutely-bloody-love what you are doing = you will succeed.
You have recently joined the mumma juggle with the birth of your gorgeous daughter Poppy – how do you manage the ongoing juggle of work, life and babies? And what advice or life hacks do you have for other mothers?
I am so lucky I can bring Poppy along to work and she is rolling around the office, or at a photoshoot plonked somewhere in a corner and she can be involved in everything we do. Oh, there are days where I don’t feel I am managing the juggle all that well. Starting a business will always be your first baby and you can never switch off (nor do you ever want to!), but I honestly believe I’m far more productive since having Poppy. I now know I have a window to get shit done so I will often surprise myself with what I can achieve and to be honest how long it took me ‘pre-baby’ to do things. I am far more efficient than I have ever been! Hurrah!
What do you think often prevents women from asking for what they want, and what advice do you have for the EYCT community to help them build confidence?
I want to say the fear of rejection? Being rejected is bloody horrible! But having that innate belief in what you are doing to say “F*CK IT!” for the greater good. What have you got to lose? Then taking a deep breath, put all inhibitions aside, underthink the whole situation and just GO FOR IT AND ASK.
What is a quote that you live by?
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Suess
Thank you so much to the beautiful Sarah for sharing her insights with us all! If you have other questions for Sarah or want to know more about the amazing business Mode & Affaire that she has created, check her out at www.modeandaffaire.com
If this post has called you out on your bulls*it and you’ve realised you are currently stuck in your own way – NOW is the time to get out of it. I can help you. Just ask how. That is the first step. Get out of your own way HERE.