Meet the Mom Boss: Priya Virmani
This Short Hills mom of two got her inspo to be a stylist from years of living in Paris.
All Photos courtesy of Priya Virmani
Personal stylist, Privee by Priya
Husband, Anish Rajparia who works for a company based in Virginia so he commutes back and forth every week
Mom to Kaya, 14, and Saira, 11
Tell us about your business. Privee by Priya was launched in the fall of 2016. As a stylist, I focus on empowering women and men through the art of styling. Not only does this give them more confidence but it also allows them to eliminate the “what to wear” or “I have nothing to wear” or “do I look ok” type of pesky questions. Most of my clients are working moms and dads. They want me to minimize their dressing time every day so they have more time and energy for themselves and their families. My process involves a closet assessment. At this stage we purge, organize and style with existing pieces. I help clients donate their unwanted items (best part of my job) or consign them. Once the closet is lean and prepped. I establish a shopping list. I find a store(s) based on budget and needs and stock a fitting room with items my client needs. My client is greeted with snacks and a drink and clothes and accessories in their size! As a final step, the new items are integrated with the old ones and I create 20-30 looks. Each look is captured and printed in a Lookbook for easy reference. Most often, my client relationship is ongoing. I help them via text or email in case they find something they want my opinion on and vice versa. If something reminds me of a client I will immediately send them a picture.
What inspired the idea? Privee by Priya was conceived in my heart years before it actually launched! I lived in Paris for many years. I used to help my local friends integrate the American brands in with their Parisian brands. Giving the Parisian chic a little edge. I also found myself playing shopping guide to every friend, family member and friends of friends (lots of them!) who visited. When I moved back I realized this needs to be formalized. I'm inspired by the rush of energy I get while styling. I do it in my sleep!
How do you differentiate your business? I understand and relate well with my clients. I cannot fully describe it but once I speak to a new client and visit their closet I just understand them, and their needs. It's like their closet speaks to me. I can see where they have struggled with their purchases over the years. I can style edgy and street or I can go very sophisticated and chic. I can shop at all budgets and particularly like mixing high and low brands. I think people also like my own personal style :)
What’s the hardest part of juggling the kids and being your own boss? My kids are proud of me and I think they appreciate everything I do. That helps eliminate a little mommy guilt. I work evenings and weekends as 90% of my clients work, so I miss dinner or homework or games. I find being my own boss is lonely! I also miss going to an office every day. Mine is my desk at home or the Short Hills mall. I wish I had a partner to strategize with...but Facebook groups help and I find like-minded women who are compassionate and ready to help
What’s your advice for parents looking to start their own businesses? Don’t wait. Don’t over think. Follow your heart. There's never a right time and yes, people will also judge you but be courageous and go for it. Don’t follow a set formula. Blog, newsletter, Insta posting schedule etc. Come up with your own strategy based on your audience and their needs. Network like crazy.
What’s your best piece of style advice for moms who want to look great, be comfy and feel confident? It starts in your mind and heart. Don’t beat yourself up...things are always evolving as is your style and body. Wear what makes you feel good even before you get to a mirror! My go-to formula: a well fitted, flattering pair of jeans with elevated sneakers and an edgy jacket. It works every time. Please wear comfy shoes every day. Painful shoes can ruin your mood. A trend is just a trend. Pick a piece or 2 every season and have fun with it. Your body is beautiful. Dress for it. No hiding behind big clothes. And change it up. If you spend the day in your yoga pants one day, bust out the jeans the next or the dress the day after. Life is too short to wear boring clothes.