When I think about Kat Depner, the word, "possible" just float to the tip of my tongue. Kat came to me several months ago seeking assistance on a career transition, and it was clear within weeks that she was driven by an unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit. Her smart fashion sense, natural compassion, and an uncanny ability to spot trends all conspired to lead her to a truly inspired business idea -- a style consulting business in which she not only helps you identify your style but actually finds the clothing that fit well and are flattering.
I was honored to be one of her first "guinea pigs," and after asking me some questions about my fashion tastes, favorite designers and style choices like colors and oft-worn clothing items, she proceed to pick out 5 outfits for me in which I felt attractive yet relaxed and professional.
One dress that picked for me reminds me of a Mondrian painting -- a body-conscious red, black and white number with a Stella-McCartney-like halter look that makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.
That's what I like about Kat -- she not only makes the impossible seem completely feasible -- she knows how to help you find a style that makes you feel like there's nothing you can't do. She details my adventure with her in a recent blog post.
Her capacity for big-picture thinking is evident in her website, which can be found at www.sevenstyling.com. She also has a recently published an e-book called Resonate: 7 Steps to Finding Your Personal Style that provides a simple, bite-sized approach to distinguishing yourself in style and attitude.
I sat down with Kat recently to ask her a few more questions about her business:
Kristin: What inspired you start Seven? What "problem" were you trying to solve?
Kat: It all started when a close friend was visiting from out of town. She had recently put on weight and during our visit had shrouded herself in a smorgasbord of oversized hand-me-downs consisting of 80s-style skorts and baggy cargo capris. She did not recognize the person looking back at her in the mirror and was uncomfortable in her new body.
Completely defeated, she would often tell me, “This is not my body, clothing doesn’t look good anymore, why bother?" There are so many parts of what she said that day that both resonate and trigger me as I know what it is to fluctuate in weight and size, personally spanning the gamut from a 4 to 14. I know what it is to hide behind ill-fitted clothing to mask a changing body; I’m no stranger to thinking “why bother” when looking at myself in the mirror.
We tell ourselves that our bodies are not as they “ought” to be, so for the interim, all attempts to feel and look beautiful must cease. How is that even fair? And yet “why bother” is the philosophy that my friend was living in - I wanted to shake her. “This is absolute nonsense, and I will have none of it!” I wanted to shake myself as well for all the times I punished myself and hid behind “why bother?”
And so, I decided to embark on a consignment store shopping mission: to find my beloved friend some figure-flattering and figure-camouflaging pieces that might stretch her perspective, hoping that she might see herself differently. The clothing I found was magic. She gazed longingly at her new found hourglass frame by way of a nifty wrap dress and said something deeply profound I wish I’d hear more women say: “Wow…I’m like, really pretty.” Ok, maybe it wasn’t deep or profound, but she saw herself differently in a matter of seconds.
And that’s why I started Seven -- to help women evolve how they see themselves by simply evolving their clothing and style. My mantra is: It only takes 7 seconds to form an impression, and this most powerfully applies to how we see ourselves, first and foremost.
Kristin: What is your personal philosophy about style?
Kat: I’ve boiled my philosophy of style into Seven Laws:
Whether you like it or not, your clothing tells the world what you believe about yourself
The fastest way to change how you perceive yourself is to change your outfit
Style is not a privilege – it is accessible and affordable for all
Trends are fleeting, but style is eternal
Looking amazing should be quick and easy
Your MVP outfit can be worn to the office, a first date, or a walk in the park
Before putting on your jumpsuit, ask yourself: can I really pee in this? 😊
Kristin: Are there designers or style icons that you admire?
Kat: Mindy Kaling, Solange Knowles and, of course, Stacy London.
Kristin: What sets your styling services apart?
Kat: I can find form-flattering pieces, often lightly consigned, that can transform a woman’s look – without having to pay the harsh price tag accompanying traditional retail clothing and without being able to tell the difference.
Kristin: What was the official day of your launch?
Kat: July 22, 2018.
Kristin: Why did you call it Seven?
Kat: It only takes 7 seconds to form a first impression, and first impressions are incredibly powerful, both for how we view ourselves and how others view us. For some people, impressions can make or break their careers, potential relationships, or even their own views of themselves. That’s why I invite people to “invest your impression”- I want to help your impression work for you, not against you.
Kristin: Describe Seven in 3 words.
Kat: Celebratory, Healing, Countercultural
Kristin: What was the greatest challenge to starting your business?
Kat: It’s extremely vulnerable to fully own your hopes and dreams, and then even more so to proclaim them for the world to see and judge publicly.
Kristin: I get a "boost" when I help someone find their career path or even when i craft a resume that makes someone happy. What kinds of client interactions give you a similar lift?
Kat: The second someone puts on an item of clothing and they can’t stop staring at themselves because they are in disbelief of what they see.
Kristin: What makes you really good at what you do?
Kat: A deeply empathetic intuition about who people are and how to visually express their essences through clothing.
Kristin: Share anything else that you think would help other people interested in starting a business:
Kat: You can’t do it all alone. You need support or business partners to champion your cause and fill in the gaps of your own skill set.