Char Dobbs was job-shadowing a colleague, but she couldn’t stop her mind from wandering. Working in the corporate world, using her analytical mind, and putting her engineering background to use had always been her goal. More than that, she had broken through barriers as a woman of color working in a traditionally male field. Everyone in Char’s life was incredibly proud of her. She was proud of herself. Still, something didn’t feel quite right. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was meant for something else.
Char’s true passion was in something some might consider a far cry from engineering: fashion. Growing up, Char was the girl who didn’t want to wear school uniforms because she didn’t want to look like everyone else. And because pleated skirts weren’t flattering for every figure. As an adult, she was the friend everyone wanted to go shopping with or consult about what to wear for special occasions. Fashion and style were such a big part of Char’s identity, she decided to make the leap and build a business around it.
But she wouldn’t leave the corporate world behind entirely. She envisioned working with professional women to help them gain confidence and clarity to impact not just their closets, but their entire lives. More than six years later, Char Style & Image is doing just that. For Char, it’s about much more than clothes. She helps women transform their relationships with themselves and put themselves first. Ultimately, the impact is even greater, because their updated style and clothes help them show up more confidently in every aspect of their lives. From the woman still wearing baggy clothes years after losing baby weight, to the executive who makes good money but wears inexpensive, low-quality clothing because she spends on everyone but herself, Char helps her clients understand that they are worth the investment of time, energy and money.
Anyone who is skeptical about the big impact clothes can have need look no further than the results Char’s clients achieve. One woman got a promotion after being stagnant in her role for years. Another broke through a long-held belief about her body while sitting in a dressing room with Char. There are dozens of stories like this, of women who used their new style as a springboard to do big things. And these results have Char dreaming big about what’s next for her business, expanding into being a broader resource to empower professional women, while continuing to make having a personal stylist accessible to the “everyday working woman.”
Char hasn’t spent much time wondering whether she made the right choice in following this part of her identity into a new career, but she did get her affirmation about five years after starting the business. She found a journal entry she’d written while in college. In it, Char wrote about wanting to help women with their style—even as she was pursuing a career path in engineering. Char didn’t remember writing it, but she realized when she found it all those years later that this business has always been in her.
For more information about Char’s business, visit CharStyleAndImage.com.
Photo: Andrea Ellen Reed
Are you ready to courageously share your story with the world and open the door to resources and opportunities? My Founder Story takes you through the process of clarifying your WHY and developing your WHYography—a powerful short story designed to articulate and elevate your purpose, and an essential tool for leveraging your business with potential investors, partners and supporters. Learn more here.