JoJo St. Claire is an Atlanta style whisperer keen on beckoning the fashion girl in every woman. One-part gumption, one-part maverick, two-parts fashion-obsessed. Mix well. She is our #WCW because of her courage and passion to follow her dreams and inspire others to be confident in their journey to take on the world.
1. What's your story? What makes you unique?
After three years as a stay-at-home mom to our young boys, what I finally discovered was that my compulsion to style ensembles in my head, spend hours reviewing the latest runway fashions, and solve the fashion crises of my friends came naturally to me. Almost like a painter picking up a brush and allowing the strokes to pour out. That moment wouldn’t have happened however, if it weren’t for my husband’s diagnosis of Stage 4 lymphoma. You see, epiphanies usually happen amid turmoil and boy did mine ever! My husband thankfully is now in remission so I was left to decide what I would do with this new lease on life after cancer. I decided to stop shirking my dream of preaching and teaching style to busy women. The time was now because life isn’t promised. I started After The Carriage six months later and haven’t look back!
2. What motivates you?
I am on a mission to ensure every busy woman prioritizes self-care. It all starts with confidence. Too often we tell ourselves we don’t have time, something is more important, or nothing looks good on us. By putting ourselves first we can begin restoring confidence through personal style, which spills into so many areas of our lives. We expect more for ourselves and are treated differently when we’re confident. I hope I’m doing my part to see that happens for all of us.
3. Who is a hero of yours?
One of my heroes is Alain Locke, a cultural icon known as the “Father of the Harlem Renaissance,” a Rhodes Scholar, and philosopher at my alma mater Howard University who also had an eye for fine haberdashery. The combination of both brains and style are just too easy to love.
4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?
The first part of my career was spent learning the ropes of the sports and entertainment industry where I thought I could marry my love of sports with a knack for operational logistics but I quickly realized the long hours and stadium food diet weren’t for me. Fast forward through stints as a public affairs rep in Washington, DC and finishing my MBA at Johns Hopkins I still felt unfulfilled as a marketing communications consultant. By the time the kids came along the career was put on hold and then that horrible disease my hubby faced knocked me out of my stupor. What was a hobby/pipe dream for a stay-at-home mom is now After The Carriage!
5. What's your future plan? Your goals?
Like many of your readers, I’m a creative thinker. My goal is to continue evolving the ways people can access my confidence-building teachings. I’m growing my new services reaching people at home with virtual style sessions, on-the-go with on-demand styling via mobile device, at work with professional style workshops, and online with my vlog. In 2018 I’d love to begin working as a guest fashion expert in TV and print media. With hard work and the right opportunity, I pray that becomes a reality.
6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
For someone looking for a fresh start, my advice is to take joy in the highs and the lows. Embarking on a new endeavor is terrifying. Nauseating even. But the journey is important to find out what one’s really made of. Don’t be afraid of the lows and have great pride in the highs because you know then that you earned it.
7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
Supporting female entrepreneurs any way I can is an idea that’s near and dear to my heart. Knowledge-sharing, collaboration, networking, and just plain boosting my fellow women business owners is not only the right thing to do but also the fun thing to do. I’ve met countless wonderful women that became good friends as a result. It’s a win-win!
8. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?
Leaving the comfort of my job in DC and moving to France is one of the coolest, most terrifying things I’ve ever done! It forever changed my life.
9. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about.
Because I’m unafraid of failure, continuously persevering and receive lots of help from people that believe in me I’m here dreaming about my next moves as a style whisperer leading large style workshops for corporate America and abroad. Everyone that knows someone that’s following their dreams should do whatever they can to help that vision grow. We are a nation of dreamers for good reason. My dream just happens to involve stilettos.