One woman’s journey to find success in a tough industry
Stacie Lee Heron originally studied fashion design, landing her a career creating clothes for people to wear but not making a lot of money. Recognizing the opportunity for financial gain, she’s had much more success by just dressing and styling individuals in Calgary.
Growing up taking sewing lessons and obsessing over magazines, Heron knew fashion was going to play a role in her career.
“I’ve been sewing ever since I was little, my mom put me in sewing lessons but I actually hated it.”
After realizing her passion for design, Heron researched how she could make fashion a possibility for her future career.
“I ended up going to Blanche Macdonald,” she says, referring to a school in British Columbia. “I took fashion design and I loved it. My collection even made it into the Georgia’s Straight (a weekly Vancouver newspaper).”
The avant garde collection, inspired by warriors, appeared in the lifestyle and entertainment publication as Heron graduated. Although still very focused on fashion design, she decided to style photo shoots while continuing to build her portfolio.
“I actually moved back to Calgary in 2008, and I started my own clothing line. I put together a team to help me; I couldn’t believe I actually found a mini-factory in Calgary.”
But Heron struggled with the financial aspect of being a fashion designer.
Photo by: Josie Lukey
“When you’re doing a clothing line, you’re basically paying for your clothing line.”
Understanding her need to make a lifestyle out of the fashion industry, Heron began educating herself about dressing different body types, and what rules to apply while still allowing herself to be creative.
“I honestly just remember being in my office and reading so many books, just trying to figure out how I could be a stylist. Not doing photo shoots and all that kind of stuff — just dressing everybody and anybody who wanted to be styled.”
It was that business — rather than designing — that ended up taking off for her with Heron establishing SLH Personal Stylists, a personal fashion stylist company in Calgary.
It’s now been seven years and through the connections she’s made at stores such as Holt Renfrew, BCBG Max Azria and Aritzia, as well as the vast effort Heron has put into the company, she has seen it’s growth, especially in her clientele.
“I know people that can’t necessarily afford a stylist, but if you can afford it, it’s an investment.”
SLH Personal Stylists has a range of charges for the services offered, the lowest set at $50 as part of a class, but service-wise as low as $300 to as high as $2100, with an average cost of $1000.
Heron says she has seen the wealth of Calgary reflected in her clients.
“I’ve styled teenagers before, I’m sure their families are well off obviously, but I’ve styled average people.”
And regardless of what income level they come from, Heron stresses the importance of fashion in terms of succeeding in work and in life.
“There is a point in the process where I see a switch. I don’t say it, but I just know that suddenly their comfort level is different, they feel more confident, it’s amazing to see that.”