This Midlife Women Entrepreneur & Style Guru Rocks the Baby Boomer Woman Shopping & Fashion Scene!
If you’re a baby boomer woman, shopping for fashions that are classic, comfortable, and appropriate for your lifestyle can be a challenge indeed! Enter Debbie Rudoy of life’style Fashions in Sag Harbor! Debbie is a style guru with a wealth of experience in fashion and design, a woman entrepreneur at midlife who creates smart, effortless style for mature women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond! Discover this style oasis for fashionable 50-somethings!
Q. Your shop in Sag Harbor, life’style Boutique, is a unique, trendy concept…can you share a bit about what you mean when you say you help your customers “navigate and style your wardrobe”?
A. We act a as personal shopper/best friend. We are honest about what looks good on you and also help focus our customers on wardrobe building. I believe that we can build on what we have in our closet, by adding what is in fashion and new each season without having to buy everything new each season.
Q. Your job sounds like “Chief Inspiration Director”! Does that describe what you do?
A. I like to say style guru. I go into the market and look for fashion trends and then interpret them for our client base. That is to say that I am not into trendy fashion, but fashion and styles that look new but are wearable for women of any age. I then work on how best to integrate and style those looks with core basics that we always have at the store.
Q. When, why, and how did you decide to ‘redesign your life’ and move to Sag Harbor?
A. After almost 20 years of working in the apparel industry in NYC I needed a change. I was looking for a better quality of life. I was spending about half of my time traveling and outside of NYC so it didn’t seem so far fetched to move outside of the city. In fact, it was a welcome relief to live in one home with everything I own under one roof. It also freed me up to explore new places and things in my life. I was so busy with my first career that I had tunnel vision and couldn’t really tell if I was doing something because I wanted to or because it was a way of life.
Q. Your career history includes a lot of cool stuff…creative design director, owner of a Pilates studio…how did all of these prior life experiences prepare you for LifeStyle?
A. I’ve always been social and enjoyed meeting and working with people of all ages. My design career gave me the knowledge and confidence to be creative with apparel and dressing others, and being a pilates instructor gave me hands on info and knowledge of many body types. Women in particular kept expressing their frustration in shopping for and fitting into comfortable and age appropriate clothing. It was a natural evolution to return to my first love – fashion – and morph the two business experiences into a retail venue focused on a high level of customer service, experience and great apparel for those of us who look great but aren’t in our 20’s or 30’s. (That’s not to say I don’t sell to those in that age bracket, but the focus at lifestyle is 35-60 more or less.)
Q. What is your take on how mature women are making waves as entrepreneurs…are we poised to see a 50-something small business surge?
A. I would say so. Many are finding that they are no longer wanted or needed in the marketplace. Many industries are all about youth – they are youth oriented and/or will hire someone young with less experience for less money, knowing they will work until all hours to build their careers. Since we live in an age that most of us need to work or cannot retire early I see more and more women re-creating themselves, starting niche businesses that they can integrate into their family life while hxaving a positive, healthy daily way of life.
A. It is definitely more challenging. We all get comfortable in our day to day lives, have lifestyles we need to support that require a certain income, etc. However, all you really have to do is “do it”. If you make the decision to change your life or lifestyle then you are on the way to doing so. Of course there are sacrifices that we need to make any time we make a change.. And most people don’t like or embrace it. Starting at a young age my family was relocating and I was changing schools. In the 7th grade I had attended 6 schools. It wasn’t easy but I got used to being the new kid in school and learned to adapt, meet new people and figure out how to fit in and flourish with all that change. As an adult I feel that was an amazing gift to have experienced as a child and young adult. It totally prepared me just about anything.
Q. Any advice or suggestions for other 50+ women considering an entrepreneurial “leap of faith” as they approach midlife?
A. My advice would be to plan for change financially and emotionally. Having a network of good friends and family for support when you need someone to talk to and a good savings account really helps. We are not always that fortunate but it really helps when you are not stressed about finances, paying the bills and such. Nothing is worse than making a business decision based on the wrong reasons or when under stress.
Stay tuned for more ideas, suggestions, and information on baby boomer woman clothing shopping, fashions, style and more at Fifty Is The New Forty!