DCFunemployment: Who are you?
Monica Barnett, Chief Image Curator at Blueprint for Style.
DCF: What does being funemployed mean to you & what was your path to funemployment?
MB: Funemployed means doing what you love! It’s taking the concept of the 4-hour workweek and expanding it…. My path to funemployment happened when I met Morgan and found out what a drop of sunshine she was – fun, fabulous, confident and kind! I don’t remember how we connected but our circles intersected and the rest is history. We’ll laugh about it now and for years to come!!
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
MB: My sister – from Day One when I told her I was quitting my “day job” to do styling full time! Now my sister has an independent insurance agency licensed in NY and CT, BradleyandBarnett.com, and I’m doing the same for her. Pay it forward!!!
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
MB: I’m a black woman in America….lol! Seriously, my previous job in corporate America taught me the value of perseverance, having integrity and having a plan. My mother always reminded me to do something I love….so I’m here doing this!
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
MB: There’s a motivation to survive – what I do or don’t everyday affects whether my bills will get paid or not so that’s a huge motivation. Beyond that, my inspiration comes from interacting with creatives and members of my tribe; and from seeing and participating in life. I find the more activities I participate in, the more books I read, the more places I go, I see more and can share more.
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
MB: Balance is a constant struggle but balance is really about listening to your inner self and responding to those needs before it gets dire. Your body breaks down when it’s been mistreated – I try to find that space of balance in everything. Whether it’s talking with someone, I look for a nugget of information I can use, or seeing something, I try to see the bigger picture. I truly believe balance is about nourishing the soul.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
MB: I sacrifice my focus at times…. when things aren’t 100%, I find that I lose focus on the longer term goals and just do the short term wins; and I don’t think that benefits me in the end. My sacrifice is not getting time to stop and plan experiences that I want rather than just doing things that plop into my lap.
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
MB: Hmmm this industry has a lot of women so my initial struggles were more about not being connected or having a fashion background to reach out to people in the industry already. Over time, I’ve scraped and pushed to get my foot in the door. With my expanded focus, my biggest struggles have been gaining entry into corporations to conduct professional development training. Being a woman isn’t holding me back ; it’s just a factor I have to consider with every transaction.
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
MB: “All money isn’t good money”. When you start to focus to heavily on the dollars, you can lose sight of your purpose and I did it. I have two clients that I should never have worked for but I “needed” the money so I did and in both instances, the relationships went south!
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
MB: My greatest failure is really a collection of failures: my laziness to not push when I needed to. I’ve gotten “lazy” sometimes and the result has been I wasn’t afforded opportunities I could have been. While I believe that what is for me is for me, I also believe that when He opens a door, you’re obligated to walk through…and I’ve missed that a few times!
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
MB: Being asked to offer insight on Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday style and my first appearance in a September issue (Real Simple 2015)
DCF: What’s Next?
MB: I’ve developed a men’s styling tool available now called Wardrobe Syndicate and implementing soft skills development training for younger kids so they have the essential skills to become productive members of society.