Do Well Dress Well with Founder Chanele McFarlane

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Tell us a little bit about who you are?

I’m an award-winning consultant, speaker and writer passionate about bridging the gap between competence and confidence for women. As the Founder of Do Well Dress Well, I create content, build community and host networking events around topics like personal branding, networking, entrepreneurship, personal style, career advice and professional development. I’m also the Editor-in-Chief of the blog for Make Lemonade where I have the honour of interviewing some of the most inspirational women in Toronto.

 

What three words would you use to define you?

That’s a good question! I would say colourful, friendly and inquisitive.

 

What inspired you to start Do Well Dress Well?

I initially started Do Well Dress Well as a creative outlet that I could work on outside of my 9-5 job. I felt as though I didn’t really have anything I could call my own and I needed a place to talk about the things I was passionate about - personal branding and style. In all honesty, I had no intention of ever making it into a business. However, once I started to build an audience, I began to see the potential and I have used audience feedback, analytics and my own creative intuition to expand it into what it is today.

 

What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting your Do Well Dress Well?

I know, it’s probably expected that I say leaving my full-time job in November 2017 is my biggest accomplishment but if we’re really being honest, my biggest accomplishment is my personal growth. What has been so fulfilling for me is watching myself evolve into the woman I’ve always wanted to be. I was a complete introvert prior to starting Do Well Dress Well and within two years, I’ve become so comfortable with speaking in front of others (especially on topics I’m passionate about) and speaking/leading workshops is a core part of my business. I’ve also become more confident in pitching myself to others and I’m able to go after the opportunities that I want. Most importantly, Do Well Dress Well is the first thing that I’ve committed to long-term. I had a really bad habit of starting things and not seeing them through to completion. I’d either get bored of it or if I encountered a challenge, I’d just drop it. The fact that I’ve been able to do this for over 2 years consistently is a big accomplishment in and of itself and this is how I know Do Well Dress Well is something I’m meant to be doing. I truly believe it’s why I was born.

 

What has been your biggest lesson throughout your entrepreneur career so far?

I need to become comfortable at saying no. When I first started, I wanted to say yes to everyone and everything. I felt as though I had to get my name out there and any opportunity was a good one. Unfortunately, this has caused me to experience serious burnout several times over the last two years. I’m the kind of person that loves to please people and I give way more than I ever receive. It’s just who I am and although I don’t regret this, I’ve had to learn how to get better at knowing my limits because I’ll be running on empty yet I’ll pour into other people before I realize I need to pour into myself. Success as an entrepreneur is heavily reliant on relationship building and providing value but before you can do that effectively, you need to value yourself.

 

I see that some of your work was featured in Her Agenda, I absolutely love the creators and the ideas behind the agenda. Can you elaborate more on your piece that was featured?

Yes, I’m excited to be a contributing writer for Her Agenda! My first piece was on How to Stand Out as a Panel Speaker as it’s something I wanted to write about for a long time. When you’re not the keynote speaker and you’re sharing the spotlight with others, you have to be a lot more strategic with your presence to ensure that you provide value and leaving a lasting positive impression. I walked through the key questions you should ask the event coordinators so that you can prepare your messaging and outfit accordingly. I’m all about making intentional decisions and so my goal with this piece was to highlight why it’s important to plan ahead time when you’re speaking on a panel. If you’re not creating a full presentation, speaking on a panel may seem like you can just show up and improvise but it requires just as much preparation to ensure you leave value and, of course, receive value whether it’s right away or later down the line.

 

What advice would you give someone who is trying to define their personal brand/image?

Be very clear on who you are, what you want to achieve and more importantly, what your values are before you start looking for inspiration from other people. I say that because it can become so easy to get caught up in what other people are doing and if they’re “successful”, you’ll convince yourself you need to imitate them so you can be successful too. I’ll use myself as an example. I knew before starting Do Well Dress Well that I wanted to impact women but once I began to build a social media presence, I felt as though the only way I could get noticed was that if I added a fashion blogging component. I would dedicate so much time (and money!!) to buying outfits and paying for photographers to take photos of me. I’d get so stressed out if I hadn’t taken an outfit photo in a while or if I didn’t have a new outfit to shoot and eventually this made me miserable. I realized that I didn’t start Do Well Dress Well for this and that I lost sense of what I wanted to achieve. That’s why towards the end of 2017, I began to transition the content on Do Well Dress Well and I changed the logo and brand colours as well to reflect the new direction I’m going in - the direction I should have been going in all along. Instead of spending money on outfits and photographers, I’d rather spend that money to invest in other women to attend networking events. Instead of worrying about what to post on Instagram, I’d rather create a workshop or write a series of valuable blogposts. I am so much happier and fulfilled now.

 

What are some of your plans for 2018?

Well, my word for this year is visibility. When I was working full-time, I was very careful about how visible I made myself on social media but now that I don’t have that as a concern, I feel like I have to make up for lost time! I’ve been expanding my presence both online and offline to build more awareness around Do Well Dress Well as a brand, and myself as an entrepreneur. I plan to host a lot more events and workshops, build new partnerships and launch a shop with digital and physical products. I’m also in the process of transforming Do Well Dress Well into a social enterprise as my goal is to provide financial support to millennial women in Canada. My focus this year is on creating things that will leave a lasting impact, hopefully for years to come.

 

What is one thing you would like the readers to know about you that they may not already know?

If you want to win me over, buy me popcorn. I’m not kidding. I’m obsessed with butter popcorn, especially from the movie theatre!

 

Where can people connect with you?

Everywhere! You can connect with Do Well Dress Well on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and of course, on the website. You can also follow me personally on Twitter and Instagram and connect with me on Linkedin!