Fidelity P.O.W.E.R.

Shelly Molaschi Does Business In Style


What’s Your P.O.W.E.R. Move?

“Just do it. I have entrepreneurial friends who have spent years perfecting their message, going to workshops, doing their paperwork and their videos, and not a thing has gone out. They haven’t made a penny in years.”

What’s your P.O.W.E.R.ful Advice?

“You are a lot more stylish and fabulous than you know.  A stylist may bring new eyes to what you’ve been looking at for years but YOU created your style, I just help you see it in a new way.”

Headshot of Shelly Molaschi smiling at the cameraWhen Shelly walked in for her interview with then-governor of Texas, George W. Bush, she had already done dozens of similar interviews with him and other local politicians. This kind of thing was part of her daily routine as a journalist and she came to the meeting knowing, more or less, what to expect. 

What she wasn’t prepared for was the future president to compliment her light violet purple suede penny loafers. “He made a comment, ‘I like those shoes’, and I laughed. He said ‘pretty good purple shoes, pretty good!’ and and we laughed together and I said ‘Thanks, Governor.’ And the next time there was a big group of reporters, calling to the governor, a situation where we all wanted that first question, he stopped and he looked in the crowd and he pointed at me. He says ‘Hey purple shoes you go ahead first question.’”

For Shelly, this moment was one of many clear examples of the value of a strong personal style. Now, as a wardrobe consultant, Shelly helps people refine their style and develop an outward presentation that reflects their best, most powerful, inner selves. 

Shelly recalls that during her years in journalism, she had “more confidence than I deserved because I knew I looked the role.” That sense of emp.o.w.e.r.-ment is what drives her work today. When Shelly works with her clients, her goals are to help them define a style that will work for them as a personal brand. To do this she first gets to know them as people so that she can dress them in a way that is authentic and useful to them. Part of this process involves helping clients “shop their closets,” meaning Shelly looks at what they already have and finds out what they like most and feel best in. From there, Shelly identifies a handful of key pieces to purchase (she loves to shop at thrift stores for both economic and ethical reasons but will go wherever the project takes her) that clients can use with what they already have to get that next-level style and the confidence that goes with it. Each of Shelly’s clients is different, and they have a range of needs. Not all of them have the patience or time to get runway-ready every day. “I’ll show you how to show up as a 10, and if I can get you to show up as an eight, fantastic. If the best you pull out is a seven, lovely. It’s better than where you started.”

How did Shelly go from being a reporter interviewing politicians to an entrepreneur helping people align their inner selves with their outer presentation? As is often the case, the path was not a straight one. After 9 years as a television journalist, Shelly left when the industry was undergoing some major structural transitions. She began a stint in “corporate America” that would last almost 10 years— long enough for her to start to feel unfulfilled and ready for a change. As she was pondering her next move, she had an “a-ha!” moment, courtesy of a phone call with her mom. “She called me up and said ‘I just saw the most fabulous lady at the library! Wardrobe consultant Pat Kwasigroch did a presentation on how to wear your jacket, and how to tie a scarf, and how to really have confidence with your clothes!’’ Shelly remembers thinking “‘I can do that! I want to do that.’ It was a big light bulb pop.” 

Like many entrepreneurs, her previous experiences inform her current work. For example, from her years on TV,  Shelly gets her conviction that the right clothes are integral to the right presentation, and the right presentation is integral to success. “As a TV reporter, stations would hire consultants to come in and tell us what the camera likes, how to do your hair, and how to wear your makeup. And that confidence—  of knowing I was dressed to the nines and knowing I looked like a reporter— is what let me walk into the governor’s office and interview him.” She’s also found new ways to apply the skills she developed on live TV.  “Being on camera again via zoom and all the social media was like putting on a comfortable old coat.  Who knew?  I am still good on camera! Only now I’m using the skill in a very different way: my way!” 

The same “progress, not perfection mentality” mentality that Shelly uses to encourage her clients to show up as a 7 even if they can’t pull of a 10, is integral to the way she launched and grows her business.  Some improvement is better than none, and it’s more important to her that she’s present and engaged with her audience than to ensure that every interaction is perfectly curated. “Before COVID-19 I would show up to every networking event. The reporter in me could walk in a room and talk to anybody, I could talk to a wall. I just I learned that skill because I’d had to put something on the news every night at 10:00. Being embarrassed or nervous was not part of the process. You just did what you needed to do.”

Now that things are virtual, Shelly applies that same approach to connecting with her customers remotely, learning new skills an as she goes. When it comes to social media, her first attempts were unpolished, but authentic. “I put the camera in my face and I said ‘Hi. I’m Shelly Molaschi. I have a tip for today.’ It was a 30-second sound bite: ‘give me a call. I can help’ and that was it. I used my phone, it was jaggedy. It wasn’t on a tripod and had no lighting but I posted it.” There was a learning curve with the technology, but “…you figure it out. I try to post three or four times a week, and now I have a tripod and lighting and I give it a little more effort but I just did it first one.”

For someone whose business is all about style, polish, and confidence, her willingness to go for it, even when it may not be perfect, may be a little surprising. “Just fly the ship as you build it” Shelly says, “nobody sees it anyway. It takes a year and half before they start paying attention to you. I promise, it’s a long, uphill climb,” she advises, “so don’t worry if you stutter, if it doesn’t come out perfectly. If your message is there, post it post it post it!”

To Shelly, this advice does not feel contradictory to the work she does helping her clients make a good impression. “As a news reporter,” she notes, “you are live on the air at 10 whether you’re ready or not. If I don’t have time to do my hair and makeup, I still have to pick up that microphone and say ‘Hi, I’m Shelly, reporting live.’ I always tried to put on some lipstick, but there have been many, many, times I’ve been told, ‘we’ve got 15 minutes,’ and I would just wing it, just get it out. Do I want my makeup on? Do I want to look nice? Yes! But I’m ok with getting 85% of what I want, and saying ‘that’s good enough. Let’s just fly.”

This attitude is part of what has enabled Shelly to keep her business alive during the COIVD-19 pandemic. There are few events that require dressing up for, and many of us have transitioned to spending most of our days in the most comfortable clothes we can get away with on a video conference— what’s a wardrobe consultant to do? On the face of it, it seems like it would be a terrible time to be shopping closets and talking about how to present your best self via your outfit. But, necessity is the mother of invention, and Shelly has taken this opportunity to network and build relationships in ways she’d never considered before. 

With everyone doing as much as possible remotely, distance is a barrier people are keen to overcome. Shelly has leveraged this moment to expand her geographical footprint. Now, she has clients as far away as England. She can shop the closets of these long distance (or local) clients via video chat, and feels that this new process is just as effective as in-person visits. Instead of going to local events, she’s found virtual networking events on Eventbrite. Will this strategy last beyond the constraints imposed by the pandemic? “Absolutely. My client pool just grew by the size of the world, I will never abandon it.”

Shelly Molaschi is a proud member of Fidelity Bank’s P.O.W.E.R. program for women in business. To learn more about Fidelity Bank and the P.O.W.E.R. program, click here or email Director of P.O.W.E.R. Liz Broekman.

Want to upgrade your style?:

Learn more about Shelly here.