Growing up, Amber Duncan enjoyed giving her friends makeovers, but she didn’t style her friends because she wanted them to look a certain way. She simply wanted them to feel incredible. Now, with her boutique subscription styling service, Jackie, she’s able to help thousands of women look and feel their best. With Jackie, Amber has empowered women across the country and created a community of ambitious go-getters. She’s not just building a wardrobe, she’s building a movement, and there’s so much the Thrive Global community can learn from this incredible entrepreneur.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Amber and asked her to weigh in on self-care, women’s confidence, and the purpose her work brings to her life. Here’s what she had to say.
What one piece of advice do you think is most important for women to hear right now?
You are enough. Women are such dynamic creatures. There is a reason they say behind every great man is an incredible woman. It speaks to the power that women possess! I grew up going to a strict, Christian school that downplayed women and what they were capable of, which really didn’t sit well with me. When I acknowledged the gifts God had given me to share with other women, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to create a platform that not only tells them what is possible, but shows them how to create that empowered lifestyle for themselves. Women are so hard on each other. My goal is to really learn the person sitting in front of me, get extremely vulnerable, share my personal story of hurt, failures and successes and connect with them on a level that lets them know I am for them. I am cheering them on and telling them that they CAN do anything they set their mind to. They CAN be a mom, a wife, a friend, and a business owner. They don’t need a degree. They don’t need to be validated by anyone. Each woman has the power to accomplish greatness within herself. She just has to believe that she is capable.
Why do you think clothes have such a substantial impact on women’s confidence?
I don’t know about you, but I find that when I really “get dressed,” I operate in a completely different way. How I suit up for the day is exactly how I relate to the world. Throughout my life, I have made it a priority to invest in myself both mentally, physically, and in the clothes hanging in my wardrobe. I have always believed in quality over quantity. When I suit up in pieces that make me feel like a million dollars, my confidence is directly impacted. How I relate with others and run businesses is tied to the level of confidence I am experiencing. Clothes are an essential part of looking and feeling your best, which I believe, has a direct impact on how you perform in life and in business each day.
How did creating Jackie help you find meaning and purpose in your work?
I am going to be honest and say I was coming out of a very difficult business partnership with two male partners who had, as most would say, betrayed me. I was in a season of feeling caught off guard and hurt by the entire situation. I had worked hard to contribute to the company I owned with them and could have never anticipated the way that they would hurt me. With that being said, it was the BEST thing that ever happened to me! Yes, you heard me right. I spent four years on a journey that helped me discover my self-worth and overcome my sick need to be validated. It was crazy the amount of work I had to do to grow and heal during this process, but I am so thankful it happened. I was a changed person because of it and it resulted in Jackie, a platform for women who I can share my own journey with and hopefully it allows them to heal and grow personally and professionally. Jackie combined my love for empowering women with my passion for great brands and textures. This platform has created a safe space for me to connect with women I would have never connected with in the past, who are doing some truly incredible things. I love being a part of their journey.
As a successful businesswoman with a busy schedule, how do you support your mental and emotional well-being?
I get this question so often and I always preach the value of self-care. I believe in first taking care of myself because if you don’t love yourself, you aren’t capable of loving anyone else properly. I workout daily and absolutely love the Peloton community. I travel frequently with my husband and five children, which allows me to shut off the noise and really spend quality time with my family. I have been blessed with an amazing husband who does so much to support me in what I do. None of this would be possible without his support. It is a tough world out there for women and some days it can get the best of me, but in challenging times, I choose to use those experiences to learn and grow. I see everyday as a gift that God has so graciously given me and I am grounded in that. I don’t have any other explanation as to how I have been so successful in business other than this. If I ask Him daily to guide my steps, He will, and my faith plays such an important role in my mental and emotional well-being. I feel blessed beyond measure and want other women to feel that same sense of peace and empowerment for themselves.
Why do you think it’s important that women truly understand themselves?
I have always had a coach. This started in high school when I was involved in sports and I saw the importance of that role and the impact it made on my life. As I got older, I was fortunate enough to find a coach who is still my life coach today, Thea Sommer from Beyond Ten Coaching and Consulting. I am here to tell you, life is one big game and having a life coach there for me was like having someone in my corner to call me out when I screwed up, but also remind me that I am capable of great things. My mission with Jackie is to be just that. I want women to understand who they are and what they are capable of. Sometimes it requires simply listening and creating the space for each woman to share openly without judgement. I want to empower each woman and remind her that the Jackie team is in her corner as she becomes who she wants to become. We have watched so many Jackie clients open businesses and thrive because of our conversations. These are women who would sit in our offices and say, “I could never do that” and if you saw them today you wouldn’t believe it. That’s what it is all about for me! I want to watch women do ten times more than they thought they could. All they need is that voice of positivity and encouragement along the way.