By: Krysta Kearney
“Moxie to me is tenacity. Embracing yourself, stepping out from the crowd, beating your own drum, rising and still going on.”
Apparel stylist, Brandon Dewyea is all this and more. She is the proud owner of Moxie, a consultant company designed to provide services to help men, women and teens find their own sense of style and gain confidence. She doesn’t just talk the talk or even walk the walk, she helps people find their inner Moxie, unleashing their true selves. Her ideals in life match those of her business where she finds strength in helping people gain confidence by breaking down and recognizing what matters most, their true selves. She helps people simplify their lives by filtering out the unused for the purpose to sort what’s necessary, making people feel good, getting them what they desire, and focusing on what’s important to them. This is both in a cognitive sense and on a physical level. She provides services such as closet edits, personal shopping experiences and personal brand development. All are meant to help her clients bring out the best version of themselves and have a successful everyday lifestyle. This not only gives them confidence in how they look but also how they approach life.
Dewyea had noticed that there was a lack of services offered in the fashion industry helping people discover their own personal style no matter what the budget may be. There was a gigantic gap between designer fashion, (what is affordable for the rich and famous) versus fashion to fit the needs of everyday people. As she researched, disparities became increasingly visible and the relevancy of them even more meaningful. The year was 2012 and Dewyea was in pursuit of finding a new career that best fit the recent changes in her life. She had already made the big life decision of leaving her home of a decade in Burlington, VT to foster her relationship with her partner in Saratoga Springs, NY. It was unfamiliar territory for her, as he had a young son and she was stepping into a motherly role. It was important for her to be conscious of the fact that she became a parental figure. While getting acclimated to her new environment she focused on networking and attending a variety of different events. Through this, she spent quite a bit of time getting ready, looking presentable and finding what fit and what didn’t. She decided to start pushing the bar and dressing in what may have been a bit outspoken or against the contrary of what would be expected. One day she recalls deciding to wear a sparkly skirt even though it was a bit daring given the occasion.
“It was a very pivotal time for me because I don’t feel like I was someone that was insanely self-conscious (in terms of what I wore or how I felt) but it was very freeing and the evening took a turn. I realized that I felt different in how I engaged that evening and how I showed up. I started to get more curious with my life. Where was there room for improvement with that? Looking at the psychology of how that happens and how it can be a slippery slope. There’s got to be a way to do that better.”
This sparked her into looking at what’s available for the everyday person including resources and support. She wanted to find a way that she could help bridge the gap between fashion and accessibility. The capital region had a lot of stylists that mostly worked specifically with name brands or were geared towards women. There was a lack of availability to all demographics, ages, and financial statuses. The more she researched, the vision for Moxie started to flourish and she was able to see how she could bring inclusivity in fashion to her community. This is when Moxie was born.
Much of her influence both in career and life is retrieved from her childhood, where she grew up in a quintessential New England lifestyle in the small rural town of Underhill, Vermont. Her mother (being the independent woman she is), strived hard to create the most exemplary atmosphere she could for both Dewyea and her brother, encouraging self-expression and discovering their own personal freedom. Her days were spent outside, frolicking in the gardens and observing her mother as she prepared all their meals from scratch while maintaining her eclectic yet pristine household. She attributes both her creative and sustainability-focused consciousness budding from here. It was an idyllic life. Much of their food sourcing was from their garden and local farms, their clothing and household goods were often second hand and in general, they had to be aware of where they sourced everything. From a young age she learned how to be resourceful and took note of the ways her mother was able to take all these pieces and create a copasetic and inviting home. Everything was meaningful and held its purpose while still looking proper and fit. The textiles and fabric on the interior spaces as well as the layers of flowers and colors outside appeared seamless even though all was pieced together on a very strict budget.
With her parents having separated when she was just three, then divorced at the age of five, she grew up in two different homes. The home environment that her father created was similar in that it was a healthy and happy space yet it was different in that her father was remarried and they had the financial resources to provide new and name-brand apparel as well as home furnishings. Growing up in these two disparate spaces reflects in everything that Dewyea does, including her own business. She understands a broad spectrum of styles, taking influences from high fashion as well as creating looks while on a budget. Almost seamlessly she adapts to life’s spontaneity of social and environmental changes.
Although Dewyea had a fortunate childhood, it did present it’s challenges. The divorce was hard on her as she always needed to be adverse to change and oftentimes felt stuck in the middle, centering around her parents' differences. Her mother enrolled her in ballet and it played a large role in her life.
“When I was younger, (kudos to my mother) she got me into ballet and I was on the path for professional growth. It was really exciting and I hit a roadblock with my father who was not ok with that. So I left it for a while and came back. It really impacted me to be honest with you.”
In high school she struggled in terms of happiness. She was upset, her dreams of being a ballerina became less and less visible, it was a hard time in her life. The one thing she loved had been taken away from her. At this same time, she had entered a new relationship, her first love. He was five years older than her and shortly after they got together, he moved to Arizona. They kept their relationship going and just prior to turning 17 she took off and made the big move west to Arizona and pursued love and lust. At 16, this was quite the move! It was necessary for her own personal growth and freedom. It also helped foster her relationship(s) with her parents in the long term. Looking back, she is so thankful her parents let her go and can’t imagine how hard it must have been for them. Having left so young, she feels like she missed out on some important years with family which is the main reason she eventually moved back east. The time was healing for her. It’s where she found her identity and started to grow into the woman that she is today.
About a year and a half into living in Arizona, she and her boyfriend parted ways. She went to college for business and as a hobby got heavily into kickboxing, which then led to martial arts. Casually one day, one of her girlfriends who was serious about losing weight approached her and asked Dewyea if she could help. Through helping her friend achieve her physical goals, she realized how much she liked helping people and started her career to become a personal trainer. Once she got all her certifications, she became a trainer and taught kickboxing as well as a variety of other group fitness activities. She did this for a few years before moving back to her home state of Vermont. She longed to be closer to family again and to start her life anew, back on the east coast.
Once back in Vermont she quickly discovered she had to adjust to the fitness community in Burlington as it was completely different from what she knew. In order to maintain a full-time work schedule, she bounced from gym to gym around the city. About four years into living in Burlington she launched her own personal training business. The switch was a no-brainer for her and without a doubt a strong career move. It was time to do things on her own terms. She was embedded in the community and had a lot of support from other local entrepreneurs and figured what’s the worst that could happen, she could always fall back on what she had already been doing. She was no stranger to taking risks, once she started working for herself she has never looked back.
“There’s something beautiful in looking at experiences and decisions that you make as not being mistakes. Not looking back on things as mistakes...because we are so hard on ourselves. It opens up opportunities that we might not have seen or taken.”
Dewyea ran her own personal training program successfully for years and was fulfilled living in Burlington but the relationship with her boyfriend (who lived in Saratoga Springs) had reached a point where they wanted to take the next step and move in together. She had already been a trainer for fourteen years and as much as she loved it, she knew deep down it was time for a career shift. The industry was changing in a way that she didn't quite agree with and she knew it wasn’t in her heart anymore, she didn't have the energy to start the business all over again when moving to Saratoga. She saw the move as an opportunity to rebrand. She and her boyfriend evaluated how they wanted to spend their time and how they wanted to raise his son. She questioned where she fit in the picture and what her new career would be. This is when she started networking and attending various events, which eventually led to Moxie in 2014.
“I was off-balance because I worked a ton and realized, ok this comes at a cost. It’s easy to slip into overworking. It took me a very long time to set boundaries and realize the domino effect in the bigger picture. Of course, like a lot of things you don’t know until you're in it and it isn’t ideal. How do I change that? It's ok to give yourself the permission to do that and advocate for yourself, especially in your own business because you can’t blame it on your boss.”
In her personal life she felt like she was always under pressure. She put so much emphasis and care on her new role as a partner and parental figure that she was starting to lose sight of who she was and what she wanted in life. She had great intentions, wanting to create a wonderful environment for the child and her boyfriend but she started to be less concerned about herself and realized that wasn’t ok. She understood quickly what it might be like to go down a path that could lead to depression. She got a glimpse of it and it didn’t feel good.
“I saw how quickly you can get swallowed into just losing yourself. By no means was I a parent (I won’t claim that). I kind of never understood why would you go to the bus stop in PJ’s and why would you not brush your hair, I didn’t really get it. I started to get it very quickly, and thought ahhhhh this is interesting.”
Thankfully she was able to catch herself and lift up before things ever took a turn. She realized her relationship with her partner wasn’t working, that she wasn’t fulfilled and it wasn’t right for her own needs, nor was she for him. She started to focus on herself and how she fell into her own bigger picture and stopped focusing on someone else’s. What were her goals in life and how could she move forward with the intention to fulfill them? Once she started recognizing her own values again and putting them first, everything started to come together. As she researched more about fashion, lifestyle choices and fulfillment in life, she discovered what she needed.
“Be committed to a journey and goals that also put value in putting time, care and energy into how you're taking care of yourself...what you’re putting on every day. It doesn’t need to be about dressing to the nines, it doesn’t need to be about impressing other people, it's about you. I feel there’s a massive correlation in terms of how we ‘show up’ affects how we engage with our partners, our children, our co-workers, or colleagues, our...everywhere our day takes us! It's a huge thing.”
Moxie is all about lowering people’s stress levels. Dewyea says in a lot of ways being an apparel stylist and a personal trainer are similar. Much of the engagement is the same with clients and many of the same battles are fought, just in different formats. She helps by implementing new strategies in her clients lives, finds what their skills are, figures out what styles they like; all while paying attention to their financial needs! Yes, there are certain packages and prices she offers but she notes that pretty much every client is custom so her services are a la carte. Each and every client relationship is treated differently as everyone has their own unique style and life! After their sessions, it is important she knows the integrity of their closet is in a better place for the next season. She aims to eliminate patterns that clients have had in the past of having a bunch of clothing that never gets worn and promotes a negative environment.
“As a woman, I love the fact that I can work with men, women and teens and there’s so much cross over there. As a society, we tend to think that women are the only ones who have challenges with their clothing and challenges with their bodies and it’s just not true. I mean men have just as much and of course teenagers have a totally different challenge. It’s very eye-opening to see the uniformity and similarity amongst the different genders and that everybody else can identify with.”
Typically, Dewyea performs a closet clarity session where she analyzes their closet and identifies clothing that goes unnoticed, what should be eliminated, and teaches how to pair certain items with others. They tailor pieces that don’t fit and rid of clothing that doesn’t get worn. She also shops for many of her clients and brings her finds back to her space, creating a desirable environment for them to try the clothing on and see what works and what doesn’t.
In June of 2020, Dewyea took on a new and larger space. This was a big leap for her, it was during the pandemic so she had to put a lot of trust in herself and in the world, hoping that the economy would bounce back. Now, in July of 2021, she is already seeing the benefits of the space. A lot more possibilities have opened up for her. Soon she plans to host workshops again and start creating video tutorials.
“It's an opportunity where they basically get to have a glorified closet. I shop for them, they come to the space, we can try on things together, there is no obligation for them to get anything. It’s spacious, well lit and clean. I’m able to shop local, online, go to the city…I’m just able to provide a wider reality for them but it also gives them a richer experience.”
Not only is she giving clients support but she is also helping them make decisions about clothing that fits well, looks good, and coordinates. She wants her customers to feel both confident and comfortable. How do people want to show up in their lives and implement that into their everyday? Dewyea helps people make mindful purchases, there is nothing more rewarding than when she saves people more money than if they had been shopping themselves. In talking with Dewyea about this, she recalls some instances that stand out. Such as helping a woman who had just graduated from college, stepping into her career, and being confused as to what to wear as a professional. It’s challenging, especially on a low budget.
“How lovely to be able to catch her as she is stepping into this place in her life and morph her into something that makes her feel phenomenal and awesome and be in alignment with her professional setting.”
She also spoke of a male client, a man that feels like the odd one out and uncomfortable with his shape. He is fresh out of the military and never really had to think of the clothes he dressed in. Then, there is the women who have gotten lost along the way. Fashion and dressing ourselves is not something that we are taught. As life takes you it gets more and more confusing. As our lives change, our bodies change. Dewyea loves witnessing the transition of people recognizing they are beautiful and handsome and how simple tweaks in their wardrobe can make them feel so much more confident.
“We go through so many transitions and I think a lot of times we don’t reevaluate how we’re doing that part of our lives. Do we have too many clothes that we aren’t using? How do we feel when we step into our closets? Are we surrounded by things that don’t fit us and that usually brings up shame and frustration and embarrassment and that brings nothing for our confidence?”
Sometimes the sessions can be very emotional. Trauma from the past, unwanted memories and even happy thoughts can conjure up feelings. She explains this is a good thing, it also helps her understand more about who they are, where they are in their lives and helps her make a difference beyond just their sessions. It can help translate their findings into an everyday lifestyle. She likes to encourage people to explore but to also feel safe while making these transitions. People break down and feel discouraged, they may be fed up with their closets, or have an event to go to where they feel the need to impress or just don’t have the capacity to think. Usually by the time someone reaches out to her they are open to her advice because they are ready to do something about it.
“My goal is to advocate for them feeling amazing and looking amazing and I definitely will speak up if they look like a buffoon and I’m going to hold them to their greatness but I want to do that together. So I give them a lot of free-range to feel all the feels.”
During the closet sessions they get so much done. She says that people also enjoy just having the pressure off themselves. It's a lot easier to have someone else go through your closet and help you reason with certain garments and styles. It doesn’t have to be all on them.
“It’s interesting how so many people feel inadequate because they can’t figure out this part of their life and they feel stupid. They don’t look at it like, ‘This is just an area that I haven’t been taught, like how I haven’t been taught how to change a tire! Why am I so pissed at myself about it?!’ Probably because it’s emotional, it feels heavy, it’s messy, it isn’t as straightforward as changing a tire.”
There is a lot on the horizon for Dewyea. Currently, she is in a state of reorganizing and structuring her business to better fit her future needs. Recently she created quite a few clothing designs that she plans to continue to work on in hopes to potentially launch. She noticed there are a lot of items on the market that don’t work well for her clients such as underwear, camis and a variety of wraps. In addition she wants to create more online experiences and tutorials on how to help people to present themselves better and with more confidence. She also is seeking more public speaking jobs. Dewyea is always in the pursuit of simplifying people's lives and making them feel better about who they are. What she does helps people feel way more confident about approaching the world and whatever obstacles life throws at them. By shifting integrity in attitude and someone's approach in the presentation of themselves, she assists in changing people's lives forever. Many of her fearless moves in life reflect in her acts of kindness and words of encouragement towards others. Dewyea learned a long time ago what it takes to Find Your Moxie and with spending her career helping others do the same, she uplifts and inspires. Please check out Moxie’s website to see the array of services that Dewyea offers and to learn a bit more about who this Fearless Female is!
Here are the links to the Moxie website and her social media pages!
Q + A
Q: What are some of the biggest words of advice that you give people in terms of self-image?
“Take the time to get curious about your style and what you’re drawn towards. Feeling comfortable in your own skin, what does that mean? Take the time to get curious about what does it feel like to be in your own skin and what are those things that make you feel more comfortable and that can complement and build your confidence.”
Q: Do you have any insight for women?
“Wherever they’re at in their lives, being animate about discovering you. Life, work and balance. Self-care and what’s important to you. I feel that all those areas should be nurtured and I wish it were something that we were taught. What the heck does that look like, why is it important and how do we do it!?!”
Q: What keeps you motivated?
“I can be a workaholic and can get swept into being very serious, I’m definitely a deep thinker. (1) I spend a lot of time working on mindset and I recognize I just need to throw on some great music or roll the windows down and scream...whatever (it may be)! (2) Staying connected to certain podcasts that really excite me and keep me grounded and focused. (She highly recommends David Neagle - The Successful Mind and Kara Loewenthei - Unf*ck Your Brain) (3) Definitely staying on a regimen of things that keep me going through the day really helps. Cleaning up things that are toxic in my life. Setting more boundaries and being ok with that.”
“If we take the time to get really crystal clear on nurturing that mindset and building that muscle which also leads to our confidence and how we do everything, then there’s that ripple effect. If we take the time to nurture that (when you’re in those situations that give people set back and when you’re in those situations that is causing you frustration or disappointment) you’re muscle of that confidence and your resilience and what you are advocating for, it's like a barrier that becomes so much stronger.”
Q: What does the word Moxie (Moxxi) mean to you?
“Tenacity, embracing yourself, stepping out from the crowd, beating your own drum, rising and still going on. Just do it anyway! If you look at our history, what we just went through, there’s so many reasons not to get up. We need to stay connected to our personal selves and what we identify with. Therefore to me, Find your freaking Moxxi and what that means to you and own it and love it, know it can change and that’s ok.”
Q: Do you have any mentors or role models?
“My mother has definitely been a big one, she was an entrepreneur and has a love for fashion and there are just so many women from our history, I mean Rosa Parks, Oprah, Amelia Earhart; the list goes on.”
Q: Do you have any favorite quotes?
“A woman Is like a teabag, you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” - Eleanor Rosevelt
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” - Eleanor Rosevelt
Q: Any advice on taking a leap?
“It doesn’t feel like anything special to me, I guess. We can get so stuck in feeling your life needs to look a certain way and you have to do X, Y and Z. Thankfully we live in a time that there are so many choices and resources to get there, I think we can get stuck feeling it's got to be a certain formula, it's got to be a certain way. We can get very stuck in our heads and get very fearful, do you do it more the traditional way or the conservative way? Thankfully that is changing.”
Want to find out more about how to Find Your Moxie?
Click on these links below!