As the time neared for her three children to start their college journeys, homemaker Sarah Prochaska decided to take the on ramp back into the workforce. Becoming an independent cabi fashion stylist was the right fit for her: it afforded her the opportunity to earn income, address community needs, and be flexible with time for her family and herself.
Now that her children are grown, she and her husband are able to spend more time together enjoying each other’s company while cooking, golfing, and simply hanging out. They are also able to pursue new interests like pickleball. “It can be hard to enjoy all of the everyday things when you are in the middle of carpools, homework, sports and music lessons,” Prochaska says. “Try and slow down to spend time just being together doing ordinary things. Those are the times that your children will remember. As Gretchen Rubin says, ‘The days are long, but the years are short.’”
Get to know Sarah in this Smarty Mama Q&A — and take away some back-to-school style tips for yourself!
Q. How did you come into your later-in-life career, and what have you enjoyed most about the work?
A. I had been a cabi shopper since 2005 but had never thought about joining the business. In 2014, my husband and I were looking ahead to all of the years of college expenses; I decided it was time for me to think about adding some income to the family. I had not worked outside of the home since my son was 1, so I was very intimidated by my prospects. My neighbor was hosting a cabi show, and I was watching the stylist do her presentation… It all fell into place that this was what I was looking for. I reached out to another stylist friend and joined her team. During the last seven and a half years, I have met so many impressive women: not only my show hostesses and clients, but also fabulous stylists from the USA, Canada, and the UK.
Q. Why the cabi brand? What makes their garments unique?
A. Cabi is about developing into an entrepreneur, surrounded by beautiful clothing, while helping women feel good about themselves. I was drawn to that. Cabi simplifies the process of launching your business and is a company founded by women for women. Our designers create products women can feel confident wearing season after season. The design team works tirelessly to make sure customers can pair current purchases with items they have bought in past seasons. Plus, our garments are made to fit all women. The designers understand that women are not the same. Our sizing goes from 00 to 20 in many items.
Q. Tell us more about how cabi goes beyond fashion into philanthropy (and ways to get involved.)
A. The Heart of cabi Foundation was created 17 years ago after Carol Anderson started the company in 2002. Customers can purchase a Heart of cabi clothing piece in each season’s collection, where a portion of the proceeds from sales of that garment go directly to the foundation to provide clothing for women overcoming vulnerable life circumstances in stylists’ local communities. We have a Heart of cabi Week every year in May. Here in Charlotte, cabi stylists have partnered with Urban League of Central Carolinas to serve 80 women by providing each of them with five items of brand new cabi clothing.
We have also partnered with the YWCA Central Carolinas and served women who were participating in the Women In Transition program. On top of Heart of cabi Week, we also partner with Joni and Friends twice a year to provide new clothing to mothers and caregivers at their retreat. As a company, cabi has donated $64 million U.S. dollars in clothing and monetary contributions locally and around the world. Rounding up a cabi order to the nearest dollar for Make a Change contributes money to the education of Rwandan children; 8,150 children have benefited from this initiative to date. When stylists launch cabi businesses of their own, cabi will fund small business loans in their names for women in a developing country to build their own business; 18,650 small business loans have been funded so far.
Q: We parents like to make sure our kiddos’ wardrobes are ready when heading back to school. How can we do the same for ourselves, on a budget, during tough economic times — with fall fashion trends in mind?
A: Trends are all over the map this season! We feature several in our magazine The Notion. Expect lots of color that blur the lines between traditional autumn colors, including sky blue and lilac. Think lots of boyfriend jeans, Fair Isle sweaters, and lots of jackets. A statement jacket is a fun addition to any wardrobe. Cabi is great about having lots of pieces to help transition from one season to another — especially in Charlotte, where it stays pretty warm; we can’t typically wear a puffer jacket until December. I would recommend a great blouse or fun tee to add to your wardrobe for an economical move. Shackets (shirt jacket hybrids) are also having a moment right now because you can style them lots of different ways; cabi is offering two this season.
Q: Any tips on dressing for real life while maintaining style for moms on-the-go once the school season kicks into high gear?
A. Cabi has always stressed the three-piece look. Whether you’re wearing jeans, a tee, and a cardigan/jacket or leggings, a tank, and knit jacket, it makes for a pulled-together look. cabi stylists work hard to help women build wardrobe capsules with matching pieces so they don’t have to think too much, as well. The cabiTap app even remembers your past purchases and pairs them with pieces from the new collection. The app gives users an “Outfit of the Day,” allows you to ‘Favorite,’ and provides a platform to shop 24/7 and any cabi show that you are invited to. All of these supports remove the stress of dressing with style on a regular basis.
Q: How can those interested shop cabi?
A. Anyone can go to cabi online to shop, but it’s best to seek out a local stylist because we can offer you a menu of services: personal shopping in your own home or your stylist’s, your stylist dropping off a hanging bag of your favorites for you to try at home, virtual cabi Front Row Show or an in-home cabi Fashion Experience. (Show hostesses receive goodies and discounts.) A “show” is just a hostess and two or more friends, and they’re great ways to gather girlfriends for a time of fashion and fun! There is even “Curated by cabi,” which is a monthly, customized styling service suited to your budget. There are so many ways to build your wardrobe!
You can view the current collection at SarahProchaska.cabionline.com and read SarahProchaska.cabionline.com/blog for the latest styling tips, trends, and outfit ideas. Get social with Sarah on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.