Pippa Leenstra

 

Pippa and I first met attending a business networking breakfast. We both recognised the #momstruggle of trying to do all things wife/mom/home well and then get some kind of work gig happening!

    I have since attended a few of her pop ups (well worth a visit for a great mix of local brands and Pippa’s incredible eye for what will work and suit your body and lifestyle), her website and instagram is always full of really practical advice. But for a real pivot moment? I recommend Pippa’s wardrobe detox.

    Pippa’s mission is making women (and men!) feel good about themselves. One of the ways, I find, Pippa does this is by simplifying things: Less stuff, only that which you love.

 

 

  • Can you share more about your background and upbringing? What has been most impactful in contributing to the woman you are today?

 

I was brought up in the small town of PMB in KZN. I went to an all girls school that was very nurturing and non threatening, I never experienced bullying, or the usual teen pressure to be cool etc. in my school environment which I now realise was quite a gift. I was raised in a very emotionally stable environment at home and I really think this helped me to have a clear and strong sense of of self. Both my parents are very real, authentic people and so it’s kind of all I know. I don’t seem to gel too well with people who aren’t like that as I literally don’t really understand them. I actually truly sometimes wish that I could be less direct and honest but it’s a skill I need to master still!

 

  • What has been a non-obvious turning point for you (either personally or professionally)?

 

I can’t say there was a particular turning point, it was rather a journey, post studying, that made me realise that I was frustrated and basically unhappy, and got me actively seeking out professional fulfilment. I studied at University and went overseas like most of my contemporaries at the time. It was fun at first and then it became quite fraught as I was feeling very unfulfilled and under-utilised in my job. I felt like I wasn’t contributing anything of value. I came back to S.A. feeling a strong need to make a difference somehow, to feel like I would have knowledge that I could impart that would be of benefit to the receiving person/s. I had a few interviews with some NGO’s, none of which worked out, I ended up working at a small ad agency that I really enjoyed, it was a beautiful environment with conscious, thoughtful leaders and we worked on some powerful projects that really did uplift communities.  However, after a few years I knew that I didn’t want to pursue a career in account management and work on brands that I wasn’t passionate about, and I dove deep into figuring out what my passions were - from working with animals to fashion! I even spent a day at an animal hydrotherapy centre to see if this was an option for me. Personal Styling revealed itself to me when I delved into fashion as one of my passions, I realised personal styling was a ‘thing’ from the Trinny and Susannah books and TV shows. They had a book called The Body Shape Bible and a few others that I read voraciously. I watched loads of tv shows on the topic of make-overs and dressing women etc. The concept resonated with me and I realised that I had a talent for it, that I could explore it without investing huge amounts of capital (that I didn’t have). I started practicing on friends whenever I could, giving free wardrobe detoxes. I then decided I wanted to get into it full time and so went back to London for a week to study a week long course on personal styling – I figured I couldn’t just start charging people if I hadn’t completed a qualification! I don’t use anything I learnt there but it was a nice excuse to go back to London for a week and it gave me the confidence to start asking for money for my services!

 

(EDIT:I am happy to say these questions obviously had Pippa thinking as she messaged me a few days later to add this piece:)

      I dated a farmer in the Eastern Cape when I was at university for two years and I spent a lot of time during the varsity holidays on his farm. My time spent there made me realise how little you actually need to be happy, because the farm was in the middle of nowhere and literally, if you had nice food and if I was warm enough everything else that I thought I needed, I didn’t actually need. I think that definitely shaped me in terms of my minimalist approach to my wardrobe and to my house, etcetera.

 

 

  • What advice would you love to give your 25 year old self?

 

Stop over-thinking! Follow an impulse and see where it takes you instead of being too scared to, you’re young enough to make it right if it doesn’t work out. Lighten up and go for it – give in to the wonderings…

 

 

  • Do you have any rituals, disciplines or self-care practises that help centre you?

 

I use the CALM meditation app almost every day, I don’t quite get to it 7 days a week, probably only 5. It is a wonderful way to take some time out for myself every day, it’s quick and easy to do. I try to do at least one conscious breathing technique every day, to either slow my mind down in the evening or to energise me when I hit a slump post the mid-day school run! I have recently started doing yoga from the youtube channel “Yoga with Adriene” which is great as even if you only have 15 minutes – she has a practice for you, and it’s free. I drink lemon water or rooibos in the mornings and it helps me to have a healthy day nutrition-wise. I’ll still smash chocolate or a doughnut when I feel like it but starting with the lemon water makes me feel like I’ve started the day right!

 

  • What are you reading right now?

 

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society. I’m all into fiction at the moment.

 

 

  • What books do you always recommend or have perhaps given as gifts?

 

There’s a book by Tosha Silver called Outrageous Openness and it literally changed my life. I tell loads of people about it, if I get a sense that they could benefit from it.

I really love fiction that is beautifully written - not literary masterpieces as I can’t concentrate enough for those, just something that is written in a way that really transports the reader, is my fave type of book.. All The Light You Cannot See is one that I love and the Tannie Maria books by Sally Andrews are the best!

 

oooOOOooo