Revelle Blog


On Career Shifts & Building Confidence With Storytelling Coach Carolyn Stine

August 26, 2021

Jacqueline Parisi
Jacqueline Parisi

“Women who are growing businesses and making more money make the world a better place.” — Carolyn Stine, @carolynbstine

Carolyn Stine doesn’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. Growing up in Connecticut with a stay-at-home mom and breadwinner dad conditioned her to think that’s what she had in store for herself as well. 

“I thought I was going to be married at 27, have three kids, and move to the suburbs,” said Carolyn. “That’s what I thought my life was going to be.” 

Life had other plans for this Brooklyn-based 34-year-old, who recently launched her own business as a brand, messaging, and storytelling coach after almost a decade in the corporate fashion world. 

“I am certainly walking a path I haven’t seen modeled before.” 

We caught up with Carolyn to learn more about how she approaches change, the reason she prefers working with women, how she sets boundaries around social media, and the best piece of advice she’d give to someone considering a career change. 

Tell me more about what convinced you to transition away from the corporate world, where you spent years working in the fashion industry. 

When I graduated from college, I started working in the fashion world. I thought it was interesting and was attracted to this idea of working in fashion in New York City. It felt so glamorous! My first job was at the Camuto Group, which owns Tory Burch footwear, Jessica Simpson…all these huge brands. From there, I spent time at Hugo Boss, then Club Monaco. But I never really felt synced up and connected to what I was doing. It was always a friction point for me, because externally I got so much praise and validation. People would say…Oh, you work in fashion? That’s fabulous! Do you get to go to fashion week? Do you get free samples? And all of those things were true, which made me feel like I was on the right path. I’m getting promoted, I’m doing something right. Because this is what you do, right? You follow the rungs on the ladder, and you proceed in a linear way. But I never felt incredibly fulfilled. 

I kept telling myself… Well, I guess that’s just the way it is. Everyone must feel this way, right? So I kept doing it. I kept getting the promotions, buying the expensive Chloé bags. I was with my ex (my boyfriend from college for six years) from the town next to me who grew up exactly how I did. And I was like…We’re going to get married, then I’ll quit my job and be a mom. This is it. I was laying out my life as I had experienced it growing up. And while I’d get these nagging feelings, I wasn’t super in touch with my intuition then, because I feel like we were never given this emotional, reflective toolbox that we have now. 

So you ended up leaving fashion?

I did. But first, in 2016, I started a food and travel blog on the side, Caro’s City. I also started my Instagram then too because it felt like a fun, creative outlet. After four years at Club Monaco running digital operations, I was like…Okay, I figured it out. The issue is that I don’t love fashion. I love food! So I’m going to do the same thing, but in the food industry. So I jumped over to Chobani, and within a few months it was clear that it’s the same thing, just repackaged in a different way. 

At the time, I was in a bi-coastal relationship between San Francisco and New York, and I was planning on moving out West. In all areas of my life, I was continuing to externalize…When this happens, I’ll be happy. And when that happens, I’ll feel a sense of fulfillment, which obviously we know is bullshit. At the end of that year, I realized that I wasn’t happy in my relationship. I wasn’t happy with my career. And I needed to figure out who the F I am and what I really wanted, stripped away of all the external “shoulds” and timelines. I was looking at the path that was handed to me, thinking…I don’t know if I actually want this. Is there another way? 

So I quit my corporate job, broke up with my ex who I was supposed to move to San Francisco for, and moved out of my Chelsea apartment. I essentially burned my entire life to the ground and was like…We’re going to figure this out. You’re the only one who can do it. Let’s start from scratch. 

Woman in blue dress standing on grass_Carolyn Stine_Revelle
Carolyn Stine | @carolynbstine

What did “starting from scratch” look like for you at the time? 

I started consulting and doing the same type of things I had been doing in my corporate job — marketing, websites, email, social media. Some strategy work, some operations. I built that business and ended up focusing on smaller brands within the food, health, wellness, and sustainability spaces, because that’s what I really care about. 

I was thinking…Okay, this feels like I’m on a better track. I’m figuring out how I want to structure my days around what I really care about and getting in touch with myself. 

How did your consulting business eventually transition into a coaching business? 

As I built my business as a strategist, I was joining a lot of different female networking groups and communities. As I began getting to know my peers, what I kept hearing was how much of a struggle content creation and messaging was for them, particularly on Instagram. And I found it fascinating because, coming from a writing background, it’s been easy for me, and I couldn’t help but think that it doesn’t have to be that hard. As I kept hearing it and hearing it, I had a lightbulb moment where I thought…I actually don’t want to be working with brands behind the scenes. I want to be working with women who are entrepreneurs, who are business owners, who are the brands themselves. To really help lift them up, to create a cohesive authentic foundation for their messaging so they can grow their businesses. Because women who are growing businesses and making more money make the world a better place. 

I started my coaching business at the end of last year and had my first client in January. It feels like the full union of: right thing, right people, right mission…all of it coming together. 

Woman sitting at her desk looking pensive_Carolyn Stine_Revelle
Carolyn Stine | @carolynbstine

The coaching service that you’re offering could presumably be for men or women. What draws you to working with women in particular? 

As a woman and having spent so much time observing women in relationship with themselves and with others, I think that we have historically had so many challenges expressing ourselves authentically. So much of our history has been about feeling responsible for the emotional experiences of everyone around us. Think about a woman, even in a group of girlfriends or in a relationship with a guy…whatever it is…you don’t want to shine too brightly because maybe you feel like you’re bragging. You don’t want to really let someone in on something sad that’s going on because you don’t want to feel like a Debbie downer. In so many relationships and in so many spaces, we’re dimming our lights and not sharing our truth. 

I see this carried over into how women are speaking to the incredible things that they’re doing in their business. There’s this watering down, this being scared to say the thing, to not come off as being likeable, to not come off as being humble…this is SO baked into SO much of our conditioning. But our people can’t find us if we’re not being totally and unabashedly ourselves and speaking our truths. When you’re able to do that, the quality of all your relationships is better, whether that’s a client who is able to really see you or a personal relationship. And internally, too. Because letting that shield down and letting yourself be truly seen is essentially freedom. It’s self-love in its purest form. 

You write on your website that “Instagram is not optional” in our day and age — a necessary evil, so to speak. How, then, would you advise someone who understands the need for a social media presence but also finds social media to be detrimental to their mental health. Or just wants to live a more private life offline.

Social media gets so much crap, and I totally get it. But like anything in our lives, it can be healthy or it can be toxic depending on what our relationship to it is. And I truly believe that social media is inherently neutral. It’s what we bring to it, or how we use it and approach it, that can shift it either way. It is our work to cultivate a relationship with it that feels healthy for us, and that’s going to be different for everyone. 

What are some specific, concrete ways those boundaries can come to life?

Personally, I unplug completely on the weekends, but I recognize that some people may love sharing their Saturdays and Sundays. 

Also, if you’re thinking about what to share or not share on Instagram, my rule of thumb is this: if any of your emotions or healing is contingent upon other people’s reaction to what you’re sharing, or validating what you’re sharing, then it’s not wise to post. It’s really important that we’re sharing on social media from a place of neutrality and not for a certain response, or validation, or attention. Think about it this way: are you sharing about a scab or an open wound? 

I imagine this has been an evolution for you as well? 

Oh my gosh, 100%. And it still is. Everything always is. In fact, I remember this one instance a couple of years ago when I was full-on blogging. I was in Charleston for a wedding, and a friend and I were out and about exploring. I was posting two or three times a day at that point in order to build up my following. I was so engrossed in it. One afternoon, we were sitting at this little beachfront cafe on Sullivan’s Island, and I didn’t get service. I lost my shit. I was like…Oh my gosh, okay, I have to go. So I literally left the restaurant and left my friend so I could walk down the street to get service and post something. 

In the moment, I justified it as something I needed to do for my business in order to grow it. But looking back, I have so much compassion and empathy for that girl because I had no boundaries and no separation around social media. It was all consuming, and I don’t see that as being a healthy relationship. 

Woman sitting on a bench on her cellphone_Carolyn Stine_Revelle
Carolyn Stine | @carolynbstine

Shifting gears a bit, I’m curious how your sense of style has impacted your sense of self, especially after working in the fashion industry. 

For so long, what I thought I was able to wear was influenced by what I felt my body looked like. I thought…I need to be a certain size in order to wear this, or that. It was also a way for me to “fit in with the tribe” and identify with others. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed more confidence to wear whatever I want, knowing that it’s just about how I feel in my body. That’s all that matters. 

My ethos now is that clothes, like anything else, can be such an act of self-love. I’m choosing to see it as a way to love myself, to express myself, to be with myself. Also — and this is something new for me — I’m hoping to be more thoughtful about who I’m supporting and where I’m sending my dollars to support female-owned businesses and sustainable businesses that focus on vintage. That would be an ideal for me. I’m so not there yet, but I’m hoping to get there as an extension of expressing myself, my brand, and my values. 

What advice would you give to someone who may be feeling unfulfilled with where they are at the moment but isn’t sure how to take that next step — or even what a next step could look like? 

Going inwards is such a great starting point. Just really getting curious and paying attention to things that bring you pleasure, things you desire. Where are those moments in your days or weeks — or even thinking back to your childhood — where you felt lit up? Where you felt like you were in flow? What were those moments when time stopped or went really quickly for you? Things that felt joyful or effortless, things that made you feel silly, and playful, and present? Doing that detective work to identify those things is such a great starting point. Because we can be so fundamentally disconnected from that. 

Trust is such a powerful word too, because change requires trusting yourself, trusting that you have the answers, and that abundance is your birthright and flows as a by-product of being in touch with yourself. 

[Interview edited for clarity]

show comments on this post (0)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

8 Tips For Styling Mom Jeans

10 Black Jeans We’re Loving Right Now

6 Best Jeans For Women With Big Butts

Q&A With Revelle’s Social Lead (& Thrift Shopping Guru), Katie Paganelli

On Career Shifts & Building Confidence With Storytelling Coach Carolyn Stine

17 Flattering Blue Jeans For Women In Various Styles & Washes

8 Best Bootcut Jeans For Women

7 Things The Revelle HQ Is Buzzing About This Month [August]

12 Of Our Top Plus-Size Jeans For Women

Q&A With Revelle’s Product Lead (& Classically Trained Actor), Brianne Wilson

12 Best Maternity Jeans On The Market Right Now

How To Wear Ankle Boots With Jeans (+10 of our favorite pairs)

This Is What The Small Pocket On Jeans Is *Actually* For

17 Most Comfortable Jeans In Our Closet

8 Ways To Tell If Your Jeans Fit Properly When You Try Them On

Around The World In Jeans: The Best International Denim Brands (& Styles) By Country

7 Things The Revelle HQ Is Buzzing About This Month [July]

10 Classic Straight Leg Jeans For Women

Representation Should Never Be “Revolutionary”

8 High-Waisted Ripped Jeans We Love

16 Best Jeans Under $100

12 Movies Starring Strong Female Leads

7 Cream-Colored Jeans We’re *Swooning* Over

21 Tweets That Perfectly Encapsulate Our *Complicated* Relationship With Jeans

12 Cropped Jeans We’re LOVING This Summer

7 Things The Revelle HQ Is Buzzing About This Month [June]

The Best Women’s Jeans On Sale Right Now [Updated 6/10]

8 Animal Print Jeans That’ll Spice Up Your Wardrobe Big Time

Discover The Fascinating History Of Women’s Jeans In The U.S.

22 Best Skinny Jeans For Women

Q&A With Social Intern (& Model, & Owner Of A Clothing Line) Madison Whittaker

15 Best Mom Jeans (2021)

8 Best Butt-Shaping Jeans

3 Revelle Updates To Get Excited About

7 Of The Best Travel Jeans For Women

7 Things The Revelle HQ Is Buzzing About This Month [May]

How To Fold Jeans: A Step-By-Step Guide

Q&A With Imani Ribadeneyra, The Marathon-Running, Social Media Maven Behind Revelle

Please Don’t Conflate A Pandemic With A “Creative Retreat”

How To Wear Jeans To Work & Still Look Professional

10 Tips For Buying Jeans Online That Fit (The First Time)

Model-Turned-Poet Ngozi Kemjika Opens Up About Her Self-Love Journey

8 Feminist Podcasts On Gender, Inclusivity, & Body Positivity

10 Best Jeans For Women With Strong, Athletic Thighs & Calves

7 Things The Revelle HQ Is Buzzing About This Month [April]

How To Pull Off The Classic Jean-on-Jean Look

10 Best Tummy-Control Jeans

Cutting Through The Oversimplified Archetype Of “The Parisian Woman”

Q&A With JoAnna Hartzmark, Founder & CEO Of Revelle

How To Properly Wash And Dry Your Jeans

12 Books With Strong Female Characters

12 Best Jeans For Petite Women

7 Things The Revelle HQ Is Buzzing About This Month [March]

Yes, You Can Wear White Jeans In Winter. Here’s How.

Q&A With Samantha Guidoin, Revelle’s Paris-Born, Florida-Bred Graphic Designer

7 Types Of Jeans For Women: A Complete Guide

Navigating Pandemic Pressures Around Weight & Body Image

TikTok Doesn’t Have to be Toxic

The Fitting Room: My Least Favorite Place on Earth

6 Best Jeans For Tall Women

Best Brands for…Small Waists and Big Hips

You Can’t Sit With Us

What’s Your Size?

Does Size Matter?

The Origin Of The Size Chart

Living Life To The Fullest

How To Waste A Life

Clothes Case: Bodysuits

What Our Closets Say About Us (Behind Our Backs, Of Course)

Would You Like To Try A Size Up?

Where Do Brands Get Their Size Charts In The First Place?

Greetings from Revelle

show comments on this post (0)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.