From her life-changing fashion blog, Mel in Chanel, born in 2010 that has taken her around the world to her budding eponymous stylist biz, Melissa de Leon Styling (launched 2016), this local fab fash force exudes the self-made can’t-stop-won’t-stop (except when she’s with fam, eating or snoozing, of course) dream.
Here, de Leon gives us a snap of what a typical day in the life of a busy fashion blogger and stylist entails.
7 a.m. – catch up on email
I would like to say that I wake up at 7 a.m., but it’s actually the first time I hit the snooze button. I am not a morning person, so I set three alarms to wake myself up. Around 7:15 a.m., my second alarm will sound, I’ll hit snooze and immediately check my email (Bad habit, I know). I have three separate email accounts: one for personal correspondence; one for my fashion and lifestyle blog, Mel in Chanel; and the third for my personal styling business, Melissa de Leon Styling. With the ringing of my third and final alarm, I am fully awake and up at 7:30. I grab my computer and phone and stumble toward my coffeemaker.
7:45 a.m. – mental prep for the day
I am sitting at my kitchen table enjoying my first cup of coffee. In the past, I would have already sent out a few emails, checked all my social media accounts and begun my day of work, but within the past year I have learned to set a fixed time for both my businesses. When I graduated college three and a half years ago, I made the mistake of working on my blog almost 24-7 and felt as though I needed to be on duty all the time. It was easy to work overtime, but have since restricted myself to a typical 9 to 5 job. Now that I have a set schedule, I feel more productive and efficient! During these first few hours of the day, I try not to open my computer (sometimes I fail at that) and sit with my dog in my lap and savor my coffee.
9 a.m. – coffee, cookies and social media
Courtesy of @melinchanel
Although I don’t have an office to go to, I’ll head to my kitchen table to start my day of work. If I plan on working on the computer the majority of the day, I’ll camp out at Jubala Coffee or Cup a Joe off Hillsborough Street (their Voltaire is heavenly, especially paired with one of their many choices of cookies). I begin by checking in on my Instagram accounts (@melinchanel and @melissadeleonstyling) and planning any posts to go out that day. For my blog, I get paid through affiliate links for clothing I advertise and wear on my Instagram, or by participating in paid campaigns, so I post at least once a day on Instagram to keep up engagement and consistency. I have an Instagram post scheduler that reminds me when I need to make a post, so once I upload the images and link to the featured clothing, I sit back and let technology do its thing.
9:30 a.m. – check in on client needs
I check my email several times a day to see if I receive any collaboration inquiries, press releases or prospective client applications. At this point, most of my work for Mel in Chanel is finished, so I focus my attention on my personal styling business. I take a look at my email to respond to prospective client applications and pull out my approved client files to see which clients are priority. I’ll spend the next hour or two making a game plan for the day: pinpointing each client’s needs, assessing their budget and strategically planning which stores to pull from that would use my time efficiently. I also make sure I have a perfect understanding of each of my client’s styles. This will benefit me later when I go shopping for them. I’ll spend time calling a few clients or setting up meetings for our consultation. Every day is different, so I plan each day one day at a time.
10:30 a.m. – shopping cardio
By now, all the retail stores in Raleigh are open, so I take my folders, including my client’s sizes, requests, budget and needs, as I sprint through every store. Pulling for a client is a lot different than shopping for yourself. I grab things quickly and methodically — I don’t dawdle or contemplate. I am quick to make decisions because of my knowledge of their own personal style. Depending on how many clients I have, this process can take hours! Shopping, in all honesty, is my cardio. Thank goodness for the comeback of the fashion sneaker!
1 p.m. – lunch and family time
The time for lunch fluctuates every day. My favorite way to spend lunch is with my sister and her son. I have the freedom to create my own schedule, so my family time remains a priority in my life. When I have fewer clients to shop for or meet with, I will take the morning off and spend it with the two of them. I am very close to my sister, so seeing her and her son almost every day brings me such joy. These are the moments that I spend being thankful for my work and its flexibility. After lunch, I check in on social media and email.
3 p.m. – outfit planning
I return home to organize the clothing and accessories I pulled. I organize them by client and by date of priority and begin steaming everything and styling outfits. I have always loved puzzles, so I enjoy piecing everything together. My mind relaxes, and even though I’m working, I don’t feel as if I am. I start to see my client’s style come to life.
5:30 p.m. – dish or dine?
Another way I unwind is through cooking. If I am not eating out with friends or with family (some of my favorites are Brewery Bhavana, Gonza Tacos & Tequila, Red Dragon…), I’ll make dinner. Perhaps it’s that designer, creator and builder inside of me, but I love making good food. And, I love to eat.
Courtesy of @melinchanel
6:30 p.m. – dinner
Dinnertime! Regardless of if I am eating in or out, I make sure it’s a tech-free zone. I am on my computer or phone almost all day, and I need time to unplug! It’s time to appreciate the food that’s in front of me or enjoy the company of the people I’m eating with.
8 p.m. – everyone needs TV time
On a typical night, I am on my couch ready to watch one of the many crime shows or TV dramas. “NCIS,” “Suits,” “This is Us,” “Designated Survivor,” “New Girl” … I spend a couple hours catching up on all my favorites.
10 p.m. – next-day prep
I am in bed with my computer and my phone. I’ll check my email for the last time of the day and loosely plan a few Instagram posts for tomorrow. I’ll check the analytics of my blog and spend some time writing down my goals for the week and things I need to accomplish. Currently I am rebranding both my businesses, so I write down things to tell my rebranding team, Modern Monet, or find images online that evoke the feeling I want to convey to my audiences. I look at Snapchat, watch a few of my favorite blogger’s Insta stories and end the night looking at photos my sister has uploaded of my nephew.
Midnight – goodnight
CLICK. The light from my bedside lamp is turned off, and my day is done. I’ll comfortably nestle into my bed, reach for my phone and familiarly navigate to a page saved in my browser. Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” is the last sound I hear as I drift off to sleep.