Styled with Self-Confidence: With Brand Expert Jen Kem
When we at Democracy think about exceptional journeys made by incredible women, Democracy Clothing fan Jennifer Kem comes to mind. Jennifer, a San Francisco Bay Area-based marketing and branding expert, first became a millionaire at 32, lost it in the recession and rebuilt multiple million dollar brands, all while raising three children. Inspired by how she builds confidence from the inside out for herself and her clients, we asked Jennifer to share her thoughts on self-confidence and why she loves her Democracy jeans!
Self-Confidence is available in all shapes and sizes and for women, it’s essential to our courage to show up and shine as our true selves.
As a mother of 3, a leader to a values-driven team, and an entrepreneur whose mission is to equip innovative and disruptive women with the strategies and tools to own their voice and make an impact, there’s one attribute I’ve observed is a common denominator for success: Self-confidence.
Yet, so many women especially struggle with this because of the numerous responsibilities and perceptions, beliefs and judgments that we carry. I know this challenge well, because in my younger years, my relationship to my body was not healthy. When I was a pre-teen I attended charm school like my peers, and was told that I “should lose about 15 lbs” to be considered for their program.
I was only 11 years old, and it seeded a belief in me that being thin was the goal - which is why I truly appreciate Democracy’s principle of “Curve Equality.” No girl should strive to be thin because of shame pushed on her by other people.
As I grew into a young woman, I was constantly on diets, worried about the weight I had gained in pregnancy, and worked out religiously - not because of my health, but because I wanted to fit into a paradigm in my career. I felt that as a shorter, Asian-American woman I already had enough to contend with in my desire for upward mobility, and so I worked harder than most others, burning both ends to an extreme.
It wasn’t until I started to really look at my life and ask myself: “is this what I really want? Am I really happy? Why do I care so much about what others think about me or my appearance?” that I started to understand what confidence really meant.
That awakening question started my quest to understand why women like me downplayed our ambition and felt like we had to wear superheroine identities in order to have respect, yet still be feminine and demure and nurturing at the same time.
I started to study what successful women focused on - and not just financial success, in fact, that was the least of my desire to understand. I wanted to look at women who were choosing life on their terms, navigating the messy yet satisfying path of family and work.
Surprisingly the concept of self-confidence was an attribute that came up time and time again in my research.
Let’s define confidence, because I think the word itself can be a little intimidating.
Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for. Not true. Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed.
It’s been long established that the beliefs we hold – true or otherwise - direct our actions and shape our lives. In fact, self-confidence is a choice. And the great news is: With consistent effort, and the courage to take a risk, we can gradually expand our confidence, and with it, our capacity to build more of it! And confidence should not be confused with lacking vulnerability - in fact, it’s the willingness to be vulnerable and empathetic that increases our confidence to be more of ourselves!
Sometimes it’s as simple as literally wearing your confidence on your person. It’s one of my tricks to feeling really great when I’m pursuing something new or expansive.
In our work at the Master Brand Institute, our campus helps women entrepreneurs who have expertise turn that knowledge into an online business with offline impact - and in turn, grow their confidence while they share their gifts, talents and skills with the people who need them.
Because I build brands for a living (which really means that I’m helping to guide the next leaders online), I know how critical it is for us to protect the asset and for women to be in environments for their authentic confidence to grow and thrive. This is why I love the mission of Democracy Clothing, and their fabulous "Ab"solution Jeans. Any woman who wears these clothes can’t help but smile and feel a little bit of swagger (aka confidence) in their step when they wear them.
Jennifer builds up women and brands and when she wants to feel fabulous and comfortable, she does it wearing her favorite Democracy Clothing jean, the Indigo "Ab"solution® Itty Bitty Boot Jean, complemented with a fabulous fashion top. We love to see our pieces in the wardrobe of someone so aligned with our core mission: to help women embrace who they are, enhance what they’ve got, elevate their confidence and evolve their personal style.
Jennifer Kem is a San Francisco-based branding and marketing expert who gets entrepreneurs seen, heard and paid -- for being themselves. She’s the creator of the Master Brand Method: a framework to develop powerful brand archetypes that win customers’ hearts, leveraging Jennifer’s 17 years of corporate experience and her launching of multiple companies. With a roster of celebrity and emerging entrepreneur clients, she knows what it means to truly shine. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and check out her website.