Erica Strunkey is the CEO and founder of an image consulting and professional development firm called SincerelyGlamatrix. By using her platform to empower other through a fashionable sense, Erica is an influencer that shines her light through her brand. I had the pleasure to chat with Erica about what it takes to be a great content creator, the inspiration behind the start-up of SincerelyGlamatrix, and finding your own purpose in life.
What inspired you to become a life coach?
ES: “I graduated from Baruch College and have a background in Campus Recruiting for firms such as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. While traveling to schools all across the nation and meeting young professionals, I have noticed that many of the students especially students of color did not understand the importance of presence and how crucial it is to make the best first impression. Many of the students did not understand how to dress when meeting recruiters formally and informally.
I remember how hard it was for me to navigate through my academic career. While we were taught hard skills that would help us to do well on the job, there were no resources or classes around on “how to dress for success.” There were no classes that taught us what to wear and what NOT to wear to an interview vs. a conference or how to dress when you get a job within the corporate environment. As a person of color raised by Caribbean parents, there was a limit around the amount of guidance I could receive on how to successfully maneuver a career within the corporate world successfully while being myself. I did not know that there were professional do’s and don’ts.
I quickly realized that there is a strong need especially for People of Color, to feel supported in every aspect especially because there aren’t very many people in spaces we hope and dream to be in that look like us. It is important to address EVERY component of what it takes to get and keep good paying jobs which not only affect our livelihood as a whole but as a people. With a history of being intentionally held down in society, oppressed and systematically deprived of opportunity, it is important to make sure that we have the knowledge around presence and the confidence to bring our best selves to the world. It is time we change the narrative, time to create a future in which future generations can see more POC in high places. While education is key, presence is equally as important and we need to understand that the way we dress does something to us emotionally, boosts our demeanor, and aids in the power we can use to make a positive impact in our lives and the lives of others.
SincerelyGlamatrix was founded in 2009. While I was a Public Relations Intern for Sex and the City’s Stylist Patricia Field and Makeup Assistant on VH1 Love & Hip Hop, I always knew that I had a specific mission in life and it was to be one of the many that would impact the world in a positive way through my creativity and passion for fashion. My motto has always been to “Empower through the use of Fashion and Style.” This was the birth of the magic I am to share with the world.
Many ask where I got the name SincerelyGlamatrix. ‘SincerelyGlamatrix’ has a significant meaning and was creatively composed by combining the word “Matrix” which is defined as an environment or material in which something develops and the word Glamour. Intended to Sincerely assist in the glamorous development of one’s style.”
What do you think it takes to be a great content creator?
ES: “As I have been going through the motions of creating content and a brand that my audience can relate to, I always keep a few things in mind while making sure creativity, fashion, style, diversity and finding ways to alleviate the pain points POC face are at the forefront of it all. When anticipating ways to build great content the below are questions I ask myself:
- What is relevant to my audience? 2. What will capture their attention and have them engaged? 3. How will this impact them in the most positive way? 4. Is this content going to help my audience feel empowered and inspired?
What’s the best piece of advice you received when you were starting out in your line of work?
ES: “The best piece of advice I received when starting my line of work from numerous amounts of friends, family members, clients and mentors is to “stay true to myself and never give up.”
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about being an influencer?
ES: “My favorite thing about being an influencer is that I get to play a part in finding a solution to a larger issue that people like myself face. I get to play a role in the change of narrative. People of Color have a history of not being afforded the same access to opportunities, conditioned throughout history and prior generations to not feel good enough or equally qualified. Times are changing in a great way, now is the perfect time! We must all advocate for ourselves as well as our peers and our people. I want to share my God given gifts with the world in order to influence and inspire. When there is an opportunity to share my knowledge so that others can make use of it in order to enhance themselves and potentially the lives of generations to come, I jump right on it.
Believe it or not, my least favorite thing about being an influencer is when I hear young inner-city kids, or people that look like me feel disempowered. I dislike the way the fact that they do not feel like they can make it in this world. I remember hosting a “Brand Yourself” workshop for inner city High school students and asking them to name 3 of their key strengths. Many of them could not identify strengths. When asking them to name one of their weaknesses they had a list full. This makes me extremely disappointed in not only society, but just in the world we live in. I see it too often; I too was raised in a world where success was only for the strong and people did not know their personal potential. While this is my least favorite part, I also learn a lot from my encounters. I learn of the problems and issues that still exist and it helps me to understand that we as people have a lot of work to do.”
Tell us more about your platform, Sincerely Glamatrix.
SincerelyGlamatrix is a firm that provides 2 areas of the business:
Professional Development – I currently have partnerships with schools and organizations such as Bronx Community College, Baruch College, NYU, The All Stars Project, Bronx Community Board 6 and FAST Track to name a few. We design interactive workshops, seminars and presentations such as “Dressing for Corporate Success”, “Branding Yourself” and uniquely tailored workshops or seminars in order to cater to the needs of the members of the organizations and students. All of the workshops are interactive and aim to leave the attendees with knowledge that will help them feel empowered.
Personal Style and Image Consulting – I cater to personal clients that want to revamp, enhance or learn personal image and style with the below services:
- Body and Color Analysis
- Personal Styling, Virtual Styling
- Closet/Wardrobe Revamp
- Dress for Special Event Style Sessions
- Photo Shoot Styling
- Makeup Consultation
- Hair Style Consultation
- Nails Services Consultation
In moments of adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
ES: “In moments of adversity, I am a firm believer of looking for the lesson in everything. In any case where I have a specific expectation or want a favorable outcome and do not achieve that, I simply acknowledge that there is a reason why. I try to see what I may have missed, what I could learn, and how I can try in a different way in order to achieve my desired outcome. When adversity shows its face to me and I feel discouraged or disempowered, I try my hardest to transmute negative thoughts into positive thoughts and to see the good in every disappointment.”
What advice do you have for someone who hasn’t figured out their purpose yet?
ES: “My advice for people who have not yet found their purpose is to go within and get to know yourself as best you can. Practice self-love and self-care. You are the only one who knows the answers. Do not allow others, society, or negative thoughts to define who you are or what you are supposed to be. We were all given the inner guidance that helps to take us down the path we were set to walk. Life is a journey. Be sure to enjoy the journey by getting to know yourself.”
Has a mistake ever led you to success? What is success to you?
“Mistakes have often led me to success. There are many times where I became frustrated with the outcome of things and often criticized and ridiculed myself for making what I thought was the wrong choice or doing the wrong thing. It was long after where I came to the understanding that those so-called mistakes were serving my highest good. This ties back into the question about adversity. When we fail or make mistakes, it is because there is a lesson to be learned.
Success to me is being able to fulfill my life purpose, impacting everyone I come across in a positive way, having great relationships and connections with others and myself, and being able to show others that the world is their stage. If you can dream it, you can receive it.”
What’s your biggest goal for 2020?
ES: ” Gain more partnerships with big organizations & and meet Oprah and be hosted on her show.”
What’s your personal affirmation or a quote that keeps you going?
ES: “The quote that keeps me going is now my firm’s mission “Empowerment through Fashion and Style.” We are planning several community events for 2020 and are in the planning phase. In order to stay tuned, please stay in touch via social media handles as well as visit the website! “
About Erica Strunkey
I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY where I attended Cardinal Spellman High School. Since a very young age I have always had a passion for fashion and helping others to discover their own individual and personal style.
I use fashion as a way to creatively express myself, to inspire others and help them to feel empowered. I believe that confidence and success go hand in hand with fashion and owning your personal style. These characteristics are not just attributed to what we physically wear but are also outward reflections of how we feel about ourselves internally.
At the age of 8 I remember writing in a notebook what some would call today a business plan, I had no idea. I wanted to create a “One Stop Glamour Shop” where I envisioned having clients come to in order to be coached on how to style themselves in way that would make them feel comfortable, confident and empowered.