Some people’s passions take them places they never dreamed of but for people like Shyra Ely-Gash it took her exactly where she wanted to go, to the top! She knew she loved fashion and basketball, and she knew she was going to achieve greatness. Where fashion meets sports you will find Styles By Ms. Ely “ I saw the window of opportunity and I knew I could do it, so I did.”
In an ever-changing industry such as the sport industry, it is imperative to understand what it takes to fill a role in the spotlight including what it takes to look the part. By styling the best-dressed head coach in NCAA basketball, Shyra Ely-Gash has mastered this area of the sport industry.
What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position?
My first job out of college was as an athlete in the WNBA when I was drafted to the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2005 and the vehicle that allowed me the exposure, was division I athletics at The University of Tennessee.
What drove you to pursue this type of career in the field of sports?
This was Plan A, I knew I was going to be a fashion designer and it just so happened that my parents had me always involved in sports, so mixing the two passions was ultimately what drove me to pursue this type of career. I knew I always wanted to be a business owner so majoring in Fashion Merchandising and minoring in business seemed to be the way in which I felt would easily allow me to do that and upon the change in dress code in the WNBA I saw the struggle people had transitioning and adapting so I saw this as a window of opportunity to do what I knew I could do.”
If you could pinpoint a milestone in your career that was a turning point for you what would it be?
When I was attending and playing at the University of Tennessee my assistant coach Nikki Caldwell accepted the head coach position at UCLA. I reached out and made the offer to style her. The conversation began with me saying, “let’s make this happen, you’re in LA and I can style you and keep up the reputation you have already established.” She said, “You make it official get your LLC and we can work this out.” So everyone around me knew what I wanted to do, and knew I could do it; I just had to make it official. From then on she received so much attention and word-of-mouth is what sent my name around. She was the best-dressed head coach in the NCAA and was getting recognized for her shoe selection and that’s when it really took off.
What has been the most difficult adjustment you’ve had to make in order to continue driving your career to the next level?
Two things: One, being a self-disciplined entrepreneur working for yourself, I definitely think being an athlete prepared me for it. In thinking back to training for basketball, if I wanted to get better I had to put the work in and if I did not I would not be successful. So I took the same approach with my business, if I wanted to have a successful business I had to put everything into it, there are good days and bad days; when I first started I got a lot of attention and then it dropped off, then picked up again, so those valleys are times that are tough, but those are the time you get to self-reflect and grow from it.
Secondly, would be the balancing of motherhood while being an entrepreneur, and not losing myself while putting everything into my business.
What do your daily duties typically entail and how do they allow you to continue to be successful?
Checking emails for inquiries.
Social media is a big part of my business at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. It can become a distraction but confining it to those times allows for successful use of the social media aspect of my career.
I have lists. Three things to get done for the day and a list for the week. Really just trying to knock those things off the list one by one, and taking it one by one.
There is a lot of project management, time management and organizational skills .involved and is a huge part of my daily duties that allow me to continue to be successful.
What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?
Throw out the concept of time because we all have this idea of when we want things done and we live in a world of instant gratification which contributes to those ideas and I think we limit ourselves when we say for example, “I have to be a millionaire by 25”, when realistically it is going to take some time. Just having the mindset of whether I am a millionaire at 25 or 40, at the end of the day I am still a millionaire. Living in the now and not worrying about when that success is going to happen, just know that it will happen.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate a success and why is it important to celebrate accomplishments?
I do not think it is important for us, the people who are accomplishing, to celebrate it. That is for others who choose to recognize and let you know they recognize your hard work. Just being humble, I remember Serena Williams saying, she never looks back at her accomplishments because if she sits in what she has accomplished she will not be motivated to accomplish more. I always want to do bigger and better, and it is not to discredit anything I have done, I just want to keep reaching for the top every time I have a chance. I never want to stay in the same place and especially mixing fashion and sports I always want to stay on top with the ever-changing industry. Once someone taste success they want to keep striving for greater and that is me.
What quote, if you lived by one, would you say is the one that keeps you motivated?
“Trust Him!” When things don’t go my way, I believe God’s plan is great and that gives me comfort and I don’t stress as much and that keeps me at ease.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is the immediate change in my clients for example self-esteem and confidence level. I love to see the transition when working with someone with no sense of style or they will refuse to let me take a picture of them, to taking selfies and sending me ideas for outfits. I just love to see how something on the outside can change so much on the inside. It is the warmest most fulfilling feeling to see such a change in how someone feels about themselves and realizing how I was able to help them achieve that.