For many of us, it’s a clumsy theory to own both creativity and financial savvy at the same time. But having those two skills at odds takes away from our ability to truly Invest well in our expression and in our businesses.
Having kicked a major spending habit, Deb Shepherd turned her love for style and hard-won financial accountability to write the blog Clothed in Abundance.
She joined Yellow this year for the Our Ownership Tour stop in Seattle, and today she breaks down how minimalism can give our wellness a freedom we didn’t have before.
Tell us a little about the Clothed in Abundance universe.
Clothed In Abundance is a minimalist fashion and wellness destination encouraging its valued readers to live minimally with an abundant mindset. Minimalism is essentially about how less is more. We often forget that it’s rooted in gratitude and staying conscious about more than just who designed our clothes but our soul.
At its best, minimalism is tailored to a person for how it can make priorities and our mindsets clearer. What does minimalism mean to you?
It means to intentionally simplify your life to focus on the important things without any societal pressures.
That pressure is so important to distinguish and refuse. How does minimalism help you get specific about your personal goals?
Minimalism definitely helps me to stay focused on what I value and discover ways to accomplish any new goal set before me. One of my values is the notion that my body, internally and externally, is my home.
So, I decided to shift to a predominantly plant-based diet (occasionally pescatarian if I crave “meat” or something) and I’ve actually stayed consistent with it. I only picked up more vegetables, beans, and fruits and noticed a drastic difference of not binge eating as much, desiring smaller portions, and overall happiness.
People get the misconception that minimalism is rigid but it’s actually fluid. As you evolve and grow as person, so will the things that you value.
Your blog began as “The Broke Minimalist”. “Minimalism” can conjure an image of a small, cold collection of expensive designer things but that title spins it with humor. What made you change your blog to Clothed in Abundance?
Thank you! The Broke Minimalist was a pivotal starting position for me. I was living a small town in Eastern, WA, when God spoke that name to me very clearly. I had never been SO happy in my life with SO little at the time.
Ironically 6 months after graduating college, I got a very high paying job in corporate. Over time, my values transitioned from humility and gratitude into this tangled mess of desiring a significant title and salary. [The name] was so scary because it was the polar opposite of why it was named that way.
I believe that when we make idols out of things, God has to remove them…and I pretty much became THE BROKE MINIMALIST. Regardless of what you believe, our words have insane power. I surrendered to God to my negative mindset, which catapulted me into abundance. Now, I can honestly say that I’m genuinely living in abundance. In an abundance of joy, of a larger space, of a great job (less money but way less stress), entrepreneurship, peace in my relationships, etc. I really am Clothed In Abundance.
Our readers may remember that you joined Yellow on their West Coast tour this spring! In your panel discussion, you mentioned that your videos about empowerment have outperformed ones about minimalism. What have your learned about your readers and the kind of content you want to create?
I’ve realized that I’m not the typical “fashion blogger” you go to when you want to know about the latest trends or how to style.
It’s totally shifted from when I started several years ago and I’m happy about that!
My valued readers definitely still want to see my style of new ethical or thrifted items with encouragement, real life talk, and minimalism. I’ve come to this conclusion based on what people request. To a degree, I’m in a committed relationship with my readers and I intentionally listen to what they want, while creating content that I like.
When it comes to being a content creator, it can be like “the floor is lava” for mental health. How do you choose how much time you spend on social media or writing with an audience in mind?
I’ve had to take a very long break recently from all social media and blogging. It was very hard but my mind was shattered. I was so negative and feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. The break really strengthened me to not rely so much on social media because if Instagram was to be deleted tomorrow, I’d still be okay. Also, I’ve learned my self-worth is not tied to numbers or a “following.” I’m definitely focused on how I can impact one person.
You write really honestly about how you overcame a pretty serious shopping addiction and practically about how to buckle down and beat impulsive shopping. What spurred the internal shift for you to take control of spending and justifying for it?
God revealed that I didn’t really desire him but I desired things to cope. So, $7 shirt here and $100 outfit there was just my way of coping with my mom getting ill or with a toxic work environment.
Society tells us that retail therapy is normal and it’s just what you do because life sucks. But God says that He has good plans for my life and that He desires to spend time with me. Once I decluttered my life I got excited about getting debt free and deepening my relationship with God. This is what really led me to minimalism.
What’s a goal or something you do on a weekly or monthly basis to prioritize your mental health?
In July, I made a goal to workout consistently have to workout daily or at least four times a week because I used to really struggle with depression and anxiety most of my life. The consistency part makes a huge difference in my overall mood and energy. Working out has made me more consistent in my other goals (YouTube, Blogging, and getting debt free).
Also, I switched to a therapist that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I’ve experienced a lot of trauma in my life, especially in the last three years so I need to step up my self-care. That has also made a drastic change in my thought patterns to be more positive and optimistic. I’ve started to feel more confident and I’m starting to see my truest self by actively making changes one step at time.
Who would you say are your style icons?
I know I can be deep a lot of the time, but my first love will forever be fashion. I’ve always looked up to the Olsen Twins, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Nikisha Riley. I’m inspired by people who dress effortlessly and clothed in confidence.
Anything new you want to try or are trying now?
I want to get into podcasting, and I have some other projects in the works, but that’s all for now. :)
Photos courtesy of Clothed in Abundance