Celebrating Women Interview with Pippa Leenstra from Pippa J - Style it Simple
To commemorate the 9th of August 1956, and to celebrate all women, Maven is asking four incredible South African women a few questions. Let's inspire and learn from one another.
Interview #3: Pippa Leenstra owns Pippa J - Style it Simple
Pippa J is a personal stylist who focuses on a simple and minimalist style and wardrobe. She has built a phenomenal business and following while balancing kids and life as so many of us are trying to do. We love that Pippa is all about finding joy in what you wear.
1. There are many challenges facing women in South Africa today. Which ones have you been thinking about the most lately?
The mental overload, but this applies to women all over the world, not just South African ones! Juggling so much in our heads from work to-do’s, managing a household, kids activities - this one needs to take a present to that one’s party, have we done that one’s project work, who’s getting a lift with who and and and. We do and expect too much of ourselves.
2. Was there a specific trigger that took your idea for “Pippa J – Style it Simple” to being an actual business? Perhaps a moment, a person, or something you experienced that made you take it to the next level?
Working in an ad agency 15 years ago I knew that what I was doing was not my passion, so I did a deep dive into what those were, and styling women was one of them. It took a lot of work to figure out what I wanted to do. I can’t say it was a moment, more like years of querying and wondering and then actively exploring.
3. Have you found mostly that women support you in your business? How do you think we can support each other better?
Yes I’d say so, it depends on the person though. I really notice and value it when I can see another woman genuinely wanting me or other women to do well. I’d say there’s some competition/jealousy that exists for sure. An easy way to support each other on social media is to tag each other, comment on each other’s work, and do personal testimonials about each other’s brands.
4. Which women have inspired you and why?
Just regular women like my friends and other women doing their thing on social media. I don’t find myself getting inspiration from super famous women, generally.
5. Being a mom of three, a wife, a business owner, an individual, a friend etc can feel daunting sometimes. When you feel overwhelmed or like you are losing focus or control, what do you do?
Have a sea swim! Do some breathwork, like box breathing, moving my body a little, like stretches at home. I have been feeling particularly overwhelmed recently as we’ve had a lot going on, and I notice a massive shift when I get the chance to go to the beach on my own, to just stare at nothing, maybe walk a bit and get into the water. It’s a nervous system reset for me.
6. What purchase in the last 6-12 months (for under R1,000) has positively impacted your life? (Anything. It can be fun and silly or more philosophical and serious.)
A few exercise sessions a month with someone who I think is a literal body whisperer. I am learning to understand my body and it’s limitations, to be patient and to work within this - with the end goal of becoming strong.
7. What advice would you give to a woman who wanted to start their own business?
Find out the why, do the hard work to figure that out. And then don’t think too much or you’ll over analyse it and always find a reason not to do it. On the flip side, patience is also necessary - I know personally, I can’t do half as much as I would like to, because I have other elements in my life that I want to give attention to, kids being the obvious one there.
8. In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
Handing things over, letting go, trusting in the divine and meditation.
9. What is your most treasured second hand item (clothing / furniture / book etc) and where did it come from?
Can’t think of one single item but I love the armchairs my husband and I bought from a random second hand shop in a random town off the N3 many years ago. We were road tripping home from a wedding or something (pre-kids), saw a sign to a town we’d never heard of, took it and ended up discovering the armchairs that we took home. I need to have them re-upholstered now but I love them and the story they hold.