COFFEE WITH NICOA: Creating A LIFE BY DESIGN.

S1 Ep. 3 Mary Michele Nidiffer

March 08, 2023 NICOA DUNNE CORNELIUS Season 1 Episode 3
S1 Ep. 3 Mary Michele Nidiffer
COFFEE WITH NICOA: Creating A LIFE BY DESIGN.
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COFFEE WITH NICOA: Creating A LIFE BY DESIGN.
S1 Ep. 3 Mary Michele Nidiffer
Mar 08, 2023 Season 1 Episode 3
NICOA DUNNE CORNELIUS

Let me know what you think of this episode by sending me a FAN MAIL message!

Join Nicoa for a caffeinated conversation with master stylist Mary Michele Nidiffer of the Style by Mary Michele podcast. They talk about everything from motherhood to style, to divorce and risk-taking, and of course, creating a life by design. Plus the joys of being in their fifties and finally coming into their own! 


You can find Mary Michele on Instagram, Facebook, and her website ShopStyleFinder.

Buy your copy of YOUR LIFE BY DESIGN: A Coffee With Nicoa Self-Care Coaching Journal
on Amazon today! 

Support the Show.

Follow COFFEE WITH NICOA on Instagram @CoffeeWithNicoa for archived episodes & to see more of Nicoa's Life By Design! And now on TikTok @NicoaCoach


Want to have Coffee With Nicoa as a podcast guest? Or, do you know someone she'd love to have a caffeinated chat with? Or maybe a great ESPRESSO SHOT idea? Message her directly at Nicoa@CoffeeWithNicoa.com

Interested in coaching with Nicoa? Check out her coaching referral page here.
Interested in taking one of Nicoa's e-courses? Check them out here.

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|| Coffee With Nicoa Copyright 2023 ||

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Show Notes Transcript

Let me know what you think of this episode by sending me a FAN MAIL message!

Join Nicoa for a caffeinated conversation with master stylist Mary Michele Nidiffer of the Style by Mary Michele podcast. They talk about everything from motherhood to style, to divorce and risk-taking, and of course, creating a life by design. Plus the joys of being in their fifties and finally coming into their own! 


You can find Mary Michele on Instagram, Facebook, and her website ShopStyleFinder.

Buy your copy of YOUR LIFE BY DESIGN: A Coffee With Nicoa Self-Care Coaching Journal
on Amazon today! 

Support the Show.

Follow COFFEE WITH NICOA on Instagram @CoffeeWithNicoa for archived episodes & to see more of Nicoa's Life By Design! And now on TikTok @NicoaCoach


Want to have Coffee With Nicoa as a podcast guest? Or, do you know someone she'd love to have a caffeinated chat with? Or maybe a great ESPRESSO SHOT idea? Message her directly at Nicoa@CoffeeWithNicoa.com

Interested in coaching with Nicoa? Check out her coaching referral page here.
Interested in taking one of Nicoa's e-courses? Check them out here.

***BUY NICOA A COFFEE
**COFFEE WITH NICOA MERCHANDISE SHOP
*SHOP NICOA'S COFFEE WITH NICOA AMAZON SHOP

|| Coffee With Nicoa Copyright 2023 ||

The following transcript was created by OTTER.AI to create accessibility for all.

Nicoa Coach
0:01
Grab your coffee and join me Nicoa For a caffeinated conversation about life.

Nicoa Coach
0:09
I'll be talking to people who have chosen to walk their own paths and just like me, are creating a life by design. I hope that will give you the inspiration you need to do exactly the same.

Nicoa Coach
0:24
Mary Michelle Nidiffer for I'm so glad you're here, girl.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

0:28
I'm so glad to be here.

Nicoa Coach
0:31
Well, you look beautiful. No, no surprise MyStyle finder. You're so sweet. Thank you. Well, you and I have we were just talking right beforehand, and we've known each other over a decade. Can you believe it? That is crazy. And you have and you may not necessarily know this, but you have been role modeling for me for that entire decade plus, and I love you so much. You began role modeling for me that you could transition your life a little bit from previous marriage and kids to a new husband. And, and I didn't know you were role modeling until I got divorced, like five years after that.

Nicoa Coach
1:16
But I remember seeing how happy you were. And I just love it. You and I have a lot in common. We both are coaches. We both are speakers, and consultants and trainers. And we're both now I can say we're both podcasters. And one of our greatest moments of pride is that we're both mothers. I think you have what four kids? For?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

1:41
Well, four. Yeah, we're a blended family. So I like to say two by birth and two by marriage.

Nicoa Coach
1:46
Well, I'm right there with you now as I've been remarried since my divorce, and I've got three by birth and three by marriage. So I beat you on that.


Mary Michele Nidiffer

1:57
Go Big or go home, exactly where the Brady Bunch.

Nicoa Coach
2:00
And another unique thing that we have in common, I just want to comment about it. Because who knows, maybe one day we'll do an entire conversation about this. But we both happen to be mothers of transgender children.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

2:11
Yes, what an honor.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

2:15
Absolutely, that's a whole journey unto itself. It sure is.

Nicoa Coach
2:18
And I think you and I are doing our very best at doing handling that with grace. And I'm glad that we're talking about being moms and having the privilege to actually represent a transgender child. So I'm glad you are okay with talking about that.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

2:37
Yeah. And I will just say that you have been a great role model. For me, as a mother of a transgender child and your wisdom you walked the path before I did. And being able to share some things with you and draw in your wisdom and your words has meant so much. So I appreciate you.

Nicoa Coach

2:57
Oh, you're so welcome. Yeah, I remember our love filled conversations me sitting out on the deck. And you and me talking through it. I mean, you have to have a community of people to talk to and share their stories. And that's what this podcast is all about sharing the stories so that those people listening can actually see someone they can relate to. And you've been that person for me, I'm glad I could be that person for you. Let's make this all about you, though. I want to hear about your life by design. So first and foremost, what is the life by design definition for you?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

3:36
Hmm, yeah, that's a great question. It's something I've thought about a lot lately. Because, you know, being in my mid 50s Now, and getting to make some of the choices that I get to make it's, it's, I it's always good to write. But I think more and more I'm feeling that it's a get to, and I'm feeling my way through things. And I just know, I feel so privileged to be able to get up every day and do what I do. And I feel that the life I live now, it it started many years ago. And it's been a journey. And just now I feel that I feel like so much has opened up for me just this year, and we're early in 2023. But even just this year, so much has shifted and changes like these pieces that I've thought about and then working towards and wanted are like just magically appearing. But I you know, we know it's not magic.

Nicoa Coach
4:37
It's like you've been working towards this for a very long time. And now, it's like it's just unfolding. You're coming into your own, you know, I've always said 50s are the best. I'm 54 I love it. I mean, they're there. You know, often people say, Well, time gives you wisdom and and I think well that's true, but we have to also recognize that with the lessons that you and I have learned over our decades of coming into our own people who are listening, they can actually begin applying these practices that you and I've learned sooner in life. They don't have to wait till their 50s. I can't wait to hear people saying the 30s are the best because they are living a life by design.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


5:19
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think it's something that you can live life by design, how no matter how old you are.

Nicoa Coach

5:26
Well, why don't you take us back to your? Yeah, take us back to the beginning, though, I want to hear when did you start out in a career that you knew you always wanted or told about your evolution? Let me take it back even further. I remember when I was growing up, I started sewing. And my mom used to sew and she would have all these big bags of fabric scraps sitting around and I, when I was five or six years old, I'd pull the scraps out that start hand sewing or crocheting or needlepoint. I mean, like I did all the needle arts, all all the things related to sewing, cool. And I just remember, I mean, I was probably five or six at the time. And I just remember this, I call it a divine knowing like, you're going to be a designer. That's your path. And I was like, Alright, I'm gonna be a designer, like, I'm gonna be a clothing designer. That's my path. And of course, I was making started making Barbie clothes and clothes for my dolls.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


6:24
And that led to clothes for myself and clothes for friends. And I used to make pillows, I remember making pillows for the local woman's exchange and going to over there to drop them off to sell them not knowing if they were going to sell. And one day, I was probably, I don't know, 10 or 11 years old, I went to go pick up a check, because they called and said, Hey, we have a check for you. It was $150 Oh, wow, I thought I was rich. was like, Oh my gosh, I sold some pillows. And excited. I mean, this is what 1980 Probably, like, that was a big deal back then was.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


7:07
And so I've always had this just this desire to be a designer, very influenced around fashion. But at the same time, I feel like I've always kind of had this struggle about well, what to wear, and I,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


7:21
I have some certain fit issues. And sometimes wearing things that are off the rack don't always fit me. And I think in retrospect, I think a lot of the reason I really wanted to be a designer as I got older was so I could make clothing that fit me.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


7:37
And I just you know, I was tall and I have a wide ribcage and just, you know, certain considerations that not everybody has. And I would put on shirts or jackets, and they'd be too tight. And I was like, what's what's wrong with me? I made it all about me.

Nicoa Coach

7:53
Well, doesn't everybody, right? I mean, everyone has a love hate relationship with clothing.It's such a big piece of our identity. And that's one of your, your, your business, the style finder ID, you know, I think that I grew up with Hand me downs. So when you talk about how you wanted to serve a purpose for you, I'm addicted to clothes now, because having what I want when I want it is a big motivator. So did that evolve into you said I think I read that that was like a decade of your career, you really had done clothing design all over the world, right?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


8:32
Well, not necessarily all over the world. But we I used to design I did start I went to school for you to UNCG I have a degree in apparel Arts, which, you know, it's funny to think back then it was in the School of home economics and like, oh my gosh, it's from so far. Now. It's it's whole, you know, it's got its own, like fashion design, and it's just a whole different entity. And I love seeing how far it's come. It's it's now a serious career. It's not just Oh, little sewing, you know, it's just for women. Like it's, it's just evolved so much. And I got out of college and knew, hey, I have a degree in design. I want to be a designer, where do I go? And I remember going to the college administration office in St. Louis. Okay, you know, help me find a job and they're like, sorry, we can't help you like, oh

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


9:25
I just spent four years here getting my degree like what the heck? Yeah, thanks a lot.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


9:31
So long story short, I started working some, you know, NC State Government and some other jobs to pay the bills. And meanwhile, I would come home and I would sit at night, and I started sewing and started making custom pieces. I actually started making wedding gowns, which is crazy to think I started

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


9:50
out in my apartment. And so by day I was an administrative assistant by night I was you know, seamstress with the mostest. And that's what

Nicoa Coach

9:59
Today they call that you know, your side hustle. Who knew that that was getting ready to help launch your business. But I love what you did. You had a parallel path. You did what you had to do in order to pay the bills, and you kept your craft and your creativity going?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


10:15
Yes, yes. And then, you know, I just kept doing that that word got out. I mean, I never advertised it was just word of mouth. And people kept calling and calling and column. And I was like, Oh my gosh. And so finally,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


10:30
Finally, I got to a point where I felt like, okay, I can actually make enough money to support myself. I need to leave this job. And really, my heart's not into it. And my mom actually stepped in and my rent at the time was 400 bucks a month.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


10:48
Crazy back in the mid 90s. And in downtown Raleigh, can you imagine that? I mean, that was crazy. That's crazy. You'd have to have five roommates now. Oh, my gosh. I mean, I when this was just for me, I had a whole like half a house. But my mom stepped in and said, hey, I'll pay your rent for a couple months while you get yourself going. Because I believe in you and you believe in you.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

11:13
it's you excuse me?

Nicoa Coach
11:14
Some coffee, get your coffee

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

11:18
infection. So

Nicoa Coach

11:21
yeah, the pollens out now.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

11:24
So let me take a sip. Take your time.

Nicoa Coach

11:28
Well, how fortunate to have your mom step in and support you. I mean, we need to recognize family is a big piece of people's success. And not everybody has that kind of support. So clearly, that was a big boost for you.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

11:52
It was a huge boost. And when she said, hey, you know, I'll pay your rent, you don't have to worry about that. And it just was it just gave me the confidence to say yes, I'm doing this to step forward. And things just unfolded. I started making, you know, I was continuing to make wedding gowns, and then it turned into hats. And then it turned into ready to wear and then I started selling clothing at local boutiques and one thing led to another so it was just following the breadcrumbs. It was like who, what, what next? What can I do? What you know what, what more?

Nicoa Coach

12:25
So right, expanding your mindset? Yes.

Nicoa Coach

12:30
So tell me why did that end? What happened?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


12:34
Oh, well, I don't I don't think it ever ended. It just evolved, evolved? Yes. It evolved.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

12:43
Well, long story short, my first I was married for the first time around. And I remember prior to getting married, I used to sit in the kitchen of this apartment where my mom had paid my rent. And one of my best customers. She became a good friend, she and I would sit around and just chat and daydream and talk. And one day we were like, oh, wouldn't it be great to open a store and sell hats and clothing and shoes? And how fun would that be? Well, I told my then husband

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

13:15
or my then soon to be husband. Yeah. And never to my house one day and he's like, Oh, my God. And we actually use this to the stoplight. Always fantasizing about the certain location. He came over to my house one day. I mean, this was before cellphones, or before, like we had the big bag phones. Remember that? Right?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

13:34
So before like real cell phones, he came flying over my house one day, and he's like, Oh my gosh, that place we always sit at the stoplight and say I wish you know when that'd be a cool space for a shop. It's for rent, and we have to take it. We're like, oh my gosh, like how do we make this happen? And we went from sitting around daydreaming to next thing I know we're writing a business plan or borrowing money or doing renovations. Oh, I mean, it was just like, what just happened? Yeah, that's so exciting. You manifested it. I did. But you know what happened at the almost the very same time? Well, first of all, we got engaged for the first you know, first time, but I launched my first line of ready to wear at the apparel show in New York City.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

14:20
And I came back and I had I had $17,000 worth of orders, which in this day and age if if that's all you got, you'd be crying in your cornflakes. But I was ecstatic. I was like, Oh my gosh, like how am I going to fill these orders and I had shared a booth with a friend of mine who made jewelry. Our stuff was very complimentary, but I was like, Oh my gosh, and so it was really the start of you know, a, I think it one you know, I grew it grew, grew grew it. And I never got huge, but it was big enough. And we made things locally. I actually did what we call cottage industry where I had women in their homes who said for me it had a couple of work rooms.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

15:00
It was at a time where North Carolina had, you know, used to be a big textile, state, you know, tons of work rooms, tons of fabric made, everything was starting to close. And I'd find a work room and literally like the next week,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

15:17
they'd be out. It was like, there was just no business there. So it was very difficult to be where I was where I was just starting out, you know, didn't have enough things to take overseas, and really just wanted to work locally. But we made it work. And I was grateful for that. But, you know, just again, following the breadcrumbs, it's like, well, what's next? And I when you

Nicoa Coach
15:37
when that happen, though, let me ask when you got that $17,000 order? was, I mean, it was to have multiple stores? Yeah. Did you have a moment of panic? I mean, come on. Yeah.

Nicoa Coach

15:52
What was that? Like? What? When you would freak out? Like, how did you move through that?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


15:59
Well, I think it was a freak out. But it was it was adrenaline fueled.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

16:06
I guess, what's the best way to describe it? I think it was just like, validation. That what I'm doing and what I, you know, really passionately want to do. Others want it. And it just was like, that feeling of like, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. And so there was a freakout, but then I would just, you know, get grounded, like, this is where I'm supposed to be. And then I just start getting into the practical aspects of it. Well, where am I going to get the fabric? And what about this? And how can I make this work? And once I got out of that, like, oh, my gosh, and started doing and planning out? And what do I need? And how can I do this one step at a time, one at a time.

Nicoa Coach
16:53
And I love that you use the word validation. And not only from the orders, obviously, oh my gosh, didn't people calling you and you're making the dresses in the house. But also that validation of self, you went back and looked at the facts? Wait, this is what I'm supposed to be doing? I've already done it a few times. Well, I'll just extrapolate that let me do it all these times, right. So people sometimes get panicked, and they don't look at the facts. And I always say just the facts, ma'am. So that's beautiful. That's great validation.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

17:25
It was an I just it felt right. And I think I've always been a firm believer in like, follow your heart. Yeah, like how does? How does it feel? How does it feel good. And it felt so good. I was like, Yes, this is where I'm supposed to be. And so even though it got caught up in that, like, oh my god, I'm gonna do this.Okay, I've got this thing, just that firm belief that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, even though the show factor you kicked in.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

17:56
I didn't really know about manifesting. And, you know, all the spiritual things that I know about now. But it was just staying true to myself.

Nicoa Coach
18:07
due to following, what fell, right. And when did you start having children and incorporating motherhood into your career? How did that work?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

18:17
Yeah, well, that came next we had our first store from 96 to 1996 to 1998. And we just we basically closed because it was too much too soon, I was managing the employees, I was running the shop, I was producing a line wholesale, I was designing custom wedding gowns, I had gotten engaged. I was like, I was at the store till like 11 o'clock every night. And so I came to a point I was like, we have to choose like, you can't do all things really, really well at the start. So I said, You know what my passion is designing. I'm going to close the retail piece of it quit worrying about that it was a distraction, and focus on the design aspect of it. And so we close we got a little off the beaten path studio, I still had open studio sales. So I got to see my my clients, which I totally missed. But eventually I got to a point where I was like, You know what? I'm in my early 30s time start a family like hear the clock ticking. Yeah. I was starting to feel I was designed clothing for about 12 All in All About 12 years. And I started getting burned out. I was like, I'm just done. I'm done. Because yeah, you go to the New York shows and as soon as you get back you like start on the next season and it's like when's the downtime? I need to break?

Nicoa Coach
19:33
What tell me how how did that manifest then into that burnout and anxiety about it? Or I'm tired of this and what was what was the cost of that and how did you start noticing it?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

19:48
Well, I just started feeling tired. I started feeling tired, not as enthusiastic. resentful, because honestly We we had, when we closed our retail store, we then opened another what we call it a studio. And every Saturday and I was the only employee. And so every Saturday I was there. And every week I was there. And you know, it was just it got to be like, okay, when do I get a weekend?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

20:20
When do I get time for me and you hit a certain point, you're like, you know what, tired of all my friends going out to have fun on the weekends, I want to go out and have fun on the weekends. I travel because I have to, you know, show up. And it just it wasn't life by design. It was like, Well, I designed this, but I didn't really know what I was asking for. And so now I get to change it.

Nicoa Coach
20:41
Well, that's key. I mean, I'm really glad you said that, because I've lived a big fat lie for a long time, too. And I didn't know what I was signing up for. And I never really asked myself, Why are you doing this? I never really knew. But I'm glad that you were like, wait a minute, what does matter to me? And what do I want to be experienced in my life? You're talking about a lifestyle. And we can't create a lifestyle. If we don't design we can't. First of all, we can't design our life if we don't define our life, right? And defining the life is the lifestyle that you're trying to manifest or, or fulfill or embody. And so, yeah, what did you do? You sat back and said, Wait, I want to be with friends. Yeah, ready to start having a family. And I love to be able to travel. And this is no longer serving me. And that's not a failure or a, you know, a misstep. It's just a redirection.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

21:38
Exactly. But what I've what I've come to realize, what I've come to realize is that sometimes you don't know what you do want until you know what you don't want.

Nicoa Coach
21:48

Ding ding ding. Yep.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

21:51
When I was hitting up against a lot of things, I was like, Yeah, I don't think I want that anymore. And, and then I hit a point, I was like, I want to have a baby. I want to have a baby. And now I'm ready. Now I was like, 34. Like, it's like, I'm ready. Yeah, walk is ticking. And my call my internal clock was too. And it wasn't just like, okay, now's the time, but it was like, I felt it. I was like, it is time for me to have a child. And I just looked around, I was like, I don't want to raise a child in this atmosphere. I'm certainly not putting her in daycare. So I can come and do this. And I how can I make this work? And so it's interesting, because I I remember,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

22:36
during this first few years, my business shifted a lot. And I think what first happened was, I was trying to get pregnant, and I didn't know I was pregnant. Oh, but here's the crazy thing that happened. You know, we were talking about shifting the business. And we had signed like a four or five year lease. And we were two years and a year and a half into it. Yeah. And so we're like, how do we get out of our lease? We looked into that it was going to be expensive. Next thing I know, landlords are coming knocking on our door saying, Hey, we're giving you guys notice, we want you out, because Glenwood south has taken off and we know we can raise the rent. We're like, yes, very much. You do it. And then we're like, oh my god, this is a blessing. You know, everything happens FOR you, not TO you, right?

Nicoa Coach
23:26
That's right, one of our favorites.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

23:28
And so we were like, Okay, we're we're moving the business to the house. We're scaling back. We're moving it to the house. And it was just a graceful transition.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer


23:40
But what was funny is a few minutes, a few months down the road when I was showing and it was obvious I'd become pregnant. They came back and said, Oh, you can stay for a little while. And we're like, No, thank you. We're good. All right, we're good. We're done. And so I moved my business to the house and so much craziness happened. But I went through a phase where I was like, You know what I'm have found out I was having a little girl. And I of course had Xun all the cute little girl clothes, of course started doing that. And then, you know, I remember Elizabeth Galecki. And I would partner up and she'd take pictures and you know, I'd make the clothes and we do all these fun photoshoots. And we'd have, you know, shows and sales at people's homes. And it was just what I needed. And I had instances that I kept to work with me it wasn't a huge money making adventure, but it was a lot of fun. And it gave us enough income. Yeah, my husband, my then husband was he was working full time to support us. And it was like, you know, I was able to have the freedom to be there for the kids do a little bit of something on the side helped me stay in touch with myself and what I was doing.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

24:50
On it was just a whole evolution and at the time, we actually had applied a while back to be on a TV show we were on. What was it called mission organization. which was an HGTV show. So six months pregnant or no probably like seven or eight months pregnant and they're coming to the house doing all these renovations, there were so many things we were supposed to be doing. And so I was like, I was pregnant. The week they gave us to do it. my then husband had to be out of the country. And we had to hire all these people. And it was like, it just happened. But they what they did was they made over the entire downstairs to become my studio.

Nicoa Coach
25:28
Oh, wow. And it was experience.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

25:31
It was perfect. And so throughout all this, you know, I'm designing I'm, you know, doing all these things, and then I have her. And then, you know, I ended up having her brother, two and a half years later, yeah. Three years, actually, three years later, I can't even remember. Whatever. Three years later, I had her brother and I remember when I was pregnant with her brother, I had pivoted once again, I was starting to write. And I remember standing there with, you know, a child, my arms, and my left side putting on my mascara, and I'm like, oh my god, actually, it was right after Dylan was born. That's right. So in 2006, Dylan had just been born my second child. And I remember standing there with him in my arms, putting on my makeup, and I was like, I just feel so frumpy. I feel fat. My you know, I don't recognize his body anymore. I don't know what makeup to wear. I don't know what clothes to wear. What's even in style. Like I'm pushing 14. I was 39 when I had him. Yeah, I was pushing 40 i You know, I don't even know what to wear. And I remember this thought I was like other moms might. I bet other moms feel the same way too. And so I got to one and look for resources, blogs, blogs were popular at the time. And didn't really I found a lot of mommy blogs. But most of them were reviewing bibs and burp cloths and strollers but there weren't a lot that told moms who were pushing 40 what to wear. And like, there's my niche. So that was kind of the start of what what I'm doing now. And I started a blog, it was called one chic mama. That wasn't about me. It was about finding that one chic mama that's like inside of all of us. Beautiful. Yeah. So so that was the beginning of a whole other journey.

Nicoa Coach
27:22
Well, I think that's really cool. Because it sounds to me like in your journey, you're following the creativity, you're following the design, the designer inside of you that you've always known is there, and you've never squelch her. You've never suppressed her, you use the word pivot. pivots are powerful. pivots are powerful. They don't have to be, Oh, my God, this is the path I thought I was supposed to be on. And now I'm not. And I think a lot of people aren't stepping back and just allowing the world to unfold around them. And they're judging pivots or judging the lease rate going up as Oh, my God, See, I knew I'd fail up. And I just think you're a beautiful example of following your own creativity and never setting it aside.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

28:12
Well, thank you. Well, you know, I read a great quote, or I've seen this many, many times. And it this sentiment basically is the only way you can fail is to not keep going. If you stop and you're not where you want to be you failed. That's right. I never stopped. I'm like, Well, what about this? And let's do this. And what's this telling me to do? And really, it's just following my heart like, what's, what's the next step? What am I feeling is the next step for me. And it was so fascinating, because I remember, once I started one chic mama, it was just like, oh, like the floodgates opened, and things happened. And I remember, you know, I had this blog, and I was delayed, it was kind of like my podcasts like, I have not missed an episode. And it was like, I just was, you know, it's like, I got up and I'm like, I'm here for the people and I want to make a difference. And I remember even being at the beach and trying to find places with Wi Fi. Of course, as you know, this was those ones where it wasn't everywhere, and go into the coffee shop.

Nicoa Coach
29:16
It sounds like it was exciting. Yeah, it was,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

29:19
it was fun, but it was like this is this is my piece of the world. This is what I'm here to create. But I think

Nicoa Coach
29:26
that's a good spot for us to just take a quick pause. And then when we come back, I want to dig a little deeper about where you are now and how you you know what, what is it like to be you now versus what it was like to be you then?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer COMMERCIAL

29:42
Are you ready to dress like you mean it? I'm marrying Michelle NIDA for Master style page founder and chief style educator of style finder boutique and I'm here to empower you through personal style. I invite you to visit our website at Shopstyle finder.com where you can shop around Latest arrivals, learn about our signature course, how to find your signature style and download our app. If you want more style advice, listen to my podcast style by Mary Michelle, where I share two episodes per week to help you know what to wear and how to wear it. What you wear tells the world who you are, what is your wardrobe saying about you.
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Narrator
30:27
We hope you're enjoying listening to this episode of Coffee with Nicoa. Make sure to subscribe so that you never miss an episode and follow Coffee with Nicoa on Instagram to find inspiring content that will help you begin creating your life by design.

Nicoa Coach
30:47
Okay, Michelle, we're back. I want to talk about in depth. Who is Michelle NIDA for today versus back in the day when you were when chic mama in it and trying to find Wi Fi?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

31:00
Oh my gosh, girl, if I could go back and tell my younger self? Oh, lots of lessons, lots of lessons? Well, for one, I think one of the biggest things is, you know, I, I left my first marriage, you got to a point and it just you know, was not serving us. And I knew in my heart of hearts. It wasn't where I needed to be. And it it was, you know, it was what it was, but it was just time to move on. And so I did and I never looked back. I just knew that. This is the I guess I'm a firm believer that people come into your life for certain periods of time. And you've learned those lessons, and then it's time to move on. And that's how I felt. And I mean, I'm not gonna say it was the prettiest divorce ever. But, you know, we're still amicable and it's it is what it is. But yeah, ...

Nicoa Coach
31:53
I can totally relate.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

31:55
Absolutely, yeah, I know you can. So I forgot where I was.

Nicoa Coach
32:03
That's alright, so how, what does it feel like to be you NOW? So you, you met Jim? And that was at what stage of Where are you taking the style finder ID?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

32:14
It was interesting, because I will tell you this. I mean, when I left my first marriage, it was right after he had gotten laid off. And I had been essentially a stay at home mom slash blogger. And, you know, it started this business. And I remember sitting down one day, and this was a real pivotal point in my life. And this was in 2008 when the economy went to hell in a handbag. I could say that. Yeah. And so he had gotten laid off. And I had been a part time, you know, starting a blog, excited about what I'm doing, but not really generating much revenue. And I remember one day sitting down mind mapping, because I felt like there's more, there's more, there's more that I'm supposed to be doing with this blog. And I remember one day, I just, you know, got really clear. And I remember drawing it out on paper doing some mind mapping. And it was like, What can I do with one chic mama? And what about this? What about this and style coat or image consulting came up? Ah, do that. But, you know, I was like, Yeah, I don't want to do that. You know what happened? Literally, within two days of that, not one, but two or three people asked me, Hey, call me Hey, will you go come and go shopping with me? Hey, will you come and clean out my closet? And I'm like, Oh, I'm listening. And it just for me was like, Okay, I guess that's next.

Nicoa Coach

33:46
I guess that's what needs you. Yeah, I love that.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

33:49
That's what needs me. And so that put me on a path. I'm like, I'm gonna become an image consultant, which I call myself a style coach now, but I'm gonna become an image consultant. And so I did all my research, I read every single book I could could find, and talked with interview, interviewed people talk with people, it was like, I don't even know what this is about. But I feel like it's the next step for me. And so it was a crazy time. But, you know, everything happens in such a weird way. But I ended up anyway, I got some great press. Yeah. And ended up having a great article in our state magazine. I had a great article in the news and observer that launched my business in 2008 as a style coach, and when somebody else was floundering and losing their jobs, my business took off with a bang. And I had women flying in from Chicago and all over the place to work with me it was like, okay, like, bring your point. And here I am a single mom trying to juggle everything but I've got this fabulous new studio that had just been renovated. And it was an interesting time but I just every fiber of my being knew this is where I needed to be. And shortly after I told my husband, we're, you know, we're, it's over. Yep. I took a giant leap of faith and found this internet marketer. On line, her name was Ali Brown, and she was promoting this big conference for women. Oh, and this was in 2009. And I saw that it was like, I needed to be there. I knew there. And she had this contest. You could like enter a video to win a ticket, I made my ex husband shoot it, the poor guy.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

35:37
And I didn't win, but they did call me and say, hey, we'll offer you a ticket for I don't know, like $250 It was like something I was like, Okay, I'm in. And so flew out there sign up for an expensive coaching package that I didn't have any money to pay for. But I knew with every fiber of my being, I need to be around these people. I need what she has to offer. Yes. And anyway, it just started me on a path. It showed me first of all, what's possible for women? Yeah. Because before then I had never really, I mean, I love my mom. She's been an incredible role model. But she was never really a businesswoman. My dad was a great businessman. But I had not really ever had any female role models, who had been business women who were successful, who made a lot of money, who talked about money, and

Nicoa Coach
36:28
virtual. Yes. And find yourself in that environment with all those women around you. Naturally, that's going to inspire you. Yes,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

36:37
it was life changing for me. And I met some people that that I still keep in touch with. And it was it just changed everything. I was like, Oh my gosh, I could make a million dollars. I got a million like, I could do this. I could blow my business up. It doesn't have to be just me. I could, you know, hire help. I could have a VA like I could create a product. Yes, ma'am. Whole world of things that I had never known existed.

Nicoa Coach
37:07
When you said you took that leap of faith. And I can relate to it. Because when I left the corporate world in 2009, and ended up recognizing that I needed coach training to be a coach, I knew something was telling me to be this coach. And just like you, I didn't know what that meant. I was I was already been coaching people before I realized Holy crap. Yeah. How are you going to deal with that next issue you just brought to me out, I had no training in the very beginning. So I quickly scrambled and got certified. But I was forking out bucks just like you. I was like, Yeah, I don't know what this package is. You're telling me I need to learn, but I want to learn it. And these people, they all want to learn it just like me. So this is a great takeaway for people listening to because they can recognize it. When you feel the momentum, if it feels natural for you and the people around you or your kind of your kind of crowd, right? Oh, that's a big sign from the universe. Go for it. Just go for it.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

38:09
Yes, absolutely. It's like you did? No, you just know it's like, I don't know the heck I'm gonna pay for this but maxed out my credit cards. I had really bad credit after that. You know, I've excellent credit now. So you know, made up for it. But it was worth it. I would I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Nicoa Coach
38:30
Because father used to say don't be afraid of debt, leverage your money. People. Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to ask for money from friends, people, the bank, leverage money. It's just a tool.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

38:43
It is a tool. And I remember, you know, just trying to make it work. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and the doors kept opening. I was like, I know I'm on the right path. I don't know where I'm supposed to be going. But I know I'm on the right path. And I have to keep going. Awesome. And so it's just it's been an incredible journey. But I feel like just now it's like the the things I started to put into motion. And 2009 2010 just now I'm starting to really reap the rewards of

Nicoa Coach
39:13
and when you say reap the rewards, is that financially is that your lifestyle? Like what is different now all of it

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

39:22
financially, I feel like we're finally at a point where we've we've turned a huge corner in it. You know, there certainly have been some ups and downs because opening up style finder, we opened up our you know, style coach or retail boutique in 2015. Yeah, and that was a whole different ballgame. And, you know, we've had ups we've had downs, but then COVID came around, we were just a brick and mortar. So we we had a split second where we had to make a decision where Governor said, you know, all non essential businesses must close. And my husband looked at me and said, What are we going to do and I I said we're gonna go live. We're gonna get Online. And at that minute UPS knocked at the back door, he had seven packages for us, of one of our vendors, and we had to either keep it or bounce it when I was worth keeping that, because I know we can sell it. And I am so glad. I mean, that was just like divine timing, because I'm so glad we did. We sold the heck out of that stuff, we would turn the camera on my manager at the time, she and I would get on Facebook, and get on go live just Facebook at the time. And go live Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 11 o'clock. And we have so much fun. We play our music, we'd have our dance party,...

Nicoa Coach
40:36
I remember those!

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

40:38
themes. We do Wizard of Oz, or we're going to wine country or we're doing you know, we just make it fun, we'd style each other. We did all sorts of fun stuff. And we cultivated a following. And these were growing up for us. We they were shopping with us too. And so we started shipping packages across the country. We're like, this is really cool. I'm so glad we kept those seven boxes, because we didn't get anything new for six weeks.

Nicoa Coach
41:05
Wow. That's right. deliveries. Yeah. And you're the pivot princess.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

41:13
pivots. My middle name is my movement was great. And you know, all the while we're getting some Well, after we got into it, we started getting some great press, more people were finding out about us. And then we just kept going we set up our online store, we have an app now our stuff and a boutique app. I launched my podcast in April of 2021. And it's just been a process of really cultivating our, our, you know what we're doing getting it out there reach more people, our Instagram, both my personal Instagram and stuff on his Instagram started blowing up last year last spring.

Nicoa Coach
41:53
And I think you took a big trip to Paris and said, I came back and everybody was in love with me.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

41:58
Actually, that was my personal Instagram style fenders, Instagram started blowing up in April. And we started going live and we've got people on there from Dubai and Ireland and you know, Puerto Rico and Wisconsin and it was so cool. It's like we're all the same. Everybody's asking the same questions. And then I went back in the fall, and that's when mine started going crazy. So, so it has been a journey. But I think you know, when it comes to life by design, I feel like now, really within the past year. So, you know, from a financial perspective, I feel like we've really turned a corner and we're, we're on target to hit some some. I mean, we're like Forex in our business from last year,

Nicoa Coach
42:38
you told me Jim's gonna transition into the business now too. I mean, think about

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

42:45
leaving a lucrative full time job to come work for cell finder, we just hired on another full time person, we've got another part timer starting, I'm actually kind of stepping out of the day to day operations of cell finder to I refer to it as style finder 2.00. And my new title is Chief style educator.

Nicoa Coach
43:09
Oh, I like this. So you don't have to execute every day anymore. You don't have to be doing all the tiktoks every day, you could actually have a team of people doing this on your behalf. Well,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

43:19
I still do I still have a good strong Instagram and social media presence. I feel like that's important. But I don't go into the URL must never go in the store anymore. Because they have it. They have it running like a machine. They they don't need me, which is what you want. I'm like I'm not in the day to day anymore. And it's interesting, because I had started to step away right before COVID. And then COVID Hit it was all hands on deck.

Nicoa Coach
43:46
Oh, yeah. For so many people. Oh,

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

43:48
man. I've got a book coming out this summer. I've you know, my podcast is about to turn to I'm launching courses, I'm doing all the things to really my goal is to empower women through style. Yeah. And I want to create resources to help do that. And I just have not had the bandwidth or the time or the energy. And now I've got that. And so that lights me up.

Nicoa Coach
44:14
You had to trust the people around you and continue to grow and hold the vision of what you could see is what is possible. And all of that go book coming out. Congratulations. What's the title of your book? Do you know yet?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

44:27
Yes, it's going to be called how to wear color with confidence.

Nicoa Coach
44:31
How to wear color with confidence. Well, tell us a little bit more about everything going on. But before actually before we go there, because I want to end on that note, you've got so much going on. What would those top tips those pieces of advice, your lessons learned over your journey, which is a beautiful, it seems like a beautifully manifested journey but of course so many lessons learned what would you want to share with everybody?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

44:57
Well, first of all, I have five questions. The that I have on my wall, one of them is thanks to you. And I will tell you sitting in my office at one point, and this has come back to me so many times. But at one point you and I were talking and I remember you quoting Joseph Campbell saying the privilege of a lifetime as being who you are. And just MIT I cried, hearing that it was like, I had heard it many times. But I cried. And there have been so many times where I come back to that I'm like, Oh, my God, I get it. I get it now. Oh, yeah. I mean, it's, it's been a process to get that. And so I think for everybody listening, the privilege is being you and I think I think my lessons are, you know, less business and more spiritual or practical, or whatever you want to call it. But really thinking about, I think, for myself, as a highly sensitive, empathic person who likes to take things personally. Yeah, it's getting over my own ego. Yeah, one of the questions that I got from you is, what are you making this mean? Like, girl favorite

Nicoa Coach
46:06
question

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

46:07
was a game changer for me. I'm like, What am I Oh, I'm making that mean that, you know, something I really think is very positive. Right? To the questions I asked myself, like, what am I making this mean? And but really, the the other big one is if this is happening for me, and not to me, how can I see things differently?

Nicoa Coach
46:30
Because hallelujah.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

46:33
I wish you would go through life. And you know, just in retrospect, and hearing your perspective on like, Well, yeah, I guess I did trust the process. Trust the process. So Jim, I says, my husband, yeah, but really thinking about thinking, because there have been a couple of things that have gone on even just in the past year, I'm like, or just, you know, getting all worked up about and then I'm like, Who, what if this is happening for me? Mm hmm. Okay. Now I see. Now I see why that happened. And it's been interesting, instead of getting all bent out of shape, about how things are going, or why somebody treated you a certain way. And like, you know, what, they're just not meant to be in my life anymore. And it's okay. And they are meant to be in my life, or, or this was meant to happen, or this is, I'm supposed to be over here. Not that, you know, that door closed. That just wasn't my door. That's right. Oh, my gosh. And so I think just, you know, Jim's phrase, my husband's phrase is just is trust the process. And I think I have other ways to put it, like, if this is happening for you, and not to you, it's the same thing. But I love that thing. It's, it's learning to trust, learning to love myself, trust myself. And trust, the guidance that that I am being led to, what will bring me the most joy. And I mean, this, I don't know what I feel like something has shifted just especially within the past month in February. And I just, I found myself a couple of times this month, just driving around, and I am so freakin happy. I'm like, I don't even know I'm just happy, like who I get to see this person, I get to do this thing. It's like, just happy.

Nicoa Coach
48:19
Isn't that the ultimate way of being that we're all really aspiring to and and I think you you're trusting your intuition. And you're asking those questions. It does take work. And you have to say, wait a minute, if this is happening for me, what's the lesson am I going to take from it? And because too many people get stuck. I love that those questions have had a profound impact on your life. And you didn't finish. Honor honor working with you. I loved it. When we also did a barter, I gave you the energy leadership assessment. You gave me the cell finder ID and I meant to pull mine out to see what my style was I'd forgotten to

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

48:57
figure that out. Maybe do it again.

Nicoa Coach
48:59
Oh, gosh. Now we should actually and I will offer that too. We should trade again so that you can see how much your energy has shifted? Because I bet you Money money money that you're way up in that vibration? It's like 180

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

49:14
degrees different. Yeah. Because I used to be stuck in that. Well, it's, you know, he did this and she did this and that, that didn't go my way. And but I think oh, I think if there's one piece of advice, that if somebody wants to live their life by design, I would just say, you know, go back to will if you reframe everything this is happening for me and not to me and believe that and realize and I tell my kids this all the time, realize you're not going to always get what you want, but you will always get what you need. Yes. And it may not look the way you think it's gonna look and it may piss you off. But down the road, you're gonna look back and you're gonna be glad that things didn't work out. out because it was removed from you.

Nicoa Coach
50:02
That's exactly right. People don't realize that there's probably something even better coming your way, when you get redirected. And, to your point, trust the process. And I want to trust this process right on up to I'm looking at my timer, I'm still new at this podcast game. So forgive me for quickly jumping you into the marketing mode, I want to hear all about what you're working on. Tell us where we can go find out more, tell us where everybody can go get a style finder ID and start following you on Instagram and all of the beautiful places that you're located now?

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

50:35
Yes, well, you can go check out our boutique, which is shop style finder.com. That's where you can find out information about our store, we have a great course it's called how to find your signature style that's on the website. That's how you can take the style ID assessment. And if you want to work with me privately, then you can follow me on Instagram at style by Mary Michelle. And that's with just one URL, just one URL, and then you can send me a DM and I will send you all the details. And then the podcast is called style by Mary Michelle.

Nicoa Coach
51:10
You know what we should do? Why don't we have your podcast advertised on my podcast? And we'll put it in this episode. Oh, that would be awesome. Women supporting women it is right now for those who don't know, it's Women's History Month, we're in the middle of March doing this interview. And that's a lovely way that we can support each other. So everything that you've shared and the book coming out as well, my goodness, I don't know how you're keeping up with all of it. We will put that in the show notes. And I just want to thank you for sharing your journey. It's  beautifully  intuitive unfolding of a journey. And I love it. I know you've had your ups and downs, but I really want to highlight that you trusted yourself in that process. And you just kept moving forward one step at a time. Kudos you congratulations on a successful successful career. And I'm so glad 2023 is really shaping up to be your best year yet. Thank you, Mary Michelle.

MM
Mary Michele Nidiffer

52:13
Thank you, girl. Love you.

Nicoa Coach
52:16
Love you too. Bye.
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Narrator
52:18
Bye. Thanks for joining us for a caffeinated conversation. Subscribe to Coffee with Nicoa for more stories from people living a life by design. You can also find inspiration on Instagram. Just follow Coffee with Nicoa and check out our website Coffee with nicoa.com and that's Nicoa N IC O A. We look forward to talking with you soon. And enjoy your coffee between now and then.


SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, business, style, big, design, life, feel, remember, happened, started, women, mom, instagram, finder, knew, designer, glad, podcast, pivots, clothing, coffee, coffee chat, coffee with nicoa, life by design