Charlotte Everaert, Creative Entrepreneur
This interview appeared first on CNTROL+F.
When you’re somewhat familiar with Belgium’s online influential landscape, you’ve probably seen Charlotte Everaert’s name popping up. As expected from someone who’s part of Generation Y, Charlotte wears many hats. Literally, as her colourful and extravagant outfits are a billboard for her job as a fashion stylist; and figuratively, as she takes up the communication side of 'Atelier Turquoise' (the ceramics and tableware brand she co-founded with her mother) while simultaneously renovating an old townhouse in Ghent to turn it into a remarkable and slightly gaudy bed and breakfast.
A few years ago, when every fashion blogger was raving about norm core, Charlotte launched her blog — now full-service styling studio — 'Aliceroxy'. Instead of buying herself Birkenstocks and a dozen of white button-downs, she inspired her audience with slightly over the top outfits, and put her colourful self on display. She didn't do it to kick the fashion scene in the shins — she's been wearing unconventional clothing ever since she was little — but didn't mind to stand out either. "In 2004, Maria Isabel won Spain's Junior Eurosong contest with the song 'Antes Muerta Que Sencilla'. That's Spanish for 'I'd rather be dead than plain', which became my life motto then and there."
A tiger doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep; Charlotte never cared about what other people might think of her extroverted personality, and played this attitude to her advantage. Making her living as a stylist never occurred to her until 2015, but she claimed her spot in only two years. How? By being self-confident and just putting herself out there. Charlotte made opportunities happen, instead of patiently awaiting them. As we admire her go-getter mindset and 'je m'en fous-ism' against everything conventional, we proposed to kidnap her to the Foire du Trône, a traveling fun fair and Paris' most colourful place-to-be in May. Needless to say, she fitted right in.
Full name — Charlotte Everaert
Date of birth — 22.12.'93
Zodiac sign — Capricorn
Where do you live? — Ghent, previously Amsterdam and Antwerp
Describe who you are and what you do — I'm a colourful person and creative entrepreneur
If you were a colour, what would you be? — Silver
Favourite travel destination? — Portugal
Where would you like to live? — In London, I love the city's eclectisism
Guilty pleasure? — Disaster movies
Favourite movie? — Everything by Pedro Almodóvar
Tell us a little about your background.
“I grew up close to the city centre of Ghent, and I’m very glad about that. I can’t imagine I’d be happy if I was raised in an ordinary town where everyone knows everybody. City life equals immediate proximity of everything you need on all times; whether that’s friends who live on walking distance, several parks, lots of shops and various educational facilities. I received a catholic education at a uniform school. Me, in uniform, can you imagine? I'm the oldest of three children and I guess some of those cliches are true: in a way, I kind of paved the way for my sister and brother. My parents allow my little brother way much more than me when I was his age. But honestly? I don't care and I also can't complain. They gave me a lot of freedom during my childhood and puberty, and never overprotected me. You try, test and sometimes you fail, but that's the only way to figure out how life works, I guess…"
What's the most important piece of advice your parents gave you?
"To stay positive and be your own biggest supporter, no matter what. Entrepreneurial life can be risky business — they're business owner themselves, so they know all about it — but they taught me to be self-confident and believe in myself. I'll always be grateful for that."
How did you experience puberty?
"As for a lot of teenagers, it wasn't the best time of my life. I didn't know empathy and bullied a few people... I'm happy I've grown out of it, obviously."
What did you study?
"I studied Latin and modern languages in high school and have a Bachelor's degree in Communication Management. Right after, I did a postgraduate in Digital Marketing and Communication in Brussels. I also attended a few trend watching and styling courses in Amsterdam; a city I lived in for about three times. It's my second home."
When did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
"When teachers or adults ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, 'fashion stylist' will never be an answer, that's for sure. Up until recently, I never even knew you could earn money doing this! I always thought I'd make a career in communications, but when I applied for jobs in digital marketing, it didn't feel quite right. While I reoriented myself, I read a lot of interviews with successful women in the fashion industry, and that's how everything suddenly clicked. I've always been drawn to colours, fabrics and prints, and never shied away from extraordinary sartorial choices or dramatic colour combinations. Maybe it was meant to be...
I just went for it and never looked back. When everyone would acknowledge their true talents and interests, and try to make a living out of it, the world would be a better place — don't you think?"
What's a typical day in your life like?
“It varies… No day looks the same as the one before, but that’s how I like it. I enjoy a full week of assignments and appointments – I thrive on the hustle and bustle that comes with it. For a styling job, I need only half a day of preparation. Internet shopping made the life of stylists so much easier, let me tell you! I don’t have a strict 9-to-5 schedule and I sometimes work during weekends. Work and play often overlap. People who aspire a creative career should be flexible, that’s for sure.”
What are the biggest misconceptions that you face about being a fashion stylist?
"I don't know and I don't really care."
Tell us about Atelier Turquoise and your other projects.
“Atelier Turquoise is the company I run with my mother since last February. We share a love for colours and unique combinations, so it was only natural we partnered up. She’s a ceramics artist, so she’s in charge of the creative process, while I manage the logistics, communication and social media. I’m currently finishing the renovation of our first Atelier Turquoise guesthouse in Ghent, where I’ve been realizing my wildest interior dreams. Styling is a broad concept, and as interior is less fugitive than fashion, I’m quite drawn to it lately… Immersing myself in interior styling will be next on the menu. Together with my pal Kimberley Dhollander I also create flat lays and still lives for different clients as KROMA, our visual collective. I can’t favor one project over another though; I love doing it all and need the variety to keep being inspired.”
Why do you do what you do?
“It’s very fulfilling to spend your time doing something you love, and building something for yourself. The fashion world can be superficial, but I don’t believe a love for aesthetics is superficial per se. On the contrary – I find aesthetics important because it elevates your mind; to surround yourself with beauty is a way to love yourself, and to inspire others to seek the same."
What is the most important thing you've learned in your life so far?
"To always follow and listen to your gut feeling."
How important is social media for your work?
"Very important. It’s an easy way to show your work to the outside world, and to present your style or niche in just a few pictures. We never hired a PR agency to get Atelier Turquoise featured in the press; they just found us online. Social media has made everyone and everything more addressable and accessible. While you used to spend a lot of time (or money) into getting your brand and message out there, it's now pretty easy to connect with the people that matter online."
Do you have any advice for people who'd like to make it in the creative sector?
"Stay true to yourself and do as you please. Don't let anyone discourage you. Talk to people you admire and listen to what they have to say. Give everything you've got and believe in what you're doing, even if things don't go as planned at first."
What's your ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’?
"To live a passionate life in which I get to see the world, hang out with friends and where work is as pleasurable as the two things I mentioned first."