Passion Profile: Elaine Yu. She was a stay at home mom for 10 years and now proudly holds the title of Ironman and Entrepreneur. Read on about how she found her purpose.
The triathlete necklace was inspired entirely by Elaine. Her sister had contacted me to inquire about a triathlete design. I didn't have one. And, thus, this design was created.
What do you do?
I became a personal stylist 2 1/2 years ago.
What were you doing before?
I was a stay at home mom for 10 years. I never even thought about a post-children career.
Why did you choose to stay at home?
I always thought I would be a stay at home mom.
What does your mom do? Was she a stay at home mom?
No, my mom is a concert pianist. Her job is unconventional so she wasn't in an office from 9-5.
What about your dad?
He's a pediatrician.
What did you do before your kids?
I was in direct marketing at a Time Inc.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
When my twins turned 8, my husband started his career change. I also wanted to make a change. It was time to do something for myself.
How did the career choice come about?
I had been volunteering twice a week at Dress For Success. I found such joy and content when I helped a woman feel more confident after styling an outfit for her. She would stand taller and smile when she looked at herself in the mirror. I knew that this was something I wanted to do. I loved how I could make these women feel.
I made this decision as I was starting to train for my first triathlon, the Ironman. (author's note: the Ironman is a triathlon race that includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, amd a 26.2 mile marathon)
That's interesting, how did each affect the other?
Completing the triathlon enabled me with the mindset that I could do anything. I had earned it and I had worked for it.
You were running before the triathlon training. How did you discover that?
I had never done sports or run in my youth. I grew up dancing.
In my 20’s, I moved to New York City; I noticed people roller blading and running in the park frequently. I thought I would try it out. It seems that people are always running in the park. Once I started, I set a goal to run the marathon when I turned 25.
What is it about running that makes you feel good?
It makes me feel empowered.
Did you run after you had kids?
No, right up to before having kids, I started doing yoga and pilates instead. While my kids were young, I would do a regular workout 3-4 days a week doing whatever I felt like. I didn’t have a training plan or fitness goal.
How did you transition from running to wanting to do the Ironman?
Around the time when my oldest, the twins, were 8, I would take them to swim lessons and wait. It occurred to me, why sit around and wait when I could swim, too? It was when one of the kids’ cross country coach suggested I train for a triathlon.
Triathlon training and deciding to start your own business as a stylist, was that an a-ha period?
Yes, I never thought I would be an entrepreneur let alone be a personal stylist. But, it feels like my life purpose. I was meant to do this. My mission is not to chase celebrities or exposure. I want to make the every day woman feel confident and beautiful. Clothing is one of the tools I use to achieve that.
How many marathons have you ran?
In the past couple years, 5 marathons, 1 Ironman, and 40 other races.
What is your training schedule?
I used to train 3 days a week of biking, swimming and running each day. I got burnt out from it and have changed my training approach. Now, I strength train 3 times a week with my trainer, Gary Blackledge, and am working on push ups and pull ups.
What do your husband and kids think of your fitness activities?
One time my daughter had on one of my Ironman shirts. Her school coach asked, “Your dad did the Ironman?”
She proudly replied, “No, my mom did”
My kids are really proud of what I can do! My husband knows it makes me happy, so he is happy.