Influential Women in Fashion Event


You may have heard of McMullen as a local spot to shop in Oakland, but what you may not realize is that founder, Sherri McMullen, is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her store next week with events and a speaker panel that you can’t miss. Season after season, Sherri picks exquisite yet approachable pieces from New York and Paris fashion weeks, has built steadfast relationships with the top names in the industry, and has recently been featured in Vogue. But perhaps one of her greatest attributes, is her commitment to empowering women through fashion and supporting the local community – case in point, a portion of ticket sales from next week’s panel, Influential Women in Fashion: An Intimate Conversation, will benefit students at the Oakland School for the Arts School of Fashion. Who will be there? Oh, “just” Amy Smilovic (Founder and Creative Director of Tibi; Sherri has carried the brand in her store since the beginning), Tamu McPherson (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of All the Pretty Birds), and moderated by Rajni Jacques (Fashion Director of Teen Vogue). Keep reading to see how you can purchase tickets (go fast before they sell out!), our picks for Tibi pieces you need, and what the panelists told me about how they handle personal and professional setbacks. Enjoy…

Sherri McMullen in her Grand Avenue store

Next week kicks off on Monday, November 13, with the launch of three Tibi pieces that were exclusively created for McMullen – a poplin top, cashmere sweater, and silk pullover.

On Wednesday, November 15th at 6pm, panelists will highlight their personal experiences in fashion, what it takes to launch a successful brand, and topics involving inclusion and diversity in the industry (link for tickets below).

I asked Amy, Tamu, and Sherri: What has been a touchstone in your life when you’ve had career and personal setbacks?  Here is what they said:

Tibi Founder and Creative Director, Amy Smilovic

Amy: I am a very goal oriented person.  But I define my goals in terms of long term and short term.  And long term goals are never nouns (people, places or things).  They’re always adjectives – (happy, fulfilled, content, healthy).  My parents instilled this in me – we grew up with what I thought was a lot – but what, comparatively to what I see nowadays (I live in Greenwich, CT), was nothing – and I mean nothing.  Many of my friend’s monthly clothing budgets exceed what my family’s income was growing up.  But, I had an incredible family – it never was about money – and family always came first and still does.  So, to answer this question, I’ve had setbacks to my short term goals, both personal and career wise, at many intervals along this journey.  But, and I’ve been lucky so far, none of them have had irreversible health consequences that derailed me from my long term goals.  And I guess for me,  I can literally define what a “serious setback” would be by “health consequences” because anything financial that has occurred, and there have been way too many ups and downs to count, can never impact my long term goals because they’re not directly linked to money.  I wish I had always thought this way – it would have made many of the wild ups and downs with the business easier to get through when I was younger.  But life is about continuing to learn and I have a very positive outlook on challenges – as long as they don’t involve my family’s health!

Founder All the Pretty Birds, Tamu McPherson

Tamu: I was once afraid of failing in life and though experience and the inspiration of friends have learned that setbacks are actually great opportunities. I haven’t really suffered a set back yet. I’ve gone through transitions and evolutions and have seen every experience as an organic way to move foreword.

Sherri McMullen

Sherri: My faith has been my guidance throughout my life.  There was a moment in my professional career and my corporate days when I didn’t get promoted. I worked so hard and had cultivated a thriving business, yet I wasn’t recognized. It was heart breaking when someone else was promoted after it had been promised to me.  I remember that moment so clearly, holding back my tears from my colleagues. I knew right then that I had to follow through with my plan and although I was scared to step out on my own and open my business, I let my faith guide me. I know that everything happens for a reason and once I started realizing that, I realized that what I thought was a setback was actually an opportunity for growth.


Need some style inspiration? Here are picks of Tibi pieces we adore:



To buy tickets for the November 15 panel, go here.

If you can’t make it and want to shop for fabulous Tibi pieces, go here.

To read the recent article in Vogue about Sherri, go here.


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