Jaclyn McCabe will stand out in a crowd. She's the first one to introduce herself. She speaks her mind. She's warm, welcoming and exudes strength. And she's in demand. Jaclyn is the founder of Jaci Blue, a beloved boutique in New Orleans, an event producer, and founder of a burgeoning self-love coaching practice. Being in demand takes its toll, like many of us, it took a literal force of nature causing upheaval, pause and reflection to put Jaclyn on a different path toward happiness and well being. She wants us to think about self love differently. Meet Jaclyn McCabe.
SRG: Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please share with us a little about your path and what makes you the woman you are today?
JM: My journey to the woman I am today started about 15 years ago, when I dove headfirst into plus size fashion and opened my first boutique. I had no idea what I was doing; I just knew that I never wanted to cry in a dressing room ever again! My mission was simple–– plus size women shouldn’t have to choose between clothes that fit and clothes that are fabulous. We deserved better.
But the thing was, I was still caught up in diet culture myself and didn’t embody the language about self-worth and body positivity that was coming out of my mouth all day in order to build up my customers. I was still dieting, hiding from mirrors, and wearing ungodly amounts of spandex under my clothes (and in the Southern heat no less!)
It took an almost decade-long journey of hiding from myself in my first shop plus a stint on the West Coast where I did a tremendous amount of uncovering, discovering, and discarding to find out who I was and that I liked her. I made peace with my body and stopped believing the diet culture bullshit once and for all. Only then could I find my voice and become the woman I am today.
My last boutique, Jaci Blue, really allowed me to step into my truth. My mission was to redefine the boutique shopping experience by championing women inside the dressing rooms, be a bold and honest voice dedicated to the pursuit of helping plus-size women find their inner worth, and bringing stylish clothing to the plus-size shopper, like See Rose Go.
And while I couldn’t be prouder of my tenure in plus-size fashion, I realized feeling beautiful in a new dress for a night out is excellent—and also, it doesn't create lasting change. That’s why I decided to take my radical self-love mission out of the dressing rooms and into the coaching arena.
I started a coaching practice to help other women free themselves from their own inner bullies. As a Certified Professional Coach, I get to teach other women all the same powerful tools I've learned for a life filled with radical self-love. I focus on shutting down the inner mean girl, releasing internalized shame through self-care, and stepping off the diet roller coaster. All of this leads to a life of self-confidence, worth, and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
At Jaci Blue, I spent a lot of time focused on building a plus-size lady krewe through community events like my annual Not So Skinny Dip, as well as hosting renowned feminist authors, movie nights, and group meetups around New Orleans. I am happy to say that I will continue doing all of this in my coaching practice.
SRG: A lot has changed over the course of a year (to say the least!) How has shopping / buying product changed for you?
JM: A lot has changed indeed! I no longer have a boutique where everything fits and suits my style. And while I haven’t missed the shop once since closing it six months ago, I have missed the unlimited access to clothing.
But, as with any personal transition, my style has transitioned as well. As I step into my coaching career, I’m playing around with a new signature style and doing all my shopping online, mostly from smaller, female-owned brands. I’ve bought almost the entire See Rose Go collection at this point!
SRG: We love that so much, you embody 'ROSE!' Ok then as a follow up! What has been your favorite See ROSE Go piece?
JM: I am living in the See Rose Go signature tunic shirt. I have it in 3 color ways and want more! I’ve been biking to my new office, so pants have become a must. Your tunic shirt is the perfect item to throw on over a pair of jeans or leggings, ride to the office, and feel cute once I get there.
SRG: Mindful is a center value for us at SRG. You have an interesting perspective with your background in fashion, entrepreneurship, and self-love coaching. How do you define “mindful”?
JM: My definition of mindful is the pretty standard -- being present in the moment.
Now, staying mindful is not always as easy as it sounds. Especially the further I get into the journey of perimenopause. I’m finding it more and more challenging to stay present and not try to figure the future out as unbalanced hormones take over my basic brain functions.
My go-to tool for returning to the present is simply taking a deep breath and taking a moment to ground into where my feet are. I also have a daily meditation practice and an essential oils regiment that helps me stay grounded.
SRG: There is a lot of buzz about needing a “do-over” for 2020, but we all know much can be learned from experiences. How are you re-aligning or re-setting in this new year?
JM: Honestly, I think 2020 was an amazing gift to us all. I know that’s an unpopular opinion, but if we can separate out the tragedy and loss of the pandemic, all the super hard and challenging events shined a light into the cracks of our systems that were failing all of us. Amongst the upheaval, we were forced to pause as we discerned what was working and what wasn’t from a global, national, and personal level. It was as if the entire world was given the chance to do a deep dive into “uncover, discover, and discard'' kind of healing.
My personal example of gifts amongst the upheaval is last year at this time, I was flailing around in burnout trying to start a coaching business while running a successful retail shop. My schedule and to-do list were at max capacity every day. And no matter what trick or tips I tried, I was drowning. When the quarantine happened, the shop shut down, and with only my coaching clients to focus on, I got a glimpse of a simpler, happier work life. So, I leaned into that glimpse with my own coach and reset my trajectory.
My intention going forward is to not forget the gifts of this past year and to stay mindful despite my urge to over shedule / overcommit. In the “before times” I was scheduled two weeks out. I don’t want to fall back into a lifestyle that leads to burnout.
SRG: January is the month of goal setting. How are you approaching goal setting right now when so much seems to be either beyond our control or unknown?
JM: My approach to goal setting is pretty simple. I set an intention of three personal goals and three professional goals for the year and then filter my monthly and weekly to-do lists through those major goals
Above all, I focus on self-care by doing my best not to overthink the goal. I start each week by looking at my schedule and asking myself “What does self-care look like?” Then I schedule things in, like meditation breaks, pausing to eat, or asking for help. Then I make those things my priority for the day; everything else that gets accomplished is “lagniappe,” as they say in South Louisiana.
Don’t misunderstand that as indulgent or slacking-- I’m simply prioritizing my self-care above everything else, because if I don’t put the oxygen mask on myself first, the rest is impossible.
SRG: You are a huge fan and supporter of SRG and we are so thankful to have you as a part of our community. Is there a particular person that has made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
JM: There are too many strong, powerful women in my life. I couldn’t just pick one!
I am really fortunate to have a vast support system of trusted lady friends that keep me afloat and teach me how to be a better version of myself. I sort of imagine the trusted lady krewe as a spiderweb, with each thread connecting me to each wildly wonderful woman, most of whom don’t know the others.
About ten-ish of the trusted lady krewe gathered in New Orleans a couple of years ago for my 40th birthday. I remember looking at the brunch table and thinking “These women could literally change the word.” And that wasn’t the entirety of my spiderweb!
And while they all have different backgrounds, strengths, and coping mechanisms, the common core is they are all self-reflective, use their pain points to further their growth, love to eat, and are funny AF.
SRG: What’s next for you?
JM: I have so many things coming up that I’m super excited about!
The first being that I recently got a certification in medical aromatherapy. Essences have been such a big part of my healing journey, and I cannot wait to start sharing their power with the plus-size lady krewe.
I’m also working on a group workshop series where women can journey the path to radical self-love together. I believe there is real magic in the group journey.
I’m also tweaking my one-on-one package offerings to include mini self-care packages for those who, like me, tend to over schedule. These thirty minute weekly sessions pull focus on finding the “oxygen mask moments” of your week so you can show up and be highly productive in all the things.
And on a personal note, I’m still excited about weekends. This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve had weekends off. And, while it’s a strange time to figure out what people do on the weekends, I’m thoroughly enjoying the things I can do safely. Totally open to trying any and all weekend suggestions.