NJMOMpreneur: Tiffany Piñero, Tiffany Piñero Style


featured image via Erin Quigley

From early memories of watching her grandmother hand-sew outfits for her family from Cuba, Tiffany Piñero, our NJMOMpreneur of the week, knew fashion was her true calling. Through the years, she began helping her grandmother create custom dresses which eventually blossomed into her full-service styling company, Tiffany Piñero Style, that helps merge her client’s personal style with her creative eye. This self-proclaimed dreamer loves referencing art, music, and culture when designing outfits or homes. We’re inspired by the way she helps people see the best versions of themselves through her work and by her passion for giving back to local animal shelters. This super stylish mama sat down with us to talk mood boards, her best wardrobe tip for pulling together a look, and her fave local businesses in New Jersey, like Belle Threads for her baby girl.

NJMOMpreneur Tiffany Piñero via Lauren Anzevino

NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Tiffany: Tiffany Piñero Style is a full service styling company. I cater to women, men and homes – all on the basis of creating a personal style you love that is a mix of high and low designers and unexpected elements. The difference in what I do all comes down to merging my personality with my client’s. They work with me because they like the work that I have done and I help them define their aesthetic to establish a look for themselves {or their home} that has my eye merged with their character.

If you have decided to take the leap and start your business do it with gusto. There is a reason why you have come this far – don’t let anything stop you. I say this because although it can seem overwhelming to start a business, staying in business is the true challenge.” – Tiffany Pinero

NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Tiffany: I always wanted to be a fashion designer since I was very young. That not-so-subtle seed was planted when witnessing my grandmother whip up garments on the weekends for our family. She learned how to sew out of necessity when she was young to create the outfits she wanted for my mother that were far out of budget for a family of first generation immigrants from Cuba. Once my siblings and I were born, the sewing became more of a luxury than a necessity and we were able to work with our grandmother on designing a custom dress, outfit or in my brother’s case- MC Hammer pants, that no one else had.

NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Tiffany: So hard to pick a favorite! Using my imagination. I am such a dreamer. I love thinking in terms of texture, color, silhouette and concepts before even thinking about traditional clothing garments or furniture items. Referencing art, music and culture for inspiration makes my work feel multifaceted and interesting. I am constantly creating mood boards to give me a different perspective on a project and provide my clients with that ‘wow’ factor by hopefully including a vibe they never thought of but are totally on board with.

This is a response I hear most people in my field say, but I don’t think it’s a canned answer because I feel this too. When it comes to wardrobe styling especially, making a person feel strong and powerful in the way they look, making them see the best version of themselves- there is no better high for me. To dress someone in a way where they have more confidence in their step and they truly feel secure and they radiate that energy out to the world, it really is awesome.

from stylist assistant to NJMOMpreneur via Lauren Anzevino

NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Tiffany: I have been in the field of wardrobe styling for 15 years now and have been doing it full time for my own company since 2014. I started out by volunteering at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week {back when it was at Bryant Park- we are talking almost vintage here!} and ultimately was hired by the stylists I was helping. I assisted stylists for years while going to school at The Fashion Institute of Technology and working at Bloomingdale’s when their Soho location was brand spanking new. So, when I wasn’t studying fashion, I was working two fashion related jobs and soaking up as much as I could about what it is that makes a look and what it is that the customer/ client wants to make them feel confident and beautiful.

By 2009, I had my own clients and had been graduated for two years. I had a full-time job styling within another brand on 5th Avenue and decided to stop being a styling assistant and start taking on my own clients during evenings and weekends. I did the side hustle thing for 5 more years until I realized that so much of the work I was being offered, but had to turn down, was during my regular working week. I was incredibly scared to leave my full-time job to go full time for myself, but letting go of what made me feel secure but unfulfilled left room for so much more opportunity.

NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Tiffany: I had a hard time with this question. Tiffany Piñero Style is young with a lot of noteworthy notches in the belt. I have styled celebrities, been quoted in national publications, hosted fashion shows for big brands and even wrote a book, but looking back nothing stands out as THE big thing. I realize what I am most proud of is the simplest thing- that I did it. I always wanted my own fashion business that puts good into the world and I have it. I take care of it every day, I take steps to maintain it and help it grow and it serves the needs of some really amazing clients, which makes me incredibly proud.

NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Tiffany: If you follow me on social media you’ll know I am pretty much an open book so there is little that many don’t know about me. That’s just how I am – a heart on my sleeve kind of person who shares my experiences, hoping to make others feel less alone and like they belong.

For many years my husband and I struggled to have a child. We were pregnant many times and lost the pregnancies early on. We did rounds of IVF with little success. But we got our angel-girl through adoption. She is every prayer, dream and wish from the depths of my heart in human form. And I firmly believe every failure and loss lead us exactly to where we are supposed to be with the child who is more than we could have ever hoped for.

Tiffany and Lumi wearing matching headbands from Tiffany’s grandmother via Lauren Anzevino

NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Tiffany: On a personal level, probably a lot more baby spam (haha!) When we aren’t parents we all say we are not going to do it and then this little cherub comes into your life + iPhone = I must share your adorableness with the world; and from all the angles in which you are adorable. So, without a doubt more of that.

Professionally, I am currently getting into a good working groove while balancing motherhood and hope that continues. We only had 5 weeks notice that we had been matched with a birthmother, which was an incredible surprise. However, I was not as prepared as I would have liked to have been to take a maternity leave with so little planning. I am celebrating the little victory of getting the day to business on track while trying to plan for the future as well. The future includes a physical space for my styling studio, expanding my home styling portfolio, finally flexing my fashion design muscles, another book, online courses/seminars in styling expertise and a teen empowerment program. So, not a lot at all 😉

NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Tiffany: I feel very called to helping others. I love volunteering when I can and spreading good causes to my network to see if they want to get involved as well. Every year for our Christmas card I give a $1 donation for every card sent {our list is 125+!} to an animal shelter. Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City and Wise Animal Rescue in Hoboken have both been recipients and while my donation is not huge, I know when it comes to the homeless pets they use every penny to better their situation.

I also enjoy collaborating with Hoboken Girl to raise money for both Dress for Success of Hudson County and Women Rising in Jersey City. We have come up with some creative ways to get the community involved while also raising funds. We just wrapped our most successful Community Sale last month that benefitted Dress for Success!

Two other charities I like to work with are a birthday sponsor organization for homeless children and Smile Train. The birthday parties are organized by a wedding planner from my hometown you can follow them on Instagram – they list kids in need monthly and you can send them birthday presents. I got involved with Smile Train a few years back after I suffered a dog bite to my face. To save my mouth I had to get the same surgery as a person with a cleft palate. The surgery was a success and I only hope I can help those who are born with this issue because I don’t know what I would have done if they couldn’t have saved my smile.

NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Tiffany: I am so fortunate to have so many incredible women just in my immediate family set the tone for what is an example of good character. My mother and both my grandmothers have all overcome hardship and flourished with grace and integrity and I continually acknowledge them for nurturing my spirit and creativity.

But I would like to single out a person who I have never given such a special nod to, my husband. Clearly, I think he is a great human, that is why I married him. But seeing him now as a dad, his drive to do the best and give our family the best, keep us organized and make family memories really inspires me. Our skyrocket to parenthood came with its learning curve not only for us with the baby, but for us with each other- but I am really proud of how we collaborate to get things done and leave some time for “us”. He is also the biggest cheerleader of my business and is continually sending me articles and tidbits on how I can evolve and grow as a business owner.

cozy and casual via Erin Quigley

NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/role model) ever gave to you?
Tiffany: My mom has always been incredible, but since our daughter arrived she has been above and beyond. She has given me tons of classic advice just to remind me that it takes a village, and it’s okay to ask for help and sometimes you have to forgo one thing – usually the laundry, to take care of the more pressing things – the baby. But I would say she has just lead by example giving me an air of confidence that makes me a better mother overall.

NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Tiffany: I live by a lot of quotes. I just love stirring the fire within myself and reading positive affirmations and messages that really get me pumped up. One that has resonated with me in both life and business a lot as of late is:

One day you will look back and see that all along you were blooming.” – Morgan Harper Nichols

I love this quote because it symbolizes that even your pain and struggles are part of a more beautiful process. Blooming takes time. Try to enjoy the journey.

NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Tiffany: My husband and I love seeing shows at the Paper Mill Playhouse all year round. We love that somewhere as cool as that is nearly right in our backyard. Beauty and the Beast will be the next show we see there this June. The Playhouse is right in Millburn, which has an adorable downtown area to grab an early dinner before the show or a drink afterward. We can’t wait until our daughter is old enough to join us!

The Montclair Art Museum, as well as the Newark Museum, are favorites for our weekends as well as Echo Lake Park in Westfield where we can walk with our daughter and her fur brother at the dog park. Hitting up the Scotch Plains Farmer’s Market is a Saturday morning must during the spring and summer.

NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Tiffany: Even the hard and the messy parts, it really is all so amazing. Motherhood gives you a birds-eye view of innocence in its purest form. The gratitude I feel being given the opportunity to be a mom to such a sweet child, I am loving every minute of it.

NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey? 
Tiffany: Favorite coffee shop?! Anyone who keeps me caffeinated, I love you all equally. But I am pretty obsessed with two newer locations in downtown Westfield, Farinolio and Boxwood Coffee. And The Coffee Box in Scotch Plains. Restaurant faves, Oralé in Jersey City, Dino and Harry’s in Hoboken, La Isla in Hoboken, The Crosby in Montclair, Pairings and 100 Steps in Cranford, and for a quick health conscious bite- The Salad House in Westfield. I love breaking a good sweat. My two favorite local workouts are Orange Theory in Garwood and Alpha Fit Club in Westfield. Our girl is 7.5 months so we are just getting into activities for her. We love going to Indigo bookstore in the Short Hills mall and just hanging in the kids section perusing all the books, of course Liberty Science Center and we will be tagging along with our older cousins to Diggerland this summer! And a brand we love for her that is made right here in New Jersey is Belle Threads!

Women’s shopping I love Alba Boutique which has quite a few locations from Hoboken to Morristown and then some. Some other shopping favorites are Deen Boutique {owned by a local mom!} online but based out of Elizabeth, Mint Market, Be One Sol, and I love my girls at the Blue Mercury in Westfield and I feel so lucky to live near a gorgeous Serena and Lily store {holy home inspo!} in Summit. And for one-stop shopping my home away from home is Bloomingdale’s in Short Hills, I love the selection they carry.

family time at the Westfield Halloween Parade in 2018

NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Tiffany: After a beautifully long love affair with Hoboken of just over 12 years we made the trek to the burbs and bought a house in Scotch Plains {mainly for the backyard, but don’t tell the house we said that, haha!}. During the warm months, that backyard serves as our summer hideaway. So, we do try to spend a majority of our time entertaining friends and family and enjoying our pool as much as we can.

When we aren’t being homebodies we love to explore the shore. I am from New York originally so the shore is still relatively new to me. I grew up going to Wildwood- even had my bachelorette party there! {and it was awesome} but that was my extent of New Jersey beaches until the last few years. We love doing little day trips to Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Asbury Park and Red Bank. You might even catch me on the boardwalk renting one of those motorized stuffed animals, they are just as fun for adults FYI. I know it’s a sin but I still haven’t been to LBI. It’s on the list, hoping to get there with our little one soon!

NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Tiffany: If you have decided to take the leap and start your business do it with gusto. There is a reason why you have come this far don’t let anything stop you. I say this because although it can seem overwhelming to start a business, staying in business is the true challenge. There will be days where you may look around and see your market is saturated and you don’t think you can stand out or something will make you feel less than – that moment will pass don’t let it get to you. Try to make it a practice to start your week reminding yourself why you started in your line of work. Recognize 3 positive things you want to do through your business and hopefully that will give you something to hold on to when you have to ride the waves. A separate vision board for your business is a major plus! It serves as a silent guide- trust me!

NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Tiffany: You’re doing great! I mean this whole-heartedly. Because you really are. Taking care of tiny humans is hard work! When it comes to wardrobe, a great piece of outerwear {leather jacket/chic anorak/custom denim jacket/tailored blazer} looks good with the simplest of things and will have you feeling pulled together at school drop off.

For more information on Tiffany Piñero Style follow along on her website, Instagram, and Pinterest.

About Author

Erika is a yogi, writer, coffee enthusiast, and world traveler. If she's not at the beach or chasing the sunset, she's looking for the best iced coffee she can find and planning her next adventure. Her favorite NJ spots include The Saint, Island Heights, and Lava Java House.