..December’s Customer of the Month is Cynthia Deibert! Let’s get to know one of Fremont’s frequents.
ADORN: Tell us a bit about yourself!
“I am 51 years old, married for 31 years, and have twin daughters age 30. An army veteran, I work as an assistant manager transportation training TriMet. I’m always looking for ways to move up the career ladder. In my free time I love to spend time with my family, and shop at Adorn and shop for shoes as well.”
ADORN: How did you first hear out about Adorn?
“If you can believe this, my husband told me about Adorn. He is a field supervisor for TriMet and this particular area (Beaumont) is his district that he works out of. He drives by and he see nice clothes in the window, so he came home and [told me] I want to go to the place called Adorn. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
“In the past year I have gotten a new job in management and it requires me to wear business attire. I have found many dresses at Adorn. All of the clothing has a unique flair that I love. It’s just not run-of-the-mill clothing – every piece of clothing has an edge to it. I love that because more than likely you will not find someone else in the office with the same piece.
I also love that you have a layaway plan which makes it more affordable and doable anytime I see something I love – I always find something I love. The women who work in the store are amazing. They have had me try on clothes that I would never pick for myself, but they have me try it on and it looks amazing, so I end up buying it, feeling great, and getting compliments all the time.”
“One time I brought my adult daughter with disabilities into the store so I could look around. Brittany sat with her and entertained her while mom tried on all kinds of clothes. Now that’s awesome service. That’s why I come back – they are all so awesome and friendly, they make you feel special, and I get to support small business. I have brought several of my family members and they enjoy it as well.”
ADORN: Goofiest fashion trend you have participated in?
“My goofy fashion from way back in the day was leg warmers, and I think they are coming back. OH MY!”
Thanks for sharing your stories, Cynthia! You can find Cynthia on Instagram @deiberci.
Notable accomplishments // During tenure of being the First Lady of Milwaukie she successfully leveraged her social media presence to pass a Light Rail Bond measure. Pre-social media campaign polling showed 47% support. The bond measure passed with 54% yes votes, a 7 point sway from the first poll. Key services for the city were retained with the 5 million dollar bond measure passage.
She was also one of the first in her industry to adopt Social Media as part of the marketing mix, utilizing this as on online PR tool. This spring boarded her into a career with Global Haircare company KEVIN.MURPHY. In her first six weeks on the job the www.LoveKevinMurphy.com blog, which she ran, shut down after it’s re-launch because of an overwhelming amount of traffic. The site simply crumbled under the weight of visitors, and was up and running again in 24 hours.
Years in the industry : 17
Notable accolades: Owned on of the biggest award winning salons in Portland (77), was the Digital Marketing Manager for KEVIN.MURPHY international and covered Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.
Why doesn’t most of Portland know about you?
I was ‘famous’ at a time before social media really existed like it does today, hehe. I was talking to a younger friend of mine the other day that said, ‘It sounds like you were at the top of your game during some sort of hair renaissance in Portland.’ Indeed. 1998 to about 2008 was an absolutely beautiful time to be doing hair in Portland – this city was crawling with icons. I owned one of the most prestigious salons in Portland – then the recession hit and wiped out so much of what was lovely in our industry. But, it has also made way for new things to pop-up – I am excited to see what all of these people moving here means for the industry. More experienced stylists from other states will certainly up the hair game here.
What is it like to live in two cities? As a Portland native you recently moved to Seattle, but still work in Portland. Tell me a little about that.
When I had the opportunity to sit next to Kevin Murphy on a semi-regular basis I asked him one day what inspires him – considering he has been doing hair for decades I wanted so badly to know how that happens after so many years. “Well everything inspires me! I walk around town – everything I see can be inspiring.” That saddened me because I wanted to possess that so badly but I just could’ t find it for myself…until now. I just needed to change my scenery. It started when I met Jeremy and he changed my entire view on life.
Speaking of…you were a First Lady.Tell me about that.
I am still very much amused by that. I can’t believe this scrappy little hairstylist from North East Portland was trusted to go as a Dignitary on a Eco-Summit to China. I went more just to see if they would throw me out once I got there. I went out and bought a whole new wardrobe chalked full of local designs so that I would ‘fit in’. Hairdressers are notorious for wearing all black and I thought that color would help – except that in Beijing everything is grey. The people all have black hair. They are all very thin – and here comes this curly haired tits ’n ass American in Red! Purple! It was kind of hysterical. Jeremy kept videoing people’s reactions to me.
In the past you have made a huge commitment to supporting your community and doing the right thing with local politics. Can you tell me a little bit about how that has impacted your life and what caused you to do the things you did that supported that commitment?
Looking back now it seems like such a small thing, but at the time I was legitimately scared I was going to have my house burned down or at the least have a brick thrown through my window or my beloved bike stolen. Towards the end of my stint as First Lady I outed a politician that was running for office. (You can read the Bike Portland article here) What started out as some innocent Facebook stalking ended up with realizing that I had information that could impact how people voted. It would also impact (should Scott Barbur have won) how my children would be able to navigate their futures. I like riding my bike, but when it comes to parenting what I realized is that you have to empower kids wherever you can within the guidelines of good parenting. Bike riding is one of childrens first way of experiencing freedom. They also have to learn how to navigate safety and time management – especially if they are using bikes as their main form of transportation to and from school. Via my Milwaukie Rules Facebook page I was able to get people to think and look at this issue from a different lens. Karin Power, his opponent, not only won but had an incredibly well funded campaign because of the Bike Portland article. She received multiple donations to her campaign from across the country since Bike Portland is the top bicycle blog in the nation. Then it spurred a couple in Portland to start a PAC (see Bike Portland post here:)
This all was not without consequence – there were multiple occasions where folks in town that did not like what I had done decided they were going to run to the press with false stories and try to make the Mayor and I look bad. Private investigators were allegedly hired by Scott Barbur to dig up dirt on us. (They found none.) It was scary. I certainly did not want made-up salacious articles ending up in the paper for my stepkids to read – the very kids I was out to protect. Most of the media has a very low credibility level these days – and most Politics is an exercise in futility. I can’t be a part of politics again on that level, it’s bad for my health, but I 100% understand more than ever (probably because of this) the need for powerful political people – especially progressive women. I am currently trying to figure out the best way for me to support that while staying out of hot water. I’d like to just enjoy my incredible life for awhile without such a heavy burden. I think that’s why I am so passionate about The Portland Campaign.
You owned your first house at 25, and owned one of the largest salons in Portland by the age of 27 as well as your second home in the same year. Can you tell me a little bit about that? That’s very impressive!
I never wanted to own a salon, and I actually never wanted to be a hairstylist. It was humiliating for me when I dropped out of college my first go of it. One of my fellow students said to me, “Hehe – you are dropping out of school to do HAIR?” I felt so stupid. Now it’s almost cool NOT to go – but those were different times, and I grew up not knowing I had a choice other than continuing on to college after high school. I felt very lost and upset about it – so if I was going to have to be a hairstylist then I was going to be the best fucking hairstylist there was because there was no way I was going to feel that way ever again.
I do have a innate tendency to strive for the best in whatever I do, but man, I do not like feeling dumb or being second best. A lot of the blood that runs through my veins come from my grandpas. Grandpa Zelinka (my Czech/Russian side) stormed the beaches of Normandy and really should never have survived much less walk again. (He had schrapnel wounds so bad that he spent a year in the hospital before being released and was told he was never to walk ever again.) And my Grandpa Wunsch was a typical stubborn 100% German who came into America via a sled through Canada. He was also a third generation small business owner – so there’s that.
Tell me about a defining moment in your life and how it changed you.
The recession was really hard, but I think that divorce (with kids, even though they are my stepkids) was an incredibly defining moment. I have such an elevated level of respect for families that go through that. It’s heart wrenching, and as a step-parent you have no rights. None. It forced me to really grow up, because if I wanted to continue to see these little monsters I had no choice but to put any hard feelings aside for the greater good. That was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, and continue to work at because innately I am an aggressive ass kicker. I have had to really find different ways to win. Evolved, grown-up ways instead of street ways. Evolving is a process, man.
What would your advice to your younger self be?
“Mandy. Working the graveyard shift at a convenience store is a really DUMB idea. You got lucky.” To be fair, I used the graveyard shift to learn business and marketing. I figured, “I’ll sit here all night and not do anything and I’ll read all the business books I can while I do it.” I mean, it totally paid off, but..
What is been one of the hardest lessons to learn?
I never allowed room for things to happen. I never let the universe take over. I just took my agenda and rammed down everyone’s throat’s. But the problem with that is sometimes you’re trying to push square pegs into round holes and if you don’t allow a little room for things to happen and they never will.
What are some of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?
Most of your 20s and 30s is learning how to get out of your own way.
Change, for me, is like divorce. You ask for – even encourage it, and you know in the end you will be better for it. But the process – not a fan.
Putting happiness at the top of my goal list changed my life.
That being said, then prioritize goals by money, then keep a secondary list for causes.
The more I understand politics the less I understand.
T R I B E S. Finding my tribes throughout life has been one of the most important contributors to my success.
You absolutely have to keep some wiggle room in life to allow for things to happen.
You are who you hang around. Choose wisely.
Surround yourself with people you want to be like and you will become that.
Set goals yearly.
READ. I never enjoyed it, but boy have I learned so much that way I have now grown to love it.
Travel. You can’t afford no to.
Who would you name as some of your mentors?
DVF. She’s one classy broad. My girlfriends. I have spent many years cultivating my Tribe. They constantly inspire me with their lady balls.
What are some of the hardest lessons you have learned?
Notable accomplishments // Successfully lobbied TriMet for family-friendly space usage and signage on MAX trains and to incorporate family-friendly policies and planning into their evaluation and transportation design
2010 Emerge Oregon graduate
Was on the City of Portland Budget Committee
Volunteered with City Club of Portland
Appointed to the Oregon Council on Civil Rights
Raised over $1 million dollars in funding for community events
Founded own consulting firm
Co-developed the Oregon Women Firsts poster to help girls throughout Oregon see their potential for leadership on their classroom walls
Threw out the first pitch at a Hillsboro Hops game
7 year-old son who sees the world with compassionate eyes and a 3 year-old daughter who is fearless about who she is
Portland Monthly Rising Star
Portland Ten Honoree
Distinguished Alumni Award, Trinity Lutheran You and I have talked a little bit about how change is necessary, it’s not the easiest thing to do, which is why most people tend to not. There’s the old saying that people don’t change. And although that may be largely true, I think people part of some people’s make up is change. Can you tell me a little bit about some changes in your life and how you’ve been able to not only deal with it in a healthy way, but also thrive from it?
First off, I would say, I don’t know life without change. It seems cliche’ but I grew up always having a bag packed and ready to go. After my sister, who is my hero, went to court to have us removed from our home, I lived with various family members and family friends in 10 different houses in 9 different neighborhoods between the ages of 12-18. Change is in my DNA. At times, it can be harder for me to deal with things staying the same than dealing with change.
I like taking on roles that have variety, so I can use all aspects of my interests in life. In my current role, I get to weave together my public policy ideas with my passion for sports and making a difference for kids and roll in a bit of creativity for good measure. I thrive in roles where I get to change up what I am doing, where I am working and the kinds of challenges I am trying to solve. This is where change serves me best as I get to bring new energy to my work every day.
I recently went through a personal life change separating from my spouse. Something I never expected to experience. And that change was hard, close to bring me to my knees hard. My biggest fear, FAILURE — tried to strike me out and I had a full count for sure, but I kept fouling off pitches until I made good contact. And hey, maybe it wasn’t a homerun, but I am on base and in scoring position. Baseball analogies aside (I can’t help myself), I emerged from that experience with more compassion, more love, more strength, and this new thing called patience developing. It’s not easy nor is it linear and I don’t wish it on anyone, but we survive. And it’s messy and it’s beautiful. And it’s life.
For the record, please state your name and why we should care about you?
Nova Newcomer, because I play to win. But winning might look a bit different to me than to others. Winning looks like a community where every child thrives. So when I say I play to win, I mean that some of the things we think aren’t solvable really are. We just have to have the will to win on issues that make a real difference in people’s lives.
I’ve always been in awe of how you so adequately evolve with balance. You are successful at not only being a woman I am proud to call my friend and business associate, but also a caring partner and mother. Your career has and to not only take off but thrive considering all of the moving parts in your life. Can you tell me a little bit about how you’re able to make it all work?
I think most women will tell you that the balance you talk about is elusive and I feel that way often. But I also feel like being a full person is the best path to being a good mother, friend, sister, and professional. So it may not be so much about making it work as it is somewhat of a compulsion. I feel compelled to do the things I do and engage with the world with the full force of my passion, empathy, humor, frustration, fun, creativity, and drive. So sometimes it does get out of balance and I hear it from the people I care about most and I make an adjustment. But the goal really is to have a full and meaningful life so it’s about making all those little adjustments to make it possible to get there. And learning to say no at the right times and finding kindness and compassion for myself which is an ongoing challenge.
You’ve always made it a point to support causes that you care about, usually flows into your work life. Can you tell me a little bit about how you balance what I like to call career volunteerism or career causes with the need to make money and how that has worked for you?
This gets back to playing to win for me and asking the question, “What kind of win fulfills me?”
I had an incredible globe-hopping job at an international sporting goods company and that could have been my win…to ride out a great career with a big company and do quite well for myself.
But I found myself wanting more. I wanted to take everything I had learned in that creative and well-resourced environment and apply it to things that really mattered to me. So I left the comfort of a corporate career and struck out on my own starting my own consulting business and donating 20% of my time to work for non-profits. That donated time ended up evolving into work leading outreach efforts for the Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University, where I had previously served as a board member.
So, for me, it’s all about the intersection of my professional drive and my personal drive to serve and I have learned throughout my career that if those two things aren’t working together I am not happy. And just like the juggling act of so many roles, I have to be vigilant of one not overpowering the other and be open to change when it’s required.
Tell me about a defining moment in your life and how it changed you.
I distinctly remember my Little League softball coach asking me to play catcher for the first time. My whole world opened up. I remember thinking, “He wants me to lead,” because of course everyone knows the catcher is in charge of the field. I was one of those kids that truly needed sports. When I started softball, my home life was spiraling out of control under the weight of parents with mental health and substance abuse issues. There wasn’t a better intervention in my life at the time — for my coach to tell me I mattered and that he was placing the trust of the team in my hands. And from that moment on, I never looked back. And those experiences as a catcher, as a leader, have stayed with me throughout my life and my career, which has always somehow returned to my love of the diamond.
Who have been some of your mentors?
This question is always the one where I stand back and marvel at what I have been afforded in this life. From mothers of friends growing up to teachers to neighbors to aunts to professors to former bosses to political leaders to business people — the community around me has lifted me up at every step of the way. It can be a bit embarrassing to think about because I have definitely had more than my share of mentors. To name a few:
My older sister, Jonathan Cleveland, my government and Mock Trial teacher Michele DeShaw, Dr. Melody Rose, Mike Lund, Kama Dersham, and Julie Harrelson. And my girlfriends…so many talks, venting sessions, laughs, and admiration, endless admiration for making it through this messy, beautiful life.
What would your advice to your younger self be?
Be bold. Be kind. Have more fun. Love yourself.
What has been one of the hardest lessons to learn?
Letting go. I grew up with the idea that if I worked hard enough and wanted something bad enough that I could manifest the outcome I desired. I am not even saying that this always happened, but that way of thinking was my mode of survival — the idea that I could survive by sheer force of will guided my approach to life for the first 3 decades of my life. And lo and behold, it stopped working. Life got more complex than just my will could sort and organize. And it was humbling and frustrating and then there was a moment where the clouds parted…No, there really wasn’t, but it’s been a decade of unraveling that childlike belief and coming back to challenges with a more adult view and saying here are the things I can control and here are the thing that are out of my control. And I am no longer responsible for other people’s words or actions. Just my own. And that letting go is a far more powerful force than a death grip of control, even if that death grip is what shaped you for so long.
What are some of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?
As a mom, it’s probably learning how much my parents didn’t know. My parents loved me deeply and they also both suffered from substance abuse and mental health issues. And I think about the extra challenges they dealt with along with being parents and it must have been crippling. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done and there is no greater joy than the wins I get from being in it with my kids.
As a partner, it’s the need for vulnerability. I have learned the need to leave space for someone to come to you and not to fill up that space for your partner. Ultimately, they may not be able to fill it, but it’s theirs to fill.
As a woman, it’s understanding what I don’t owe other people. Everyone is owed their humanity of course, but women are often put in positions where our humanity is eroded by external expectations. I so want this to change for my daughter, even if it will be hard as a mom to raise a daughter who knows what she doesn’t owe other people.
To learn more about #ThePortlandCampaign please click here:
Say hello to our November Customer of the Month: Suzanne! Born and raised in Portland, Suzanne’s personal style captures all that is fun and fashionable in the Pacific Northwest. Our in-house stylists had a wonderful time with Suzanne, styling some of Adorn’s Fall Favorites and enjoying the crisp Autumn weather.
“I was born and raised in Portland – I grew up in Laurelhurst. I lived on a small island in SE Alaska for 20+ years, but I moved back to Portland nine years ago.”
“I love to spend my free time with family and friends, and I enjoy Jazzercise to stay in shape. I also enjoy going on Dig Trips to Central Oregon or the Oregon Coast.”
We’re so excited to announce our September Customer of the Month: Jolie! This world traveler, artist, teacher, and perpetual learner also has amazing personal style. Our house stylists had a fabulous time with Jolie as she tried on Adorn’s newest pieces!
ADORN: What is your favorite Adorn piece?
JOLIE: Oooh, so hard to choose! My Pons get the most use, since I have them in three colors (navy, turquoise and brown), and my Prairie Underground Vernacular Blazer works with nearly everything. But I really love my leather Lily and Lola bag. It was a splurge, but it’s beautifully made and I get compliments on it every time I use it.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it look like?
Hmm, tricky, since it would need to be pretty versatile, since my days alternate between the Pilates studio and the art studio. Okay. Solved! Leggings, a tank top, and my long red Prairie Underground hoodie, with my black boots. Am I allowed to change accessories? A bright scarf or a switch to my brown Pons for summer, and an apron to keep the paint off, since this would be my only outfit!
Flats. Almost always. I like to feel solidly grounded and steady on my feet.
What is the last piece you bought at Adorn?
My fall jeans. Adorn does denim so beautifully, and I know I’ll get a pair that looks amazing, and feels great. I love Hudson jeans, but Brittany at Fremont convinced me to try a pair of Paige jeans that look great. I had to get them hemmed, since I’m short, and I can’t wait to get them back!
Oh dear, that’s a story worth telling. So… I wanted a super simple dress. I found a cream floor length dress at a local department store, and bought it on the spot. It was easy and pretty.
Then my mom got involved.
She convinced me to return the dress and get a family friend who was a seamstress to custom make a dress for me. We chose a pattern with a plain neckline (so I could wear my grandmother’s pearls), loose flowy sleeves, and a sweep train. We bought the silk and delivered it to Nina, who began sewing.
When I went for the first fitting, I was a little worried, but Nina reassured me that it was going to be beautiful. I didn’t know much about sewing, so I just trusted her.
The Monday before the wedding, I went for the final fitting. Nina had just stepped out, but her co-worker pointed me to the dressing room, and I walked in. I immediately walked back out hoping I was in the wrong room.
There was my $300 worth of silk, that was supposed to be loose and flowy with a simple neckline. But instead it was a dress that clung to me in all the wrong places. Nina had very generously taken the extra fabric (which was supposed to be for the loose and flowy version) and used it to embellish the neck with ruffles.
Then I hung the dress in the back of my closet and tried to forget that I was out of options.
My friend Michelle came over on Wednesday to help with wedding prep and as soon as she walked in, she said:
“Ooh! I want to see the dress! Go try it on for me!”
“Jolie…what is that look? I want to see it!”
“Girl–go put that dress on now.”
When I walked out in the dress, she said, “Jolie you can’t get married in that dress–it makes you look like a heifer!”
She took the next day off of work, and we called every bridal shop in the county in hopes of finding a dress that might work with 36 hours left before the wedding. She found one 45 minutes away and it was beautiful. It needed alterations, but we pinned it in with safety pins and managed to make it work. Even with safety pins showing, it was still better than the “Heifer Dress.”
And that is how I had three dresses for one wedding.
What is your favorite color to wear? Least favorite?
I love gray. Especially with a pop of yellow or orange. I’m not a fan of pastels. I always feel like I’m heading to a baby shower when I’m in pastels.
First clothing purchase you remember making?
I had this silver swimsuit when I was about six. It was the eighties. I loved that thing so much. I thought I was hot stuff wearing that suit.
If you’re a Prairie Underground fan, you’ll remember the Hemp Ghost Poncho. So guess what? You loved them so much, that Prairie agreed to re-release a new collection of them hand-dyed just for us! These colors are Adorn-exclusive for the Hemp Ghost Poncho – our intern Haley shows us how to rock our new fall favorite below.
Prairie fans – this round is made especially for you! And with these gorgeous colors that are perfect for fall, you’ll want one for your every mood. Check out all six Adorn-exclusive colors in both of our stores and online! You deserve it.