Honored you're here.

Read the story from the beginning below. 

All emails from today on will be sent directly to your inbox.

xo hilary

Dec 1: After 12.5 years, I’m closing my business. 💔

 

Friend,

 

Do you ever pre-rehearse grief? We all do on occasion. I’ve had flashes of what I would say on Instagram if one of my parents died. Phrases like, “I can’t believe I’m typing these words” that you’ve read from others and imagined their shock on the other side of the screen.

 

(Separate conversation about how bizarre it is that when we picture a crisis we think about how we’ll process it publicly online. I’ll be reflecting more on social media soon. I digress.)

 

This is an email I never pre-rehearsed.

Years ago some people wanted to buy an equity stake in my company and I explained repeatedly, “I’m never going to sell or move on from this business. This is… me. I’m always going to do this work.” 

 

The idea that I would ever not be running Dean Street Society, however the teaching and technology evolved over the decades, never occurred to me.

 

I’ve used the name Dean Street Society less the last few years for simplicity sake but “this” (gesticulates at the invisible internet cloud in the sky) – teaching, writing, speaking – is just… me. How could I ever sell or close myself? It was incomprehensible.

But one Thursday in a finance meeting, my brilliant marketing director, long-time controller (CFO for small businesses), and I found ourselves shocked as we contributed our latest information to the numbers sheet and saw that no matter what options we proposed the answer was the same:

 

After 12.5 years I have to close my business immediately.

I’m saying goodbye with a Pay The Value Sale at DeanStreetSociety.com/closing.

 

  • All of my signature products are available for you to set the price based on what you believe the value of the teaching is to your life.

    • We asked those of you who engaged in the What Makes Women Feel Beautiful launch but didn’t buy, why. The most common reply was if the price was $500 you would say yes. Wish granted. Set your price for this teaching that healed my soul as a woman.

    • Healing Burnout is the teaching that explains how I’m still standing in the midst of this storm. You have me in videos and audios as your guide to a life with more room to breathe deeply.

    • Over $6,000 worth of entrepreneur teaching, inside 5 programs, including 3 years of my mastermind, are bundled together so you don’t have to hem and haw over which is right for you in 2024. That page also includes a lengthy note specifically for entrepreneurs to read.

 

  • We have limited stock from our early 2023 printing of the Elegant Excellence Journal and those will sadly be the last copies available.

    • Over the years I’ve had three rounds of workshops, virtual retreats, bonus teachings I’ve created exclusively for journal owners. Almost $300 in teaching I’m adding as a free gift with any journal purchase until doors close or we sell out.

 

  • Finally, at the encouragement of those around me, we’ve also offered a Thank You + Baby Gift option.

    • Some of you beautiful souls already have every product, and if the podcast, Instagram, and 12+ years of free teaching that I never took advertising money for has blessed you, or you’re just not an online course person, and/or you want to bless our new family in this incredibly difficult time, this is for you.

For those of you who’ve been a part of my life for many years, and/or are fellow entrepreneurs, you may feel a sense of shock or have questions.

 

After all…

 

Yes, my husband lost his job in the fall and we’re so grateful for his new one but that change cut in half the paternity leave we were expecting.

 

Yes, we have a baby coming in just 3.5 months.

 

Yes, we’re leaving our apartment in less than 3 weeks, and thought for the last 3 years we were moving across the country to be near my family.

No, we can no longer afford to live near my parents for childcare, and I have a lot of angry questions for God about that. 

 

No, I’m not sure what comes next when your career disappears.

 

Yes, we are having to believe God has something better for us, and yes that is incredibly, deeply, wildly so very hard.

 

Aside from my beautiful marriage and my blessed health, everything about my life and who I am is changing within a few months, and I have no idea who I’ll be on the other side.

 

I won’t be able to answer everything in one tidy post, but I’ll share more soon.

For today, thank you for your generosity, and for spreading the word in recommending my products to your audience or loved ones at DeanStreetSociety.com/closing.

 

I had to let all but one of my lovely team go with this news, so I’ll ask one favor:

 

If you would like to share any thoughts, love, or well wishes, I would be so grateful if you would do so on my Instagram posts @HilaryRushford, or one of your own, rather than via email or DM. 

 

While I may not be able to read them all now, they’ll be saved/screen-recorded there, and while my life’s work lives in the proverbial cloud, maybe when our kid is old enough they’ll be able to see that there was a time in which I really helped a lot of people.

 

I hope it will make them proud.

with love,

 

Hilary (Jeremy, Freddie Cappuccino, and Bebe RuCo)

P.S. If you are a student past or present, you’ll be receiving an additional email later today.

 

 

 

© 2023 DEAN STREET SOCIETY | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dec 4:  In 2011 I promised I would pay it forward

 

Friend,

 

In May of 2011 I was making $30,000 a year working as a temp in a cubicle of the payroll department of a big real estate company on the Upper East Side.

 

Just three months earlier I’d discovered the idea of entrepreneurship, and one of the first people I’d found to learn from was Danielle LaPorte who was co-hosting webinars with Marie Forleo.

 

Danielle had a program called The Fire Starter Sessions on how to build a business and for her birthday she did a Pay What You Can Sale.

 

 

The program was $1,000. 

 

 

I felt so badly that I could only pay $100.

 

I didn’t want to be disrespectful. I didn’t want to appear ungrateful, even though she had no idea who I was and would probably never know my name.

 

It felt precious, the access to this wisdom that I was so desperate for. 

 

I was so miserable at that point in my life, so yearning to feel happier, purpose, freedom, breakthrough, that I was so grateful I had discovered these women who were wise and generous who were teaching me so much, so quickly. (And they were audio/video so I could–confession–listen with earbuds in while at work.)

 

 

$100 was so much money for me.

 

So I wrote a note.

 

I don’t remember if there was a place for a note on the checkout page, maybe intended for birthday wishes, or if I sent an email. 

 

But I remember writing, “I am so sorry this is all I can pay. I know your years of wisdom are worth full price. What I can promise you is that I will pay it forward one day.”

 

The screen is blurry as I blink back tears, feeling the poignant full circle 12 years later of paying it forward as I close.

 

I’m giving each of you the chance to say, “I could never have afforded $1,000 and I know that is the value, but $100 is the most I can do, so I’m going to give that and with it, I’m going to treasure this teaching, and find a way to pass it on.”

 

You can pay it forward by being a model of a woman at peace with her body and beauty in What Makes Women Feel Beautiful.

 

You can stop the cycle of judging bodies, ranking bodies, idolizing thinness, and chasing the never enough of youth, slimness, beauty, clothing.

 

You can feel more beautiful, and from that place you will make the women around you feel safer and invited to feel more beautiful just as they are as well.

 

You can pass it on by Healing Burnout, and making your family and coworkers better for it because you are no longer creating part of your chaos and theirs.

 

You can pass it on by growing businesses that bless others with the Entrepreneur Bundle.

 

 

I’ve seen your Instagram comments that you feel badly you can’t give more, or you haven’t even purchased because of the guilt:

 

“You are giving abundantly based on what YOU have, and that heart is what matters.”

 

 

 

Speaking of heart.

 

Oh my gosh.

 

I went down the rabbit hole watching content by this woman who had just “met me”, but as a fellow entrepreneur, wanted to pay it forward with support:

 

 

I let her know we actually do have a Thank You + Baby Gift option already on the site.

 

And silently thanked the friend who said, “People are going to want to help your family, just give them the chance to do so, or to do so again after they’ve bought the courses right for them.”

 

To be able to put a face and a name to that kind of generous human, is a hug for the soul.

 

This email addresses one of the repeated Q’s I’ve seen over not being able to pay the value, and I hope it helps you feel seen–that I’m honoring you, in how you’re honoring me.

 

There are lots of repeated Q’s.

 

 

Tomorrow I’ll share about the most common four, and which I feel it’s my responsibility to answer and why, to hopefully bring you behind the scenes (for lack of a less influencer-y phrase? zugh) so you understand my intentions.

 

 

Until then, thank you telling those who might be blessed by my teaching about DeanStreetSociety.com/closing.

 

with love,

Hilary

 

P.S. I went looking through my oldest Dean St files last night to see if I could find those Fire Starter Sessions worksheets. I didn’t, but came across a few other gems I’ll share on IG today. (wink)

P.P.S. The Elegant Excellence Journal sold out so much faster that I expected. I hate that anyone may have been out of their inbox for a few days and feel left out. See my pinned “Closing” stories @HilaryRushford for my response to that yesterday. ❤️

 

 
 
Dec 5:   I know you’re confused, the story is messy

Friend,

 

I’ve never followed someone who closed a business that isn’t a physical shop or product, but one built on relationships and teaching like mine.

 

For those of you who follow influencers and course creators, it doesn’t sound like most of you have either.

 

In an online business a “launch” generally refers to a set of 10-20 emails sent to your email subscribers, a website about the product, social/podcast content that continues to tell the story, leading to a date when enrollment closes.

 

“Launching a close” contains all those same elements, except there’s no logical “story map.” Traditionally you’ll write emails handling the objections to the product (how much time do I need to complete it), the social proof (here are testimonials of others who’ve loved it), etc.

 

In this case I don’t know what to say next because there are so many parts of this, such varied responses, and a diversity of questions. And I truly am following your lead.

 

Here’s a smattering of what’s come in so far:

 

  • “I read the email, but I’m still totally confused? Why do you have to shut down your business? Why does it have to be so fast? Can’t you just scale back?” Asked 100 different ways, this was very helpful to realize you’re perplexed. I’ll write separately on this. 

 

  • “Why do you have to leave Instagram? I was so looking forward to following your journey through motherhood. Will you at least post when the baby is born? Can’t you just keep your email list?” Many more suggestions along these lines, also so helpful. I’ll write separately on this. 

 

  • “I read your email and cried. I’ve been there. I am there. Am I supposed to be there? I’m not there but I just liked you here.” These feelings are so valid. Of course some of you don’t care and that’s valid too! Ha. But as Meg Ryan says in You’ve Got Mail, “Why do people always say it’s just business, it’s not personal? It was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people.” Whether you’re wondering about your own business as an entrepreneur, or navigating various life changes along with me, I’ll write separately on this. 

 

  • Then based on how many the announcement has reached, there are surely those thinking but not wanting to sound rude in asking, “Do I want any of these products? And why?” Some of you are long-time followers but sad posts get a lot of traction (though to be honest I did not expect anything in this ballpark), so I may not have come up on your IG feed for years and this is the first you’re hearing about Healing Burnout, or you were in Style and Styleability years ago but totally missed What Makes Women Feel Beautiful, or we just met in the last few days.  I’ll write separately on this. 

 

“So this is just an email… to say you’ll write more emails??” Ha, yes.

 

I want to acknowledge that there’s different things different people are curious about, and I promise–whether by the 15th or coming back briefly in January after some space to share not reactively but reflectively–I’ll answer.

 

Frankly, I think it’s cruel and unethical not to.

 

I think it’s inappropriate for a business coach to close their business, and not be completely transparent about why to anyone who’s hired them for business guidance.

 

I think it’s disrespectful for anyone to share their life and family with you, then disappear without acknowledging that those relationships are real and mean something.

 

I can’t answer everything in one email, or maybe even in email as the best medium, I don’t know, but I promise I will answer as best I can.

 

I believe that if I invited you into friendship with me, then it is the kind and honorable thing to do to have this conversation with you.

 

You can read a bit more of my brief-thoughts-with-two-thumbs in my replies to 3 comments I pinned under my announcement reel @HilaryRushford.

 

What’s most time sensitive for today, is to decide what the value of my products are to you while they are available till December 15th at DeanStreetSociety.com/closing.

 

I have no idea what part of the story I’ll tell you more about tomorrow, ha. 

 

For once in my life I’m in a launch where none of the emails have been written. I’m just living in the moment, and contrary to how satisfying plans and control feels, it’s actually beautifully refreshing.

 

with love,

Hilary

 

P.S. If you have more Q’s please do continue to leave them below my recent posts.

 

I just shared a little update @HilaryRushford of what life’s been like in the midst of this (including a video from our surrogate of the baby kicking for the first time!)

 

While you’re there, I’ll share on Stories a reels that came across my feed just before I sent this. He says, “If you’re in transition… especially if it involves people… I’m going to make sure I leave honorably and that’s going to propel me into the next season.” 

 

I’ve never heard anyone even speak on this topic that I can recall, and to hear the same sentiment I shared above on the same day I wrote it: Chills. Peace. And amen.

 

 

 

Dec 8: The #1 teaching I want to leave (+ final podcast)
 Friend,

 

In vision casting we’re often asked, “If you were hit by a bus in 3 years what’s the one impact you’d be grateful you’d left on the world?

 

(Note: We say “bus test” because no one’s really terrified of getting hit by a bus, so it feels less dark, but years ago one of you commented that you were in fact hit by a bus! I’ve never forgotten that. So maybe… turned into sky glitter by a herd of unicorns??)

 

For as long as I can remember my Bus Herd of Unicorns Test has been What Makes Women Feel Beautiful.

 

This passion is where Dean Street Society began.

 

With me as a personal stylist, in your home, your closet, you in your underwear, in tears, finding yourself saying things to me you’d never said out loud to another woman.

 

Your vulnerability was phase one of healing my own body image, deeply damaged from a career as a professional dancer, as I realized if all these women had a far too harsh view of her body… then maybe I did too.

 

Living out this teaching for the next ten years, brought me to a confidence in myself and my style that I’ll sometimes get asked about by other women – this teaching, this is where I got it.

 

Thn the year I spent researching this topic full time, creating what became WMWFB, is what forever changed me. 

 

I understand now the patriarchy, racism, classism that make us both feel worse as people, and have made body image and appearance the #1 area of shame for our whole gender, according to Brene Brown.

 

I see now the way to truly challenge and change the root beliefs that have us forever ranking ourselves and one another on The Invisible Staircase, believing that ten less pounds, a little Botox, this serum, touching up the grey roots will keep us one step higher and safer than other women.

 

I know the math now that women are losing wealth at an alarming rate to men and less financially safe because we are constantly told to invest more in this area where there is no definition of enough and the costs throughout our lifetime are enormous. 

 

All of this is in the two videos and copy on this page, and of course inside. (Don’t miss my free keynote speech on the topic, 2nd video on this page, if you haven’t heard it.)

 

I truly believe that if this reached enough women we could change our culture, and free the next generation of women.

 

That’s now up to you.

 

If you accept the gift of this teaching, then model it for every girl and woman in your life.

 

You can change and heal yourself, those in your home, your friend group, your church or dance moms group.

 

If you pass this wisdom on it, the seed of freedom will continue to blossom, and more women will discover life in The Garden.

 

A woman who feels beautiful, makes everyone around her feel safer.

 

When I poured my heart and soul, and tens of thousands of dollars into filming and launching this in June of 2023, I believed it would live on for a decade.

 

It was the most intense two years of my life to create and film this for you.

 

But I don’t regret it, because I am leaving on a high note.

 

I have never created anything more beautiful, more meaningful, and more important to the world that this teaching.

 

And I’m so damn grateful I got to share her with you.

 

with grace & gumption,

Hilary

 

P.S. I had planned on last week being the final You’re Welcome Podcast episode, which you can tell in hindsight. But based on your response the last week, I felt we emotionally needed another hang together to process. 

 

 

 

Dec 10: I was there, it was rare, I remember it all too well
 
 

Friend,

 

Before the DeanStreetSociety.com/closing site is gone I want to make sure you haven’t missed some of the gems of video teaching available through it.

 

1. What Makes Women Feel Beautiful has TWO powerful videos. One is a keynote speech with the deeply compelling data to challenge and free our beliefs on body image and beauty standards.

 

2. Healing Burnout has a video on how you’re gaslighting yourself with shame you’re not doing enough. If you’re feeling stressed with what’s left before the holidays/end of year, this is for you!

 

3. Then there’s the Entrepreneur Bundle. I gifted you a video from each program, so you could learn from me for free, and get a taste of what’s inside. *That page also has a long note for entrepreneurs ICYMI.

 

  • Elegant Excellence Mastermind has a full CEO hour on mindset for entrepreneurs that isn’t fluff, based on real story loops we all face, and how I personally address them.

     

  • Creative Business Accelerator gifts you a video from mid-way through the course on The Simplest Launch Model that’s powerful all on it’s own.

     

  • Elegant Excellence has a class for anyone who’s felt crazy with all you try to juggle as a business owner (and excerpts from a classic, timeless business book we use as a textbook throughout.)

     

  • And then there is Social Stories!

Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur, I think you will have a good old time watching my favorite commercial no one saw. 👇🏻 *Find it on page 22 of the Entrepreneur Bundle PDF.

 

We couldn’t get this to perform on Facebook Ads, so it never really served a purpose.

 

It was midnight in my apartment. Our team had been filming for days. But we had this funny idea, and being a team of creatives, we ordered pizza, poured more beer, and managed to finally get the perfect one-shot-no-edits take that delighted us.

 

 

Then while you’re on the Entrepreneur Bundle PDF, scroll down to page 25 for my video from the future. (wink)

 

I pulled every video in this email for you with intention, and watching this one in particular I just remembered all the joy you and I have shared.

 

So many of you have left comments on Instagram about our Taylor Swift dance parties on webinars back in the day! 

 

You were there on the live stream when I tap danced on an airplane ONLY because of you!!! (I’m going to see if I can find that video. It’s one of the favorite things that’s ever happened to me because it never would have happened without us.) 

 

This video reminds me of how much fun we’ve made working, healing, and growing together. (By the way you will find a LOT of dance parties and shenanigans as you watch ElEx and Social Stories!)

 

 

Find the right rhythm for you to let me keep you company this week at DeanStreetSociety.com/closing:

 

  • Listen to the What Makes Women Feel Beautiful teachings while you’re walking or driving this week.

  • Lay down on the bed for ten minutes and let Healing Burnout wash over you.

  • Take notes as you watch the Elegant Excellence Mastermind, Creative Business Accelerator, and/or Elegant Excellence Course.

  • And have a cup of holiday cheer while you smile through Social Stories.

Raising a glass to truly healing, finding more freedom, and a lot more joy in 2024, m’dear.

 

with grace & gumption,

Hilary

 

 

P.S. I had planned on last week being the final You’re Welcome Podcast episode, which you can tell in hindsight. But based on your response the last week, I felt we emotionally needed another hang together to process. 

 

 

 

Dec 11: You can be both angry + have faith 
 

Friend,

 

The hardest part of closing my business has been the fallout that we can’t financially afford to live near my parents any more.

 

We had only told them in July. (The song on this reveal post has me in tears again.)

 

I was so angry. I still am. After years of not even hinting we would ever move near them, why would God let me tell my parents and then take it away from us and them just 3 months later?



For 5.5 weeks after the day we realized I needed to close, Jeremy and I were racing against the clock.

 

We’d already given notice to our landlord, the holidays are approaching when no one is likely to be showing rentals, and we have a baby coming in March.

 

Why would God let me research and plan our next chapter after New York for four years, then take it away in the final two months, leaving us sprinting?



Every waking moment I wasn’t working on the Healing Burnout launch, and inside The Garden Party, I was on Zillow, YouTube watching realtors, Reddit forums searching “things to do with a baby in X city”, making endless spreadsheets, math calculations, and getting on Zooms with my parents every couple nights to process new factors we’d realized that changed what we were thinking the day before.

“Am I getting a full-time job? When, in January? Then take a mat leave in March? Even if I miraculously got a job right away no one’s going to hire me expecting a baby. In July? I can try, but what if it takes a few months, we can’t bank on that income. Does that mean full time childcare? What does that cost? What if my mom is childcare, can we put that towards rent and get close enough to them?”

I’m a naturally glass-half full person. I’d go to bed optimistic about a new city or plan.

 

I’m also very logical and intuitive. I’d wake up realizing a downside, or knowing it was a no.

 

I took this photo on the plane coming back from the most intense week of a new flight every day, new rental car in each city, my phone full of texts to 100’s of realtors.




A phrase I truly ask myself all the time is, “How is this happening for me?”

 

A sister mantra to, “If not this, then something better.”

 

Those phrases have felt surprisingly true throughout this ordeal.



I’ve realized you can believe them, and still be angry you had to go through the trauma and loss.

 

You can believe there’ll be beauty, and still be angry that you had to sift through the ashes.

 

It’s a mindfork.



The miscarriage was not alright. And, your toddler wouldn’t be here had it not happened.

 

The divorce was your lowest of the lowest lows. And, you’re so much happier now.

 

You’d never have chosen the illness or injury. And, there are things you would have missed without it.



I’m both grateful to God, and still salty with Him.

 

I’m both seeing that His plan for us is good, and not understanding why it took so much bad to get here.

 

You don’t have to invalidate the pain, to simultaneously be honest that there is goodness.

 

Believing that God/the universe has both our backs, friend, even when we’ve been knocked off our feet. 



with grace & gumption,

Hilary

 

 

P.S. Oh my gosh this is my last week of work at Dean Street Society. 

 

DeanStreetSociety.com/closing

 

We (now a party of two, just my beloved Operations Manager and I) will close at 2pm EST on Friday to shut everything down, and then get tipsy on champagne. 🥂

 

 

 

Dec 12: This saved me, thanks to you
 

Friend,


In 2021 I signed the dream goes-to-auction, multiple-offers, multi-six-figure book deal. 


The kind of book I was going to write wasn’t like most of my friends, who’d sat down to pen their lives, experiences, and thoughts.


It was going to be a deep dive into the research on where our devastating beliefs about beauty and bodies come from, and how to truly, actually free ourselves from these made up, patriarchal, classist, racist, commercialized stories.


In short: it was going to take a lot of work.


Meanwhile I was still running my business, needing to generate enough income each month for the team of people it took to deliver courses, community, and live coaching calls every week.


So my mantra for a full year was: “book, business, and avoid burnout.”



Just as my publishing nightmare (Ep 159-161 of the You’re Welcome podcast) was burned to the ground by a third and final editor a year later before moving into litigation, we had sent you an email:


“What’s your #1 struggle right now?”


98% of your replies were some version of the exact same answer: I’m burned out.


“I’m trying to do all the things, I can’t not do them, they’re all important, but I can’t keep living like this, I’m barely surviving.”


Whether running a business or pursuing another career, being a parent of small kids or teen kids, mental health challenges whether yours/your kids’/your partners’, divorces, aging parents, injuries and illnesses, the weight of the news in the world, serving at your churches and schools.



As I scrolled and scrolled awareness dawned, “This is what I’ve been teaching myself for the last year, I hadn’t even thought about teaching you, but my personal bootcamp prepared me to help.”


And so as I do because I’m me, and my version of self-help comes not just from my inner wisdom but also from exploring the research, experts, neuroscience, psychology – I dove deeper.


Everything I learned I put into Healing Burnout just one year ago in Fall 2022.



It was so much richer than what I’d had time and space to discover on my own.


And I had no idea that the trauma of my book publishing experience was not going to be the last valley.


In fact the coming year would bring challenges on every front for Jeremy and I.


Websites being hacked and deleted the night before a launch, the rollercoaster that was saying yes to surrogacy and drowning in endless paperwork, while my brother-in-law was paralyzed in an accident, half my days were spent in staffing challenges I couldn’t speak about publicly, Jeremy was let go in downsizing, I realized my business needed to close, and with that our entire plan and budget for where we were moving disappeared.


This last hard year, however, has been far and away the healthiest I have ever been emotionally, mentally, and physically thanks to Healing Burnout.



Thanks to you, for being honest about where you needed help.


Thanks to God/the universe, for preparing me the year ahead, then as a teacher allowing me an income through your expected course sales to do the research for us all.


Thanks to myself, for getting the tools to heal in 2022 before I needed them in 2023, so I could continue to get out of bed this fall when ish hit the fan.



I’m leaving you with Healing Burnout as a gift for 2024. Get it today.


Gift it to anyone in your life who struggles with overwhelm.


Gift it to yourself or anyone you love who had a hard year in 2023, or wants to feel and do better in 2024; wants more peace and joy in their everyday lives and self.


Read the stories from our students, and feel the relief possible for you in every one.


The beauty of a teacher and students, is we each only have the title thanks to one another – we made this possible together, and we are all better for it.




on the journey with you,

Hilary


P.S. Reminder that Dean Street Society closes this Friday, December 15th. 


Don’t wait until the final day to buy. You get instant access to start watching now, plus all content is live until September 1, 2024 so you’re not in a rush.


This is the best deal this holiday season, on the most valuable gifts to truly change your life in the new year and beyond.


Thank you for blessing my family in this time, while I bless yours. Wins on wins, friend. ❤️ #ThisIsUs





Dec 13:  My only failure + if you’re “not a course person”
 

Friend,

 

 It would make sense in having to close a business to feel like you hadn’t succeeded.

 

I genuinely feel the opposite. 

 

It’s not lost on me that I’m one of the ones who made it.

 

That I went from a professional dancer with no following, business/marketing background, or friends in the industry to a meaningful career that employed a lot of people, helped over a million more, and allowed me to be able to afford the long IVF journey that’s bringing us a baby in 3 months.



There’s only one thing that I’m grieving, where I know I failed and I’m out of time to fix it.

 

The only thing I think years from now is still going to be a tender spot that can bring me to tears telling a new friend.

 

I haven’t been able to communicate to you why you need What Makes Women Feel Beautiful.

 

Brene Brown’s research shows Body Image and Appearance is our #1 area of shame as women.

 

You don’t just want this teaching, you need to heal in this area to live a full life. Generational healing power.

 

It’s not about spending more money on the teaching, I have allllll the data on the salespage to back up that this saves you money. Generational wealth money.



I think the title was wrong. It was originally called Dress Joyfully. By contrast Style & Styleability sold so much better years ago, to a much smaller audience.

 

(So many of you told me you have used the S&S teaching for over a decade! Yet a fraction of those same women got the updated teaching, when if S&S was enough to heal me I would have just stopped there–we needed more.)

 

Yet it’s so much more than clothes and style. The most well dressed women in the world, people like the Kardashians, are still photoshopping themselves. But maybe the Trojan Horse of selling you want you want, then surprising you inside with what you need would have been more effective.

 

I think I’m so close to it, having lived within all the complexity inside the teaching for years, that I’ve struggled–as someone who naturally excels at marketing and copywriting–to communicate the magic. I can’t summarize my feelings about God, my husband, or this teaching–it’s beyond words.

 

I’ve read practically every book on the subject–books that have reached so many more people–and nothing healed me, nothing really got to the whole root, until I put it all together into this teaching.



Yesterday on Stories someone said they “aren’t really a course person” because they never finish them, and I want to offer you a reframe as I leave.

 

#1 You do not have to finish something for it to change your life. A few of my favorite self-help books, I haven’t finished yet, I’ve even restarted them again and not finished, yet they’ve made a great impact on my life.

 

This is progress over perfection.

 

Do not focus on whether you have performed well enough to get an A on this assignment, but whether you are feeling more joy, ease, lightness, hope, kindness to yourself and others.

 

Friend, that is the success! 

 

It is not about your perfect productivity, but you personally getting a little better every season.



#2 Consider which mediums have taught you the most.

 

Audiobooks? What Makes Women Feel Beautiful (and Healing Burnout) have the audio exported so you can listen to it like a book.

 

What’s the energy you have when listening to an audiobook? “I can always relisten? Better to get what I can while I multitask then wait for the perfect time to read and underline? Nice to have something positive in my ears?”

 

You’ve got that here.

 

Netflix specials, docu-series? Students have cast this to their television, it is beautifully filmed.  

 

Do you take handwritten notes when watching The Home Edit or Marie Kondo? Unlikely. You get inspired, the biggest takeaways you remember. It was pretty to watch, inspiring, felt like good company.

 

You’ve got that here.



If the word “course” makes you feel like you’re doing homework then change the wording–don’t let yourself miss out on healing when all you needed was a slight mindset reframe.

 

Then again, if you wish you DID have a cheatsheet after listening to an audiobook or watching a docu-series, you have THAT here!

 

What Makes Women Feel Beautiful has a printed recap of every video (as does Healing Burnout and many, many teachings in the Entrepreneur Bundle) so you don’t have to take notes.

 

I’ve done it for you, so you can truly remember the key takeaways.




I also give myself so much grace.

 

This teaching is so powerful that top agents swooned for it (you may remember these text messages and this video diary), they said it was going to be “a big book”, and that going to auction with multiple top five publishers bidding on it proved that “everyone” agreed. 

 

My book coach, private editor–my business partners years ago came on board because this is the teaching that as fathers of daughters they were so passionate about–so many people said, “this is rare and needed.”

 

But the shitstorm of my publishing nightmare was what it was. (Ep 159-161 of the You’re Welcome Podcast.)

 

We never got to talk about titles, subtitles, marketing summaries, positioning.

 

I went from being deep in the throws of final edits, to grieving for months. (I found the third slide here in the blue beanie cleaning up my pinned Stories before I remove the app from my phone for a while, and couldn’t believe this daily grief was 8 months later.)

 

Meanwhile, I had to get back to work.

 

So I poured the teaching into a multi-media experience, and in the fog of all my grief and survival instincts I don’t think I’d really even been talking to you about style and beauty. I was so busy writing about it, and then grieving it but not legally allowed yet to say that’s what I was grieving.

 

So we just talked about grief and burnout. And when I launched Healing Burnout it was the success it should have been and expected.

 

But in the midst of a private surrogacy journey, and my brother-in-laws accident, and websites getting hacked… I just didn’t realize that I wasn’t taking you on the journey I should have been leading up to the launch of What Makes Women Feel Beautiful.

 

And if I was talking to my best friend I would say, “Love, you fought like hell, and you did so well, and you couldn’t have handled so many hard, hard things any better. So yes, you made some mistakes. But that doesn’t mean the level you performed at in the midst of the storm was not remarkable! A tour de force! Standing ovation!”

 

So I made mistakes. But I made so many more decisions I’m proud of. And that ratio is all any of us can aspire for.



And if it was only for my healing, only to make me a better mom for my child, What Makes Women Feel Beautiful was worth it.

 

I just know that it could set you free too, and you could free your children, and I’m sorry I haven’t been able to explain that in a way you’ve understood or 100k of you would have already purchased.

 

I’m sorry I can’t put it into words more.

 

I feel like I have medicine in a cup I’m holding out to you, but we don’t speak the same language, so all I can do is look you in the eyes and plead, “Trust me. You don’t know something is killing you, this will heal you, and it tastes delicious. Please, drink and be refreshed.”



with love,

Hilary

 

 

 

 

 




 

 
Dec 13: “She called me bawling” 🙏🏻
 

Friend,

 

TI want you read this story that just came into The Garden Party:


 

1. Who are the people you love that you desperately want to help?

 

Invite them to join you at DeanStreetSociety.com/closing.

 

Or gift them membership! 



2. Who are the people that feel that way about you?

 

Who wants to get their best friend, wife, mother back in you? ❤️

 

Consider that scholarships are now open, and you get to bless the most deserving people in your life, yourself included.



with love,

Hilary


P.S. We are closing at 2pm EST on Friday so my Ops Manager Kristin and I can do the final closing tasks (while enjoying some much deserved champagne. I’m thinking with donuts, as I just saw that on the season finale of The Home Edit, and she is the Clea to my Joanna, ha. )

 

We’re here until then to make sure we help anyone who needs it so go ahead and check out now.

 

 



P.P.S. More celebrations getting your people to join you, this one in What Makes Women Feel Beautiful, on my latest Instagram post that has us in tears over here.



 

 
Dec 14: You can be both angry + have faith 
 

Friend,

 

You can hear me read this essay here on Instagram if you prefer.

Sarah,

I cried all the way here on the flight from LA in July 2002.

I had never even been to New York City, had stayed 20 minutes from home for college, and all my friends were staying after graduation.

I was absolutely terrified, but I said yes to the Broadway tour of 42nd Street, my dream show, because I knew this was going to be better.

Within 24 hours of landing my housing fell through. 

Miraculously I found a place through a friend. A ground floor apartment with no bars on the windows, just a couple stops farther on the L train than I live now.

One night, trying for sleep, lying naked over the covers after a cold shower, with no AC and the windows open yearning for a breeze in the oppressive summer heat, I heard a girl get mugged outside my window.

I prayed God would send someone to help her and began rehearsing what I would say were someone to try and steal my bag of dance shoes–my worst nightmare showing up to rehearsal looking unprepared.

In hindsight of course I would have been treated with compassion, but I was so scared all I could imagine was doing something wrong and getting kicked out.

For the first time in my life I ate dinner alone. Every night.

Most of the cast was from New York and were busy packing their apartments, saying goodbye to friends, spending last nights with romantic partners they’d break up with soon after we left. 

My first Sunday I went to church with Amanda Kloots and Beth Nicely on fancy Fifth Avenue. Our feet were so swollen from dancing, the weather so hot I sweat off all my bandaids, that I abandoned my shoes to walk barefoot down the street, the pain of my blisters was so bad.

On the day we departed for our first tour stop, Kansas City, I walked outside to hail a yellow cab with my two enormous suitcases packed for a life on the road.

My anxiety increased every few minutes as there were no cabs in sight. They didn’t come to Brooklyn much. I didn’t yet understand the difference between boroughs. I had my first panic attack, terrified I would miss the bus, the flight.

All I wanted was to not embarrass myself. To blend in. Fit in. Belong in this magical world I had somehow gotten an invite to.

You were not easy, New York City.

But standing in the rehearsal room at 820 Broadway, learning the finale stairs routine, I had never performed alongside so many dancers who were just as good as I was.

It. Was. Exhilarating.

For the first time in my life I had the full body experience of living up to the top of my potential, and 20 years later I am weeping at the memory.

There is nothing better in life. 

Love is amazing. The hour I spent on a hilltop in the South of France exchanging vows with Jeremy was the holiest hour of my life, and I’m not saying I would choose this over that.

But the magic of feeling fully alive in who you were created to be has an electric energy unlike anything I’ve experienced.

I felt it every night for 18 months on tour. Brilliant, complex, tap choreography of the highest level, performed in sync, collectively scolded time and again for rushing the orchestra because we could tap even faster and the adrenaline took us away.

Doing what you are exceptionally talented at is breathtaking. I wish it for every human being whether that’s parenting or public speaking or baking a perfect pie.

I didn’t get married because I was talented, I just got lucky. Plenty of bumps on a log fall in love every day.

Performing that stair routine in 42nd Street I knew I was talented, and that pride – whether in your parenting, giving great advice, or having great style – is part of what it means to live healthy and fully alive.

On my first webinar in 2015 I made in one hour the income I had in a whole year doing a mindless cubicle job that made me feel so small and insignificant.

Alone in my apartment in Park Slope, there was no one else to see it. Just me, staring at a laptop, refreshing my screen as the sales came in.

I wasn’t exhilarated because I had performed well. I had ended the webinar and sobbed on the couch. For the first 20 minutes I forgot to share my slides so 10,000 people watched a black screen, shouting at me in the comments I wasn’t looking at so I wouldn’t get distracted.

But in all my mortifying imperfection, I was talented. I had a gift not just for dancing, but for teaching.

To have that many people value me all within the same hour was a life changing experience.

Writing my first book in 2022 I felt it again. In the pocket, like this is what I was meant to do with my life. I was practically floating around our apartment, giddy, so confident I was doing work that mattered deeply in a way no one else had done on the topic of what makes women so insecure in our beauty, as my office was stacked with practically every book on an element of the subject.

When my editor left and their replacement hated my writing, the book died in a day with one email. 

Every time I have felt fully alive in my work, I have also felt insecure, embarrassed, unsafe, unseen.

In my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s in this city I have succeeded again and again, and I have grieved in that same area of meaning and fulfillment again and again.

I have been statistically in the top 2% of most successful female entrepreneurs based on my revenue, and simultaneously in the top 1% of worst publishing nightmares anyone has ever heard.

And I would do it all over again, because the highs were worth it.

My careers in New York City haven’t been easy, but they have been electric. And I will take that any day. We all would. We all do.

It is easier to not make friends, not sustain a marriage, not parent, not pursue a dream, not chip away at a goal. But we want the goosebumps, heart swelling, stomach fluttering, fist pumping so much more.

I have lived with mice and cockroaches and sobbed in the shower and ended up in the psychiatric ward after suicidal ideation when I didn’t know if I could keep going at this pace. 

If it is or has ever been gut wrenchingly hard you aren’t alone.

But with seven days left in this city where after 20 years I have memories on what feels like every corner, they’re all good.

Even the worst ones are somehow good because I made it through, I survived that, it got better, I got better, and I’ve got far more stories of all the times it felt electric.

It’s so worth it.

with grace & gumption,

Hilary


P.S. Reminder we are closing at 2pm EST tomorrow.


We’re here until then to make sure we help anyone who needs it so go ahead and check out now at DeanStreetSociety.com/closing.


Then I’ll be back in your inbox, mine, and on Instagram briefly in January to checkin and let you know what one place I’ll be hanging out so we can stay friends. xo


 

 

 
Dec 15: I’ll keep a key under the mat for you 
 

Friend,


A brief note in reply to requests like this:



Despite Dean Street Society closing today, I’ll keep the proverbial key under the mat for you, and the link will remain live until I’m back briefly sometime in January.


DeanStreetSociety.com/closing



Begin watching your teaching over the holidays! 


Share it with people in your life!


Who finds hope hearing you talk about What Makes Women Feel Beautiful?


Who finds relief with what you’re sharing from Healing Burnout?


Who’s vision casting for 2024 that can be encouraged by the Elegant Excellence Workshops?


Who’s dreaming about their career that can be supported by the Entrepreneur Bundle?


(And for those who’ve so kindly asked about Venmo, there’s a Thank You + Baby Gift spot on the closing page.) 



Give the gift of passing on an invitation so they can say yes for themselves.


Or give the gift of access by buying them a login to journey alongside you.


Don’t tell yourself that what you have to give isn’t enough, simply give. 


And then receive. A win win, my friend.



Thank you for giving back to our family after these last 12.5 years.


I can’t put into words what it means each time I see your name come through on the backend.


We mean something to each other, and that is a priceless gift I will treasure forever.



with love,

Hilary


P.S. OMG it’s really the last day. It’s getting so real. I have one last heartfelt message I’ll send over before I sign off…



 

 

 
Dec 15:  
 

Friend,


The movers come on Wednesday.


For years I’ve grieved what I knew we were leaving: this city, this home. But I never once dreamt I would be leaving Dean Street Society with it.


I knew I was losing NYC, losing a childfree life, but to lose my career and the ability to have a baby near my parents, I didn’t see coming.



However, because so many have left the comment “I’m worried about you”, I want you to know that I’m okay.


I’m actually really, shockingly, unbelievably good.


I’m still unemployed, unsure about so much, with no idea what 2024 is going to look or feel like.


I still wake up with my mind going a million miles an hour in the middle of the night if I forget to take a Xanax before bed.



However, miraculously, we have a new home we’re moving into after the holidays.


Come January I’ll tell you how that unfolded, but not having a home is exhausting. Not being able to picture your future life makes it hard to feel peace, know which direction to move in.


The day we heard we got it, things shifted. The sun started shining again.



Thank you for being the biggest part of my life in New York City.


You were longer than Jeremy, longer than theater, and Dean Street Society is staying here–it will always be my New York City era.


Think of me when you come to visit.


Take the ferry over to watch the sunset on the Williamsburg Waterfront Piers, and see the view I shared often from my balcony without a screen.


Remember you have permission here to sing walking down the street, wear absolutely whatever brings you joy, and wholeheartedly be yourself.


We have immigrants from all over the country and world. We all came here. Ask why, what’s the magic? It started with a dream.


To have the courage to brave a voyage in hopes of a better future, alongside others who had that same courage and hope.


The ones who were afraid, negative, didn’t think it got better – they stayed (no offense to the British! Roll with the metaphor.)



If I was afraid, negative, didn’t think it got better I never would have gone on the Broadway audition that changed my life and brought me here.


I never would have said yes to meeting Instagram friends for lunch, dinner, staying at their house or vice versa, and be leaving with so many real life friends.


I never would have tried a new church when I’d been so hurt at my last one, which is how I met my husband.


I never would have founded Dean Street.


When my theater career ended, the next dream was better.


When my church experience ended, when my romantic relationship ended, the next chapter was better.


Now that Dean Street has ended, what if the next era is better?



I’m taking the magic with me; she’s part of me now.


I’ll see you on the side of the voyage and let you know when I’ve arrived in a brave new world for myself.


The final with grace & gumption,

Hilary


P.S. As noted in an earlier email, at your request I’m keeping DeanStreetSociety.com/closing open (no pun intended) through the holidays. I’ll be offline until sometime in January as we get settled. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and most beautiful start to the new year! See you on the other side.



 

 

 

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