Weekend Wisdom

Schuanne Cappel ’03

12
“You have a voice, and it matters.”
“When I started at Kent Place, my biggest fear was rejection. I wasn’t confident in who I was. I called myself a ‘floater’ because I bounced around groups trying on different behaviors, feigning knowledge of places and rituals that members of each group seemed to have in common, hoping to be accepted. I left Kent Place having learned how to be my authentic self and to use my voice even if rejection is possible, because confidence and self-acceptance come from practice.

“Kent Place instills self-assurance in young women holistically. Through my experiences holding leadership roles on Cargoes (the yearbook) and in the Senate (student government), I helped make decisions and set agendas that affected our student life. I learned that I have a voice and that it matters. Standing before my peers and teachers to deliver messages and academic presentations at morning meeting, studio art, and history helped me communicate my thoughts in a clear and compelling way, as did my English classes, in which I learned to formulate and defend my opinions and analyses. Maybe having the most impact were social interactions with my peers because I was forced to reflect on my beliefs, values, and self-perceptions and share who I was without retreat.

“Today, I’m the founder and creative director of Uncoverd, a women’s online clothing store predicated on the idea of self-expression. Fashion is an overcrowded market, and it’s tempting to follow trends and mimic admired competitors’ approaches and identities, especially because I’m a newcomer to fashion and retail altogether. However, I built my company’s brand as an extension of myself; Uncoverd is for women who want to stand out for their unique style. And that means Uncoverd isn’t for everyone.

“Everything I do — from the creative side and customer experience to buying and seeking partnerships — is an exercise in staying true to myself and using my voice, in spite of the norms of entrepreneurship: rejection, obstacles, failure. Failing to work in line with Uncoverd's brand has a real impact on the business. I doubt I would have the confidence to run a company that requires such codified stewardship, or to guide women to creatively assert their personalities, if it weren’t for my time at Kent Place.”

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Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.