With a background in economics, Po-Ming Wong worked in finance as the director of treasury operations at Duke University prior to opening Magpie Boutique in 2009. “I took a leap of faith leaving the field of finance to explore a vocation that represented a personal passion, not just my qualifications,” she says. “It feels great being independent, seeing the confidence that comes from clients after personal styling and reaching the six-year mark [in my business].” She lives in West Village.
Tell us about your work life.
My day starts with a two-hour workout. I love feeling physically and mentally energized in the morning! Depending on time constraints, I’ll generally stop by Loaf and pick up a pastry and coffee. (It’s my secret indulgence!) Then I head to Magpie or to the home of a personal styling client. At Magpie, the days are always full of variety! I never know who’s going to walk in … or what their styling wishes are. I help with wardrobe needs that range from a dress for a wedding, an interview outfit or what to wear on the weekends. They leave feeling their best, and I’m left feeling so lucky to have such a fulfilling job. When I’m not helping my customers, I’m looking at line sheets and look books, curating one-of-a-kind jewelry and unique clothing for Magpie. When I’m at a client’s house, I’ll either edit their closet or help them make decisions about their clothing based on personality, lifestyle and budget. When my day is over, I’m either headed to a hot yoga class or having a glass of wine. Sometimes, it’s both!
What do you do for fun?
I’m a huge foodie, and I love spending time with my friends. If there’s a new restaurant in town, typically a friend and I will be there within the first week. Our latest was M Sushi, and I can’t wait to try NanaSteak. I cherish all my friendships and, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize the most beautiful gift you can give and receive is true availability in friendship. I have an amazing core group of friends. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, we are always having fun, laughing and supporting one another.
What’s one philosophy you live by?
I live by a few philosophies in life: Stay curious and be courageous. Life is remarkable; you never know what can happen, but it will happen when you are ready for it. And of course, my favorite one is look your best, feel your best! It really works!
“Through Magpie, I’m able to really give back to Durham charities and beyond. We have done a fundraising event for Beauty Bus Foundation, a wonderful charity whose mission is to bring dignity and hope to the chronically or terminally ill through grooming services and pampering products. We were proud to support the production of ‘Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,’ a groundbreaking story of 18 African-American Olympians at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games, with a fundraising event. (Everyone can still help support this amazing project through the Southern Documentary Fund!) Last but not least, we have seasonal Denim Donation Parties that benefit one of Durham’s most deserving causes, Pennies For Change.”