Find your passion, work hard, perfect your handshake, be an observer, and hire a millennial!
Often, when I’m being interviewed I’m asked what advice I have for other entrepreneurs, and how I built a brand from scratch. I recently shared some of my tips for new business owners with Beverly Hills Magazine and talked about passion, working hard, and a few other helpful tidbits for starting a business. But, I wanted to take to CLOSETPHILE to further crystallize a few of the most important tips.
Accept the Challenges
Every business, whether in the incubation stage or several years in, experiences its share of challenges. You must be willing to accept those and grow from them. I started LA Closet Design in 2007 when the recession was starting and the luxury market was quickly shrinking. Yet, that confluence of events taught me to be lean with overhead expenses and never lose sight of business development. Another challenge I face regularly, and I know other entrepreneurs encounter, is feeling like there’s not enough time in the day. I suggest staying focused and always coming back to what best serves the brand and your mission. That will help you prioritize.
Create with Purpose and Authenticity
Entrepreneurs and businesses need a purpose or mission, ideally one that feels authentic. My mission is simple, yet clear: to create wardrobe and storage spaces that are balanced functionally and aesthetically. I aim to help individuals look at their space -- and their life -- as we work together to create an environment that optimizes peace, efficiency and beauty. Once you outline your authentic purpose, it makes it much easier to bring every decision back to that.
Determining what success looks like for you and your business will make it a lot easier to achieve it. In fact, for many people, success isn’t just a measurement for their professional endeavors; it’s a measurement for their life. For me, success is figuring out the aim and purpose and accomplishing it; if you can have fun while doing so, then that’s a bonus. Pinpoint how you define success and then stop at nothing to achieve it!
Inspire and Be Inspired
If you’re not consistently inspired as you’re building your brand or trying to inspire those around you, finding success will be difficult. I can cite so many inspirations that motivated get me to this point -- from selling Cutco knives in high school, to playing on the Varsity basketball team (vertically-challenged and all!), to my first laboratory manager, to being a Board Member at On Assignment, a recruiting firm for scientists, to my perfectionist piano teacher. And, today, I am inspired by things like travel, design, mentors, my favorite charity, Dress for Success, and other women creators (last weekend’s Simply Fashion & Beauty Conference was full of fierce females!).
Stray, Don’t Stay, on Course
For a long while I thought I’d be a chemist. But, then, after graduating, I decided to go for my MBA, which opened up this new world to me and helped me land a job with a kitchen and bath design firm. I can assure you, no chemistry was happening at that job! Through that experience, I discovered an untapped niche and underappreciated space -- closet design. If I stayed the course, I’m not sure I would have ever found my passion for closet design. So, my advice is to remain fluid and be open to changing course in search of your own success.
Structure to Scale
It’s important that your business is poised to grow. Without getting ahead of yourself, have the big picture in mind so that you’re incrementally working towards it. Beyond taking on more clients, I’ve carved out new revenue opportunities that still reflect the DNA of my brand. For example, I recently collaborated with Max Mirani to create an LA Closet Design signature carry-on line, LAMove. And, I am working on a high-end line of closet accessories, a closet coffee table book, and expanding my business in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi and Dubai).