Boss Lady: Megan Tierney

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Megan Tierney, founder of Louise & Eleanor, a Los Angeles based women’s luxury fashion company. Megan shares with us experiences with her entrepreneurial endeavors, what inspires her creativity and advice to all aspiring entrepreneurs.

Boss Lady: Megan Tierney1. Describe yourself and your career.
I’m a dichotomy of a free sprit and at the same time, very disciplined. I hope to leave people a little happier and encouraged after having spent time together. I’m flawed and make many mistakes. I believe in people, pursuing dreams, loving wholeheartedly and caring deeply. Kindness is the quality I most admire in others and encourage giving back and living a life that is authentic to yourself, whatever that may look like.

My career has been a lot of hard work, fun, heartbreaking at times and a continual learning experience. It took me about 8 years to gain the experience and confidence to start LOUISE & ELEANOR. That’s not to say it’s been easy. In fact, it’s the most challenging business endeavor I’ve attempted thus far but, it’s also felt most inline with who I am and what I love.

2. What is a typical work day like for you?
There is no typical day which keeps things interesting. I travel a lot for work so I’m usually on my laptop, meeting with existing or potential new clients for opportunities, in fabric stores, talking with our manufacturers or working with our team. They are amazing and I feel really lucky to have such an inspiring, dedicated, smart and wonderful team to get to work with.

3. You are a woman of many talents, what is your favorite entrepreneurial endeavor thus far?
I’m very appreciative for my past business endeavors and the opportunities I was given early in my career. They gave me the experience and confidence to be able to do what I’m doing now. While I enjoyed my past business pursuits, I always felt there was something missing. It wasn’t until I started LOUISE & ELEANOR that I experienced the feeling that I’d been internally searching for in my career. Something Steve Jobs said really resonates with me, “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

I remember when I started the company and had some of my loneliest, difficult, tearful and scary times. The difference between LOUISE & ELEANOR compared to anything else I’ve done is, no matter how difficult the day is, it’s just a hurdle to overcome not a stopping point. I am deeply passionate about what we do at LOUISE & ELEANOR and to me, that’s made all the difference.

4. What was your inspiration behind Louise and Eleanor?
I wanted to create a company that made beautiful products, encouraged others to chase dreams and gave back to the community. I saw a need to create unique and one of a kind pieces for affordable prices. Build a community that supports and lifts one another up, a space for others to hopefully feel comfortable, welcomed and empowered. And give back by creating a cycle of women supporting and helping each other.

5. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
For us it’s been a lot of organic growth. It’s really been about creating a community and building relationships with people who support us and in turn, we support and believe in.

Boss Lady: Megan Tierney

6. Tell us a little bit about your latest collection. Is there a story behind it?
There’s a story behind all of our products. Whether it’s where the fabric was sourced for our unique clutches, the names of our bags or styles, they all have a meaning behind them. Through every product we sell, we’re really putting a piece of our hearts out into the world. We hope when our customers carry us, they know there’s a company out there, cheering them on to pursue whatever an extraordinary life means to them.

7. If you could collaborate with one designer, who would it be and why?
My brother, Matthew Tierney. He’s a brilliant and talented artist in New York.  He continually inspires me. As well as being a wonderful person, he pushes me think in new ways and is constantly teaching me something new. I’m lucky to be able to call him for advice, feedback and designs, which I probably do far too often. His studio is one of the most remarkable and captivating places I’ve ever been. For me it’s impossible to go there and not want to do, be and create more. It really speaks to how talented, thoughtful and interesting of a person he is and how passionate he is about the creations he’s putting into the world. Regardless of being my brother, I love and believe in his work. It would be a great honor to get to collaborate with him.

It takes courage to put a piece of yourself out into the world. So, I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to risk judgment and put their work on display.

8. We love that your brand is about empowering women. Could you explain more on how you give back?
Giving back is a core value of LOUISE & ELEANOR. When a customer purchases a LOUISE & ELEANOR bag, THEY are directly giving back. We also try to get more involved by hosting, Fashion Days with LOUISE & ELEANOR. It’s our way of giving back in a more interactive approach with the ladies and charities we partner with. We hold fashion and beauty days by donating clothes, beauty products/tips, style advice, career tips, products from our collection and inner development workshops to the women who participate in these programs.

9. Who is a #Bosslady that inspires you?
There are so many women and people who inspire me. My mom is the woman who’s influenced my life the most. From, art to music, furniture and fashion, she’s shaped so much of who I am and my tastes. She is talented, eccentric, smart, beautiful and has been an incredibly strong role model for me. She’s always reinforced the values of treating everyone you meet the same, with an equal level of respect and kindness. And thank you notes, always send thank you notes.

A #bossperson who greatly inspires me is my dear friend, Cory King. He’s a fascinating person and I continue to learn and be inspired by him. Cory and his then wife, were responsible for bringing Jil Sander to the S. Florida market and opening a Jil Sander boutique at Mayfair in the Grove and on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. They had three Romanoff stores at Mayfair in Coconut Gove and 2 others at the Bal Harbour Shops carrying exclusive European and Japanese designers. They hand picked and curated top designer fashions by attending runway shows in Paris, Milan and Hamburg and carried such labels as; Valentino, Gianfranco Ferre,Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, Matsuda, Issey Mikaye and Comme des Garçons to name a few. They also purchased the Yves Saint Laurent Boutiques in Mayfair and Bal Harbour. Cory’s aesthetic, emphasis on quality and taste are unparalleled. He has and continues to make a great impact in my life.

10. What advice would you give to young aspiring entrepreneurs?
Have the courage to be honest with yourself about what truly interests you and not what’s supposed to interest you. This is your life, your path and your adventure.  That’s not to say it won’t take hard work, happen over night or be easy. With the exception of a rare few, it probably won’t but don’t let that deter you. We get this short amount of time to make the most of our lives so educate yourself, work hard and dive in to whatever makes you excited to get out of bed everyday.

Most importantly, I have yet to meet someone who’s been successful without a helping hand. So, as you’re making your climb, when you look back to see how far you’ve come, remember to reach back and inspire or help another by lending them your hand.

Boss Lady: Megan Tierney

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Boss Lady: Deanna and Daria

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Deanna and Daria, sisters and co-founders of Hubbell Hille shoes.  While both women still maintain full-time jobs, their main goal is to continue to create and grow a comfortable shoe line that fits their preppy style. They share with us their marketing tools, advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and the challenge of balancing it all.

Hubbel Hile

1. Tell us about yourselves and your career.
We grew up in a close-knit family in Colts Neck, NJ and have been in the City for eight (Deanna) and five (Daria) years.  We’re usually back and forth between NY and NJ and spend weekends in the summer at the beach in Spring Lake, NJ.

Deanna: In high school I had a small business making handbags, which prompted me to go to The Fashion Institute of Technology.  I loved living in New York and started a small wardrobe consulting company helping working women with their style; however I quickly realized that my dream was to work in finance.  Coming from an unconventional background, I started my journey by spending two years underwriting financial institutions in insurance and am now working at a private equity firm.  Though I love my day job and the industry that I am in, my creative side, the constant need to be busy and an unrelenting desire to start my own business, prompted me to start Hubbell Hille with my sister.

Daria: I went to college for elementary education and had the full intention of becoming a teacher in New Jersey.  After a few jobs in varying industries, and a jump across the river to New York (much to my surprise), I am now the Office Manager at an all-women financial recruiting company.  Much like my sister, I love my day job, however my love of fashion and the desire to by my own boss one day led me to say “yes” when my sister came out of the bedroom one rainy Thursday night with the grand idea of starting a shoe company.

2. Describe a typical work day balancing a full-time job and your own shoe company.
Deanna/Daria: We typically leave the house around 7/8AM and don’t get home until 7/8PM so aside from orders that have to go out right away, most of the Hubbell Hille work is done on the weekends.  Once a month, we hold board meetings at our kitchen counter to discuss what needs to be changed and if we are meeting goals.  What’s nice about being the owners is that we don’t have to answer to anyone besides ourselves.  We are fully accountable for the pace that Hubbell Hille will grow at and we are not pressuring ourselves to be an overnight success.

3. What was your inspiration behind starting Hubbell Hille?
Deanna: I’ve always had the desire to start my own company and be my own boss.  Given my inherently creative side I knew that if I was going to start a company it would be fashion-oriented because it comes naturally to me.  I always have such a hard time finding shoes that fit well, are comfortable and hold-up to the taxing NYC streets.  My style is generally preppy so I am of course a huge fan of crests (along with Daria) and while we would easily see them on blazers, we didn’t really see them on many shoes.  There were a few here and there over the years, but the smoking slippers we saw were either $60 and not great quality or $450 european-made, but still not durable enough to stand up to city streets.  This lack of what we were looking for in a shoe coupled with my desire to start a company led me to Hubbell HIlle.

Daria: I love that Hubbell Hille allows us to take what motivates and inspires us and channel that into something that is uniquely ours.  We drew inspiration from everything that impacts our daily lives; the desire for a comfortable, stylish shoe, the excitement of starting a business and turning our shared ‘passion for fashion’ into a reality.  It doesn’t hurt either to have your sister as your business partner.

Fun fact: The name Hubbell Hille came from Deanna’s obsession with The Way We Were and one of the main characters played by Robert Redford.

4. Starting a company with your sister must be exciting, how do you delegate who does what in the company?
Deanna: Though I am four years younger, I have a pretty aggressive personality and usually take the lead on things, however I always consult my sister along the way.  She’s very diligent and organized so I know I can count on her to make sure we’re hitting any deadlines.  We have a very ying-yang balance to our personalities so it works.

Daria: It’s great having a business partner that you can share clothes with!  I think it helped foster our personal style.  As the middle child of two very strong personalities, I have always been the most subdued of the three of us.  This carries over to Hubbell Hille and like Deanna said, it works.  She generally takes the lead on most things and I know exactly what I need to do to play my part.  We always consult with one another, especially when it comes to a design decision.  I’m typically very indecisive though, so she usually makes the final call.

Boss Lady: Hubbell Hille

5. What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Deanna: Being that we’re in the early stages of our company, and doing this mostly at night and weekends, social media has been very effective for us.  It’s the quickest, cheapest way to reach a broad audience and start building brand awareness.  We spend most nights reaching out to various bloggers/journalists/stylists across the country to work with them in promoting Hubbell Hille.  Most of them are very receptive and super helpful!

Daria: Good old fashioned word of mouth is always helpful too.  Just having our friends, family and co-workers wear our Hubblers has generated interest in the brand.

6. What advice would you give to other women in the industry that are trying to start their own line?
Deanna:  I’m sure my advice will be more credible when Hubbell Hille has $20m in annual sales, but my advice would be (and I think this applies to many areas of your life) to just do it!  Don’t overthink it or else you will just come up with many reasons of why it’s not possible, not smart, not easy, etc.  We are now in a time, I think, when it has never been easier to start a brand, between the internet and social media, so give it a shot.  Stop thinking and start doing.

Daria: Start small and don’t expect to be an overnight success.  Prior to establishing Hubbell Hille, Deanna became an overnight expert in all things small business related.  She didn’t wait for someone to give her the answers or show her the way, she found it herself!  Don’t let anyone deter you from pursuing your dream, but be smart and do your homework so you know exactly what’s entailed.

7. Where do you hope to see Hubbell Hille in 5+ years?
Deanna/Daria: We would love to see Hubbell Hille surpass $2m in annual sales, have an expanded product line beyond our “Hubbler” style and have pop-up shops in Nantucket, Palm Beach, New York and Spring Lake, NJ (our beach town).  We also would like to see a portion of our annual revenue going towards a charity of our choice (which we’re working on!) as we think it’s very important to give back to the causes you are passionate about.

8. Who is a #bosslady that inspires you?
Deanna: Any woman who proves that you can have it “all”, whatever your definition of all is.  That working, learning, having a family, being engaged with your community, etc. are all possible to balance.  If I had to pick a specific example, the founders at Tuckernuck inspire me.  I came across an interview with one of the Co-Founders years ago and have been following them ever since.  It’s three young women with very impressive backgrounds and they have built an amazing company over the past few years…their vision and marketing is genius!

Daria: Coming from an education background and currently working in an all-female firm, I’ve had the opportunity to work and interact with women from all walks of life.  It’s the everyday woman that inspires me.  The mom, the professional, the young struggling to start their career and the seasoned veterans who just won’t quit.  My current boss is a mother of three who took her experience from a 20+ year career and started her own firm that has continued to thrive.  She is a female powerhouse!

Boss Lady: Hubbell Hille

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International Women’s Day

“After a hugely successful women’s march, this International Women’s Day is more important than ever! The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. That’s way too long! We need to keep the momentum going and #BeBoldForAChange. Visit internationalwomensday.com to find out more!”
Lauren Golt, owner and founder of Social Stylate

We have had the pleasure of interviewing countless inspiring women in business over the years. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we gathered some of our favorite quotes from past Boss Ladies, dating all the way back to our first interview in 2013, as they share advice, insight, and inspiration for women in business.

Social Stylate

“Just put something out there and get started. No amount of research can fully prepare you for what it’s like to run a business — you learn by figuring out the problems and creating solutions as you go along.”
-Lisa Butler

“Be ready to put in a ton of hours for your passion, listen to your heart and continue with persistence. Create for you and practice, practice, practice. The best form of learning for me was to just experiment without fear. Go ahead and make mistakes and never be afraid to grow and learn new tecniques.”
-Leigh Viner

“Whatever endeavor you choose to set out on, make sure it’s something that really resonates with you and that you truly, 100% love. Because if you love it, chances are you will dedicate a lot of time and focus on it, which is necessary for any entrepreneur to be successful.”
-Beeta Hashempour

“Get organized, make a plan and don’t look back!”
-Dabney Lee Woglom

“Being an employee will be a short lived experience as long as you keep that inner fire going towards doing what you truly love. ​Believe that the universe is willing to embrace and support what you desire as long as you are willing to do your part.”
-Stephanie Surtida

“Know that you are going to have to do the small stuff that makes you sweat before you become that awesome entrepreneur on Ted Talks.”
-Lauren Secchi

“Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to learn new things. Love what you do. Take the leap.”
-Evelyn Henson

“Women—especially in this field, need to have confidence in themselves and their abilities. I think women are still afraid to voice their opinions or ideas, and that needs to stop!”
-Danielle Bouchat Friedman

“You have to start somewhere. Starting small is okay! But just START! Dive in headfirst. Lose yourself a little. Dare yourself, and start believing in your own potential.”
-Eileen Hearn

“You need to be able to roll with the tide. You throw twenty ideas out there and if one sticks it’s a success.”
-Maureen Petrosky

 

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Boss Lady: Natalie Holst

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Natalie Holst, founder and creative director for the New York based jewelry line Holst + Lee. Natalie shares with us the uniqueness of her latest collection, her inspiration for creativity and her advice for those wanting to thrive as an entrepreneur.  

natalie profile

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
Well, I’m originally from the South and moved to NY 14 years ago. I worked in Fashion for many years (Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler to name a few) and I was a maitre’d at some of NY’s trendiest restaurants. I used to have to get dressed up every night for work and I started making statement jewelry to accent my outfits. People responded and would try to buy things right off my neck and HOLST + LEE was born.

2. What prompted you to start your own jewelry line?
The response from people was what really got the ball rolling but Mara Hoffman gave me my first shot on the runway, styled with her collection. That’s when I went full steam ahead with the line and started selling in stores.

3. Tell us about your latest collection. Is there a story behind it?
Yes! I’m obsessed with my current collection because it really speaks to my soul. I wanted to hark back to the defining things that make HOLST + LEE what it really is. The current collection is called Color World and it is a celebration of vibrancy and strength. I was pregnant when I was designing it and I think it has a strong sense of optimism and passion. Something maybe we all need in these tumultuous times.

4. Describe a typical work day.
Well, I am a new Mom with a 6 month old so days have certainly changed in the recent months! I recently moved my studio into the bottom floor of my Brooklyn home. It’s such a great thing to be able to work out of my house. My day starts around 9 AM and the first part of the day is logistics (emails, bills, organizing…you know the fun stuff :)) Then my assistants get in around 11 and we go from there. They work on making orders and I work on designing or doing more business related things. My son hangs in the office and plays while we work and takes naps in between. Thank God for naps :).

5. What is the best part about being your own boss? The worst part?
I think the best part of being your own boss is to know that you get to do the thing that you love. It’s such a treat to be able to be creative everyday. I think if I didn’t have that I would go a little crazy. I’ve been making things since as far back as I can remember. It really fills my soul. I also love that I can have a flexible schedule.
I think probably the worst part is the stress of staying on top of everything. There are a lot of nights where I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m making lists in my head about what has to be accomplished and by when. I mean I think all women do that actually but it’s different when you’re itemizing your taxes in your sleep.

Natalie Holst

6. What is your brand’s most successful form of marketing?
I would definitely say Social Media and word of mouth. Social Media has really changed the whole game. It’s a great thing to be able to communicate to the world through an app and to tell visual stories.

7. Who would you love to see wearing your jewelry?
I’ve had the privilege of seeing some really amazing women wear my jewelry. Some highlights were Solange Knowles, Vanessa Hudgens, and Mary J. Blige to name a few. I would love to see anyone who is confident and feels amazing in my jewelry, but while I’m dreaming I’ll go with Iris Apfel!!!

8. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Oh wow, so many things. I draw inspiration from art, fashion, travel, and popular culture to name a few. I’ve always got my eyes open looking for inspiration.I studied Art and Art History in College and I’m still a painter (when I have the time) and I feel like my jewelry speaks to the painter in me with the use of color and unexpected materials.

9. Who is a Boss Lady that you admire and why?
I think I admire any woman who is out there being a Boss. Women are so important. I became a mom this year like I said and that experience really made me realize that awesome power women have. You definitely don’t have to have a child to obtain that, but it was very empowering to see exactly what a woman is capable of. I think women who are able to “give birth” to their dreams and seek out a way to run a business speaks to that awe inspiring power. If we’re talking about specifics though I’m gonna throw it back to my girl Iris Apfel. She has lived such an amazing life and was able to curate such a cool and confident existence. And to be hitting her stride in her 90’s is just unbelievable.

10. What advice do you have for anyone wanted to go from employee to entrepreneur?​
I think the best advice I ever got was, “get as much advice as possible from everywhere.”  It’s then up to you to take what you’ve learned and apply it or don’t apply it. I ask questions constantly when I know someone has information to offer. Also, I would say to anyone starting a business, never give up. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to take everything you have. Sometimes it will be tough, sometimes it will be great. it is not linear. It is a struggle. But if you want it enough, you have to work hard to achieve it.

Natalie Holst

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