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.
1. 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.
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.