Laurie Brucker believes in the power that comes from feeling great about ourselves and how we look. She helps women unleash this positive energy through a business that helps them embrace their personal style. Read how she did it below…
Laurie Brucker // USA // LaurieBstyle LLC // Image Consulting /Personal Development / Coaching // 30s
WHAT MOTIVATED & INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
Five years ago, I walked away from a high powered, high paying fashion design position in New York City to create a brave new world for myself – a place where I can take my talents and put it to good use creating positive energy for the women. In 2009, LaurieBstyle LLC was born. An image consultancy company with the personal motto: “People first, style second”. The human experience is so important to me – how we feel about ourselves, how we see ourselves in the mirror. When you feel great in your own being, when you feel great in your own skin, when you feel great in your own clothes, that IS style. That is the ultimate achievement. Throwing “fashion” right out the door and opening up to a world of timeless style, which every woman already has. It’s my job to pull that out of them.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS…
At LaurieBstyle LLC, it’s my goal to make my clients feel like everything is possible again. And it simply comes from empowering them with the knowledge of how to strategically style themselves to show their best selves every day. To be the executive in charge, to be the hip mom on the go, to be the rising entrepreneuress, to be the traveling consultant and to live that life inspired, full of creativity, bright with color and endless with possibilities. It’s empowerment through style education. But what I love is that each client is different and unique, so while some of the styling tips are the same, they work differently for everyone. I have so many styling rules, yet I also break every single one of them! My services range from shopping in your own closet (believe it or not, there is so much to work with in there!), to personal shopping, to full closet clean-outs, event styling and head to toe style and life makeovers. For clients out of state, I offer virtual style coaching, private online sessions, personal style guides, shopping guides and inspirational style books. So really any way that I can empower my clients no matter where they are, location-wise, career-wise or budget-wise, I have a program for you!
WHAT WERE THE FIRST FEW STEPS YOU TOOK TO GET YOUR BUSINESS UP AND RUNNING?
When I first started out, I really practiced hard at my craft. I called up all of my family and friends in the area and said: Can I come clean out your closet? May I take you shopping? Can I style you out of your closet? Of course, not one person turned me down! They brought the wine and we worked away! While to everyone it seemed like fun, for me I was gathering my thoughts on what works best, how to master my art, how to articulate what I want to say and how to coach them through it. Eventually as I hit the streets to promote my company, I was able to speak firsthand about the effects style can have on people, having watched my donated time really make a difference in the style lives of my friends and family. And 5 years later, they still tell me what a difference that made for them. From working with them, I became confident in my craft and confidence is the key to selling success because when I sold that first paying client, it was at that moment that I realized, “I did it!”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF RAISING AWARENESS OF YOUR BUSINESS AND GETTING NEW CUSTOMERS?
My business is both in person and virtual, I find that I have two successful ways of promoting what I do. In person, nothing beats being in person – from networking events, women’s groups, interest groups and even speaking at offices and events. When I can tell you how passionate I am about what I do, I will turn you into a believer. Virtually speaking, social media has given me an incredible platform to share my message of confident style. Being able to reach women nationally and even globally has really made what I do even more meaningful. From blogging, social media conversation and connecting with my newsletter, it’s really about the human connection.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES SO FAR WITH RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
Truthfully, my biggest challenge has been myself. Telling myself I’m not doing enough, telling myself I’m not good enough, over analyzing my competition and just being insecure as I keep marching into a new space of industry. Ironic, right? I sell confidence building, yet I struggle with it myself. With years under my belt of design bosses telling me that I would never make it in the industry based on co-workers, lies and sabotage, those moments still stick with me. I just want to be my best me, and when I thought I was doing that, there was somebody saying things to bring me down. That was the natural competitiveness and unprofessionalism in the fashion industry. Yes the Devil wears Prada is real! And I can definitely attribute my fears and insecurities from that experience.
HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?
Therapy! Ha! Actually for me the trick to dealing with entrepreneurial insecurity, drain and stress is by surrounding myself with positive people, empowered people, and other entrepreneurs who just get it. Because, we ALL are dealing with it. What makes it all better is when you realize that you are not alone, that we can lift each other up and support each other during the ups and downs…it really can make all those voices just fade away. Friends and colleagues go a very long way! Use them! And remember you are not alone!
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I love that I get to do what I love. I watch the women I work with literally change the course of their lives. They change how they feel about themselves, they change how they experience their mornings, and they grow and evolve! And that evolution becomes what makes their life lighter, brighter, and more empowered each and every day. We can conquer our dreams and discovering our own style confidence is the catalyst! I get to encourage, coach and breathe life into others to be empowered and inspiring in their own lives…it’s worth every fear, tear, insecurity, and challenge.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS?
DON’T EVER GIVE UP. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t let anything stop you. Try not to let the ebb and flow of the entrepreneurial life and career stress you out and get you down. If you are choosing to be an entrepreneur, this is not a perfect road ahead. Remember that and never give up because you can do and be anything you set your mind to.
HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES?
This is one of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur. I think centering yourself is key. It’s that quiet moment where you can say, “I am here. I am doing this. I am fulfilled by this. This is my purpose and I am going to push through this.” And sit with yourself quietly to gain calm, perspective, and a bit of stability and balance. When we look back in hindsight, it’s those difficult times that are imperative for us to move forward faster. So as we go through them, know they are fleeting and they will pass. And most importantly, remember that we would not be exactly where we are today if we hadn’t hit those difficult times either. It’s a part of our life’s story. Somebody once told me that our lives are like a book and it’s up to me how I want each chapter to end. And I want to end Triumphant!
DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY?
I said it earlier but it resonates so much for me. My philosophy is “People first, style second”. I care so much about people. I care so much about how we are living our lives. Style is just an expression of who we are and therefore, to me it’s all about the people first. We have to get to know ourselves, and we have to be in touch with ourselves. We HAVE to accept ourselves. It’s when we finally reach that realization, when actualization is possible. For me, my business, and my clients, style IS that actualization. Creating a style that represents who we are on the inside is the key to living our lives with openness, abundance and empowerment. We can be anything and everything we want to be. But understanding, accepting and appreciating who you are first is our most powerful step to a brighter life and a powerfully empowered future.
When I face a big challenge I…
call my Mother. (Should I be admitting that?) She’s my mentor, my conscience, and my shoulder to cry on.
My greatest fear is…
not being accepted for who I am.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is…
start my own business during the recession.
If I could go back in time to when I was 20 I would tell myself…
believe in yourself. Being different is what makes you awesome.
The biggest lesson I have ever learned is…
to never stop believing. Every up and every down has its place and was meant to be that way.
My favourite business tool or resource is…
Skype! It’s the perfect way to connect with clients virtually.
My favourite quote is…
“Inspire people to be inspiring.”
Lubov Azria of BCBG Max Azria