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style + work
Let's talk about your job title
What initially drew you towards working in media, and then how did you decide to focus on style?
Who or what do you believe has been a strong influence of your style?
How do you determine what you are going to wear to work each day?
It really depends on my calendar. If I am going to meet with one of my personal shopping clients, I dress to make a strong first impression. I might wear a wrap dress or a high-waisted skirt with a button-down top, but I want to be very polished. If it's more fashion-related - meeting my fashion clients, or attending a fashion show or event for blogging, if I'm interviewing, I tend to be more trendy. I'll wear graphic tees with skirts, or leather leggings or the liquid leggings with some really cute heels and accessories.
My signature style is definitely a high-waisted skirt with a belt, and a T-shirt or some sort of blouse tucked in. That's my work uniform. That's my style.
So most days, do you prefer to wear a skirt or pants?
I prefer jeans. I'm not meeting with clients every day, so typically I will just be in jeans if I have to run around town, which is most of the time. I'll always prefer to do a dark wash jean because with a darker wash, you still look very professional and put together. You can wear a blazer or a nice blouse and still look very sophisticated and polished.
Heels or flats?
Where do you like to shop for your wardrobe and when do you find the time?
What are your favorite clothing and accessory brands?
Do you have anything on your wish list for an accessory or some clothing?
I would like to own a pair of designer shoes. Maybe a pair of Christian Louboutin's if he would make them in a size 11. There's just something about them - they are just a sexy shoe. Even if I'm in it for just an hour, I'd be okay with that.
What type of daily tote or bag do you carry every day and what is inside?
What is something that you wear that instills more confidence on days when you are not quite feeling yourself?
Lipstick or lip gloss?
What are your favorite brands and shades?
What's your mani/pedi style?
What hair product do you use most regularly?
What's your approach to jewelry? Do you have standard go to pieces that you wear most of the time, or do you mix it up?
For accessories, I typically try to minimize everything to three areas of the body - so if I have earrings, a necklace, and a bangle, I'm not going to have an overage of rings and then a big gaudy bag or fancy shoes. I don't want to be over-accessorized, just stylish. I'm into layering a ton of different weights of bracelets together, but I try to keep it minimal. I keep my earrings simple (usually hoops) because I tend to throw a lot of necklaces on top of each other. Oh and I always wear a watch.
Is there anything that you have on your wish list for jewelry?
What do you do in the morning,
prior to your office hours, that helps
you prepare for the day ahead?
What kind of transportation do you use to get to your appointments and events all over town?
Do you have a favorite song, artist, or playlist that you listen to on your way to work?
You travel for work sometimes. What do you do while you are on the plane?
What does your typical workday
What time does your morning start?
What's your morning beverage?
What the essentials do you have with
you for meetings?
I try to be as simple as possible,
whenever I have a meeting with
someone and not have too much
going on. I take a calendar, a note
pad, a pen and my iPad mini (just
in case I need to be electronic).
And water - I have to keep myself
hydrated throughout the day. I
really just try to devote all my
attention on that person.
How do you handle job-related stress?
I will walk away and do deep
breathing. I've also gotten into
essential oils. I spray my pillow
I sleep like a baby, no matter how
stressed I am. My car has a lavender
oil thingee in it. That way, I'm just
breathing in calmness. My soap in the bathtub is lavender. Calm, calm, calm. Because when you're entrepreneur, you're a small business owner and everything is up to you. So I just need that calmness. I'm trying to do more yoga ... trying.
What are some of your work pet peeves?
I do not like last minute requests - whether it's from a client or a publicist
needing an interview - because my days are so stacked. Maybe that's on me
and I shouldn't stack my days the way that I do. But nothing will get me
from zero to sixty when someone needs something and it's either that day
or within a couple of hours, because I literally don't have the time to give.
Don't get me wrong, I understand stuff happens. So I don't get upset if it's
something that there wasn’t any control over, but if it is something that
people knew about a week ago, or was within their control - that is a huge
peeve of mine, because it's inconsiderate. And I'm very considerate of
Unfortunately I bet that happens to you more, because your clients are
also super busy and need a stylist to pull a look together for something
that just popped up on their calendar.
What is one of your happiest career moments?
I have a client who, when I first started working with her, literally could
not look in me in the face. Everything that came out of her mouth about
herself was negative. When she woke up in the morning, she was looking
in the mirror and saying those terrible things to herself. Now, she walks
with her head high. She credits me for teaching her about her worth. My
happiest moments are when my clients become confident women - to the
point where they don't need me anymore - but they choose to still have
me in their lives.
How would you describe your office space?
I love it because it's open and there's so much
space for me to do creatively what I want to
do with it and to express my fashion side. I
have room to display all of the books that I
buy and never have time to read. But I love to
look at them, they're beautiful. So it's a very
open and inviting space where I can creatively
get in my zone. And it's very girly, which I like.
I'm truly in love with that space and hopefully
we'll have it for the next couple of years,
before I actually lease a space.
What is in your office that makes it more
comfortable for you?
So, where do you keep the things of which you purchase for your clients or photo shoots?
I have a portable rack that I can set up, and tear down. I'm actually flying with it into San Diego. It's just one of those comfort items that I have to have. So, I use a rack if I'm doing a big shoot. As far as products that I need to test, I use little cubbies to categorize. I would have beauty in one, maybe fashion in another one, book reviews here. That way I can keep track of what was given to me. At one point in time, I had a spreadsheet going on. My sister was like my assistant to make sure, "Okay, you got this item on this day, the review needs to be done by this day, and a post needs to be up and running by so and so." It was very organized because I was receiving so many boxes of products a day.
At the beginning of this year, I decided my theme was, "Live simply." Because I get so many things and people want me to test products out that it can be a zoo. So, my Mom will test products for me and I'll donate pieces to Restored Hope or to women's shelters. So, I'm really just trying to live simply. Just do what is necessary and nothing above and beyond that.
Do you have anything on your wish list for your décor?
Yes - I want a custom made bookshelf to compliment everything. I have so many books and I keep buying more. I want them to be organized, but I want the bookshelves to be maybe in a distressed wood - something kind of fun and creative.
What would you say is your favorite office supply and why?
How do your organize your desk space?
What is your favorite office snack?
What is a work tool that's a must-have for you (app, hardware or software)?
How do you prioritize and manage your email inbox?
So everything filters to one box for me, so I don't have to log in and out of different emails. I have folders and then sub folders inside of each one. So, I have a folder for Inspire N Style, another one for styling, and then another one for my personal brand, and I keep sub folders within each one. So Inspire N Style would have interview or fashion events sub folders. And then in styling I keep sub folders for each client. For my personal brand I keep speaking engagement and website development sub folders. But that's how I keep track of everything. Otherwise they would all come in together and be one big mess. I just try to keep it all organized, otherwise I'll go into my email box and I'm just overwhelmed.
What's the secret for you to achieving
your daily objectives?
I have to have everything mapped out
ahead of time in my calendar. As far as
Inspire N Style is concerned, I have an
editorial calendar that I will sit and
work on every Sunday. I like to
calendar that ahead of time so I
already know who I'm interviewing
and what I'm writing. It's very specific,
even down to subject ideas and then
I pepper in what I have on my physical
calendar and that's how I go about my
day to day. So, I have two sets of
calendars and I just merge them
into one, like a to-do list. Now as far
as my personal businesses, I do have
a business coach and she gives me
a 7-30 day to-do list.
And so if I have the extra time, which I should because these are the things that are going to make my business soar, I tend to work on those, pepper those in, typically at the end of the day. Right before I go to bed, I'll be working on something that she's given me to work on and I have a little check sheet of all the things that she's telling me, "You need to do this, you need to do this, you need to do that." Everything is on to-do lists and calendars. I can't operate any other way. (laughter)
Are your to-do lists and calendar hand written?
My editorial calendar for Inspire N Style is on my computer in a Word doc. But my personal business calendar and my to-do list from my business coach are hand written. I write down items that I need to do on a simple legal pad and I make little check boxes by each action item and when it's done, I check it off and I work on the next one. If I don't have it written down to check off, life is so hectic, I'll forget about a very important piece.
If I need to go shopping for a photo shoot, I will write out what I need beforehand and check off the items as I find them throughout the day, that way I know for a fact I'm not forgetting anything for the shoot. Nothing virtual, though. I have to have it hand written.
How do you stay on top of industry news or your career?
What is your method for networking?
When I first started out, I felt like I had to go to every single event to meet all the right people. And I feel like when you're a newbie, that is the way that you have to go about doing it. Now that I'm settled in this industry, I've become more comfortable with attending events. If I go out, I'm genuine. I don't ever go to a fashion event or go to a conference with the mindset of meeting a person to benefit me in some kind of way. I think having an agenda with meeting someone takes the realness out of the relationship. I go just to meet people, have it be very organic. That's how I network. I don't really have method for it. I'm just myself.
For this industry, though, I do have to put myself out there. So, if I realize that I'm working on a project and I haven't really been out and no one's seen my face, I will make a point to go to a fashion event or to support a local artist or something outside of the fashion scene. I love our music scene. My clients are different so I don't want to continuously be in a fashion circle when I could meet someone cool and eclectic in the arts realm or on the music scene. Those could be my next clients or potential business connections.
What advice have you received in your professional life that has really stuck with you?
My business coach says, "There is no traction without action." Another one is, "Success doesn't happen overnight." If you make this one milliliter of a step - that's still progress. Progress doesn't mean you have to be from point A to a millionaire. If you made one little connection and that helps your business boom, then that is a success and it's still progress towards your end goal.
Keeping those two things in mind helps to center and focus me, and keep things in perspective. When I feel like I'm in a rut, I will go to my check list and say, "Even if I don't do much today, I'm just going to do this one thing." That's still some sort of action part on my end to create that traction. And then, when I'm getting frustrated with the business, it helps to think about the progress I've made. I think about those two phrases quite a bit.
What is your work motto?
"Keep it real and get after it." I think fashion can be very materialistic. It takes on a life of its own and people have certain perceptions about it. As far as my business is concerned, I really try not to make excuses for myself. I get up, do the job, get it done, and just get after it. My dream is my dream and nobody else is going to achieve that for me. I could have the best coaching and advice in the world, but they can't physically come here and get me out of bed and make me do my action items or my work. All of that is up to me. It's so simple, but that's just how I live. That's how I live my life.
What do you do during your downtime to
refresh and recharge yourself?
I honestly just like laying here on the couch.
Everybody tells me that this is the best
couch ever, that they have the best sleep
here. When my friends from out of town
come visit me, no one sleeps in my bed.
They always sleep on the couch. Even my
mom sleeps on the couch, when she comes
from the office.
How important has travel been for you, personally?
Where do you want to travel to next?
How have your parents influenced your career?
Do you have hobby?
Leah's styling advice for enhancing your confidence at work:
There are several things that will make a woman feel good about herself. If nothing else fails, have fabulous heels and invest in shoes that have personality -- funky prints, etc. Shoes are often the first thing that people look at, so why not purchase heels that can make your fashion statement for you? If you ever get stuck on what to wear to work, build your outfit by starting with your shoes first -- so build from your feet up.
Another confidence booster is a great handbag. Invest in a great handbag -- especially one that on its face makes a statement and says "she means business." There are times where I will wear jeans, a t-shirt, and basic pumps -- but if I have a great handbag, my confidence is through the roof.
Lastly, since most businesses are now jeans friendly, invest in an awesome pair of jeans. Do not go cheap -- get at least one great pair. Nothing makes a woman feel better than when she has a great pair of jeans on that are not only comfortable, but that hits every curve perfectly and makes her bottom look great. Top it with a basic blouse or tee and a blazer -- and you're good to go. The Blues Jean Bar at Snider Plaza is one of the best places to go for jeans and can instantly help in enhancing your look. As I always advise, start with a dark wash and then work towards a distressed look if your workplace allows for it.
Follow Leah on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope at @theleahFrazier.
Follow Inspire N Style on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @inspirenstyle.