September 30

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Self Confidence is the Key to Success with Stylist Laura Fedock

By Mimi MacLean

September 30, 2021


Laura Fedock personal stylist
Laura Fedock

Laura Fedock built her luxury wardrobe consulting business, Life + STYLE by Laura, by reputation and word of mouth. She shares with us her insight on inspiring self-confidence through personal style and how she earned her reputation as an image expert. Laura is one of 2021’s top 10 Instagram accounts according to the NYT and Yahoo ranking. She speaks about the importance of confidence, social media, client satisfaction, and word of mouth, which all have greatly impacted her reach and business growth. While growing her business, Laura has also dedicated herself to philanthropic work and using speaking events to empower others.

Episode Contents:

Her Journey Building a Personal Shopping and Styling Business

Mimi:
Laura, thank you so much for coming on today. I'm excited to learn about your business and hear about your Instagram following and everything else that you have going on. So thank you for coming on. So let's start out with, how did you wind up becoming a personal shopper?

Laura:
Well, do you want the long and the short? Well, there is a backstory here that's very funny. So when I was three years old, I actually grew up in Houston, so actually, Kingwood, Texas, which is close to the Woodlands. A lot of people are familiar with the Woodlands but not necessarily Kingwood. They had a boutique there called AppleTree Kids. My mom brought home an outfit one day. This was a boutique with the matching bows and headbands and everything, and said, "I have this beautiful outfit for you." Three-year-old Laura said, "That's ugly. I'm not wearing that."

Laura:
Now, my mom's a computer programmer. She's very methodical in her thinking. I'm all creative. So it probably would've made it easier had she known her three-year-old would have a career in fashion. So that was the early indication, but fast forward to 15 years ago, unofficially 13 years on paper, I got my start working at Nordstrom NorthPark here in Dallas. I was the original stylist based on a women's designer.

Laura:
So college, I was a Texas Tech Red Raider. I used to work with the athletic department. I was very involved on campus, graduated magna cum laude, two degrees, so basically six years. So broadcast journalism, French minor. That was graduation in December. Then the second one was advertising with a minor in creative writing. Basically, when I first interned in television, I did two internships, I realized it wasn't creative enough for me. My parents said, "Look, this is the best time of your life. What do you want to do?"

Laura:
So that's when I just started in advertising. I did graphic video web design, did a lot of things post-college but ultimately I realized just because you are capable of doing a certain thing, i.e. being a geek behind a computer, if you are more extroverted, you're meant to be around people. So when I moved to Dallas, my mom literally said to me, "Hey, why don't you just get a job at Nordstrom, enjoy a discount and then figure out what you want to do?"

Mimi:
That's great. So from there, when did you decide to go out on your own?

Laura:
So I worked at Nordstrom. I was a hundred percent commission for four years, but none of my clients ever knew that I was commission-based. So I always tell people, they think my job is glamorous. They think what I do is just showing up to events and looking cute. But if you can be honest with that person and tell them that they need something that's $20 and not $2000, even though you're a hundred percent commission then you're meant to be in this industry because you've got to be honest. I based everything on honesty. So I worked there for four years. So I've been doing this on paper 13 years. So if we do the math, left there four years ago, so about nine years on my own. But ultimately this has been building up my entire life to be where I'm at as the owner of my own business.

Mimi:
That's great. I know we touched briefly on this before we started, but you're not a native to Dallas. Obviously there are a lot of natives in Dallas. So how did you build your business and your clientele?

Laura:
A lot of word of mouth. There is a story about this. It's really funny, actually. So once I quit Nordstrom, I realized not only did I feel like I had no life, I lived there. Okay. I literally live there. I do have clients that I always help the whole family. It's never just the wife, it's the husband and the kids, and even the dog. I had clients that literally would say, "Let's go to Laura's house, Nordstrom NorthPark." They thought I lived there. Well, maybe I felt like I needed to sleep there during big sales and events upstairs in that home department. But no, I didn't live there.

Laura:
When I quit, I finally was like, I do not want to live to work. I want to work to live. So I went on vacation, we went out, my mom and I kind of piggybacked on a business trip my dad had to London. We were out in the English countryside, you've been to Stonehenge or heard of Ashbury, right? So we have sheep going by in the background. My phone is blowing up with clients. I'm on glorious roaming charges and they're all saying, "Hi, the Nordstrom anniversary sale is in a week. Here's my list." I'm like, "Honey, I don't work there anymore. Remember I introduced you to this person and this person. They're going to take care of you." And they said, "We don't care. They are not you. What is it going to take for you to help us?" So that's when it all started.

Mimi:
That's great. So now, is it just you, do you have a team?

Laura:
I have a team. I have two assistants and most recently a summer intern, but they just went back to school yesterday. So I'm actually going to be hiring another intern most likely through SMU or Texas Tech.

Mimi:
Oh, that's great. Then how does a typical business model work for you? Do you have to create relationships with like a Nordstrom or is it your clients who are paying you directly commission?

Laura:
So I am an affiliate with basically every brand. So I do work with Nordstrom. I was one of their original stylists that they work with independently. So I'm an affiliate with them. I work with an independent stylist coordinator there, but at most of the boutiques in say a Highland Park Village, or anywhere that I go around the country because I do have clients all over the country, in the world. I work directly with the manager or a key sales associate, making sure that my clients can get the best of the best.

Laura:
Then I also, for example, bespoke custom clothing guy is out of Nashville. I found him. I felt like he offered something that was very far superior than what Dallas had. So he comes to Dallas two to three times a month to see my clients.

Being Named One of Yahoo Business’s Top 10 Influential Women of 2021

Mimi:
Oh, that's great. That's great. So just to get back to you, how you're obtaining clients because I feel like for somebody who goes out on their own and who is independent, that's really a big part of and probably the most difficult part of it. So you said you mostly use word of mouth, do you wind up doing anything nice for people who refer you? What kind of [crosstalk 00:08:30]?

Laura:
I have a very generous referral incentive, but I really feel like between my social media, I also know in this business, you have to spend money to make money. I'm a luxury brand. So if you go to my website, you go on my social media, you see what I have with my PR team. Everything is top notch. Even going back to my business cards, everything is very luxurious. So when people meet me, they kind of feel that it factor, that confidence that I have that really comes from within, but we'll talk about it in a minute.

Laura:
Your confidence comes from how you present yourself to the world. So people feel that when they meet me. So there's a lot of word of mouth. There is strategic. My tagline is strategic style. There's a lot of strategy that goes into every single thing I do, but yes, do I give a referral incentive? I do. But most importantly, I just genuinely want to take care of people. Fashion is my in, and then I become their person and I help with almost all aspects of their life.

Mimi:
That's great. So you mentioned something that I want to continue with, which is social media. You have over a hundred thousand followers, and you've also for 2021 were named top 10 Instagram accounts for Yahoo and New York Times, I think.

Laura:
Yahoo, Yahoo Finance, Top 10 Most Influential Women. Then I was just featured in the New York Times Weekly. So yeah, and that is all things that came to me. I was getting a little overwhelmed because yes, I love writing and I love speaking and doing things like this, but I'm one person. So now I have a team of people that are really helping support me so that I can have more of a work-life balance.

Mimi:
That's great. To get to that point, did you do that all on your own or did you immediately hire somebody who knew what they were doing?

Laura:
So I work with White Unicorn out of Dallas. Think Richards Group, which does Chick-fil-A and Corona, but more of a boutique. They do incredible work so that's who has done my website from the very beginning, the life-stylebylaura.com, they did my logo. We take this very seriously. So every single thing is done professionally from the very beginning. That was when I was only maybe helping about five to 10 clients, but I knew that we had something here.

Laura:
I knew that the name that I came up with Life-Style by Laura, it's really about a lifestyle and the luxury life. More than anything, eventually one day I will have associate stylists and other people on my team, but for right now, I really am the face of the brand and then I had a lot of people behind the scenes that are doing a lot of the busy work.

Mimi:
That's great. Do you have any tips for people who want to grow their brand or their company or their name on social media like you have?

Laura:
Absolutely. So I'm the only stylist in the country that is working with a lot of NIL athletes. So this is what is allowing NCAA athletes to become their own brand. So having a marketing background, I tell them, number one, just because you have the opportunity to work with a certain brand or a certain company, is this something that you really like? Because if your page looks like one ad, you're going to lose followers. At the same time, if you feel inspired by something go in your story and have a conversation. Be honest. So with my business, just because there may be a commission incentive, that's never even factored into what I do when I'm deciding what is best when I'm pulling for a client. I think of, what would I want if I was this client?

Laura:
If I was pulling from my mom and dad, which I do still help, they don't want to admit it, but I do, if I'm helping somebody that is very, very picky and all of my clients are busy, I want somebody that's honest. The same thing translates to all of your marketing, all of your social media, you have to be authentic. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors right now. Everything is overly edited. Everything is not as it seems. There's a lot of fake designer stuff that we see all over people's pages. I'm all about embrace where you're at right now in your life. So whether I'm helping that client that can afford the entire store, or they saved up five years for that one handbag, I see the value in helping every single person.

Mimi:
That's great. So that means you do mostly stories to kind of get that authenticity across?

Laura:
My posts. I add a lot of humor. I really am branded as that likable girl that you would want to go have a glass of wine with. I'm extremely professional. I'm very fun. I will pride myself on the fact that in my contract is says, I have a client services agreement with every single client. So, I mean, this is a business, but also when people are trusting me with their credit cards and basically shopping for them and their lives, they're allowing me into their homes, I'm doing their closets. I have a VIP concierge service. I make sure that especially in the case of a man from the very beginning, I do not date my clients. I am very professional. I want to be taken seriously. Because of that, I have always been taken seriously because this is a business, but it's not brain surgery.

Laura:
This is fun. This should be fun. When it's not fun, I know that maybe it's not the right mix. Sometimes personalities don't mix. So I'm at that point now where just because I have a lot of celebrities that I help and I have a lot of high profile people that I help, they get referred to me, I have to make sure, is it the right energy? Is this a good person? Is this a kind person? Because life is too short. I want to make sure if somebody isn't the point of their life, where they really want to grow as a person and I can add to that. I start with fashion. I help by personally branding them. I see what their goals are. Maybe they want to find love again. Maybe they're a widow or widower. Maybe they're trying to move up that corporate ladder.

Laura:
Every single thing that they tell me, not only is it noted, but I have a photographic memory. So I make sure that our entire relationship together, I'm keeping that end game in mind. Sometimes there's some fluidity there. People may be like, "Okay, I found the love of my life." I also help kind of, I'm 20 for 20 on matchmaking.

Mimi:
You might have a side service there.

Laura:
I'll tell my clients. I'm like, "Hey, I actually know a girl that you would really, really like." They're like, "Really?" I'm like, yeah, because I'm very intuitive. Some people are open to that. Some people aren't, but I'm like, look, you can go on our LinkedIn, whatever, we'll meet as friends. We'll have coffee, but I'm all about surrounding myself with good people. Anybody that's in my life, just like you, it's like life is too short to be around anybody that is draining.

Mimi:
I love it. It's true.

Laura:
I know I just gave you the most long-winded answer, but I think you can tell I could talk to a wall.

Inspiring Confidence Through Personal Style

Life + STYLE by Laura

Mimi:
That's great. Are most of your clients from Dallas or do you do anywhere in the United States?

Laura:
All over the US and the world. Right now, it's a little bit harder to be worldwide because of COVID and traveling restrictions and everything. But I have clients in New York. I have clients in Miami. I have clients in LA. I have clients in London. I have clients in Italy. I'm fluent in French. So I do know Christian Louboutin. First time I met him in person he loved it because I could say, "Bonjour. Comment ca va." He was like, "Whoa, okay, I'm in Dallas, but she speaks French." So I have people all over.

Laura:
I do travel to them. I do virtual. I do everything. It's literally whatever that client needs, I'm going to come up with a plan. I'll go and make sure that they're taken care of so that they can truly enjoy this life because none of us get out of life. Right? Let's enjoy right now, let's enjoy the present this very moment. I'm very present with you right now. There's a lot of people that are just kind of rushing everywhere. Let's be here right now in this moment.

Mimi:
So you touched on something earlier, and I'd really love to go back to it because it's about self-confidence. I have kind of polled or surveyed my listeners. I asked, what is one of your hardest obstacles about being a CEO or a business woman entrepreneur? Self-confidence came back and imposter syndrome came back as one of the highest things. I was kind of surprised by that because I think that is this narrative that we're telling ourselves. That's what's kind of holding a lot of women back from being super successful. So I would love to talk to you about that and what's your kind of take on it.

Laura:
There is not one client or person in my life that I help that does not have some form of body dysmorphia. I personally, I've had seven neck surgeries in the last eight months. So I'm self-conscious of the asymmetry in my face, but I choose not to focus on it. So even the most beautiful, talented woman or man that you see beats themselves up about some aspect of their life. Sometimes it's physical. Sometimes they hold themselves back because they think everything has to be black or white. I see this in a lot with my clients that are wanting to lose weight. Okay. I'm somebody that was living in bed for two to three years in debilitating pain. I woke up with a migraine every single day. I chose to be a victor and not a victim. So when people hold themselves back, they have to actually decide that they want to do better. They want to move up that corporate ladder.

Laura:
So what does that look like? You are your brand. The way you dress is not superficial. How do you want the world to see you? That is what I ask them. Do you want to be seen as likable, successful, lovable, charismatic? Every single thing that I do to help dress them helps show that to the world. I tell them, even if you're tired, this is maybe dating. Dating these days is not the way it was when my parents dated. They've been married for over 40 years. We didn't have social media. If you wanted to see somebody, you saw them. We didn't have cell phones. We didn't have all this stuff. So you actually were face to face. So now, if people are comparing themselves to the Jones's or they're comparing themselves to things that are on social media that are highly edited, nothing is as it seems. That's the highlight reel.

Laura:
So I tell them, what are your goals? I'll ask them that. What are your goals? "Well, I really want to move up the corporate ladder. I really want to be successful." "Okay. Well, what's holding you back?" "Well, I feel like when I'm in meetings, I don't feel that confident." I coach them on speaking. I give them tips on public speaking. I make sure that they're in clothing that is not only professional but comfortable. I have a lot of clients that also sweat because they're very nervous. Maybe they're extremely brilliant, but they're not great in a very high-stress situation. So I coach them on if they're standing behind a podium, push your feet really hard down in your shoes. Nobody can tell that you're doing this, but the energy that makes you like this, or makes sure voice jittery has to go out somewhere. It's going out your feet. Nobody sees that. Coached the CEO of Singapore Airlines on that.

Laura:
Same thing goes into just making that extra effort every single day. Even during COVID when things were completely shut down. If a client could just front tuck their t-shirt into their yoga pants or put on a little bit of lip gloss or moisturizer, they felt better. Nobody else knew that they made that extra effort, but mentally we knew. We knew that we made that extra effort and we feel more confident even when we're just going to get Starbucks.

Balance Is About Booking Time For Yourself

Mimi:
That's great advice. So what have you found to be the hardest part of being your own boss and running your own company?

Laura:
Work-life balance. I'm actively dating right now. I'm very, very private about who I am dating and who I'm really close to in my life. I would say besides work-life balance, which just like I book out a client appointment, I book out time for myself to go get a massage, for myself to spend time with my family, with my friends, because that is what life is all about. At the end of the day you want to have those beautiful, amazing people in your life, I mean, beautiful inside and out, to share your life with. Because when I work with more affluent people, the biggest thing I hear is I want to find love. I want to have somebody to enjoy this beautiful life with. Well, I'm in that same page too. I'm in that same page chapter of my life. So as long as I can find that balance and relax with my dog, spend time with my best girlfriends, have a glass of wine, shopping. Retail therapy is real. I love doing that.

Laura:
Now, I'm still looking for the equivalent to a male that golfs all day because there really isn't a female equivalent that doesn't cost you an arm and leg because if we go to the spa all day, or if we go shopping all day, that's a bigger investment than a guy just paying for his tee time. Making sure that everybody that's in my life that has access to me, if they have my cell phone number, then they actually know me, not paying attention to any negativity, any negative comments, because it's so easy to sit behind a computer and say mean things. I was bullied in high school. A lot of people wouldn't know that. I used to eat my lunch in the bathroom in high school. I had a group of girls that bullied me. I couldn't wait to get out of high school.

Laura:
When I went to college, I got this chance to really become my own person. Then my brother passed away when I was in college and I just kept my chin up. I kept on going. So it really goes back to trust the vibes you get because energy does not lie. If you're around somebody for an hour and then you get back to your place and you feel like you need to take a week long nap, that person's energy was probably not good. Not only are you not shilling your own energy, you just absorbed all that. You might want to reevaluate spending time with that person. So I'm like that with who I hire as my assistants, I'm like that with my clients. I'm also like that in my personal life because there are real things that can be stressful, but your personal life and who you're around should be easy and lighthearted.

Mimi:
No, it's true. You just touched on something which I want to continue with is when you hire an assistant, because I think that's a big struggle for people is hiring and finding that right person. So do you have a vetting process that makes you be able to find the right energy and the right person for you?

Laura:
So I get people DM'ing me all the time on Instagram, as you can imagine. I mean, some of it's comical. If only I could show you, fly on the wall could see that. Not only do I require a very thorough background check, I require three to five really good references that I do call and I do email and sometimes I'll meet in person, but I also have to make sure that they are comfortable being around expensive things.

Laura:
So I have things behind me. This is real stuff for clients. There's like a one of a kind Fendi coat behind me that there's only one in the world. So not only do I have to be able to trust them to be around these higher income celebrities, whether they're public or local, private people, all of it. I need to make sure, are they a good representation of me because I have a very big heart.

Laura:
So if I have the wrong people representing me, maybe they're not kind to somebody at an Alice And Olivia boutique, Veronica Beard, and McQueen, all these brands that I work with all the time, I hear that. We're all entitled to have a bad day, but that can not come out when you work. I will agree with you. People don't want to work these days. That younger generation doesn't have that hustle, doesn't have that really authentic mentality.

Laura:
I was up till 3:00 AM last night breaking down boxes and rearranging things for this. There are so many things that I do behind the scenes that I'm not afraid to do. You can never be too good to do anything. If you really, really want to make it, especially in fashion, but I will caution anybody that wants to get into fashion. If you think that being a fashion stylist, personal shopper, VIP concierge is just showing up and looking cute and doing this, it's not. I'm in yoga pants. I'm sweating, I'm running around. This is 2% of what I do.

Laura:
So there's a vetting process. There's a background check. There's also a trial period. I'm very fair in my compensation. I also know that there are people all around the world that would move to Dallas to just intern with me for free to get this experience. So it has to be somebody that truly wants to be in this industry because a thousand clients that I'm helping, they're all outstanding. I used to be able to say, oh, this is my top client. This is my top client. This is my top client. They are all top clients.

Mimi:
Yeah. Good advice. Okay. So to end it, are there any tips or additional advice besides what you just gave that you could give to other female CEOs or entrepreneurs that are thinking about starting their own company or going off on their own and doing something and following their dreams?

Laura:
See the forest, not the tree. Think big. Do not ever give up on the beauty of your dreams. There are going to be bumps along the way. It's going to be like this. Nobody understands the struggle of being an entrepreneur and being a CEO, unlike other entrepreneurs and CEOs. If you truly want to do something and it is your gift from God, it is your talent, doors will open. Trust in the unfolding of the process.

Laura:
It's not always going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it. Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, realize that this is just a step along the way. This is not the end game and envisions that I believe in manifesting. I know where I see myself in five to 10 years. Every single day, I'm making steps to get there. So don't ever give up.

Mimi:
Love it. We'll end on that. Don't ever give up. I love the manifestation. I talk to my kids about that all the time. You just have to believe, what's meant to be, is meant to be. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. So for anybody who wants to find Laura, you can go to Life-style by Laura on her Instagram page, which is amazing. Or you can go to her website life-stylebylaura.com. So thank you so much, Laura.

Laura:
Thank you so much for having me and happy Friday.

Mimi:
Same to you. Thank you for joining us on The Badass CEO. To get your copy of The Top 10 Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know, go to thebadassceo.com/tips. Also, please leave a review as it helps others find us. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them. So email me at Mimi@thebadassceo.com. See you next week and thank you for listening.

Links

Instagram: @lifestylebylaura

Facebook: @lifestylebylauraofficial

Twitter: @lifestylelaura

www.life-stylebylaura.com

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