As you guys know, I am a female business owner, and I am always fascinated to meet and hear the stories of other women who are kicking butt in their careers. To honor and highlight those women on my blog, I’ve decided to launch my newest series, Lady Leaders, for which I will interview women whom I have met who I find inspiring. This week, I’m excited to dedicate my 3rd feature to…
LADY LEADER: ELIZA GWENDALYN
LADY OF LONG ISLAND, NY / LEADER AT ELIZA GWENDALYN DESIGN STUDIO
Photo by Kathi Littwin
Name: Eliza Gwendalyn
Business/Profession: Calligrapher, Graphic & Website Designer
Instagram Handle: @elizagwendalynink
Business Website: www.elizagwendalyn.com
“Start-ups are not easy and going out on your own is even harder. Whoever says they made it over night with ease is probably lying.” – Eliza
Photo by For The Love Photography
Unofficial Work Motto:
I may write beautifully but I am far from a beautiful writer. (grammar isn’t my strong suit)
What has been the key to your success thus far?
I truly believe failure is what creates the best businessmen and women. Failure combined with ambition, support from loved ones, and never saying no when I doubted my capabilities to take on a new project is what helped me get to where I am today. That and continuing education. I always like to practice my craft and fine tune it. A true artist is constantly ‘perfecting’ their skills/art. If you were ever fully satisfied then you would have no ambition to keep moving forward. Reinvention and conceptualizing is the key for ongoing success.
When did you know that this career was for you?
I knew what made me happy from the beginning but I knew my business was successful when I finally could pay my car bill without asking my parents for help. That was a pivotal moment for me. I finally started to think that my passion could be a full-time thing not just a dream or hobby.
Tell us about your new gig with Burberry! How did you land that job?
Word of advice for anyone looking to pursue a similar career:
First and foremost, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT and KNOW your craft. Developing your own tone and voice in your art or brand will differentiate you from the pack because copy cats will never really make it. Take your time and be patient with finding your voice (Rome wasn’t built in a day)! On top of this, always be nice to everyone! I know I sound like a grandma but I truly believe it’s important to be just as nice to the doorman working the celebrity event as it is the celebrity that I am there to provide services for. Everyone is someone and they will remember your kindness just as much as they will remember arrogance.
Style in Three Words:
Classy and Comfortable, with a little bling
The ONE beauty product you can’t live without:
Believe it or not my go to item is Aquaphor, I always have like 5 mini tubs in each purse and a tub of it next to my bed! (LOL Eliza!) I have VERY sensitive skin and when I was junior about to go to prom I had an allergic reaction to something that made my entire face blow up in hives. My friends mom told me to put Aquaphor on it. At first I was like “HELL NO, am I going to put a Vaseline like substance on my skin. I will break out!” but she was like “Honey you basically burnt your face off so it can’t get much worse…” SO I did as I was told. Within hours my entire face cleared up!!! Needless to say, from that point on Aquaphor became my best friend. I put it EVERYWHERE from my face to my legs and my feet. This may be TMI but the truth. My other go-to beauty brands in my morning routine: Clinique moisturizer and Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer.
What makes you feel like a total girl boss in the morning?
Waking up, whether it is 6am or 11am, to answer emails & work texts in bed for hours with some coffee and my dog. I kid you not, but the fact I can literally just sit there and do work for hours without having to hop out of bed and get to a 9-5 is really satisfying. It has also turned me into a workaholic. It isn’t lavish but it makes me feel like a boss lady. Some people dread the email part of a business but it makes me feel accomplished and successful because I remember the weeks I wouldn’t get a single email in my inbox and although the days I have over 50 unanswered messages freaks me out because I am backed up on that due to a project deadline it also reminds me that people want to work with me and that in itself is relieving & exciting!
Best Style/Beauty Decision I Ever Made:
Microblading my eyebrows by botoxbae.com — I never have to fill in my eyebrows again and eyebrows are everything to a half Lebanese & Italian chick. That, and growing my nails out/keeping them polished. Long beautiful manicured nails on a calligrapher really spruces up your photos for Instagram!
Who are a few women that inspire you and why?
The fashion illustrator Jamie Lee Reardin really inspires me. I started following her when she only had a few hundred followers and now she has 56K. She really is my boss lady girl crush because she CRUSHES it in everything. She has her OWN unique style. She works with the chicest brands (Dior, NY Ballet, Disney to name a few…) She works for herself and at the end of the day she keeps it real with her personal life. I have never met her but I bet she is as cool & humble as she seems on Instagram! Above all, I think she is one of the most innovative artist in my generation. After Jamie, I would have to say my mom, although she doesn’t work anymore she did work in advertising and photography when I was a kid and raised me and my sister full time all while being the school’s PTA president. She & my dad showed me the foundation of how to be a boss now I am just missing the kids!
Your #LadyLeader secrets to leading a efficient yet stylish lifestyle:
Drink A LOT OF WATER, WINE, AND COFFEE but more water above all. Try to at least go for a run or workout 3 times a week because networking is fun and partying is even more fun but if you don’t take care of your insides you won’t be having much fun for the long run. Lastly, don’t forget to splurge on yourself & loved ones. If you work hard you can shop hard too, after all thats the point of working hard right?
How do you incorporate your ‘personal brand’ into your career:
This is kind of easy for me since I am my brand essentially. I did after all name my brand my first & middle name! Everything that goes along with it that isn’t a client project emulates me! From the pop of pink to my handwriting and pastel Instagram filters. My brand color is black and white with a pop of pink which is very similar to my wardrobe. Most often I am seen in whites black or nude colors and a pop of pink whether it is on my lips, shoes or ink I am writing in.
Challenges as a successful lady boss:
Saying “no” is my number one challenge because I remember when I barely had offers. It is a scary thought to never know when the next project is coming or if the current offer is the last one you’ll ever get, but I learned the hard way when I said yes to 18 projects all due within the same two weeks that sometimes you have to say “NO.”
How has your success affected your dating life (work life balance):
Well for starters, my ability to strive for businesses success stemmed from the worst break up of my life. If I didn’t endure that break up I would not be the #LadyLeader I am today. My dating life struggled the first three years of starting the business but I personally believe a start-up requires 150% of person’s attention. You need loved ones that support your decision to start a business and to be patient or sadly those relationships probably won’t make it and that is a choice you have to make. I told myself after year 3 that I would prioritize my personal life again and luckily my brand was doing well and I could focus on my relationships again. Since then I have felt more in control and content with my dating life. In fact, I happened to have met someone really special who understands my work life which in my opinion (and experience) is REALLY hard to find!
The best piece of advice you have ever received:
Find your own style & tone in your art and clients will come because it is unique. That and ALWAYS wear make-up when in public because you never know who is watching you or has a camera.
Favorite activities to do or places to eat in your city:
I am a big homebody but if I had to choose a restaurant I would say to eat dinner at Vandal in NYC. I LOVE the music & vibe, and my clients Ovando have the cutest flower boutique in the restaurants store front. I love the interior there, the entire concept is genius! Honestly there is so much to do in NY, you can live here all your life and never have to eat or do the same ever again if you wanted! I turn 30 in March and I am trying to brainstorm where to throw my 30th Bday bash, and if I don’t go away Vandal is a top contender. 🙂
Thank you so much to Eliza for chatting with me today and sharing her story. Stay tuned for my next Lady Leaders post… coming soon!