Story Of Lisa Maynard-Atem, Founder And Owner Of STYLISA - Fashion And Branding Consultancy
From the age of five, I was certain of two things; firstly that I wanted to work in fashion and secondly that I wanted to own my own business
It took another 25 years to realise my dream, and I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have ever made. Working for myself has not only enabled me to realise my dream, but it has allowed me to learn who I really am as a person, increase my confidence, but most of all, be genuinely happy.
Seven years ago, I was working in a 9 to 5 job, feeling like my life was a perpetual groundhog day. I didn’t hate my job but I knew that the world of being employed was not for me. Furthermore, I wasn’t working in the area that I had been passionate about since the age of five, which was fashion. I had trained as a graphic designer, gained a design degree and worked across various disciplines like retail, marketing and publishing. And although I always had great jobs, I was never satisfied and found myself becoming bored after a period of time had passed. Then one day, I had literally had enough, and decided that I was going tobreak into the fashion industry.
I had absolutely no contacts, lived in a little village that was a million miles away from thefashion capital, London…in fact, I didn’t even own a laptop. I started by sending out nearly 500 letters to various fashion-related businesses…and got 1 reply. Undaunted and even more determined, I started to test with photographers to build up my portfolio and also network, so that I could build up my contacts. I sold some of my personal possessions so that I could invest in a laptop and some software, and set about designing and building my own website. Bearing in mind that I still had a full time job whilst building my fashion career, it began to dawn on me, what a massive undertaking this was, but I was determined so I carried on.
In August 2005, I launched STYLISA. I did all of my own PR and marketing, in fact I did everything. In October 2005, I was approached by Granada Television to be one of the stylists on the hit ITV1 show Soapstar Superstar, where I was lucky enough to work with celebrities like Richard Fleeshman, who went on to win the show. After this, I was lucky enough to work on a number of other shows, as well as shoots for Hello, OK, L’Oreal Colour Trophy Awards and the Inside Soap Awards. I also worked with private clients, wrote fashion articles, and got the STYLISA name out there as much as I could. The name STYLISA is combination of the word stylist and my name Lisa – simple and to the point, and great in terms of building a brand, which is my ultimate goal.
Fast forward five years, and things are really starting to take shape. STYLISA now has a new arm to the business…social media and online PR. I have collaborated with some major fashion brands like Oli and Schuh, as well as working with people like model turned business woman Caprice Bourret. I have also been shortlisted for a number of awards, and was chosen by Professor Scott Moeller of Cass Business School, as one of the 15 most promising entrepreneurs in the UK.
"When looking for new, vibrant and successful companies, we noticed that Lisa is a stylist with a difference. Her ability to align her styling expertise with her clients' business strategies is a new and unique approach and very effective in increasing each of her client's earning potential. Her company offers 'style strategies that result in results', which we believed would be very successful. We expect that through STYLISA, Lisa is well on her way to becoming one of the influential 'business brains' of the styling world."
One of the great things is that I am getting to the position where I am able to help others to realise their dreams, especially women in business. I am going to be getting involved with a fantastic organisation called Leaderene, which is the brainchild of the inspirational Marilyn Comrie OBE. Leaderene will be an organisation that will help propel women to the highest office in both business and government. I can’t wait to play my part!
2010 has been an exciting year and there are some potentially big projects in the pipeline, so watch this space. Although it has been a very tough journey and has taken every bit of strength I possess, I am on my way to achieving my goal of turning STYLISA into a global brand that helps to build and strengthen other brands, whether that is through personal/professional branding.
Our motto is ‘we are neither one of many nor one of a few, we are simply one of a kind’ and we aim to make our clients as unique as we are.
Whatever your dreams, pursue them and never give up. The road to success is not easy one, but if you trust, believe and work extremely hard, then you will make it.
For more please visit Lisa's blog at:http://stylisa-stylisa.blogspot.com