Create Your Style from the Inside Out - Laura Ettenberg
CWL had the pleasure of meeting up with Laura, and being invited to see her cozy office nestled in her beautiful walk-in closet (that even has a coffee maker!). It was a pleasure getting to know Laura and to learn more about Hang It Up, as well as her work with a community organization that helps empower women through fashion.
Q: You are the founder of Hang It Up, and a personal stylist; can you tell me about the service you provide?
Hang It Up is a service provided for women to create their style and build their wardrobe. It is about connecting with women and then giving them the confidence to make good fashion decisions for their lifestyle.
Q: How does fashion play a role in our lives, and the relationship to empowerment and not just as a method to show one’s status?
Living in this country we have the freedom to make a statement with our fashion choices without much consequence. Fashion inspires feelings, thoughts, messages and change, which can be positive or negative. There are many brands that have woven fashion and philanthropy together so beautifully. I am all for using fashion as a way to encourage change and to empower people. For example, we can support such brands as The Root Collective www.therootcollective.com which employs people living in Guatemala, giving them an opportunity to get out of poverty. A more commonly known brand, TOMs www.toms.com, Their model is One for One®, each time you buy product, the brand helps someone in need. We can be a positive impact on our global society, vs Fast Fashion which does not help build and support us all together.
Q: What tools do you use to help women determine their style?
Through my initial lifestyle evaluation, I am able understand my client’s goals, struggles, and lifestyle, and then make recommendations. I refer my clients to my Pinterest board, which has examples of the different styles, or I build them a personal Pinterest board. Pinterest is great tool to help my clients visualize and connect with their personal preferences when it comes to style.
I encourage my clients to start with what’s in their closet and consider their lifestyle first before adding more to their wardrobe. Take inventory of your clothing and keep what you love and if a piece of clothing does not bring you joy, then perhaps it is time to get rid of it. I work with my clients to find brands that flatter their body and then encourage them to be themselves, to be unique, own it. Sometimes we all need a little support and encouragement to help strengthen our confidence.
Q: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? What are your business goals?
I have been a stay-at-home-mom since my first daughter was born, 10 years ago. During that time, I always felt an itch to go back to work but knew it had to be in a different setting than the corporate world I left. I struggled with my mixed feelings being a stay-at-home-mom and craved the independence of having something of my own. I wanted to find meaningful work with a purpose. I love that my business connects me with other women and I can share my passion and my knowledge of fashion with them. It is inspiring to see my clients begin to gain control and power of their wardrobe, and to be excited to get dressed.
Q: In your earlier career you did a lot of work with the community in helping young girls and women, can you tell us more about this work?
My early career was in social work and although it was difficult emotionally and physically for me, it was also rewarding. I found inspiration in the people I worked with through their struggles, strength and bravery. I feel lucky to have worked in this environment as it was extremely fulfilling to witness the growth of individuals who are struggling. These connections I made in my young adulthood was my foundation to work in the corporate world and beyond. There is a surprising emotional connection in my current work and I feel my earlier career has helped me with this.
Q: How does your community influence you and support you?
Since launching my business, I have been lucky enough to gain the support and encouragement from local business women. Women such as Karen DiDonato DeVincent from the Beauty Café, Rebecca Beraldi from Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet, and Lorrie DiCesare from Hourglass, all thriving businesses in Melrose. Each of these women I have admired for their strength and dedication to keep their businesses successful. I also admire their ability to connect and support other women which has inspired me along the way.
Q: You mention your work with Uncommon Threads, can you tell us more about the organization and how you got involved?
Susan Kanoff, recently launched Uncommon Threads, with its mission being to empower women through fashion. Women who are dealing with domestic violence or struggling in other ways are eligible for this program with the referral from their social worker. Uncommon Threads is a beautiful and inviting space located in Lawrence, MA. With an appointment, women meet their personal stylist who will help pick out 4 complete outfits. Susan has combined her career of social work and styling for the past 20 years, and is determined to make a difference in women’s lives while building their confidence. I am privileged to be able to work with her as a volunteer stylist and support this incredible cause.
Q: How can people get in touch with you?