Style Profile: Lauren Taylor Sweet

I first met Lauren a few years when I was asked by my photography friend, Elisa Ivers, to do makeup for her younger cousin from SoCal, Alyssia, and her BFF, Lauren.  From the moment I met these gals I was so inspired by their kind, adventurous, vivacious spirits AND their style was SO TOP NOTCH - even in their early teenage years!  I knew these ladies were bound for greatness and to be honest, they helped inspire me to start touring so I could travel more.  I love keeping up with Lauren and since meeting her she has only continued to grow into such an incredible woman -showcasing beauty for life and beautiful living (as displayed in her photos.)  I can't wait for you to read her style profile --- I KNOW you will be captivated and inspired by the answers and images.  
E N J O Y ! !

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Name:
Lauren Taylor Sweet

Location:
Los Angeles, CA

Occupation:
Freelance assistant and collector of used goods.

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Decade in Life:
20’s.

Describe your personal style:
I love blending conflicting concepts. Feminizing boyish pieces. Dressing up casual. Making something vintage more modern.

 I want my style to reflect thinking outside the box, but I also just want to feel cool and comfortable.

Favorite Color and print to wear:
Nowadays I prefer to either mix or monochrome solids, especially blacks and whites.

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Go to outfit for instant confidence and sophistication:
Vintage Levi’s. Every time.

Signature scent:
Anything with notes of citrus or musk. Or peppermint!

Most coveted piece in closet:
The black wool trench coat my mom wore at my age.

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Most lusted item you don’t own:
Jesse Kamm sailor pants. Or the incredible vintage Hudson Bay coat I found at that one place on Melrose but never did buy.

Top three favorite places to shop:
If I’m not hunting through eBay or Goodwill, I shop pretty exclusively small business. Aside from essentials at H&M, Aerie, and Gap. 

Favorite season and why:
Late California fall.  Crisp, foggy mornings. Long, warm afternoons. The occasional lightning storm. HALLOWEEN. And it’s still not too late for one last camping trip. 

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Film that best defines your personal style:
Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping.

I never leave the home without:
Sunglasses, my phone, all the makings for an impromptu picnic, a library book very near its due date.

Fashion Icons:
Georgie Flores, Alexa Chung, Harry Styles, Harling Ross, Issa Rae.

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Favorite album of the season:
Aly & AJ’s new EP, “Ten Years”.

Designer worth checking out:
Rachael Gladser, of RAWSON.

Favorite instagrams to lurke:
@manrepeller, @jedidiahjenkins, @palomawool, @helen_levi, @overheardla, @sunbeam_vintage

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Trend you wish never happened:
Strong believer that everything happens for a reason. Except low-rise jeans.

Advice to those establishing personal style:
Prioritize comfort and find your confidence. Shop sustainably—invest in pieces that have versatility and reusability.

 Make the most out of a little. 

When in doubt:
Denim.

image c/o: @luarentaylor

image c/o: @luarentaylor

Never be afraid to:
Be your own tailor.

Keep up with Lauren, her infectious zest for life, and influential style via her instagram: @luarentaylor - Yes, L-U-A-R-E-N ;) -

Dream Job Profile: Kim Stalder of Circular Boutique

dreamjobintro.jpg
7C87C68B-2C42-4C62-95D0-B6FF612ABAD7.JPG

Name:
Kim Stalder

Occupation:
Owner, Circular Boutique

Location:
6th Avenue between C Street and D Street

image c/o: @circularboutique

image c/o: @circularboutique

How long has Circular been in business?
Amazingly, we’ve been open for 10 years!

What inspired you to start Circular?
Initially, I was interested in providing an eco-friendly option for Anchorage shoppers. I offered clothing for men, women and children, furnishings, and home décor, etc. When that message fell flat, I realized I would have to refocus on timeless and high quality products that didn’t contribute to the landfills and that helped people live a safer and healthier life.

What was your major in school and how did it help you with owning Circular?
My major in school was English. That helped me in my first business, Wordsmith, through which I provided a variety of writing services to private, corporate and governmental entities. My experience operating that business for 30 years prepared me for owning and operating another business, although retail was completely foreign to me.

image c/o: @circularboutique

image c/o: @circularboutique

What has been the biggest challenge in establishing your business?
This is tough. I would probably say the biggest challenge is getting people through my door so my brand became known. Advertising is a hit-or-miss endeavor and expensive. Word-of-mouth has been the surest way to gain customers, but it is limited. And often people hear something about the store—such as the cost of the products we carry—and this makes them scared to stop in and take a look (although we carry a variety of price points). This remains a difficult challenge for me to this day.

Owning a boutique is so much more than selecting beautiful clothing and product to sell.  For example, so much of buying goes back to math/budgeting/inventory planning and control. Have you always been business minded or is it something you developed and continue to learn?
My father owned his own businesses so it was my environment growing up. He had both a home-operated business (Muzak) and a storefront (an electronics store). I realized fairly early on that it was much more rewarding and comfortable for me to be my own boss. A friend who also owned a business and I used to joke that we were “certifiably unemployable” because it was so difficult to not be the one making decisions!

Describe Circular's style aesthetic:
I would say we are a purveyor of beautifully designed and thoughtfully curated fashion and products. We look for unique and timeless fashion and premium products that enhance your life.

image c/o: @circularboutique

image c/o: @circularboutique

Describe a typical day at market:
It’s BUSY!!!! I create a very strict schedule when I go to market, with a little time left open for exploration. Some of the most loved brands in the store were found by just wandering through showrooms. I begin at around 9:00 am and finish about 6 pm each day with appointments every 15-30 minutes (depending on how much time I need with a brand). It’s exhausting, but fun.

What is your favorite season to shop for and how do you get trend forecasting inspiration?
My favorite season is everyone’s favorite season—Fall. I get ready for buying by watching runway shows from the various Fashion Weeks around the world and reviewing the collections of major design houses (often smaller design houses will take their cues from the large design houses, so I am able to find similar styles at much lower prices). This provides information on color palettes, silhouettes, and aesthetics that will be forefront in most designers’ collections. Several of my designers show at Fashion Weeks, so I’m aware of pieces I find interesting before I go to Market.

What are ways you have seen growth as a business owner over the years?
When I first opened Circular, I bought what I liked rather than what others found appealing, primarily because I just didn’t know yet what they wanted! This wasn’t necessarily a total misstep, but over time I learned what my customers like, what is right for their lifestyles, and what price points are comfortable for them. I am also more careful about my buying; I often have to turn away from things that I love because they just won’t sell in Anchorage.

image c/o: @circularboutique

image c/o: @circularboutique

How do you set yourself apart from other boutiques and how important was researching your boutiques market/demographic?
On our sign you will see “love your choices” which guides us in our sales approach.  Circular prides itself on NEVER forcing a sale or encouraging someone to buy something if they’re unsure. Our customer service is strong, we are honest, and we stand behind our products. The last thing I want is for someone to regret buying something from Circular.

In terms of researching our market/demographic, I have to admit that we didn’t! I have lived my entire life of 62 years in Alaska and I think I have a fairly good feel for what people here want. Although I’m sure almost everyone will say that I can “get away with” wearing things that are different from the “norm”, I understand what it is to LIVE here. Although that doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel amazing!

Circular is much more than beautiful clothing and accessories - what services and products do you offer that people might not know about when stopping at your boutique?
Thanks for this question. This goes back to us getting out the word about the store. We offer wish lists (so you get what you want when people shop for you), gift cards, styling services, closet revamps, private parties in the store, and personal shopping.

For someone making their initial visit to Circular, what are some labels / products you suggest they must check out?
There are a few labels and products that are my favorites. I always want people to at least take a look at Maison Scotch, the female division of Dutch brand Scotch and Soda, which boasts a head designer from Anchorage, Tracy Reese and Rachel Zoe, both American designers with a definite point of view, Alexis Bittar jewelry because it’s amazing, and Little Barn Apothecary, which was founded and is operated by two amazing partners who have created a premium effective product.

image c/o: @circularboutique

image c/o: @circularboutique

You have always been an inspiration to me in so many ways thanks to your genuine kind heart, stunning style, and your deep commitment to our environment.  What are some things Circular does to be as green and eco-conscious as possible?
I’ll mention Little Barn Apothecary again. All of these amazing products are vegan and organic—as well as being the BEST that I’ve used on my skin! I also carry Agent Nateur deodorant for men and women, which is the highest ranking natural deodorant in terms of effectiveness, and PRITINYC, an eco nail polish that has staying power and comes in great colors (many large design houses commission colors for their runway shows from PRITI).

The clothing I carry is high quality and will last. Some customers resell their pieces, while others keep them for many years, but either way they are not ending up in a landfill. And lastly, we recycle literally EVERYTHING we can in the store. Every scrap of paper. Every coffee sleeve. Every toilet roll :). Every bit of cardboard. You get the picture. I’m lucky to have curbside recycling in my neighborhood, so I take the recycling home from the store each week. I worked with the 5th Avenue Mall to get cardboard recycling and now they have TWO cardboard bins and only one garbage bin to service the Mall.  

What advice would you give to someone interested in owning a boutique and buying that you wish someone gave to you?
I would advise that anyone considering owning a boutique define what it is they plan to provide that is DIFFERENT from what others provide. Even if the most unique aspect of your business is your personality, you need to know what you will present to the public that makes them want to shop with you.

Ask yourself WHY you are opening a boutique. Are you providing a different product? A different experience? Filling a niche that you know exists? You love fashion and want to share that love? Know what it is that drives you.

Be sure you’re aware of ALL of your costs (rent, utilities, product, shipping, etc.) and what your income will need to be to cover those each month. Try to start with at least 3-6 months of funding so you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable position with your landlord or vendors.

What are your never leave the house essentials?
I HAVE to have lipstick. My natural lip color is super red lip and so I always have a nude lipstick in my purse to tone it down. And my phone because I have so much information in it!

image c/o: @circularboutique

image c/o: @circularboutique

What five items do you believe every woman should have in her closet?
A great pair of black pants, a GOOD black blouse (I must have at least 6 but my new favorite is from L’Agence!), a GOOD white/ivory blouse (again, I have at least 6), a chic medium weight coat (mine is a black straight coat with notched collar), and a truly unique piece that screams YOU! Basics are necessary, but having something that is really different and that speaks to your soul is a must in my mind.

What is your mantra?
Love your choices! Really, that’s all life boils down to and it is what directs your path. Choose with your heart.

Keep up with Kim and Circular via their instagram: @circularboutique +
Even better stop by the store to meet Kim and her incredibly knowledgable and inviting staff -----* Preferably during my Beautycounter Pop Up this Saturday - January 13th from 3-5:30pm! ;) *

www.beautycounter.com/tessweaver

www.beautycounter.com/tessweaver

Industry Profile: Kelsey Close

Name:
Kelsey Close

Occupation:  
International Fashion Model

When did you get started in the industry?  
I was scouted and signed at 14, but I waited until I was 18 and had finished high school to pursue modeling full time. 

What was the biggest challenge in getting started?
For me, it was a very slow start and full of rejection and let downs. Even now I have slow periods with hardly any work, then all of a sudden I'm extremely busy and dreaming of a vacation. Rejection is a constant in this industry, but as you work more, the easier it is to deal with. 

What did/do you do to overcome doubt/stay inspired to continue to pursue your dream?  
I just remember how lucky I am to have this experience. I came from a pretty small town, and now I get to travel the world and work with talented people. Every time I get sad, I try to keep things in perspective and remember that at the end of the day I am blessed to have what I have. I remind myself to work harder and not waste this opportunity. 

What are your top three modeling experiences?
1.) Walking for Betsey Johnson in my first fashion week.
2.) Being featured in a Calvin Klein presentation. (One of my favorite labels).
3.) Shooting a shoe campaign and having my mom see my picture in stores around the world.

Most embarrassing modeling experience?  
During Paris fashion week, I went to a very important casting for a world renowned designer with Nutella on my face. 

Describe a typical day when on a job:
It really depends on what I'm doing, which changes everyday.  Somedays it's running around New York City for castings. Sometimes it's photoshoots which usually take the whole day, sometimes two. During fashion week it's a mix of castings, fittings, shows, and presentations then flying to the next city and doing it all again.

What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you? 
Most models don't make it right off the bat. If you want a solid career, you have to be prepared to put time and energy into it. Be patient and keep your head up. 

Who is your favorite designer?  
Such a hard question... Calvin Klein, Acne, and who doesn't love a great pair of Louboutins?

What are your off duty style/beauty staples?  
I love my Cheap Monday jeans, and Acne boots. I also use Dermalogica skincare products which keeps my skin beautiful. And of course Maybelline mascara.