Black Swan Style and Grace

In the midst of Spring, this time always holds so much change, or perhaps every season is a shedding of the skin. You can't pause or slow down life. Sometimes I wish you could but it continues whether you're ready or not. With that being said, you must embrace life boldly with your head held high.

I recently saw a Ted Talks, on Netflix, which discussed "Power Posing." They did studies that found, standing like Superman or Wonder Woman for two minutes gives a feeling of more confidence, or "power," hence the name.

Black Swan Crista Dress

For the bold women, Black Swan makes clothing to fit your elegance and constantly moving lifestyle. With edgy cuts mixed with feminine silhouettes - Black Swan understands that life is full of complexities. The name Black Swan, comes from rarity and standing out. You're not a wall flower, but a beautiful being meant to turn heads - through school, business and fighting for your dreams. With versatile pieces you can rock at brunch with your friends or a dive bar in Downtown LA. You can find a range of dresses and even motorcycle jackets to fit your taste. 

Black Swan gifted Cute LA this Crista Dress in Ivory and Heart jacket in Total Eclipse. They were styled with favorites including new ball back earrings from Etsy. These items star in the fashion video below featuring the song ”Let me Love You Remix" by Mario (Tim Gunter Remix). Enjoy!

Crista Dress in Ivory Black Swan
Black Swan  Motto Jacket
Black Swan Total Eclipse Jacket

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How do you feel about Power Posing? Will you try it? Let me know in the comments! 

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Raphael Guien of Ortu leather

Entrepreneur Spotlight Raphael Guien

Cute LA had a chance to interview Raphael Guien of Ortu Leather. Located in the Fashion District of Los Angeles. It specializes in leather garmet production. He gave some invaluable knowledge on creating your own business, staying in top shape and being true to yourself. In addition, his passion and enthusiasm leap from his words. Enjoy!

Raphael Guien of Ortu Leather

// What's the inspiration behind Ortu leather?//

La Revolution francaise in L.A.! (laughs).

No, seriously... Well I think for one, growing up in Paris, early on, I was exposed to all kinds of fashion. There were lots of small underground boutiques, featuring local unknown designers and their creations. Designers were coming out with pretty edgy, sometimes provocative clothes. It was really special to witness  all this creation, this risk taking.  And I think that's how, early on, I got a taste for Fashion, "la mode" as we call it there.

I'm not a designer or anything but I think with Ortu leather, I wanted to recreate this sense of creative community. My vision was to build a leather contracting business that would serve and bring together an existing community of fashion minded designers and entrepreneurs, here in the Los Angeles Fashion District. And by bring together, I mean connecting the right people with the right project: whether it be a retailer for a fashion label, a showroom for a designer, or a costume maker for a movie studio. Of course, we weren't going to be the first leather garment production, we knew that. But, something I was big on, from the beginning, was to create this "lieu de vie," this place to gather, meet, create, exchange and make things happen. Not just some factory with a cash register!  Every day, we meet the most interesting people here at Ortu and we feed off each other's creativity.

And today still, this is very important to us. It's part of our DNA! That's why, every now and then, you'll see us hold open house days for fashion schools, and I make it a point to answer every single student's question. I've always had respect for those who want to learn or create, it's a positive thing and I want to help them in any way I can. Also, leathercraft is a noble art. You can't just cheat and buy your way into it, you have to really hone your skills, and it takes time, like every good thing. 

// How did you get started creating it? //

I think, from day one, we placed a focus on each other's strengths, and ran with it. As partners, Daniel, Frank and myself: we all bring diverse experience and specialties and complement each other really well.

For example, Frank has 25+ years of experience in the Fashion business, in Paris France first, then here in the Los Angeles Fashion District. He's collaborated with dozens of national fashion brands, launched his own labels and worked hand in hand with retailers like Barney's, Saks, Macy's, etc. He's been there through thick and thin and I think, better than anyone, he understands all the ingredients needed to launch a fashion line: production costs and logistics, showroom, trade shows, product placement, buzz and so on. That's where we stand out. We address what happens next: the "why", the "how" - We're not just here to make a sale, it's long term. That's why our partnerships typically last years. 

Basically, we care and we love what we do. So, when you ask how we got started... In reality, we simply started with our passion and knowledge. A cutting edge leather jacket, a happy client getting a sale and recognition... Then the thing feeds on itself: reorders, referrals, word of mouth. I'm sorry there's really no secret sauce to reveal here! It just takes a ton of dedication, patience and hard work.

Raphael Guien Quote

// What is the most difficult aspect of being entrepreneur? //

I know it will sound shallow to some, but I would say, first and foremost: always try to be profitable! I know that nowadays we're surrounded with billboards boasting the merits of such and such company that is donating a pair of shoes for each pair purchased, saving the world, lending to the community to create jobs, putting kids through school, etc. But these companies, no matter their message, their image, their brand. Behind the facade, the marketing. They have someone watching the numbers so they can stay in business. If your numbers aren't right, you will quickly run your business into the ground. I've seen it time and time again. It's never pretty.  I think another hard thing to do is constantly asking yourself the question: are the products or services I am selling viable? And if the answer is no, be honest with yourself instead of digging yourself into a hole you won't get out of. You need to think things through and always try to gain perspective and visualize how you can bring each project to fruition.

And I'd like to go back to the patience I was talking about earlier. I think patience is something some entrepreneurs are missing nowadays when they're hoping their brand will go "viral" overnight or when they throw a lot of money on the latest technology gimmick, or the wrong celebrity endorsement. There are a lot of vulture companies out there, preying on small businesses marketing dollars and promising the impossible. 

// What is the most rewarding aspect? //

Of course you don't go into business just to make money you usually have other bigger aspirations. The aspiration can be freedom, as it is in my case. I have big responsibilities and commitments of course, but I wake up feeling free. And that's the promise I made myself a few years back: to try and attain freedom. The freedom where you feel transcended. I don't believe in complaints or fatality. I remember coming to this country with $200 to my name. I tried and failed at many things and left countless jobs, unhappy and frustrated. But now, looking back, every experience had its value, and I know that it's possible! 

Another pleasure I get is seeing other people's dreams and projects come to life every week. Often from the most basic idea: a drawing, a sketch on a piece of paper that becomes a leather jacket on a retailer's shelf. Seeing people around you living from their passion, making a living. It's a good feeling.

Raphael Guien BTS of Ortu Leather

// Best advice for someone that wants to create their own business? //

For tips, I don't think I have any kind of magic potion so I usually like to keep it simple.

- Stay healthy!  I believe in staying on top of your health, otherwise you will limit your potential. To me this means three things: exercise plus healthy food and sleep. I want to give the best of myself all day long and not just business wise. I need to handle the daily stress, make important decisions. I like to compare running a business with running a marathon: it's very long, demanding and you have to be as consistent as possible in your effort.

- Have a plan. It's that simple: every time I start my day, I take a piece of paper and write down what I want to achieve. As I complete each task, I feel good because I know I'm achieving. The feeling of achievement is very important to me mentally. It's a strong driver. Otherwise, because it's my business and nobody's on my back, it's so easy to fall in the trap of answering every email and taking care of small issues, when in reality there are much more important things I should address. And that's how before you know it, you've lost a day that could have been a productive one.

- Build strong relationships. I found out early on that you can't go at it alone. It's not just you on top of this mountain. And that's why, for many years, I have built strong friendships and partnerships with fellow business owners and professionals. We all help each other, one way or another, all the time.  Plus business can come from unlikely places: I can't recount how many times I found myself doing business with a so called competitor. You need to keep an open mind so you can take advantage of opportunities.

I really believe in the theory that, especially in a place like L.A., everything you need is standing right in front of you, but you just don't see it. We all know a lot of people and by extension, we are already connected with the people that can push the right buttons and make things happen.

Well, before we finish, Tiffany, I want to really thank you for this interview, I enjoyed it very much and I hope that some readers will feel encouraged, get an idea, something, anything, from this!  

Follow Ortu Leather: SiteFacebook | Instagram 

What is a dream you have? Let me know in the comments!

Scentbird Fragrance Discovery

Scentbird Fragrance Subscription via Cute LA.png

It's hard for me to commit, to a fragrance. When I go to Sephora I smell every fragrance they have. Comparing, re-spraying and getting confused about what I actually liked. Then I go through a phase where I can't even smell anymore cause I've tried so many. It can be overwhelming and hard to commit to shelling out a hundred dollars.

Scentbird is a New York based fragrance subscription service. Scentbird sends a generous sample of one of their 350+ designer fragrances to your door once a month for a small fee. After completing a scent personality quiz Scentbird finds fragrances that best fit your personality. If you don't want their recommendations, choose any perfume you'd like. Scentbird gifted Cute LA a free month, which came with a refillable designer case. It was a fun process and I ended up getting MARC JACOBS' "Daisy" which I love.

scentbird subscription service

A question I always had was, "what do the different concentrations mean on the fragrance labels?"  Here's a quick breakdown, for next time you're shopping for the perfect scent.

  • Parfum or Perfume: Usually the most expensive and potent in terms of concentration. Longest wear on the skin, often lasting the entire day.
  • Eau de Parfum: Less potent than perfume but still a good concentration. Lasts up to 6 hours.
  • Eau de Toilette: This the most popular style of fragrance because it's reasonable. It's a light scent for shorter wear on the skin - about 2-3 hours.
  • Eau de Cologne: The least concentrated, wear on the skin is up to 2 hours.

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What is your favorite fragrance? Let me know in the comments!

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Tiffy Diamond Signature.png

Christopher George Clothing Less Is More

Christopher George Clothing

Been working a lot lately, which is always a blessing. However, getting sleep is another issue. Really need to work on a schedule that doesn't have me going to bed when the Sun comes up. However, this seems to be an issue most entrepreneurs face. In fact, here's a cool list of successful people who worked at night. Including Obama, so whatever I'm in good company!

Now, let's get to the outfit below, I'm rocking Australian brand, Christopher George Clothing, or CG for short. Founded in 2013, It's an indie company that creates simple high quality shirts that promote a smart-casual lifestyle. This is primarily a menswear company, but they were nice enough to gift Cute LA a black and white shirt in extra small. CG Clothing, puts customers first in creating a seamless online experience. With attention to detail, they're passionate about the designs and fabrics used for their collections. In addition, CG clothing supports people living their dreams. You can often find DJs, Artist, Actors and other Creatives sporting their shirts on instagram. The following CG shirts were styled with my favorite ANI Brand shoes (so comfy) and Jakimac leather harness

Christopher George White Logo Shirt
Christopher George Black Logo Tee

Follow CG Clothing: Site | Facebook | Instagram

Do you have any secrets on getting a good night's sleep? Let me know in the comments!

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jenn Busch of Ahimsa Clothing

Jenn Busch Ahimsa Clothing.png

I've always envied the people that are dedicated to yoga. It's actually a goal of mine. The benefits are endless and there's just a care free quality of it that I love. Cute LA had the chance to chat with Jenn Busch, founder of Ahimsa Clothing. A true yogi she blended her love by creating a clothing line with the goal of comfort and a mission of non-violence. Learn more about Jenn and the inspiration behind the name "Ahimsa."

Jenn Busch

// What's the inspiration behind Ahimsa Clothing? //

My intention was to develop a line of clothing that was an extension of my belief system, with the thought--- What we wear becomes an extension of who we are.  Teaching yoga since 1999 and practicing daily was instrumental in the development of my company. The name I chose is a Sanskrit word that is part of an 8 limbed path that forms structural framework for yoga practice.  Ahimsa is defined as the behavior to not injure any person whatsoever.  It is the act of kindness, friendliness and thoughtful consideration of other people and things. I wanted to share my strong belief in this while inspiring and encouraging other women to do the same… so why not do it through clothing… believe it practice it & wear it.

// How did you get started creating it? //

I started creating Ahimsa after I decided on the name and made a commitment to myself to persevere no matter what challenges arose. I researched for about 12 months through different global networking sites, met with many people in the same industry then chose  to partner with individuals and companies that would inspire me and help me grow. 

// What is the most difficult aspect of being entrepreneurs? //

One of the largest challenges thus far for me was gaining enough momentum to actually get my feet off the ground.. As well as the learning curve in areas I had no education in. Like Logistics! It's difficult to be a one women show learn all aspects of the business. 

// What is the most rewarding aspect of being entrepreneurs? //

I am lucky in this business,  a lot of the time I can choose who I work with.  I love to surround myself with like minded people whom inspire me and give me the courage and know how to move forward. 

Ahimsa Clothing

// What's the best piece of advice for someone that wants to become their own boss?//

Stay extremely organized, expect the unexpected, get lots of advice, educate yourself continually and take the time to reward yourself for all the hard work you put in..

Ahimsa Definition

Follow Jenn Busch & Ahimsa Clothing: Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Site

What are some of your passions? Let me know in the comments!

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