While driving in my car yesterday with Florida Georgia Line playing on the radio, rushing as I always am from my legal position to Elle Squared and then to my children’s after school activities, I couldn’t help but notice the colorful piles of fall leaves that had already accumulated on the streets. Vibrant oranges, brilliant magentas, and golden yellows.
It seemed like only yesterday it was summer, and the weather outside was warm. That was when I was excitedly preparing to open my doors and finally realize my dream of owning a destination boutique where women could come to expand their closet, socialize, and embrace a lifestyle they only once aspired to enjoy. Years ago, that woman was me. I had an image in my mind, but in those days struggled to personify it.
After years of hard work, contemplation, and care, I have mastered the art of how to curate a unique style of eclectic, edgy clothing that can take even the most discriminating, perhaps even skeptical, shopper to a place of high style, self-acceptance, and bliss. I have a philosophy: that fur and denim can exist on one form, harmonious and timeless. My store is my closet, which I open to smart, successful, stylish women that are eager to reflect their individuality through the unique pieces they wear.
But I didn’t get to this place alone. Many forces inspired me along the way. So, I thought, “What better time than during the month of November to pay respect to the five influences in my life for which I am the most grateful.” Here they are.
- Friends. Everyone needs a support system. I am fortunate to have friends in my life, from all different stages of my life, who are there for the highs, the lows, and all that comes between them. They know I am there for them, too. The best part about good friends is the honesty they bring, which I depend on especially now as I embrace my entrepreneurial spirit. My store manager, also my buyer, is one of my close friends and we look forward to seeing Elle Squared into a new era. We work well together and with the entire Elle Squared staff, speaking our minds freely but without judgment. Our respect for one other in the store and outside of it reminds me that good friends are the family we choose, which is why Elle Squared is the welcoming environment it is.
- Strangers. Sometimes all it takes is an exchange with someone we don’t know to change our view of the world. That is why I love going to work each day. Every time a new customer visits Elle Squared, I learn. One of the best parts about spending time in the store is meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to know. I am always fascinated to speak with the strong, confident women I do. Their accomplishments, whether at home or the office, inspire me to do better and try harder to please not only them but also myself. I value their feedback as well and am as interested in a compliment as I am a criticism or, better yet, a request. Let me know how I can source what you want or lead you to it!
- Kids. I am so thankful for my children. Their strength and support have empowered me, and I learn from them every day. Children have a remarkable way of distilling the simplicity from the most complicated, convoluted situations. The wisdom children lend to us if we just take a moment to listen can provide exactly the guidance we have been craving. Each of us has an inner child inside us, including me. I remind my clientele of that whimsy through an extensive array of accessories, including retro-patterned Salvage Sacs, which span the decades. And, of course, there is always something 80’s around the store whether it is splatter paint or neon. Hey, you can take the girl out of the 80s, but you can’t take the 80s out the girl (hard as many have tried).
- Family. I hold my family in the highest regard, whether we are related by blood or by the other ties that bind – love, loyalty, and laughter. My family gave me roots. My family gave me wings. They gave me the support to figure out who I am and what I want to do. This is a gift for which I am grateful. Since I have taken the helm at Elle Squared and was so warmly welcomed by the staff that predated me there, I am proud to say I now have a second family to call my own. With their collaboration and teamwork, collectively we will carry Elle Squared into the New Year and beyond.
- The senses. Self-awareness comes with experience. In my life, I wear many hats, and not only our fall pom-pom hats recently featured on the Today Show with Jill Martin! Most days, I wear them well. But when I don’t, I slow down. I pause. I listen to the music, feel the fabrics that surround me, and breathe in – perfume, comfort food, or aromatic coffee.
- On the day we were born, the lucky ones among us received the precious gifts of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Enjoying them is how we give our thanks.
WHO OR WHAT ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR IN YOUR LIFE? HOW DO YOU SAY THANK YOU AND SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION?
Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.