This week our attention goes to Leora Moreno (@leowithlove_official), founder and designer of the jewellery brand Leo With Love.
"Unfuck yourself and be unapologetically you. " Is her life motto.
Let's meet her.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m Leora Moreno, founder and designer of Leo With Love. It’s a jewellery brand where the designs I create and make inspire confidence and boldness within the person who wears it, to be the person they want to be today.
- When did your journey start?
The idea was born in 2016, back in LA, where I’m from. My sister was recovering from a near-terminal illness and we were talking about how you only get one certain chance in life to LIVE your life. I knew I’d always wanted to start a business and loved making jewellery as presents for people, but had never thought to put the two things together. My background is in marketing and I’ve always had super corporate jobs, but the experience with my sister’s illness helped me see what was important. So I saved up for months at a job I hated but was a necessary evil, working on branding and designs in the evenings. After a few months, I was at a point that Leo With Love could get my full attention.
- What’s the idea behind your business?
My initial collections are inspired by the women in my life who’ve had a positive influence in it. I’ve mixed their style in with my design aesthetic to create something original that they would want to wear and named the piece after the inspiration. The core principle of Leo With Love is gratitude and love. I’m grateful to each and every woman that has been encapsulated within the collections, they represent a piece of who I am and are all strong, independent forces to be reckoned with- I’m beyond proud to know them.
I love the life I’ve built, with LWL being a large part of it. As I branch out and keep creating, it’s important to commemorate certain times in life and all the people who have played an important role. It would be amazing for my designs to be commemorative to those who wear it, eliciting good memories when they wear it and feeling empowered by the love those memories bring.
- Do you have a personal life motto?
Unfuck yourself and be unapologetically you. By that I mean don’t hold yourself back by your own limiting beliefs. Think about the person you want to be, what your optimal self would look like. Then, take an honest look at who you are and give yourself permission to change the things that make you unhappy to become your optimal self.
- What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs?
Well, my motto comes from personal experience. I did not realise that being a female entrepreneur isn’t just working on your business, it’s working on yourself as well. Being the owner of a growing business requires perseverance and putting yourself in new situations, a lot. Learning to handle things that scare you in a healthy way is super important. It’s okay to get anxiety, overwhelm, fear- it’s how you deal with it that matters because they aren’t one-off moments. Your business is ever-evolving and you need to be able to adapt.
- How do you overcome it?
Having a support network in various facets is super important. For me, it’s a group of jewellery designers- every week we have a video chat to talk about what’s bugging us, if we have questions, or one of them can teach the rest of us to do something. Having a group of people who understand you, all the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur in your industry gives that sense of relief that you’re not alone in this and you can get through it together. Supportive family and friends always help of course, not giving you a hard time for late nights or missing nights out because you’ve got goals to reach and dreams to make into a reality.
I started seeing a counsellor that specialises in business mindset because I was worried about self-sabotaging my success- making excuses to not take opportunities because out of fear. Learning to recognise when you’re letting fear cloud your judgement is a massive breakthrough for anyone.
- What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur journey?
Actually going to make profit in my third year of trading. It’s a legit representation of all the effort I’ve put in for the past 3 years. All the testing of new designs, branding, collabs, partnerships, panel discussions, pop up stores, interviews, sometimes metaphorical blood, literal sweat and tears all brought it to this point.
- What was your biggest personal achievement?
Speaking at a panel discussion and then hosting one. Aside from creating jewellery, I love helping people. Being able to share my experience and inspiring others gives me life! I’m often getting messages on IG or emailed by designers from all over the world asking for advice on social media marketing or mindset, so I pounced on the opportunity to be involved in a live event. It was something I always wanted to do, and now it’s something I want to continue doing!
- What is the greatest lesson you've learned from being an entrepreneur?
Embrace the adrenaline. Being an entrepreneur with drive means meeting a lot of new people, new experiences, and perpetually being out of your comfort zone. When you embrace the butterflies in your stomach and your heart racing in these situations, new experiences become a part of your comfort zone.
- How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?
I wake up about 6:30/7 and the first thing I do is write down 5 things I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s a word, a sentence or a few. Starting the day programmed with appreciation has significantly decreased my stress levels and imposter syndrome. I wrote a document that is the Leo With Love story and what the brand represents, I read that every morning. That emotive daily reminder reignites my passion every morning. It’s bigger than just me, LWL means something and that passion needs to be shared, inspire others to make the most of their one certain chance in life.
- Who’s the female entrepreneur or leader that you admire the most and why?
Just one? I’d have to say Vivienne Westwood. As a designer, Westwood has the perfect balance between elegance and avant-garde. As an entrepreneur, she’s unafraid of her own authenticity and uses her influence for change. This lady doesn’t follow rules, people look to her to see how change is possible and expect her to rewrite the norm. Look at her most recent catwalk show where models, activists and actors took to the runway at the showing of her autumn/winter collection to perform speeches that criticised the dangers of climate change, Brexit and capitalism. It was gloriously inspiring!
- How did social media help you to promote your business?
Social media is a great tool for meeting people and I’ve been picked up by boutiques because they saw my jewellery on IG. It’s proof of your business’ legitimacy and an extension of your company’s personality, an opportunity for potential customers to get to know you.
- Do you have any advice to give to the new female entrepreneurs?
Again, embrace the adrenaline. Sometimes you can get stuck in your head and don’t see new experiences for what they really are- opportunity and a sign of progress in your business. The only time you should look back is to see how far you’ve come and never get distracted looking sideways to what others are doing- your business deserves your full attention in order to thrive.
Thank You Leora! To discover more head over to https://www.leowithlove.com/