SCDC: What is a quote that you live by (inspires you)?
LM: How would you behave if you were the best in the world at what you do? Marie Forleo
SCDC: How many years have you been in business?
LM: 8 years
SCDC: How did you get your start in the fashion industry?
LM: I started out in retail, after going to college for fashion design and realizing that wasn’t the path for me. Working retail was definitely not living the dream, but it showed me that helping people look better through putting together outfits was my calling. Retail wasn’t paying the bills so I got a “real job” at an office and blogged on the side, that opened up a whole new side of the industry and helped me get where I am today.
SCDC: What inspired the start “School of Style”?
LM: It was a combination of things. My business partner started holding these classes as a way to train a bunch of assistant stylists at once. I ended up in the classroom and at that time had years of working at start-ups under my belt. That coupled with going to fashion school and not getting the education I needed to my dream job, lead me to team up with him and turn School of Style into what it is today. We felt there needed to be a place where aspiring stylists could learn how to break into the industry quickly, and without spending $100k.
SCDC: What makes “School of Style” different from other fashion institutes?
LM: We keep it real! I went to a traditional fashion school and while I learned some very interesting things, I didn’t learn anything about the industry or how to get a job. At School of Style, we cut through the noise and the fluff by teaching you the things you really need to know – how to do the job, how to get a job, and the reality of the journey to becoming a successful stylist. I left design school thinking I’d be the next Betsey Johnson within a year, no one told me the years of interning and assisting that were ahead of me.
So at School of Style, we keep it, keep it honest, and keep it fun – without breaking the bank too. Traditional fashion school costs a fortune!
SCDC: What challenges have you met along the way?
LM: Running a business is no walk in the park. We’ve tried things that have failed, we’ve lost money, we’ve had competitors steal from us … The list goes on and on, but at the end of the day, it’s just par for the course. You hit a bump and keep on moving.
SCDC: At what point did you see a bigger picture and knew the brand would be successful?
LM: I saw it immediately. When I sat in that classroom, my mind went crazy with the possibilities. The education system is flawed, especially for creatives so the sky is really the limit.
SCDC: What is your favorite style moment? Proudest moment?
LM: My favorite moment in my own styling career was my first personal styling client (I style “real” women in-person and online through my second business, Messiah Media). I watched how changing someone’s clothing could change their life. She went from sad and unstylish, to this unstoppable boss who was brimming with confidence.
Seeing my students grow makes me the proudest. I see them walk into the classroom completely clueless but full of hope, and a short time later they are marching around in their Louboutins with their own book of clients. It’s really rewarding.
SCDC: Do you have any styling tips you’d like for our readers to know about?
LM: Use style as a tool! I am never one to encourage people to be a slave to trends or to dress like someone else. Think about what you want in life, whether it is professionally or personally, and dress your way there.
SCDC: What is next for “School of Style”? Also, where can our readers find you?
LM: School of Style is going digital. We just started offering online versions of our live classes, which is pretty awesome for those who aren’t in LA or NYC. You can find School of Style at www.schoolofstyle.com and you can find me at LaurenMessiah.com. I also have a YouTube channel that is filled with fashion tips and career advice YouTube.com/stylistlaurenmessiah
SCDC: What is the first thing that comes to mind about Washington, D.C.? Also, do you plan to visit or hold an event/class here?
LM: DC is home to me, so there are so many thoughts and memories that come up. One of my earliest fashion memories is going to Georgetown. Me and my best friend would shop on M Street and we thought we were the coolest girls in the world!
I’m in DC a few times a year to visit my family. We taught a few pop-up classes there but so far no plans to return for another – but definitely, come learn from us online.
Also, follow School of Style Here!