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Fly Female Entrepreneur: Lauren Maillian
By In Her Shoes contributor: Lenora Houseworth
Lauren Maillian proves that if you are truly committed to the journey, success can manifest in many ways. The former model turned serial entrepreneur is the Founder of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and advisory company, the author of the bestselling memoir, The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms, and at the tender age of 19, was the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. Today, you can find the well-heeled mompreneur sharing her passion for business and mentorship as a host and one of four investors on Oxygen’s Quit Your Day Job. Wondering how in the world Lauren manages it all? Here’s what she had to say:
In Her Shoes: You are known as a “serial entrepreneur,” having started your first business when you were just 19. What was the moment you knew entrepreneurship was the move for you?
Lauren: I’ve always known that I wanted to own my own destiny – I thrive on being in control of the outcome of the process that leads to my success. I want to be responsible for my wins and my losses. When I was 11, I started my first entrepreneurial endeavor, an ice tea and lemonade stand that really showed me what entrepreneurship was all about —- I experienced the stages of growth with a simple product that had essentially unlimited growth potential. Funny, but true, that experience taught me how to cost a product, package a product, sell and marketing a product, provide a good quality service, stressed the importance of product consistency, retail location, revenue and profit projections and cash flow management. I took the simple lessons learned early on in my life and refined them over the years as my business acumen grew and my need to take a more sophisticated approach to business management presented itself. With my first company, a vineyard that I turned into an award-winning, internationally recognized winery, I became the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. So in simple terms, I took selling lemonade and ice tea and applied more sophisticated versions of the lessons learned there, combined with my degree in international trade and marketing and launched a wine brand. My career has evolved exponentially since then.
In Her Shoes: Congrats on your success as a host on Oxygen’s “Quit Your Day Job.” Tell us how you got involved in this project.
Lauren: I have always wanted my work to speak for itself. I have always been unapologetically outspoken and passionate about entrepreneurship, investing in startups, marketing and brand strategy to differentiate your product in a saturated market. I’m committed to really driving innovation and women’s ability to be fearless leaders of companies, just like any man. So many people spend too much time seeking out opportunities for fame and attention before they have proven that they have valuable skill sets, a consistent and meaningful voice on a topic, and a narrative worth following. Over the years, I have weaved together the expertise, through firsthand experiences, what has become some of the most important topics in many of the convergences in our society and culture today between media, marketing, technology and investing. The production company, Fremantle, reached out to my agents at William Morris Entertainment (WME) and asked me to be a part of the project. In a nutshell, it was a bit of hard work, meets preparation, the right timing and a new perspective on a popular discussion. I am proud to be a part of the “Quit Your Day Job” television cast and even more thrilled to lend a very different perspective with the hopes that the startup landscape takes a more inclusive approach going forward. Get inspired and join us, Fridays at 7 p.m. ET on Oxygen!
In Her Shoes: What is a day like in Lauren Maillian’s shoes?
Lauren: A day in my life is hectic, but beautifully complicated. I vacillate between the CEO, the mom, the mentor, advisor, speaker and author. But the convergence of these roles is making my game plan and my value to the entrepreneurial eco-system that much clearer with each opportunity.
In Her Shoes: How would you describe your experience serving as a mentor and potential investor to the contestants on the show?
Lauren: The experience of mentoring and investing in companies on my television show is a mirror image of my life – it’s real, raw, unpredictable and full of challenges that are designed to make me see a more well-rounded picture of the opportunity. There is no better way to watch someone who you’re considering investing in work under stress, than to challenge them in a finite period of time. How they respond in the moment, react to us, manage the short-term process and ultimately execute and deliver shows us, in large part, who we would be backing. Everyone can play the part for a pitch meeting, but at some point, the challenges become reality and you realize how much is on the line. Analyzing the entrepreneur’s decision calculus in these stressful and time-constrained moments shows me, as a mentor, investor and advisor, how they would tackle problems in the future. The show is really about getting a full picture of the entrepreneur and the business opportunity – I bet on the jockey, not the horse, every single time.
In Her Shoes: What do you think is the main message viewers will get from watching these aspiring business owners chase their dreams on national TV?
Lauren: I hope that they will be inspired to chase their dreams, to proceed in spite of a “no,” to be relentless in the pursuit of being successful and to fine tune their voice to be accepted by a broader audience for the sake of spreading their message far and wide. Our show shows the convergence of industries and conversations. I hope that the founder of companies that are not on our show, will learn valuable lessons as arm-chair investors, advisors and advocates to the companies that we highlight in each episode.
In Her Shoes: What did you learn about yourself during the taping process?
Lauren: I learned that I am the same Lauren on-screen, as I am off-camera. This process has underscored the importance of being a badass, of being a unicorn, and of ultimately being the first, and sometimes the only one, to stand up for what I believe is the best opportunity or to advocate for someone who is too scared to stand up for themselves. Taping this show, validated how passionate I am about uplifting others.
In Her Shoes: Is there anything else you want to add?
Lauren: Join me on social at @LaurenMaillian everywhere and get the skinny at LaurenMaillian.com – thank you so much for being you and for listening to a part of me!