In today’s episode, we have such a beautiful gem of a woman, Risa Kostis. So before we have this conversation, I knew a little bit about Risa and about her history. She currently is a stylist and has a consultant-style consulting business. She also is the founder of a company called The Rescue Kit Co. You can find all of this on her website at https://risakostis.com but there is so much more to Risa Kostis than just that and her experiences in life are so incredible.
In this episode, we really dive into some of the traumatic things that happened to Risa that have helped shape who she is and how she shows up on this planet. We talked about the fact that Risa has basically done a little bit of everything. She had a career that started in hair and makeup but then she has professional experience. That’s a compilation of production, manufacturing, trade shows, wholesale retail buying, design, blogging, PR events, and wedding planning and styling. The girl has lived all over including Boston, San Francisco, New York, Florence, Italy, and now I’m so lucky to have her here in Phoenix, Arizona. I love her website. She has this thing, it’s quick facts for the skimmers and I’m such a skimmer, and some of the highlights of Risa is she’s a Virgo just me. Her favorite TV show is Sex in the City. Her guilty pleasure is designer shoes. She’s a lover of Taylor Swift, and her secret talent is karaoke. Oh my gosh, her celebrity crushes Patrick Dempsey to Risa. I had a Patrick Dempsey pillow in college. It was a pillowcase of McDreamy that my roommates got me. So I love it. We have the same celebrity crush. Anyway, you guys are gonna love this episode, we really dive into how Risa started her career and how she did what seemingly seemed a mishmash of different things. But really, it has enabled her to form this really, really beautiful business. So I’m so excited for you guys to get a chance to listen to her to connect with her. Also, don’t forget to go check out her website at https://risakostis.com/ Risa also spends a lot of time on Instagram. her Instagram handle is @ristyle_consulting and check her out, connect with her, dm her. You guys are gonna love her enjoy this episode.
REGINA: Thank you so much for being on all the things podcasts.
RISA: Thank you for having me. This is very exciting. Very.
REGINA: So you one of the reasons why I want you on the podcast I just adore you. You really emulate something that I teach and work with my clients on and talk about on my platform, which is being all the things as a woman, as a female entrepreneur, you literally are doing all the things. I don’t think you sleep do you?
RISA: Actually no. And that’s, that’s not because I don’t want to, I actually do have a little bit of trouble sleeping, it kind of runs in my family. So it’s funny that you say that because it’s actually a real thing. And for creatives, we all kind of struggle with inventing in our sleep. And I know so many people keep a notebook by their bed, I do the same thing. I’m constantly coming up with ideas and slogans and marketing terms, and the next website and the next business idea, and my brain don’t know how to shut off. So it’s actually a serious problem for me at times, because sleep is so crucial to operating not one business, but two for me. And I’ve really had to work hard on dialing that in everything from changing my mattress to changing my pillows to a sound machine to checking things off a list at night. And there’s a real system to getting the rest that I need. Because I already am so restless. And I think it’s because I’m excited about the next day. I don’t know about you as an entrepreneur, but I eat sleep and breathe the work that I do. And it’s completely infiltrated my personal life and just everything around me. So I’m super pumped about what I’m doing the next day and who I’m gonna see.
REGINA: Have you always been an entrepreneur?
RISA: Yes. Well, we’ve always been, in our little neighborhood growing up, I’m from a small town in Maine. So there was really nothing else to do in the neighborhood except perform and ride around on bikes and play these crazy games and wait for the street lights to go out at night to be called home for dinner. So it was just a different time, in the 80s 90s growing up on the east coast. So I had always been a creative child. And we had this really cool neighbor mom, who let us completely trash her house with glitter and paper mache, Shea and toys, and arts and craft anything that you could think of. And when we were really young, we created this thing called Neighborhood News. And we would go around town and we would find out who needs a babysitter, who’s a cat passed away earlier in the week. Or, you know, what was the news that was happening in the neighborhood. I’m also selling a bike or whatever it was. And this really cool mom sort of gave in to all of our hopes and dreams and just was whatever you guys want to do. I’m going to make your dreams come true. You want to put on a play. You want to write a song and perform it for the neighborhood. I’ll get everyone together. she typed this little newsletter up and we would go around town and sell it on people’s doorsteps for 10 cents or something.
Sounds really cute. And it was sort of my first of many crazy things that we did. My little sister and her best friend who happened to be the daughter of this woman would put things together and they call it a magic mixture and then grab things from the cabinet and bag them up and try to sell it. Like crazy things, maple syrup mixed with a bunch of other things and bag it up and put cute little ribbons on and say do you want to buy our magic mixture? Oh, turn your dog into a cat, you know funny things like that. So there are always things that I was doing from a really young age and And I think I was in theater as well. And I think that there’s a level of entrepreneurism when you are on stage because you are really putting on a show and you’re selling yourself and you’re on stage and you’re selling the performance. And that was something that I aspire to do in my adulthood. So I think that I had that bug. I was a singer my whole life. So I think I had that entrepreneurial spirit and bug from a very young age for sure.
REGINA: After you grew up, what did you major in? in college? Were you a theater major?
RISA: Well, so when I was in college, the first time at the University of Maine, right after high school, I was first a speech pathology major, because my mom told me that I would always have a job if I became a speech pathologist. I mean, we didn’t know what we wanted to do at eight. And then I changed to a vocal major because I was a singer. And I really wanted to pursue acting and continue my singing. But I ended up leaving Maine because of a car accident that I was in right after high school. So I attempted to walk to school, I was a cheerleader at U Maine, and I attempted to keep things on the norm, and continue the path that I was on. But it was not a good idea for me to stay in school. I had some brain injury and some neurological issues. And it ultimately put a stop and a halt to the path that I was on. Thank the Lord that it did. Because I would never be where I am today. And I did decide to go back to school at ASU out here, which is why I moved here at 29. That’s what brought me out to Phoenix. I mean, there are a few other steps along the way. But that brought me out to Phoenix when I decided to finish my degree. So I graduated from ASU at 31 with high honors thank you, as a communication major, and a media analysis minor. So Communications and Media analysis were the ultimate, degrees, but I mean, I don’t even use I use my communications degree every day. But that’s a skill I already had. I feel like you either have it or you don’t. And I definitely wanted to hone in on that. Because I knew that I wanted some sort of leadership role at some point. And networking and communication is the cornerstone to any business and any success in life. So that was my major at ASU. So that was a huge accomplishment, leaving school and then taking huge hiatus to work and figure out what my path was. And then to graduate, as a non-traditional student here in a brand new state, across the country from home across the country, which I had done a couple times I jumped from after I left.
I moved to Boston, I got my cosmetology license, I randomly started doing hair and makeup for weddings. And it was just this crazy, beginning to my beauty and fashion career, and I ended up moving from Boston to San Francisco with some girlfriends. And that’s how I fell into the fashion industry. I met a fashion designer and she completely took me under her wing took me all over the world, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, all over Germany. It was the craziest ride of my life. And I worked for this company that produced handbags and shoes. So I learned about manufacturing. I learned about development hardware, how to design handbags, and shoes, all about development tanneries and factories and everything. And I spent a month living in Florence. And I was only 24-25 at the time. And it was the most incredible experience hands-on side by side with this designer. I was a principal in the company because there was a buyout in the company and the woman who took me on, ended up taking over the company from her partner. And she gave me the opportunity to just sort of taking it and do what I wanted with it. So it was a really, really cool experience for about two and a half years. And then I ended up back east again. I hopped right back across the country. And I fell into the public relations sector. And I worked as the director of PR for a women’s clothing line in New York.
REGINA: Saying all the things you’ve done, cuz I know what you do now. And they’re all these little pieces that life was giving you and all this experience to create what you are doing now, right?
RISA: It’s so crazy that you say that? Yes. 100% because at the time when you’re on that journey, you’re like, what am I even doing in this job? Do I even know how to do this job? How many times have you had a job where you’re like, is this a means to an end? Do I know what I’m doing? Is this going to be my career? I don’t know about you. But I like to know the answer to everything ever. I’m a Virgo, I want to know everything. And I want a plan of action that outlines each step. Let’s go right?
So how do you think I felt, completely uprooting my life multiple times, going where the wind blew? I am a planner. But I’m also incredibly spontaneous. And I take opportunity when it’s given to me, always. So when somebody says, Do you want to go do this? The answer is typically, yes. Now I’m getting a little bit more crotchety in my old age. And I’m like, No, no, no, no, no, if the answer is no, but in your 20s, Jesse Itzler will say, your 20s or for taking risks, they’re for failing, they’re for trying, they’re for experimenting, and therefore the yeses, all the yeses in the world. And I knew I needed to say yes to everything, and do so well, at everything that I tried. Because there was always this little sort of space on my shoulder is telling me, you need a degree or you’re not good enough, or you’re not, you didn’t go through your four-year program like everybody else. And you don’t have this set career, or you’re not married with a husband and kids. And I sort of felt if I didn’t do things and do them well, and succeed in my own way, I wasn’t succeeding, because everyone around me was going the traditional route. And that was really hard to deal with. Because not only was I struggling with a facial scar, and having to have four reconstructive surgeries after that. But I so was not really loving the way that I looked. And I was having to build my own confidence. I had an okay support system, but not really a support system. I dealt with a lot of it myself, and no therapy. No, I briefly did, but I didn’t understand it, and what I could get out of it, and I got out of it as quickly as I could, because it just didn’t feel it was working for me at the time. But throughout my entire 20s nobody was really holding my hand and telling me, hey, it’s gonna be okay. And if you fall, we’ll catch you or you can stay here or I’ve got a job for you. It was very much sink or swim, do or die on my own. And it was very stressful.
REGINA: Where do you get that grit from? That ability to just be like, “this is really scary and this is really hard but I’m going to do it anyway”. Where’s that come from in you?
RISA: That’s a really good question. I think I was born with it. I think I’m incredibly resilient just by nature. I dealt with a lot of bullying as a kid and a lot of mistreatment from other kiddos. And I just had to really dig deep. But I think it’s something that I’ve worked on every single day. I think a lot of times when you face trauma or something at a young age, and you go through something that hardens you, or I shouldn’t say harden because I never felt hardened. I just felt a little more extreme skinned, I guess I felt a little bit more. I don’t know, I guess on my own team, I don’t know how else to say that. I knew that there wasn’t really a choice. And you can go two ways when something happens, you can go way far left, or you can you know, stay to the right. And you can say listen, these are my choices, I can either fall completely down and waste away any potential that I know that I have, because I knew that I had it but to find it and to do the work to dig deep and find it and then recognize it and then celebrate yourself for it. Those are all really big milestones, I think personally and mentally. And I knew I had it. Because I was talented at a young age. I had people tell me, you’re good at this. You’re good at this. You should pursue this. I knew I had I stuck with singing. I was trained, I could have probably kept going with it. But I let mean kids tell me that choir wasn’t cool, or whatever it was that I was doing. You know, it’s really hard to make it through your childhood and believe in yourself and pursue the things that you know deep down are right for you. Because society tells you one thing or a group of people tells you another, it’s really hard.
That resilience for me has to come from my car accident and just the challenges that I faced I think growing up and I’m generally a very upbeat happy person and I was not going to let it get me down. I just had to fight my way through it.
REGINA: Have you always had this person? You just are energetically in such a high vibrational space, whenever I see you just make me happy when I see you even if it’s 11 o’clock at night and you’re on your story and you’re just working away over here…
RISA: I think it’s funny. I’m an ambivert. So I love to retreat by myself at night or just after an event, I need to come home and I need to recharge completely by myself with my dog and just shut the world out a little bit. But then when I’m around people, or I’m at an event, or I’m speaking on stage, or I’m performing, or if I’m talking about my business, or I’m learning about my friend’s businesses, and what their big wins are, I get so much energy from that. And when I’m around people that excite me and that are good, doing great things. It’s the perfect recipe to kick me up into high gear. And I don’t know where that comes from. But I suppose if you met my mom, you would probably say it comes through her.
She’s very high energy. And she’s very excitable, and I think I must get that from her. And it is all just exactly how I am every day. I mean, anybody who knows me, I think would say the same thing that you just said, there’s an energy there. I’ve had people stop me in the middle of the mall and say your energy force is crazy. And it’s true. That’s a true story. Oh, and I stopped and had a spontaneous reading with that person in the mall. I mean, I’m not kidding you. I’m sort of this little fireball of excitement, and life. And I also think that that can be attributed to going through that trauma and going through something that was really scary and almost having it ripped away. I think that you gain an appreciation for opportunity, and you get a certain sense of gratitude for the life that you are able to live because a lot of people have it’s so much worse. So much worse. How lucky am I? How lucky am I that I was given an opportunity to go down that crazy path of life, connect all of the dots? I think going through the beyond TV boot camp, they talk a lot about connecting the dots of the past and you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back, which is a Steve Jobs quote. Because it’s true. When you look back and say, Oh, that dot in New York City, that dot in, Phoenix, that dot in, San Francisco, that dot in, Florence, Italy, I understand them now. And I finally reached a place in my life, where I can feel confident and say, I am exactly where I need to be. I can throw up my Virgo crazy controlling hands and say, Universe, it is all up to you. Now I fully understand. I fully understand why I’m here. Why I’m on this path. Why I was chosen to help people. Why I was given so many different random talents and careers, and what I can do with them, and how I can change the world with them and share them and excite people and give them my energy. Literally, that’s when I’m in a room with people. I want people to feel I’m on their team. I’m on their side. I’m in it with them. And any of my clients will tell you they have me completely when I walk through the door. My energy, my excitement, my vision. My cheerleader-ness.
REGINA: I didn’t know you were a cheerleader until you said it today and it everything I know it. It’s so on brand and alignment. I love it.
RISA: That’s a dot that you can now connect from my past.
REGINA: So we’ve talked about all of these different dots from your past. How did you start your styling business? How did that happen?
RISA: That’s a great question. How did that happen? It’s a multitude of things. When I moved to San Francisco and .com was really raging and people were really excited and businesses were popping up everywhere, I was in the best city in the world at the right time. And it was about 2007 I had been working with this handbag and shoe company and at this point, I’ve done everything I have been a maid of honor at least four or five times by then in my mid-20s, I was already a maid of honor that many times. And I had been singing at weddings since I was 10. And I had been in theater, I had my cosmetology license, so I knew how to do hair and makeup. And I dabbled in my own business in San Francisco. And I moved there on the side doing her hair and makeup for weddings. And then I had met this fashion designer, and I was styling photoshoots. And getting her ready for appearances and helping her pick her outfits and do her nails and this sort of head-to-toe look. And I was also working at a day spa while I was in San Francisco. So I knew the beauty and aesthetic side of things, I sort of developed this 360-degree experience at a super young age and kind of at a high level to when I was with the fashion brand.
I had the role of somebody who should have been in the business for five to 10 years doing what I was doing. I completely faked my way through every role that I had and just learned on the fly. But I was playing with the big dawgs, people who started websites Virgin Atlantic and helped with the apple website. And William Sonoma, these guys were big players that I was working directly with. So I learned a lot about how to launch a website and how to start e-commerce. And then the development and production and manufacturing. And I was taking meetings with Chinese manufacturers that flew in specifically to show me leather swatches. And it was something that I had never dreamed that I would be doing. I started to develop all of this experience and learn all of these things, crazy street smarts about how to run a business. So I completely got the bug for having my own thing, because I had first-hand access to what it would be to be in that role.
It was about 2007 or 2008. I was sitting around with my girlfriends and contemplating a move back east because the company wasn’t really in the financial place it needed to be to continue. And I was dating somebody back on the east coast. And I had this vision, I had a vision for a one-stop-shop Bridal company of some sort where it would be this massive building. And I sketched it out in my notebook. And it would be on one floor the floral design and one floor would be photography and videography. And then another floor would be dressed design. And you could have custom gown designers and suit designers on that same floor. And it was a one-stop-shop idea for brides to go. So they didn’t have to go to 8 million different vendors to plan their wedding. And I knew I would do something in the wedding world just because I loved it so much. And I had so much exposure to it. I didn’t know that I would be a stylist. But I did buy my domain for restyle and named my business in 2007 2008. So I knew eventually I would have my own thing. But I had no idea that it would be styling um, but after I left San Francisco and moved to New York and got my feet wet in the PR world, and in the design world because we designed and produced the clothing right on our floor in the garment Center in New York City. So I have now learned how to style a lookbook and put the outfits together and you know just how to steam garments, silly things, but also how to promote your product. And I had met Meredith Melling Berg Burke from Vogue and added an editor deskside that I held myself with no PR experience. And I had access to people, style watch, and instyle and lucky magazine, and I was getting us features and all these major publications with no help and no experience and I developed this crazy skill set in the fashion industry. So I knew once I was exposed to all of those things that I would eventually start my own thing because I didn’t go ever have a nine to five job ever. So why would I start after all of that crazy experience? And all of that time on my own making my own way there was absolutely no way I was then going to turn around and go work for somebody No way.
REGINA: I really couldn’t tell me a better masters curriculum in life ever in all the skills and experience you have. It’s everything… even down to e-commerce and PR! Wow, that is amazing.
RISA: I think about it, and I’m like, did I really do all that? I’m turning 40 this year. And I think back to when it all started when I was 19 I got my hairdressing license, but I was 21 I got my license and 21 when I moved to San Francisco, and I think about it, and it does feel I’ve lived 1000 lives and done 1000 things. It’s crazy.
REGINA: You know, it’s interesting, I, I think I know what you’re gonna say to this. So you’re the type A Virgo planner like I am. And you’re picking up information, and you’re educating yourself piece by piece. And people are probably like, What the fuck is she doing? Not having a vision of what is coming together? Right? I see that with my business, as I pick up piece by piece of education and things, people, my family’s like, “What are you doing?”, you’re getting a certification that what you’re going where, what, but for you, and the same thing for me, each piece is building off the other building off each other to lead to where you are now.
RISA: Right? And who knew that that was even a thing? I didn’t know about manifesting, I didn’t know that there would be some dots to connect, I just knew that I was doing something completely radical and taboo. And that while all my friends were getting married, and having kids and living back in my hometown in Maine, or at least settling down somewhere nearby, I’m traveling the world, and being the first one to learn about Facebook and Instagram, or whatever it is, you know. I have all of this crazy experience, traveling the world and exposure to things that I definitely had people messaging me saying, I want your life. And you know, the grass is always greener, we all think that way. But to be honest, when I look back, there isn’t one thing that I would change, not even the accident, if anything that completely shaped my path. And I would never ever have the opportunities or I think the grit you said, I would never be able to dig deep. I don’t think if I hadn’t been thrown to the wolves and moved to cities sight unseen with no job and no place to live. No apartment when we moved to San Francisco, three men, three girlfriends, no place to live for 30 days. And I think that it’s those experiences that shape you and give you this tenacity that is unstoppable. I am in overdrive right now. If anybody were to stop me on the street and say, Hey, you want to grab a coffee? I’d be like, no time. No time.
REGINA: No time I get it. So you get Okay, so you end up in New York, you’re doing PR in New York. What happens next?
RISA: So the economy starts to crash. It’s 2008. And it’s very nerve-wracking, especially in Manhattan. And I decided that it’s time for a change. And I need to get my degree because I knew that eventually, I wanted to run a business. And I felt I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I didn’t have that piece of paper. So I had a sister in Phoenix at the time, and then a sister in Boulder, Colorado. And they were sort of fighting for me to pick a state and move near them. And I applied to both ASU and CU Boulder, and I ended up choosing ASU. I’m a golfer. So I felt it was the better place for me. And my younger sister didn’t have kids at the time. And I didn’t want to get pigeonholed into babysitting all the time, and not really having my own life. So I felt it was the best way for me to start something new and planned to seed and be in great weather, go back West be close enough to Colorado, and are enough away from New England in that area again. So I came out to Arizona and started at ASU right away. And then worked at a restaurant while I started developing what my next idea was going to be and what the business was going to be. And I graduated in 2013 and then took myself back to Florence for a month as a graduation gift. No, three months sorry, not a month, three months, and got an apartment right in the center and drank wine and ate blocks of cheese for dinner and as a travel blogger for my friend’s tourism company, and just sat on all of my ideas and everything that I had just endured over the last 10 years. And it was the greatest thing that I could have ever done for myself just to take that time away and go live in another country and write a blog and write for a tourism company, take all the tours I could, meet all the people I could. And I came back to Phoenix with a major fire under me to start my business.
So I dabbled a little bit in helping a blogger here get started. And then also doing a little wedding planning and sort of made my way into the industry kind of through the back door. And I eventually launched restyle in 2014. So shortly after I came home from Italy, and took my first client in January 2014, doing a closet cleanout. And it started there. And then I partnered up with a photographer who was doing a lot of family photoshoots and basically just said, can I tag along and maybe start styling some of your families and, see if it is something that I’m good at, and maybe some things will, you know, spin-off from that. And that’s sort of what jump-started my styling business. And I just said, I’m stylist, it just is something I declared.
REGINA: Yeah. And then you just started styling people.
RISA: Yep. Then I shortly after I ended up signing with Ford, I didn’t really do a lot with Ford. But it was great for me to just sort of seeing how the agency world worked and gave me that credibility as a Ford artist when they, you know, probably a year or so later, maybe two, because they didn’t start their artist’s program right away. But I did do a lot of commercial stuff. I did some magazines. I mean, I’ve done a ton of magazine work covers, and you know, Arizona foothills and Scottsdale and then people started catching on that I was doing a lot of styling and dressing people and I do have a very, very special gift for shopping.
I know shop very well. I’m a very good digger. And I understand how clothing fits on the body. My mom was a seamstress. So I understand fabrics and how they wash and wear. And I understand what will stand the test of time and what is more of a trend piece and maybe gets worn a couple of times and gets tossed. I also have an innate capability to be able to find anything that anyone is looking for. And in record time.
So it was sort of taking this whole, all of the gifts and all the things and putting them together into, my company, and I did my own website and did my own marketing. And because of my PR experience, I knew how to pitch myself to magazines for features. So I started getting written up in modern luxury. And they chose me as one of their women of style in 2015, I got a great feature, and then started just getting recognized as a stylist to keep an eye on in the valley.
REGINA: And as you’re saying these things that happened, I know, behind the scenes, you’re working your tail off. You know, you get your first client but where I know that you’re doing the PR, you’re doing the press, but you’re hustling your ass off, what does that look like for you in the beginning, as you’re starting day-to-day?
RISA: it was a lot of running around a lot of saying yes to things for either no money or little money. I did a ton of free work because I wanted people to experience me as a human, I felt if they could just spend some time with me that they would hire me back. And a lot of it is just getting the right person in your closet. You can have the most amazing stylist in the world shopping for you or dressing you, but if you don’t like them, or if you don’t like their style, or if you feel like they’re judging you in any kind of way. You’re not going to hire them back, you’re not going to feel comfortable, you’re not going to be able to be your most vulnerable self, which is what I’m dealing with every day. I just felt like it was a lot of pounding the pavement, a lot of pitchy emails, a lot of free work that I still try not to do it anymore, but I’m such a giver, and gifting is my love language. So it was really hard for me to make money in the beginning because I just wanted to do for people because I knew that I had that gift to offer them. And I just wanted to help them. But you’re right, it was marketing. I wore all the hats. I ran my own website. And the worst thing that happened to me was right after I launched my site, I had done all my due diligence to see who was styling in the valley, and how to set myself apart from them to make sure that my website was different. I chose to list my prices although others weren’t or vice versa. I can’t remember And shortly after I launched, somebody locally copied and paste my entire website onto theirs basically. Yeah, it was really awful. And it was one of those moments where you completely doubt yourself and you say, I’m not good enough. They’re already busier than me. And now all of my copy that I worked so hard to write myself as sitting on somebody else’s say, who already has a bigger following. And it just was that one of those moments where I felt completely defeated and took me right back to those like early days of, you know, people not being very nice to me. And it was one of those moments in my career where I was like, Am I supposed to be here? Am I supposed to be doing this? You know, you, you have moments where you question what you’re doing. And if you’re good enough to be in that space, that was really disheartening. And it was one of those tough times where I thought about throwing it all away.
REGINA: How do you What did you do about it? How did you resolve it?
RISA: I stayed really quiet. And I completely rewrote my website, and then chose not to say anything, because I felt, I didn’t want to make waves in the community. And as far as I know, I’m still styling. So you know, I think that it was a lesson that there’s going to be so many things along the way that put a wrench in your plan or scare you from being in a certain space and showing up when you know, you should, but there’s going to be things that can create blockages and people that might not support what you’re doing or that feel envious of your skillset. Or it’s that whole comparison syndrome. And what we see now more than ever on Instagram is feeling like there’s somebody better than us. It’s really, really hard. And I think that it was a lesson for me, it was really hurtful at the time. But I came out more resilient, and I came out, telling myself that I need to continue to be who I am. And that alone will set me apart from anyone doing whatever I’m doing. And there’s space for everyone. There’s room for everyone. But it reminded me that I just need to stay on my own path. And nobody can take away the gifts that I have. And just keep your blinders on and stay straight ahead.
I feel you have relentlessly pursued you, even when you have felt like people were getting in the way or people are copying or maybe I’m not good enough, you just have always pursued you. Head down, done the work.
RISA: Yeah, there’s a lot of work to be done. I think as women in the entrepreneurial world, we are constantly battling what’s happening around us. And you and I were talking before the podcast about the challenges we face of being alone in this industry or being alone and on our own as solopreneur. Or somebody who maybe doesn’t have a support system at home. And it took me a long time. And maybe a lot of failed relationships, not just partners, but even friends or people that didn’t understand who I was or what my goals were along the way. It’s been a lot of heartbreak. And it hasn’t been easy. And I think Instagram and social media and just my energy level makes it look easy. Because people must look at me and say, Oh, she’s so happy all the time, she must be doing great and her life must be so good, and her private chef must make her the best meal. No, he really does. He’s my best friend. But, no, I’m kidding. I come home to a dog and all my own chores. And if the recycling goes out on Thursday nights, I’m the one taking it out. There’s no there’s nothing glam happening about my life or behind the scenes. And I have been my own advocate since the beginning of time. In the early early days, 10 years old is when I started advocating for myself when nobody else would. And there is a certain level of resilience, I said earlier, but love for myself that I had to dig very, very deep for and I’ve done the work over the last few years. I stopped dating completely, completely cold turkey three years ago. And committed to a self-discovery journey that I didn’t know I needed. And I have spent every day over the last few years, giving myself grace, showing gratitude in a way that I never showed it before. I think there was a little chip on my shoulder just because of what I had been through that other people hadn’t been through it. And I felt like a lot of entrepreneurs will say this, or a lot of people who have been heartbroken or hurt throughout their life, they’ll ask the question, when is it going to be my turn? Am I going to get my break? Where’s my husband? Where’s my partner? Where’s my support system? When are the millions going to hit my bank account? There are so many questions that we have. And it’s taken me a lot of time to just let it go. Figure out who I am, be super proud of it and look at my accomplishments and say, You have kicked some serious ass over the last 20 years, building your business, building your life. You’ve kept a roof over your head. And you’ve done it with grace. And it’s really, really, really hard to do. Because there are times when I wanted to say, When is it going to be my turn? And I’ve said it and it’s hard. It’s been a little bit lonely. I will I even though I’m generally a very happy person, there have been some really lonely times I’m sure you can relate as somebody who’s a solopreneur.
REGINA: Absolutely. And I think that there’s so much seeming glamour in the businesses that we have because we have social presences. And we share the beauty, we share the good we educate, but we also share the hardships. Starting our businesses, starting my business has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It’s other than truck trauma that’s happened like personal choices. It’s the hardest personal choice I’ve ever committed to in my life. And I’ve done it as you have alone without a partner. I will come home and it’s just me and the cats and but it’s hard. And I think that oftentimes people see the glamour of the things that we do. And they see the photoshoots. And you know, the fun things that we do. And they’re like, Oh my gosh, it’s so great. It is great. It’s fucking amazing, right? We’ve chosen it, we’ve created it, we’ve manifested it, but it’s also really, really the hardest thing as well.
RISA: It’s a ton of work. And with my new business with rescue kit company, my second baby, I have my sister is my partner. And it’s the first time I’ve had a daily support system the very first time. And it’s glorious. It’s the most glorious thing to be able to share that with her but to be able to count on her and do express concern with her. And for her to understand what I’m going through. And she gives me so much grace. There are times when I’m so tired from running around for restyle every day. I mean, I’m across town back and forth all day long. And it’s a lot of being on for people and giving them my full energy level. And it takes a lot of effort. It’s a lot of manual labor to a lot of shuffling clothes in and out of my car, returning clothes to stores, sending packages, packing people for trips, taking the dry cleaner bags off all their stuff, and changing out all the hangers and all the manual labor that I do throughout the week. And just even keeping people happy and motivated. Because there’s so much anxiety around the getting dressed process. I have turned into a wardrobe motivator a coach, I’m there. I’ve even had to coach you know, business partners on how to find their own personal style and still exist as a team, and then I ended up being their mediator or whatever it may be. It’s a lot of being on and it’s a lot of energy exerted day in and day out. And so by the time I come home, just imagine I barely have time to eat if I haven’t prepped my food and if my fridge isn’t fully chopped and prepped and ready to go. I probably am going to make a poor choice or I’m not going to eat and I’m going to get right on my laptop and while I throw the ball for my dog, I’m on my laptop, answering emails for the day doing proposals, doing a social media post for one of my three accounts, one that I do have helped with one of them, but I still have to manage the content. Yeah, I mean, the newsletter making sure there are fresh photos on the website, outreach to people. And then I always have a bunch of things in the wings. And I do a lot a lot of freelance. I’m freelance designing for a company right now. And I’m pitching to the press. And I’m doing business coach courses, or I’m doing preparation for you know, audition prep for things or speaking coach lessons. And there are all sorts of things that I have to do to sort of maintain the level that I’m at and stay competitive and make sure that I do it with a smile on my face. It’s a lot.
REGINA: When you think about your styling business. When you think about it in the next five years, what’s the vision and the dream for the business going forward?
RISA: Here’s my big dream. This is my big unicorn dream. I aspire to be on a national TV show. So I want to have a show that reaches a huge audience and allows me to be in the living rooms in the closets of women all over the world and coach them and guide them through the getting dressed process. So I don’t want to stop my styling. I love my clients dearly. I don’t ever want to stop that. But there’s, there’s definitely a ceiling because it is me. Yeah, and it is my time. And there’s only so much time in the day. And I can only take on so many clients. So there’s a ceiling for what I can do.
However, the lasting legacy that I plan to have is the rescue kit company and the work that I do with that product line. And it all plays into each other because without the work that I’ve done with restyle and all of my styling experience and the relationships and the networking that I’ve built and done. Rescue kit would not have a platform to be seen. So in a perfect world, I would have a show so I can sprinkle myself all over the world. And continue to take clients here and there and as I can, and continue to grow the rescue hit company and give that a platform to have legs to be in the homes of every woman in the world. And man, we don’t discriminate.
I’m in full alignment with that goal. It’s just a matter of who so whoever’s listening out there. It could be you that makes me delivered allows me to be delivered into the living rooms and closets of everyone. I just think that there’s a lot in my brain that I need to dump out in a big, huge way. And maybe it’s a book maybe it’s a YouTube series, I don’t know. But I really just want to hold the hands of every woman and I ambushed her closet recently and surprised somebody with it.
It was a very emotional day. And it reminded me as to why I do what I do. I don’t do what I do. For me. It is not about me. I show up in workout clothes. When I get to my client’s homes. I’m not the glam Queen, I don’t even want it to be about me it is about them is about their struggles. It is about my gift to be able to lift women up because that is a huge gift of mine. It is something I was born with is something that I believe in because of what I went through. I never want anybody to feel as downtrodden as I felt ever. And I firmly believe that if you take your passion for people and your God-given talents, and your drive and you make it into a business, it will ultimately succeed. You cannot fail. You cannot fail. And nobody can tell you that you can’t do what you were set out to do. What you’ve set out to do. I don’t take anybody’s baloney. There’s nobody that can tell me you can’t do that because that has happened to me before in the past and I believed them and I’m not allowing that in my space anymore. So if there’s a woman out there listening to this, right now that has been wondering if she should start her thing, or take the leap. And she already knows that she has the talent and the drive and the heart. She needs to go and do it. And I want to hear about it.
REGINA: When are you gonna write a book?
RISA: You know, it’s funny, I’ve started writing a book, I started writing three books, one of them is a children’s book about my dog because he’s really funny. And another one is actually sort of a memoir, from my time in the fashion industry. And I’m trying to figure out what the direction should be. And if people would be interested in my journey, because it’s a long and windy road. And I wonder, would people be interested in hearing about everything from my childhood? Through the accident? All of the crazy moves back and forth across the country? To starting my business? Or should it just be about the business and motivating people? So it’s the teens, the 20s. And the 30.
I will send them to you. And you can tell me if you think that I should stay the course because I actually was gifted by one of my former clients a writing lesson with this really awesome author in New York City. And he had me even designing my book jacket, we took it to the next level. So maybe I need to get back to that. I think there’s been so much work that I’ve been doing over the last few years. And I think that you really do need to be in a great mental space to be able to write and I’ve started journaling since the beginning of 2021. And making that a daily practice, which I never did before was so wild to me because I have so much to say. And I think now that writing has become a daily practice that it would feel a lot more organic and less forced. And I think that when you are working on something, you do need to be in such a great place and ready to really spill it. And I’ve tried to force it in the past, but now I think I’m ready mentally and physically.
REGINA: I’m so excited. I just love you so much. Thank you so much for being on the podcast I actually want to have you come back with there are so many more things I want to talk about. It’s so good. Love you so much.
RISA: Thank you so much for just having this space for people to feel vulnerable and welcome and warm and excited. And just you know, it’s really hard to find authentic truth in all of this world right now. And it’s hard to find a safe space and you provide that and I’m so grateful that I can be a part of it. So thank you.
REGINA: Thank you so much for being here and for sharing all of yourself with our lives with my listeners. They’re so gonna love this episode. I love you. If you guys love this episode as much as recent I love creating it for you today. Please take a screenshot, share it in your story tag us tell us what you loved about it and why. And please follow Risa on Instagram. I’ll share her Instagram, her website, everything about the rescue kit in the show notes so you can go and check her out
Regina Lawrence Esq. is a former trial attorney and law school professor turned soulful business & life strategist. She has found that so many entrepreneurs have these brilliant ideas and dreams but don’t know how to take the dream and create a system or structure to make that dream & idea profitable. That is where Regina comes in. With discipline, consistency, systems & structure, we can’t help but create profit & fulfillment from our soul-driven business ideas.
Regina’s approach to coaching marries her background in legal analysis, spirituality, mindset coaching, holistic nutrition, and neuroscience to create an experience that will assist you to get into alignment, get clear on what you are here to do and what steps and systems to implement to make that dream a profitable reality.
You can find Regina on Instagram @reginaalawrence