At KF, we believe in the power of women. Each month, we'll introduce you to a 'Woman Who Inspires'. These incredible women are entrepreneurs, innovators and makers who are paving their own way in business, education, society, motherhood, and many more aspects of life. Learn how they started their ventures, the challenges they faced along the way and see how they are building their future - all of our futures - while inspiring others.
Leading Chicago Wardrobe Stylists Lora LaPratt & Alyssa Doorhy
Lora and Alyssa are two extremely talented business women and wardrobe stylists based in Chicago. We had the pleasure of closely working with both of these phenomenal ladies and learned firsthand their individual approach to dressing the Second City.
In this month’s Women Who Inspire, we had the opportunity to interview both talents in a two for one November showcase. Read on to see how these two women have mastered styling for different ages, styles, and body types, how Alyssa (AD) is very close to Huey Lewis and how Lora (LL) would have run a hostel if fashion and styling didn't steal her heart!
Lora LaPratt is pictured left, Alyssa Doorhy is pictured right.
LL: Hi! My name is Lora LaPratt of Shopping Girl XOXO. I am a personal stylist for clients worldwide. I pride my business on really getting to know my clients on a personal level and helping to bring out everyone’s individual style based on their interests, body shape, coloring, and overall way of life! I also love to work with local designers and boutiques to keep my clients looking unique and individual rather than matching everyone else walking down Michigan Avenue! I am a lover of the color purple, a complete bohemian at heart and believe comfort and happiness are the best outfit makers. My go-to look is a great skinny jean, oversized blazer and statement making pump (on myself)! Yet, I love to transport into my clients styles and help them to look and most importantly FEEL amazing in whatever style they are drawn to. I adore traveling and get inspired by different cultures and surroundings. My amazing husband is my best friend and 24/7 assistant along with our fur baby, Drea. Our family of three will be turning into a family of four March 2020 and we can’t wait for Drea to have a little brother!
AD: I'm Alyssa Doorhy, owner and personal wardrobe stylist of CoChic Styling. I've had my business for about 4.5 years, and before that I owned a women's clothing boutique with my mom and sister in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood for 4 years. I love styling women to enable them to become more confident and comfortable in what they're wearing. In fact, my business name CoChic stands for "comfortably chic". On a personal note, I have a 2.5 year old daughter, another baby on the way, and a giant Goldendoodle named Huey Lewis. I love checking out Chicago's new restaurants with my husband and any excuse to get dressed up!
Why did you start your own company or brand/become an entrepreneur/be your own boss?
AD: I started my personal styling company after realizing owning a brick and mortar store wasn't for me. I loved the styling and customer relationship aspects of having a boutique but hated being tied down in one spot all day. Since I had been my own boss for four years already, I knew I didn't want to go back to working for someone, so I did some market research and decided to start CoChic Styling. I love the variety I get everyday: one day I could be taking photos of a client's wardrobe; the next day I could be out shopping, pulling looks for clients; and the next day I could be working on a Lookbook from my home office. I realized I need variety in my work life; otherwise I get bored and burnt out! And of course the flexibility of owning my own business is ideal, and works especially well for me since I'm a mom.
What has been your biggest failure in business and what did you learn from it?
LL: I started my personal styling business over eleven years ago, and believe me, it has not been smooth sailing every step of the way. But, I learned very early on that as long as I grow from my mistakes and make adjustments to ensure they don’t repeat nothing is a failure. When something doesn’t go perfectly, I re-evaluate my approach and in the end become better at not only styling but also running a business and building long lasting relationships with my clients.
AD: This is going to sound cheesy, but I try not to look at anything as a failure, but rather a learning experience. For instance, I'm always tweaking my process to make it more efficient and make sure it's the best customer experience for my clients. If something doesn't work, I ask my clients questions to try to continue to improve.
What is the first thing you do after waking up to jumpstart a successful day?
LL: I have never been a morning person, so I make it a point to schedule early morning clients, appointments with designers, or meetings in the showroom to ensure I start the day off on a good note with face to face interaction and diving right into doing what I love! A nice iced coffee with soy milk doesn’t hurt either.
What tools (apps, books, podcasts, etc.) would you recommend to anyone trying to start their own business/make your work day easier?
LL: There are so many options out there and I really think it comes down to what you’re comfortable with. Even though I have a showroom and office, my business is very mobile. I do tons of work while ubering around the city from one boutique to the next, so having everything centrally located on my phone is key. My most used apps are Instagram, Mailchimp, Email (pretty basic) and my custom SGXOXO Digital LookBook site where I have all of my client’s folders full of looks we’ve created, notes, and shopping list items in one spot. I decided to have this website built years ago so that I could create exactly what I felt I needed on the go, and it has been a game changer!
Shopping Girl XOXO Office - Lora LaPratt Website
What person in history, living or dead, has inspired you and how?
AD: I have a group of girlfriends who are also entrepreneurs that I am constantly inspired by. Their drive, passion, creativity and advice constantly motivate me to be a better businesswoman.
If this wasn't your job, what's something else you've always wanted to do/start/create?
LL: My original dream, before being a stylist was even a thing, was to own my own hostel. I lived in New Zealand for a year directly out of college and traveled the country staying in different hostels. The concept of a communal living space to meet likeminded travelers, have fun and explore a new country together is so great!
Let's Get Deep...
What emoji(s) do you use most when texting?
LL: I love a good emoji 😂. I use the blue heart 💙 a lot because it's my business color and I'm all about spreading the love. The confetti party popper 🎊 because there's a lot to celebrate these days, and the shopping bags 🛍 because, ya know, Shopping Girl XOXO.
LL: Cucumber Vodka/Soda with a lime
AD: Aviation. I'm a gin girl.
What book are you currently reading?
AD: I just finished City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and now I'm reading How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen (ha! Wish me luck.)
Go-to favorite garment in your closet that always makes you feel amazing?
AD: It's a tie between an LBD and my leather leggings.
CoChic Styling Styling Session - Alyssa Doorhy Website
What is your signature scent?
LL: Pleasures or Lavender oil
Early riser or night owl.
LL: Night Owl
AD: I used to be a night owl but now I'm an early (ish) riser.