We sat down recently with personal brand consultant and founder of The Lovely It Girl, Michela Aramini. She told us how she discovered the woman she really wants to be and made her own brand a success⎯all by age twenty-five.
How do you describe your work?
I’m the founder of The Lovely It Girl, a personal brand consulting boutique in New York dedicated to inspiring and empowering women to become the bold, beautiful, brilliant “It” girls they were born to be. I show women who want to create personal and professional lives they love how to make personal brands that clarify and communicate their “It” (unique intrinsic value) and connect to their clique of personal brand cheerleaders both online and offline.
I take an inside-out approach to personal branding because I believe your brand should represent the woman you were born to be, not the woman you think you should be. Whether you want to land your dream job or start your own business, knowing how to clearly, compellingly, and consistently communicate your “It” is the key to becoming the “It” girl you were born to be and styling a life you love from the inside out.
What was your journey to get there? Did you always want to do this and go straight for it, or did you have a more meandering path?
One year ago, I had landed my “dream job” at a world-renowned publishing company in New York. But pretty soon the sparkle wore off and I was left feeling disillusioned and lost. I would wake up everyday, drag myself to work, and sit in my cubicle asking myself “Is this really it?” I secretly craved something more.
I started to network with women entrepreneurs whose stories resonated with me and whose confidence and conviction inspired me to stop waiting for someone to hand me the life I truly wanted, and instead go out and create it. The only problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to do! It was around that time I read a quote by Diane von Furstenberg that changed everything: “I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” This made me realize that the first step to discovering what I wanted to do was to first discover the woman I wanted to be.
I started to take steps to consciously reconnect with what I now call my inner “It” girl: the soft, loving voice that has always guided me in the direction of my dreams, but who I had been ignoring for so long, choosing instead to listen to my inner mean girl (you know, that self-loathing voice that always tells you you’re never good enough). Through lots of yoga and meditation I discovered that my inner “It” girl is a bold, beautiful, brilliant woman who wants it all, does it all, and has it all—all on her own terms.
I realized that a true “It” girl is a woman who creates a life she loves from the inside out, not the outside in, and I became passionate around rebranding the modern “It” girl for all the other young women who, like me, had fallen prey to the “It” girl illusion. Marrying this purpose with my marketing and branding prowess, the idea for The Lovely It Girl was born.
How would you describe your work environment? Do you use your surroundings to stay inspired?
I live in a tiny studio apartment with my boyfriend in SoHo, but I’ve somehow managed to carve out a lovely little “office” nook complete with a white desk and lots of pretty white, gold, and pink desktop accessories that are definitely reminiscent of The Lovely It Girl. I’m a minimalist at heart so maintaining a clean, organized space helps me focus on my work. My desk also faces a window looking out to a beautiful tree in our courtyard, which is an everyday reminder that the only constant in life is change.
What is the most unexpected thing that happened to you in business?
I don’t think I can pinpoint one thing because so many things in my business have been unexpected! One of the best unexpected things I’ve experienced has been the incredible connections I’ve made on social media, from strategic partners to clients to PR opportunities! It’s made me so grateful to be part of a generation of entrepreneurs who are able to leverage social media to connect with influencers and brand cheerleaders to grow our businesses and brands organically.
Walk us through your typical day.
I love starting my day with yoga. I take a 7 a.m. hot vinyasa yoga class at Modo Yoga in the West Village. I also can’t start my day without a healthy breakfast, so usually opt for my go-to chocolate vegan protein shake (it’s deceptively delicious). The rest of my morning is typically filled with a mix of emails and social media. I schedule business meetings with prospective clients and strategic partners in the afternoon. I love to grab a chai latte or juice (I’m currently obsessed with Organic Avenue) and take my meetings outside in a park if the weather is nice. The rest of the afternoon is typically filled with client work and writing blog posts. In the evenings I meet with clients, attend networking events, teach my personal branding class, or if I have the “night off,” cook dinner with my boyfriend.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work for fun or relaxation?
Treating myself to a manicure at Tenoverten, my favorite nail salon in the city. Having cocktails with friends. Exploring the city. Going out to dinner or a concert with my boyfriend. Weekend getaways involving lots of sand and sun.
Tell us about your proudest moment.
The moment I decided to never settle for anything less than a life I truly loved from the inside out. I’ve had so many proud moments launching and growing The Lovely It Girl (and hopefully have so many more to come!) but I realize that everything I’ve created today is a product of that single commitment I made to myself.
What’s something you’d like to learn?
How to speak French.
What are you looking forward to right now?
Launching The Lovely It Girl personal branding class as an online program (hopefully in 2015!) and growing the “It” girl movement globally, continuing to partner with like-minded brands, and doing more speaking engagements. (I’d love to speak to women in college!)
What advice would you give to your twenty-five-year-old self?
I just turned twenty-five! So if I were to give advice to my twenty-year-old self it would be to focus less on what you want to do and more on who you want to be. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Embrace fear instead of running from it. It’s the only way to grow into the woman you were born to be and to make a true difference in your life and in the lives of others.