CEO of Scaling Retail
"I work with small to medium sized brands, fashion and retail, that are either launching a business -- ecommerce or wholesale -- or their launching a new product line or they’re looking to reposition themselves and I help them with their business development and sales and marketing strategy. I’m not a creative. I’m terrible at drawing. But I can do your financial projection for the next three years."
WHAT SHE DOES FOR LOVE: I meditate every morning. And I ask for abundance with ease. Ease is the important part. I’ve learned that you will always get more, especially when you ask for it. But it won’t always be with ease. So that is my mantra: abundance with ease. I also do yoga. I just signed up to do a yoga teacher training. I think I might be fully "L.A."
HER STYLE: I really pride myself on the fact that I was somehow smart enough when I was 15 years old to buy things that would last me through adulthood. My wardrobe is an insane mix -- half of it is super-classic and the other half is out-of-control super-fashion. I also have so much cool shit from all the fashion work that I’ve done.
HER BEAUTY: I really like to wear bright lipstick. I have over 30 shades of red lipstick.
HER 2015 GOAL: Identify myself with things other than my work. This is one of those things I’ve been working on post-New York. Who am I outside of these things that I do for my job? Who am I outside of being a kickass retail strategist? I’m really good at what I do and people want to work with me and it’s extremely validating - and that tells me I’m on the right career path, but that’s not the life path. It’s a part of a whole. So for me, it’s identifying and getting more in touch with the whole of me.
Maybe in 2016 my goal will be to make incremental steps to incorporate more of those things into my life. And that’s why it’s so important for me to do my morning meditation and reading -- let me check in with myself before I launch into the mania of my work.
NOMINATED BY: Ashley Beck
WHY SHE'S A LADY GUN: "Syama Meagher is such a inspiration as a female entrepreneur. She has built her business all on her own and continues with her efforts to help other businesses and brands through her mentorship and guidance. She just keeps going!"
HER INITIAL REACTION TO HER LADY GUNS NOMINATION: I had butterflies in my stomach. I was kind of surprised and then it’s was so sweet. I think I was overcome with a sense of sweetness. I hope that somehow, and I guess the cool thing about this is that through storytelling and personal storytelling that there is this idea of collected sharing and collective inspiration. I think that that sense of community and knowing that whatever you’re going through or whatever you’re doing professionally is kind of a share experience and can be a shared experience. And that’s what I think is so cool about what you have going on, is building the storytelling and the shared experiences so that we can impact other people and be like Hey, you’re not alone!
ON HER MORNING ROUTINE: I've developed a morning practice that keeps me stable and sane. I meditate every morning for 15 minutes, read something that isn’t work related and I try to not open up my computer for the first hour and a half to two hours that I’m awake. I’m really obsessed with my morning practice, but my husband hates it because I’m kind of unavailable. That is my time. But it’s wonderful and I couldn’t be happier.
ON HOW SHE STARTED HER BUSINESS: Back in 2008, I was working at Barneys and a lot of different brands would approach me, send me their lookbooks and I would talk with different buyers. My idea for consulting came because there were so many great brands out there that just didn’t really know how to market, pitch and prepare themselves to be a real business. A lot of them were designing really cool shit, but didn’t know how to price themselves, or know what margins are, etc. I started taking on clients here and there, while I was working in corporate jobs -- doing a side-hustle -- and eventually it just came. The overwhelming call in my life was to do business full-time.
ON WHAT SHE'S PROUD OF IN HER CAREER: I’ve been focusing on my business here full-time and I’ve had some really amazing things happen. I was nominated to be a CEO mentor for American Express Women's CEO Bootcamp. I’d only been living in L.A. for a year and they identified me as one of ten women to mentor -- they brought on people from different sectors and I was representing the retail sector. It was really fucking cool. I’ve really taken that New York fire and translated it into this amazing thing in L.A. It feels like the New York vibe and energy are poised to excel in this type of environment.
I also just co-authored a book called the Fashion Designer’s Guide to Creating Fashion Websites that Sell. And people who aren’t my friends are buying the book!
ON AGING: I volunteer at the Alexandria Care Center, a senior center, a couple of hours once a month. It’s really sweet and you don’t do much. We basically push them from the senior center to the 99 cent store, which is five or six blocks, in their wheelchairs and just be them while they do their shopping. Deepak Chopra said something that really resonates with me: in our lives we’re all headed on the same course. We’re all young and then we’re old. The deeper connection with that helps me remember not to care so much about the bullshit stuff that happens at work.
HER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: The Four Desires, Rod Stryker -- I've read this book three times.
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things -- This is an amazing book to help people understand how products should be made.
Louis Vuitton Travel Guides -- They're $37, look fabulous and are well-written.
ON LEAVING NEW YORK: I recently moved to Los Angeles from New York, about two years ago. I was in New York from about twelve years and I’m originally from San Francisco. It was a really crazy transition to move from my home, which I considered to really be New York to L.A. To a different mindset and different kinds of people. My career in NY was in corporate fashion, which was really exciting, but really taxing. You get burned at both ends of the stick.
ON WHAT PEOPLE DON'T TALK ABOUT WHEN CHANGING CAREERS: I went through an identity crisis when I quit my job in New York and decided to start my own business. One of things that people don’t often talk about is the transition between a full-time job and running your own business and how emotionally taxing it is on you. Not only are you worried about your income -- your basic needs -- but also, so much of your peace of mind and self-worth are really tied into what you do for work and your success in that work. When you work for yourself, you’re defining success and you’re not sure what that means yet because you're not a 50 person company. Success is different for me now.
I’m very close to being totally over that [taxing time], but starting my business was a really tough thing for me to do. It was six months of beating myself up for not making x, y, z progress when really, to quit everything you’ve known yourself to be and to start over is amazing and fantastic! I feel so much more resilient now. If I can do that, there is nothing in this world I can’t do. But at the same time it’s fucking hard and anyone who wants to launch their own business really needs to take a step back and not only say, can I financially handle this? But can I emotionally and psychologically handle this?
ON HER BEST FRIEND AND LADY SHE ADMIRES: My best friend, Rina and I have been on the same path together since we met, something like thirteen years ago. She and I met while modeling; we were on a photo shoot and we were both up for the same role. By the end of the day we were friends and we began pushing each other to grow professionally, and emotionally and spiritually throughout our whole lives. We both quit modeling together. She got her PhD and is now a professor at UCSF. She’s published a book, she’s publishing more books. I became a business woman. We both went our own ways, but remained on a similar path. We both came out of long-term relationships and were severely single - meaning going out every night and doing all the New York things. And then we both got married last year -- I officiated her wedding. Our lives have really mimicked each others in really bizarre ways. She is the person in my life who really pushed me to look beyond what it is I think I know of myself. She’s just a real friend. She challenges me and makes me think about things from a different perspective. I look up to her with so much respect and I feel so honored to have a friendship like that in my life. She’s a force and she’s kind of pain in the ass, but your best friend kind of needs to be that way.
ON UNDERSTANDING YOUR ROLES: I encourage women to really to think about their roles -- as a woman, as individuals. I ask myself: What roles do I want to play in the relationships in my life? And how do I want to show up for that? And what are my expectations of the other people in these relationships and how do I hold them accountable for those? In every aspect of your life.
ON GETTING SOMETHING: Before every job I’ve ever had, I asked myself, "What is it that I need to get out of this job so that by the time it’s over I will have gained something? What am I going to take away from this?" At least that way, when you’re slaving away, etc. you know you’re getting something. Be clear about what you’re going to get out of the job and what you’re going to put into the job. Make sure you know the transaction that is happening.