Young entrepreneur turns her love of shopping, fashion and helping others into a successful career.
After graduating with a business degree, Lauren Larsen was in a similar situation as many graduates: overworked, unfulfilled and yearning for more.
However, Larsen decided to take control and within a year turned her own hobby and passion into a successful business, Ensemble Style, which specializes in personalized styling for men.
"With Ensemble I offer my clients personal shopping and styling services," said Larsen. She feels that all of her clients have the ability to look great, and she just provides them with the tools to do so.
Produced by Andrea Mihalik
Prior to starting her business, Larsen always displayed a love for men's fashion and was constantly styling her guy friends. "I've always known I don't belong in an office so this was kind of a catalyst," said Larsen.
Reading Daniella LaPorte's book Fire Starter Sessions, gave Larsen the kick-start to pursue her dreams.
"It was always something I had in the back of my mind. Reading the book kind of took the fear out of it for me and I was like well, what do I have to lose? Nothing really, so I just started."
Lindsay Larsen is incredibly proud of her older sister.
"Lauren saw a market for this brand throughout Calgary with its wide range of male business demographic. Shortly after acknowledging this need she created a website, style blog and spread the word through various forms of social media," said Lindsay. She is thrilled that her sister is able to fulfill her artistic desires and put them toward something profitable.
Larsen believes her business degree has helped her in terms of providing the tools to implement marketing strategies and think outside the box, but she declares nothing is as valuable as actual hands-on business experience.
"My client base has been men anywhere from 27 to 62. They are all fashion conscientious professionals. They are aware of how they want to look, they just don't really know how to put things together to achieve what they want," said Larsen. "That's where I come in."
New clients either come from Larsen's website, by referral or a local barber shop she has teamed up with that provides packages offering Ensemble's services to their male clients.
Larsen makes sure she is providing clients with the exact look they desire, within an agreed upon budget while also incorporating pieces that will work with their pre-existing wardrobe.
"The first thing I like to do when I meet a client is sit down with them and chat and kind of get a sense of what they're looking for, what kind of personality they have, how comfortable they are with new trends," says Larsen.
Tyler Fletcher enlisted Ensemble's services due to a lack of time for shopping and he was extremely pleased with the outcome.
"Ensemble's services have taken the stress out of shopping for me and given me the confidence to discover my own style in a relaxing non-pressure environment" stated Fletcher, a Calgary executive.
"The most stylish and attractive thing for a man to be is simple and confident. I think that an outfit should look like a guy put five minutes of thought into it, put it on and forgot about it," said Larsen. "I think that's where the initial consultation comes in handy 'cause I can tell what they are comfortable in and that plays a massive part in the way that they wear the clothes. I like to keep things simple."
Larsen is constantly inspired by her clients' transformations and the positive feedback she receives.
"I know it's ambitious, but in five years my goal is to have Ensemble Services across Canada and the United States" says an enthusiastic Larsen.
Ambitious indeed, however Larsen has come a long way since she started her business venture one year ago and has already begun collaborating with potential partners in New York.
- By Andrea Mihalik