Introducing Stephanie L. Howitt, the guardian angel of fashion, style and design at SLH Lifestyle & Concierge. Stephanie is a former model, trained stylist and designer with a business degree and who is an advocate for entrepreneurial women in business. Based in Manhattan, Stephanie’s company offers lifestyle consulting and design services for personal styling, interiors and events for clients in New York City, The Hamptons and the Gold Coast of Long Island. Today Stephanie gives us a peek behind the scenes of her glamorous business.
What’s your title/position:
Designer, blogger, and founder of SLH Lifestyle + Concierge
Tell me a bit about your business:
I started premier lifestyle management company, SLH Lifestyle + Concierge in an effort to provide efficient living solutions for clients living in the New York area. The company is a multifaceted venture, offering lifestyle consulting and design services in four key areas of an individual’s world: image, style, interiors and events. In addition, my company offers private concierge services, errand services and travel itinerary planning to offer a full-service experience. Our services are individually tailored to the needs of our clients. We provide them with the opportunity to become the best version of themselves while affording the newly found time to live a more memorable life.
Aside from SLH Lifestyle + Concierge, I am also the primary contributor for three lifestyle blogs which share luxe tips for living life more brilliantly: SLH Lifestyle, Long Island Pulse Magazine’s Gold Coast Style and Hampton Style.
Describe your typical day/week schedule.
My work schedule is never typical! Like most business owners, it’s all hands on deck. I find what most people don’t know about entrepreneurs is that they tend to put in effort long after the normal workday, completing tasks that help shape the future of their business, without necessarily seeing an immediate return. I start the day like many by checking emails, responding to client calls, setting up appointments or preparing interesting content for a blog post. I end the day by updating our social media platforms, preparing media kits for the next business day or strategising and developing ideas for design and organisational projects.
How do you plan and organise your time? What are your biggest challenges with this? What tips can you offer?
I’ve always been neat + able to naturally organise my time in an efficient manner, which is crucial to the success of any business let alone one that provides organisational services and lifestyle solutions.
[Tweet “”I’ve always been neat + able to naturally organise my time in an efficient manner, which is crucial to the success of any business let alone one that provides organisational services and lifestyle solutions” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”] Clients seek our services in an effort to correct their organisational or time management issues. As a designer and blogger, I am constantly being inspired and capturing inspiration whether it is for a project or story using my iPhone, camera or Moleskine notebook.
What are your essential office tools?
After graduating from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, I made the jump to Apple products and have never looked back. As a business owner, I find it’s important to have consistency regarding office tools. By doing so, I find everything can run seamlessly between my MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhones. Aside from my Apple tools, I have a neat receipts scanner for Mac, which allows me to scan every business card and receipt in a digital file system. This allows me to eliminate the clutter of receipts while keeping records of everything. It is also crucial that every business owner back-up his or her computer. I back up all my business files, photographs, posts, projects, and client information once a week. I also use a shredder when working with personal information regarding my clients.
Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?
The perks of social media are endless. It helps one to network, connect with possible clients, showcase your expertise, advertise your business, create consistency and enhance your presence on the web. It is a cost-effective solution that every entrepreneurial woman should capitalise on. I also believe it’s important to have a company blog. It provides a forum to personally connect with your audience and gives your company a voice aside from your website. I use the Square app with clients: the square reader easily connects to a mobile device allowing me to instantly accept credits.
Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style. How does it motivate/focus your work?
My company workspace is clean and functional; I utilised the small space by incorporating an appropriately-scaled desk with the addition of functional accessories. I designed upwards by incorporating printed storage cubbies and corkboards in an effort to eliminate desk clutter. I also have meaningful personal items that remind me of the path I’ve taken to get to where I am now. I always celebrate the small stuff with a framed press release and past company press.
What book has most inspired you?
Picking a favorite book must be like being asked to pick a favorite child – it simply cannot be done! I have a collection of books which have helped to provide inspiration throughout the years. My business books have helped build the foundation for my business during its start-up phase. The words of inspirational leaders help to guide me on my personal journey. My design and stylebooks are a source to help break a creative block, while books filled with art and photography make the best for coffee table entertaining. Every year as my life evolves, so does my book collection.
What’s your typical working lunch?
My typical working lunch is an art of balance. I eat while checking emails or returning calls. I tend not to answer personal calls while working with clients so I find that lunchtime is often the perfect opportunity to speak to friends and family.
And how do you switch off once the working day is done?
When I’m looking to switch off my workday, I will often turn to my friends and family. I enjoy new cultural experiences and outdoor activities. As a designer and concierge, I will often visit a new exhibit or try a new restaurant to advise clients. I also find music helps to unwind and clear my head after a long day. I’m happiest when at a concert or music festival. After working an all-nighter for a project or story deadline, I turn to a trusty eye mask and double-lined drapes to get in the proper shut-eye!
What makes your life sparkle?
My life sparkles when I radiate from within and the only way I can do that is by remaining true to myself.
[Tweet “”My life sparkles when I radiate from within and the only way I can do that is by remaining true to myself” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”] I try to never compromise on my integrity or core values. I try to surround myself with people that want the best for me and inspire me. I attempt to remain optimistic by choice, which can be trying as starting a business can be difficult. It’s important to be your own internal motivator. I sparkle when I see the effect I have on others through my business or personal relationships.
Everyday I try to smile often, laugh at life’s unforeseen expectancies, hold respect for those I come in contact with and keep my heart open.
[Tweet “”Everyday I try to smile often, laugh at life’s unforeseen expectancies, hold respect for those I come in contact with and keep my heart open” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”] I sparkle when I am creative throughout the design process or while contributing content for a blog post. I sparkle when I conceptualise an idea and follow through to view the final concept. I sparkle when I take a chance and put myself out there. The result can be scary because it is unknown and often vulnerable, but the reward can be creating an opportunity for myself. Never be afraid that failure will diminish your inner sparkle because it helps shape your path. [Tweet “”Stand tall and know that for some your path may be the one less traveled, travel it and leave a trail” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”]
For more on Stephanie and her business visit her website or say hello on Facebook or Twitter.