University of California, Santa Barbara - Bachelors of Arts with a J.D.
Rutgers University - Master of Business Administration
While some women dream of the job they'd like to have, Laurel Mintz unexpectedly happened upon hers. When her father fell ill, someone needed to handle the family business. So, Laurel stepped up and by age 26, was running a team of 60 in two different retail locations. Even after her father reassumed his role, Laurel's entrepreneurial streak had started to flourish and she began consulting for other retailers she had developed relationships with.
Today Laurel is the founder and managing director of Elevate My Brand, a Los Angeles-based creative marketing company for food, beverage and retail brands. "The biggest responsibility I have to my clients is to develop and execute comprehensive marketing strategies that incorporate the perfect circle of marketing for their brand," she says. And her resume — which even includes parties for New York Fashion Week — is living proof that her clients love her work as much as she does.
If you aren't happy at least most of every day, then you're doing something wrong and need a change.
How did you discover your current job, and what was your path like to get here?
I fell into entrepreneurship when I had to run our family business right out of school. My father had become ill and I had to make sure that our family could survive. I was 26 and had a team of 60 and ran two 20,000-square-foot custom retail shops. It was definitely trial by fire, but I learned about buying, merchandising, marketing, sales, advertising ... you name it. I even baked cookies in store for big events.
When my dad recovered and I was able to step away, I was asked to consult for other retailers I had developed relationships within the time I ran the showrooms. In 2007, I partnered up with a friend in San Francisco who ran a venture fund and we worked to put together projects for our clients and get them off the ground. It was really exciting.
A few years later, I was asked to be a founding member of the Los Angeles Consulting Group (LACG). That was a great partnership, but the firm was focused on financial services, so I exited and began Elevate My Brand. At that point, I had realized what I was good at and, more importantly, what I wanted to do and for what kind of clientele. And I never looked back.
What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
The great thing about my job is that every day is different. One day, we're hosting a VIP party for New York Fashion Week, and the next, we're launching a new consumer product at the IHHS in Chicago, the largest house goods show in the world.
My responsibilities include business development and high-level strategy. That means that I do a lot of shmooze time -- meeting interesting people at great events and new spaces. I get to see restaurants before they open and I get to have input on products before they go to market. It’s very exciting. But the biggest responsibility I have to my clients is to develop and execute comprehensive marketing strategies that incorporate the perfect circle of marketing for their brand. Whether it's social media, live events, branding or publicity, every day is a different and fantastic challenge.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job, aside from always meeting new people, is understanding how we can help alleviate client's pain and take their brand to the next level. Ultimately, that's what a good business should be able to do: identify the issues a client is having and solve that problem or pain point so they can focus on their core value to their business. I absolutely love the client interaction, but it's the success we have for our clients that keeps them happy and exemplifies why we do what we do.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
That there aren't 30 hours in each day? Seriously though, I may be a little sick and twisted, but I live and breathe marketing. I've also been on the operator side, so I know how it feels to sit on the other end of the table. That's why we have a team that's so dedicated to customer service and delivering on the promises we make. So, I stay up most nights making sure that everything gets done in accordance with the client's expectations and my personal standards; the latter of which can be even stricter (just ask my team).
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Well, I'm a newlywed, so I definitely try to make as much time with my honey as possible, but yes, let's face it: work gets the best of us sometimes. I'm a true believer that in order to deliver the best products and services, you have to be at your personal peak. Of course that means something different to everyone, but for me, that means working out a minimum of four days a week, trying to eat healthy, and most importantly, making creative space in my mind through mediation.
I also think listening to your body is critical to being successful; not only from an intuition standpoint, but if you're feeling overworked, you're not going to be at your peak and your performance will reflect that. So if I get to that place, I'll take an hour and go get a massage or a mani pedi if/when I can. I also think that's why I haven't been sick in a long period of time, which is a place where you're no good to anyone.
The question really answers itself with the key being balance. And I always remember that no one else has a magic clock that gives them more than 24 hours in a day. We all have a finite amount of time with which to go about our work, so I would say prioritizing and not comparing yourself to anyone else is also a key to that balance formula.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I can't believe I have this job?" What was it?
On the good side, or the bad side? Ha! As previously mentioned, I was kind of thrust into this world and never looked back. I think about how lucky I am every single day. Having an appreciation for what you do is critical to long-term happiness. If you aren't happy at least most of every day, then you're doing something wrong and need a change. I would say though, if there were one defining moment of happiness and incredulity regarding my job, it would have been that very first time a client hugged me so tightly I couldn't breathe and then said, "Thank you." That was -- and continues to be -- a completely awe-inspiring and humbling experience each and every time.
What are some of the rules you live by?
My top 10 are:
1 / Put your best foot forward. You never know who you might meet, so always be presentable and always try to be kind and memorable.
2 / Obey the five-minute rule. My dad taught me this one and it's simply that you don't discuss a person or a meeting -- good or bad -- until five minutes have passed. That way, you can't get yourself in trouble or give yourself away. That one is just good sense, but you would be surprised how many people flub it up.
3 / A compliment goes a long way.
4 / Never talk smack on anyone, no matter how much you want to. People who talk smack make themselves look bad, not you. It shows their true character.
5 / Know your audience.
6 / Find your signature color. Find -- and know -- that one color or that one outfit that always looks great, so you feel confident no matter what.
7 / Follow up. It always amazes me how few people really truly make the effort. Especially in consulting where you are the brand, by not following up you're essentially saying, "I'm good. I don't need anymore business today."
8 / Get those endorphins flowing. No matter how crappy you feel, getting your blood pumping will de-funkify you, get new ideas going and reinvigorate a tired mind
9 / Remember to reward yourself. As driven business owners, we're always thinking what we can do better and what's next. I think it's important to spend time being grateful for what you have and acknowledging how far you've come.
10 / Remember what's important. At the end of the day, while I love what I do, I love my family and friends more. Always remembering that they're the priority is one of the keys to balance and happiness.
What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?
You need ability to live on little sleep. You also need a passion for your business and clients. Understanding what you are and are not good at, then delegating the latter. An unmatched diligence for your clients and for building new relationships is important. You'll also definitely need a fantastic team (no woman is her own island). And be sure you have a grateful and humble attitude.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Everything good and bad happens for a reason, so have faith in yourself. And go by Apple stock early!
What would you have liked someone to have told you before you became an entrepreneur?
Make sure you really love what you're doing and surround yourself with talented, positive people. It's your community who will get you through every stage of your business. Don't have lone wolf syndrome.