St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami - Juris Doctorate
University of Kentucky, Lexington - BBA in Marketing
Self-described “consummate fashion student” Suzanne Kopulos longs to learn every last detail of styling and fashion. What began as watching her mother in her sewing room turned into a curiosity about fashion and style. That curiosity eventually evolved into a runway show, luxury handbag line for mothers and now, a styling empire.
From dressing Beyonce and Christina Hendricks to launching a fashion website that connects small boutiques and brands, Suzanne has shown the world her intense passion for marrying her love of fashion with her love of business. “Fashion has impacted me on a very emotional level,” she says. “I’m a budding entrepreneur with serious drive to discover and uncover the very best in fashion brands and boutiques and share that information with the world.”
Only invite others who share the same passion and work ethic into your world.
At what point did you decide to launch your own fashion website, Garmental?
My initial idea to launch Garmental came after designing and selling my own brand of luxury handbags for mothers, Boujie Baby Couture. With experience in creating my own brand from concept to market, manufacturing overseas and domestic, then selling to boutiques and big box stores in the U.S., I saw a need to give small boutiques and brands a voice and connect them with shoppers.
Garmental was created to fill this void by building a platform for consumers to discover local boutiques and brands, be visually stimulated by video content and shop! Garmental is a city’s style concierge and personal shopper. It’s the pulse on local fashion. Plus, it’s a much needed and wanted resource and community in the fastest-growing and most influential cities in the nation.
You also have your own handbag line for moms, Boujie Baby Couture. What made you decide to launch your own brand line?
Boujie Baby was my initial footstep into the fashion world. I created the brand out of necessity. Both my sister and best friend were pregnant and I couldn't find a single diaper bag that suited their style and my taste, so I created my own! Boujie was truly an eye opening experience and so much fun. Since my luxury line sold out in 2009, I took a break to launch Garmental and have plans of re-launching the brand into a women's handbag collection coming soon!
How do you know for sure that a job in fashion is the right job for you?
I’ve been so blessed with drive and determination—not to mention the most supportive family and friends. I’ve always known that the fashion industry would be my springboard to amazing jobs.
When I'm in the moment and have reached personal goals within those jobs, I’ve enjoyed some serious personal satisfaction. The feeling is like no other and you just "know it." I feel like this is just the beginning of my career and I can't wait to see what happens next!
From the The Oprah Show to Beyonce, you've had some incredible styling gigs. What has been your biggest, "I can't believe I have this job" moment?
My most recent job styling Christina Hendricks of Mad Men blew me away! Not just because she’s quite possibly the sweetest A-List Hollywood starlet, but also because it was so much fun. I got to shop for and dress an iconic woman in a look that wasn't expected and it was a huge personal success. Making the Daily Mail, Washington Post and other outlets with rave reviews of her look was a huge accomplishment and very proud moment—not to mention being named one of the top four stylists in Chicago by CBS.
I've also been named General Growth Properties' featured Fearless Fashionista for Chicago. I love that I get to share my fashion style tips and picks with their audience. Finally, I'm also honored to be part of another growing fashion startup, keep.com, as a featured Keeper. I create my favorite fashion collections from the e-marketplace for shoppers to discover and buy. Follow me and keep along here.
What challenges keep you awake at night? Why?
Time! There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of my to do's. If I checked everything off of my list, I can guarantee I didn't sleep. That’s the hardest part about running your own business and brand: the amount of time and work it takes is unimaginable. I wouldn't trade this journey for the world, but trust me, it isn't for the faint of heart! It’s the single reason why loving what you do is so important and only inviting others who share the same passion and work ethic into your world is key. There must be an undying thirst for knowledge, sharing, patience and respect in your heart.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Absolutely! Work becomes your life, but you don't want it to consume you entirely. I have to be careful of being obsessed with work; I’ve quickly found that friends don't always want to hear about the best t-shirt on the market. To stay on track, I make a million lists a day and then cut them down to to-dos or to dies. And to maintain lower stress levels, I hightail it out of the city and spend weekends at the beach in Michigan. The water is like therapy!
What are some of the rules you live by?
- Be kind to people.
- Be honest.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Never give up.
- If one door closes, look for a window.
- Buying expensive clothes does not equate to style.
- Success doesn't happen overnight, but hard work and determination will put you on the right path.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Oh goodness! I loved my twenties. Though I wouldn't change a thing, I would say, "Slow down." I’m such a Big Picture dreamer and moved so fast and then on to the next project. Sometimes soaking it all in is necessary. I tend to move on so fast, I fail to relish in the moment!
What is one thing we might be surprised to know about you?
Most people are surprised to learn I graduated from Law School and immediately turned to fashion. I love my legal education and think it has contributed to developing so many of my talents, but it's surprising to most of my peers.
What are three style staples for every working woman needs in her closet?
1. A pointy-toe pump that can go from office to out in comfort.
2. A fabulous jacket with texture that can be worn with pants and skirts.
3. A chic alternative to the boring briefcase. Invest in a leather handbag you love and use every day!