RM StyleMama: Leslie McKeown – Prioritize!

This week’s StyleMama and successful clothing store owner, Leslie McKeown, shared with me the trick of balancing work and family – prioritize and recognize that it’s impossible to do it all! Leslie says it is important to assess where you are in your life, your current family demands, and what makes you happy. “In the boom times, I made a conscious decision not to expand my clothing store business. I had a newborn at home and I wanted to be there in the mornings and home for dinner. It wasn’t an easy to choice to make, but I chose my family over growing my business.” At the same time, Leslie doesn’t want to underplay that she’s always given 110% to her store, but now that her children are older she’s been able to give more time to building her company, launching an online business and planning the opening of a second store. My take away from Leslie is to make choices which are right for you with your current life commitments, set realistic expectations, and don’t take on too much.

Photo by Amelia Alpaugh

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 41 years old
Children: 6-year-old daughter & 4-year-old son
Occupation: Owner of Poppy – Women’s Boutique
Leslie was a VP of Marketing during the dot.com boom, but felt unfilled and miserable. She left that job to think about what she wanted to do with her life and then the horrible events of September 11th took place, making her take a hard look at her past and future career choices. She had always loved fashion and this led to a developing a wholesale business for two clothing designers. Leslie soon realized that if she could build a successful business for someone else, what was stopping her from building her own.

In 2008, Leslie launched Poppy, which is frequented by fashion editors, models, and celebs like Diane Kruger, Michelle williams, and Tyra banks. While she had never owned a store before, she cut her teeth working at her mother’s retail store growing up. She’s thankful for making that life-changing shift as her boutique allows her to funnel her passion for art, style, and fashion and, more importantly, it provides a good work-life balance. Leslie says she’s still in the store everyday and works after the kids go to bed, but having a great staff and being her own boss means she is ultimately in control of her own destiny.

What is she wearing?
Sweater – from Paris
Blouse – J Crew
Jeans – J Brand from Poppy
Triangle necklace – madewell
Rhinestone necklace – vintage
Diamond stud necklace – gift
Diamond stud earrings – gift
Bracelet – gift (Cartier)

Photo by Amelia Alpaugh

How does she look so darn good?
Leslie claims to be coasting on residuals as she took to sports, health, and fitness at a young age. While she doesn’t exercise like she used to (aside from a power spinning class once a week and ab and push-ups daily), she makes a point of walking everywhere she goes.   As for nutrition, she says since her kids arrived on the scene she’s placed greater importance on healthy cooking and eating. She insists on have salad at every dinner and no snacking.

What is she wearing?
Coat – Gryphon from Poppy
Jeans – J Brand from Poppy
Gloves – Coach
Bag – Chloe
Boots – vintage

Photo by Amelia Alpaugh

What is she wearing?
T-shirt – T Los Angeles from Poppu
Pants – J Crew
Shoes – vintage
Rhinestone necklace – vintage
Diamond stud necklace – gift
Diamond stud earrings – gift
Bracelet – gift (Cartier)
Assorted other bracelets – Poppy

Her style:
“I’m a downtown person and a walking advertisement for my store…mostly emerging or established contemporary designers, such as Joie, Alexander Wang, J Brand, and Lauren Moffatt to name a few. My look is never perfect and I like things to be a little off. I love jeans because they are comfortable and they can be smart or casual. I generally customize each pair/look with different accessories. I like the way that my style is not classic and wearing jeans every day is like wearing a uniform which isn’t a uniform. It’s important to point out that my style has morphed over the years with my change in lifestyle and age and my store reflects that…my longtime customers have really grown with me as well.” – Leslie McKeown.

Photographer: Amelia Alpaugh is an editorial and commercial photographer based in New York City.  Her clients include Refinery 29 and Brooks Brothers among others.  Www.ameliaalpaugh.com

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