356 MINISODE Maria Murphy: Lift As You Climb
Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life– and create and grow businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose.
On this mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about why women are at our best when we work and collaborate together. All too often we self-isolate and that’s the worst thing to do if you want to succeed in business – we succeed when we surround ourselves with other strong women.
Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is …
Maria is the founder of Lei-Lei, a socially conscious Ecommerce fashion marketplace that showcases handmade fairly traded items by women artisans around the world.
She says her company is based on the belief that helping others in need makes the world a better place.
And now to the inspiring Maria Murphy.
Maria grew up in the fashion world, starting in the Macy’s showroom as a little girl tagging along with her model mom, and rising to executive positions in the fashion world across retail, wholesale, buying, merchandising and beyond.
With over 30 years of experience, Maria took the leap into entrepreneurship and founded her passion project Lei-Lei – the socially conscious ecommerce fashion marketplace – while holding the position of VP of Sales for Tahari Arthur S. Levine.
Lei-Lei showcases uniquely designed handcrafted items by women artisans from impoverished countries around the world. And Maria’s mission is to connect fairly traded businesses that give back to their artisans through social and economic advancement with eco-conscious consumers who care about helping others. Her goal is to inspire positive consumer behavior to bring about real change, both in society as well as to the environment.
Melinda Wittstock: Maria, welcome to WINGS.
Maria Murphy: Thank you so much, Melinda. I’m so happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m happy to have you, and very excited to learn what is inspiring you most right now about what you’re up to in the world.
Maria Murphy: I have been so incredibly jazzed by more and more women that have come together to help empower each other. I seemed to be surrounded by more people, more women today than I have since I started my business six years. I think that it’s just growing. I feel that other women are coming together, and lifting each other up, and working together, and trying to help cross-promote and surround themselves with positivity. That’s something that I’ve been striving for so greatly is just to be surrounded by positive, thought-provoking women that are helping each other.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that. You resonate obviously so deeply with me, with the mission to lift as we climb, hence WINGS. When women do really help each other from that kind of abundance mindset perspective, we all do so much better. We really need each other’s support, I think.
Maria Murphy: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. I think for too long, everybody was in their own little bubble, and feeling like they couldn’t reach out for support or ask for help. It’s okay to do that. It’s fine to say, “Hey, I need a hand,” or “Let me show this past you. What do you think?” “How do you think this sounds? Is this is a great idea? Do you find any flaws in it? What’s your thoughts? What’s your ideas about this?” I think for too long, I also was guilty of that. I didn’t reach out and I didn’t look to some of my very strong and empowering women that I was friends with. I’ve crossed that path now, and I have tried to promote that amongst my friends too.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh, I hear you. We’re all guilty of that. I think we were all acculturated to be in this kind of scarcity mindset, that there were only so many scraps to go around because there were so few of us.
Maria Murphy: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: I think now, that’s really, really transitioning. It took me a long time to be able to ask for help as well, and I see this so much. It comes up in the podcast over and over again, as well. It’s great. Both of us have crossed the Rubicon on that, so that’s awesome.
Maria Murphy: Definitely.
Melinda Wittstock: Everybody in business though has challenges. We all do. One of the things I do here is try and de-stigmatize that, because I think some entrepreneurs who are feeling alone or isolated or whatever think they’re the only ones that are having challenges. Of course, that’s not true. What are some of yours?
Maria Murphy: Well, I have to tell you. I think that one particular challenge that I have specifically with my business and growing my business is the idea… I’m a definitely a thinker, and I love to come up with new ideas and ways of growing my business. I like to think of myself as more like a visionary, but I find that a lot of times I might not be into the minutia or the operations end of it, and in trying to integrate all of the aspects, the numerics, that whole side of the operation. I think the challenge for me is to try to find someone to bring into my tribe that can join my team, that can offer that and help left the business in that regard. I think it’s identifying the needs that I have, and not thinking that I can do it all myself.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, every visionary needs an integrator. I don’t know if you’ve read that book, Rocket Fuel. So many entrepreneurs are the visionaries. It’s what leads us to even have the ideas to begin with, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re the best at executing on each and every single part of that business.
Maria Murphy: So true.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s true. I really struggled with that as well, how to get the operational people around you that you need if you’re a visionary.
Maria Murphy: Definitely.
Melinda Wittstock: That is a great segue into our pieces of advice. Along the way, what are the top three things that you would advise women in business, female entrepreneurs to really do, based on your own experiences along this journey?
Maria Murphy: That’s an awesome question. I think it’s so important to be true to yourself, number one and foremost. Surround yourself with really strong, encouraging people who will help lift you up, and put you in the path, and steer you in the right direction. Thirdly, I would say that you really need to do what you absolutely love and have a passion for, and follow that and you’ll be happy and blessed in the long run. That’s my hope.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it’s so interesting how all those three pieces of advice fit so well together. When you’re being true to yourself and you’re doing the thing that you love, you’re more likely to attract the right kind of people who buy into your vision or are going to support you in that vision.
Maria Murphy: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: All those three things to together. Maria, this is amazing. How can people find you, work with you, participate in this amazing eCommerce, evolved eCommerce I’ll call it, marketplace that you have and you’ve built?
Maria Murphy: Well firstly, I have a website. They can find me at the URL that is L-E-I dash L-E-I dot net, lei-lei.net. I’m also on social media on Facebook. The user name is Lei-Lei.net. Remember to put the name LEI-LEI. Instagram is Lei-Lei Nepal, N-E-P-A-L at the end. Pinterest is a really great platform for us as well, and that is LeiLei Bracelets, no dash in between. Those are the ways to find us.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful, and I know that you have a special offer for our listeners today too.
Maria Murphy: Oh my gosh, I absolutely do, very excited. If your listeners go onto our website, and in the area where you input an email address, we’re offering 10% the entire order through June 30th. Use the code InspiredWings10, the capital I and the capital W.
Melinda Wittstock: InspiredWings10. Thank you so much for your generosity and taking the time to put your wings on and fly with us.
Maria Murphy: Thank you so much, Melinda. I had a great time.