426 MINISODE Nayri Kalayjian: Think Bigger
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 special Mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about why your mistakes in business do not define you … they are always an opportunity to learn an important lesson that takes you to new heights. Also why it is vital to surround yourself with people who push you to think and play bigger.
Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is …
Nayri is known as the Wedding Fashion Expert, with the country’s leading bridal brand Lovella Bridal. Her secret is in leveraging technology to delight her customers and drive unrivalled word-of-mouth for her Los Angeles bridal boutique.
Nayri Kalayjian (Kalay-Gee-Ann) will be here with her advice in just a moment on our Mentoring Minisode and first …
And now to the inspiring Nayri Kalayjian (Kalay-Gee-Ann).
She’s a bestselling author, a leading stylist for celebrity brides, and a successful coach – and more than all of that she’s an innovator who specializes in creating a unique customer experience. Nayri says there’s a lot of work “behind the veil” to delight brides to-be … from creating and overseeing the overall business strategy to team building to implementing pioneering sales and marketing initiatives.
Nayri also advises world-renowned designers, helping them refine and edit their collections. She has been featured on Good Morning America, Mario Lopez & Courtney’s Wedding Fiesta, DC Cupcakes on TLC, Season 5 of David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding on WE Network, as well as People.com. Nayri has styled celebrity brides including Ashley Iaconetti from The Bachelor, Zena Foster Babbs who married R&B Singer Tank, and Jazmyn Simon from Ballers on HBO.
Her best selling book, “I’m Getting Married & Have Nothing to Wear” is the ultimate guide to helping brides find their perfect wedding dress. It also serves as a training tool for store owners and bridal stylists.
Most recently, Nayri released “Bridal Store Blueprint” an online course created based on industry feedback from her YouTube channel and Podcast. Designed for store owners, her online course shares a proven and tested business formula. When implemented, bridal salons can scale and thrive.
Today she shares some important advice about how to get out of your comfort zone and not let others who don’t share your vision minimize or thwart your dream… and much more.
Melinda Wittstock: Nayri, welcome to Wings.
Nayri Kalayjian: Thank you for having me. How are you doing?
Melinda Wittstock: I’m doing great today and I hope you’re doing well too. And there are lots of things inspiring you because that’s my first question, what is inspiring you today?
Nayri Kalayjian: Oh my goodness. I have so many things that inspire me daily, but right now I am working on a lot of different things, which is super exciting. I, of course, have Lovella Bridal, which is my main focus and it’s a retail store in the Los Angeles area. And we have the coolest job in the world where we get to dress women daily for one of the most important days of their life and their wedding gown. And to add on to that, I also have a book where I help educate within the industry brides along with stores. So right now I’m working on a huge project where it’s a video series called Nayri Unveiled, and I’m unveiling aspects about my life and the industry that people don’t really know about just yet. So I’m super excited for that and I’m just really inspired to show people a deeper understanding and even just a deeper part of the industry that they aren’t exposed to. So I’m taking everybody behind the scenes at bridal market, how we buy our inventory, the strategy that goes behind it, all the social media tactics that go behind it, so I’m really excited about it.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that sounds wonderful. How exciting. And so in every business there are always challenges though, for all of us, and I like to de-stigmatize those, for anybody listening who thinks they’re the only one or they’re alone with their challenges, they’re not. What are some of yours?
Nayri Kalayjian: Yes. So many challenges. I mean, this all sounds really beautiful and pretty, which it is, but the behind the scenes of it is that of course there’s a lot of self-doubt. And people that I share my ideas with sometimes are not always the most encouraging, no different than when I was creating online courses for it to help other bridal store owners to make our industry stronger, to help people be more profitable, because I have made mistakes and I’ve learned from our mistakes. And if I can help someone else, why wouldn’t I so that they don’t have to make them?
So I would say the biggest challenge for me is whenever I’m really excited about an idea… As an entrepreneur I have this really big vision, and maybe sometimes to some people they think, “Oh my gosh, she lives in this fairy tale. She thinks that she can make this difference, this change.” And the truth of the matter is I am making a difference in a change within the space that I’m in. So I would say the biggest challenge for me is blocking out the noise of those who don’t truly understand my vision because I also understand that my vision is very unique. And I’m now at a place where I understand that. And I can’t expect people, all people around me that I love spending my time with, to really understand my vision.
Melinda Wittstock: This is so profound because often we turn to our friends and family for validation and they don’t have the perspective. They’re not really in our shoes. I mean they love us, but they’re not necessarily entrepreneurs, they don’t really know what we’re going through so we need a different business family. We need to surround ourselves with people who really get what we’re going through.
Nayri Kalayjian: Exactly. And I’ve done that because it’s like I’ll be coming off of this high where I’ve had this amazing idea, I can see what results are going to come from this thing that I put out there, whatever it is, and my family member or a close friend, and not to throw anyone under the bus or anything, but I’ll share it with them because I’m so excited and then all of a sudden they’ll say something like, “Well, why would you want to help other stores in the industry? You’re just going to affect your own store. You’re giving away all your secrets. Why would you do that?” And this layer of negativity comes through and then it causes this self-doubt in your mind where now you’re on this negative roller coaster with your head. So it is, it’s very important to find other entrepreneurs, business like-minded people like you that really see your vision and help you encourage it and cultivate a really positive environment to nurture those thoughts because you probably do have a really great idea and it’s all about the execution. An idea is one thing; execution is another thing. And then having people, complete strangers, opt into whatever it is that you’re doing.
So creating an environment of entrepreneurs and individuals who understand your mindset, helping you shape your ideas and improve it and make it even better so that the general population and complete strangers opt in is so important. And it took me some time to really learn that.
Melinda Wittstock: It takes everybody a long time. And women tend to get quite isolated in entrepreneurship sometimes, we have to really get out of our comfort zones and ask for help. And so I’m going to segue here now into what your top three go-to pieces of advice are for women in business and female founders, things that you’ve learned along the way, if you distilled it down, what would be the top three?
Nayri Kalayjian: Yeah. I would say that you need to surround yourself with a community that makes you think bigger than you’re thinking. So whatever it is that you’re thinking, surround yourself with those who are going to push you to think even bigger than that. I have found that to be so valuable for me.
And trust yourself. Trust the process. The process isn’t always easy and there are going to be lots of things that discourage you or even make you feel… Sometimes I have had moments where I have felt like less than, like I’m not capable of this, and people have made me feel that I can’t do it. You can. You just need to surround yourself with the right people that are going to encourage you.
And I would say you don’t need to cut the people who discourage you out of your life because maybe they offer something else to your life, but they are not the person that you need to be talking about business with.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so don’t confide in them or expect advice from them. That’s such profound advice. What would be number two?
Nayri Kalayjian: Number two would be don’t apologize for your success. I have experienced extreme success, and I’m so grateful and it’s been a really hard journey, and I’ve always felt like sometimes I need to apologize for it or downplay it because I’m going to make someone feel bad or someone I love is going to be jealous or even perhaps an employee or a coworker or just someone that’s around me that I care very deeply for is going to feel some type of way because I’ve achieved success. And the bottom line is even when you have employees and you have a team working with you, when you’re successful, they’re successful. They want to celebrate that with you. And that’s something that I had to learn really early on because I almost wanted to keep the business success a secret because I was scared to share it, that what are people going to think? But it’s a good thing. It needs to be celebrated.
Melinda Wittstock: So interesting that women are afraid of success. I don’t think that ever holds men back. They get applauded for it, but we think, “Oh my God, my friends aren’t going to like me,” or, “No man is going to want me,” or I don’t know some weird stuff, some old belief. We’ve got to retire all that. What is advice number three?
Nayri Kalayjian: Advice number three, I would say that your mistakes don’t define you and you’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay. That’s part of your process. You’re going to learn and grow from them. I have made many mistakes, but I’ve also made many great decisions. And you cannot let those mistakes discourage you to the point where you give up. So you have to keep pushing through.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. So Nayri, how can people find you and work with you, anyone who’s listening, who’s maybe getting married soon?
Nayri Kalayjian: [inaudible 00:07:56] getting married or thinking of opening a bridal store or anything within the wedding space, I’m happy to help. So our company name is Lovella Bridal and you can go to lovellabridal.com or on Instagram, @LovellaBridal. And then I also have my own Instagram, which is @weddingfashionexpert or weddingfashionexpert.com.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Nayri Kalayjian: Thank you for having me.