Monday, June 17, 2013

A total inspiration

Beauty is the whole package- and I met her last week!
Last week, I was shooting the Holiday looks for a new Minneapolis based clothing company, Sophia Graydon. This was the second time shooting for the brand, specializing in ultra luxury womens' loungewear. One of the reasons I absolutely love my job modeling is because of the people I get to meet, especially those who have a positive impact on myself and those around us for what they contribute to the world.  Through shooting for Sophia Graydon, I met a woman so beautiful inside and out whom I found so inspiring, I had to write about her.  She's a perfect example of a lot of the messages I try to convey in my paintings: true beauty in a woman comes from something way more than what we see on the outside. It's the whole package.  It's strength.   It's attitude.  It's drive.

The first time I shot for Sophia Graydon, I didn't know much about the woman who started the company, or why.  I just knew I loved working for the brand for several reasons (everyone was super nice, the clothes were beyond comfortable and I shot with one of my fave Mpls. photographers, Michael Haug).  The first shoot went well, so I was more than happy to work for them again last week.  But this time, the founder of the company, Monica Nassif was coming to help with the shoot all day.  Typically, when a client comes on set, stress levels rise.  But not this time.

I think all of us at the shoot were blown away by Monica and how inspiring it was to be around her, absorbing her stories.  She probably had no idea that she was such a positive force when she came to be hands-on with her photo shoot last Thursday.  Not only did she have an elegant, stunning presence, but the way she spoke about her business and life values made me hang onto every one of her words. She is probably one of the most successful women I've ever met, yet so humble, so balanced and a brilliant woman in business.  She is someone I want to be around all the time (although I would probably drive her crazy with my "ideaphoria").  She is addicted to starting and growing businesses that involve products that people will love and find useful.  All of these qualities make for a recipe for enormous success.

A cover-up from our last shoot for S.G.
Monica's previous business endeavors include founding Caldrea and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products- very popular products that I use every day! The name Caldrea is a combination of her daughters' names (Calla and Aundrea) and Mrs. Meyers is actually her mother- a real life embodiment of the brand.   Monica saw a need in the market to make cleaning products without all the harsh chemicals, obnoxious packaging and bad smells.  She built the companies up to enormous success and sold them to S.C. Johnson in 2008.  Now, she is switching lanes to her newest business challenge- her clothing company, Sophia Graydon.  In her own struggle to find elegant loungewear that wasn't too overly sexy, she created a brand that fills that gap.  Sophia Graydon (also names from her family tree) makes the most luxurious longewear in the world.  I would know, the soft silk she uses is fit for a Queen.

Monica loves the thrill and excitement of building and starting new businesses- and everything she touches seems to be a success.  She's a serial entrepreneur (video). And she's not slowing down.  She told me that her husband just retired, but she's not joining him!   Retirement would be torture for Monica.  Her favorite thing in the world to do is work on building her businesses.

So why did Monica Nassif have such an impact on me that it is four days later and I still can't stop thinking about her?  I meet business people, celebrities and entrepreneurs all the time in my business, so what was it about her that was so different? It was a combination of everything she is.  Not only does she prove that she can be a powerful player in the world of business, but Monica has a side to her that is so humble and anchored in her love for her family and values.  She radiates this. She's raised her two beautiful daughters to be just the same. That's how I want to be.

Based on Monica's track record, I predict much success in the future for Sophia Graydon!

Check out this article in Minneapols/St. Paul Magazine on Monica.  Also, check out Sophia Graydon's FB page where there are all kinds of photos and great little bits of information!  They're also having a sample sale in Minneapolis on June 27th where you can score 80% off on her line.

Sometimes all it takes is one person in your life who really inspires you to think, 'I can do that!".  We are all a product of the relationships we choose to have around us.  We can choose good relationships that lift us up, which is what I've learned to value more as I get older.  

Alright, big week for me, so I need to get going!  Interview with Natalie Kane from WCCO tomorrow morning, so  I'll post on Twitter the details for where you can watch me on t.v.   Stay tuned!  Then, off to Chicago tomorrow... Happy Monday everyone!




1 comment :

  1. Very interesting, I especially like how she digs into her family names to brand her companies.

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