Last night I was found out that I was named as a “Limit Breaking Female Founder” among 98 other founders such as Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Socialfly, CEO of Birchbox, CEO of Peanut, Michelle Kennedy and many other amazing founders.

HuffPost combines breaking news and blogging with media commentary from some of the original thinkers in Hollywood, corporate America and the media. HuffPost currently has 22,910,627 followers a month.

Sometimes I find it hard to put into words how completely humbled and honored I am to have this platform inspiring other women.

For full article click here.

 

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/99-limit-breaking-female-founders-share-the-most_us_5a580ad6e4b00b4ea8d08345

2017 was the year of overcoming trials:

  • My dog of 14 years passed away and my heart still aches from not having the comfort of her
    around.
  • My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
  • I ended a three-year on again off again toxic relationship

It’s relieving to think that 2017 (one of the hardest and most challenging years of my life) has closed. As I reflect back on this past year, I have to say I truly learned what the word “resilience” means to me in my own terms.

I met that girl, resilience, at a young age. I am the product of a single-family home where I learned how to stand tall when I thought my world was crumbling all around me. I had to work for everything I wanted. I guess you could say I was a true born hustler (cheers to that!). I learned how to survive on my own. I pushed through and put that Michelle smile we all know on and made it happen. I smiled through those times and through the grace of God, I always (crazily enough) saw the beauty in the trials.

In 2017 my mother was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Doctors on doctors and paperwork on paperwork. I had to be strong for her cause we are all we have. Is it better? Hell no, this is just the beginning but I can’t look back, I have to look forward and prepare myself. And yet, once again I was comforted by my longtime friend, Resilience.

I also learned to find my inner voice and worth in 2017 in the midst of a not so healthy relationship. I felt like I was in quicksand and couldn’t get out. But in the mundane circle I was getting wrapped up in during this three-year relationship, I can now look back and see the beauty in it. How I persevered and found “Michelle”.

I am excited and looking forward to 2018. Who wouldn’t be happy about that? I get to travel the world and meet amazing people that inspire me daily. I choose to make my life better by eating healthy, working out daily and surrounding myself with nothing but positive and happy vibes. All of my trials in life has led me to where I am today. To enjoy all the amazing things and to accept the things I cannot change but to embrace them as life changing moments.

Everyone has a chapter in their book that they peak at with one eye open. But we all need to give those dark moments credit. They shape you into who you are today…which is AMAZING. I look back, and I smile at my pages. Those hard moments I thought were the end of the world were page turners in my Louis Vuitton journal. I look ahead to 2018 and it’s a fresh, new and exciting chapter. If you want to cut negative people or relationships out of your life, do it. If you want to tell someone to F off, by all means please do.

Here is to 2018 with less filters on pictures, more real talk, wearing your heart on your sleeve and helping one another achieve great accomplishments.

Alright lady, I want to ask you a very important question. It’s simple, and it’s one we don’t sit down and think about much. Here it is: What have you accomplished, and are you proud of those achievements? I recently sat down (after actually penciling it into my handy planner) to reflect on that very small but extremely loaded question.

Life can definitely get in the way of remembering our proud moments and milestones, I am the first to admit. When I was in my early 20s, I was so consumed with starting my own business that I got completely and utterly wrapped up in the process. I didn’t take the time to reflect on this huge accomplishment at such a young age.

When I look back at it now, I regret not taking the time to enjoy the moment. Recognizing the moments of growth, and even the struggles I encountered because I didn’t think this was what I was meant to do, is so very important. I remember dancing around the boutique by myself to “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga (yes, it was a top hit at the time and yes… guilty). But why the hell don’t we ever talk about our journey while we are still on the journey? How we got to where we are today, that is something to be proud of.

They don’t have to be major achievements. It could absolutely mean cooking your first pan of homemade lasagna (still trying to tackle that one) or maybe it’s buying your first house. Girl, you should be proud of everything you work for.

Sophia Amoruso (NastyGirl fame) calls these simply daily reflections of gratitude “Girl Boss Moments” and they can be as simple as saying no to something and putting yourself first to getting a raise at work or signing a new client.

When I look back at my journey as a business owner and starting out, it was a dream. I was styling bold faced names, attending Fashion Weeks in New York and Los Angles and honestly, rocking out at life. I look back on these memories fondly, but at the time I got swept away by all the distractions. I completely forgot to take it all in and simply enjoy the moment.

I get it, it’s hard when you are busy crunching numbers, designing your own life or whatever it might be. Trust me when I say that I wish I would have savored every moment. They are now gone, sketched away in my head to remember, but to never pull out to relive.

So, what am I trying to say here? Step back and take a look at your proudest moments when they are happening. Talk about them and brag as much as you want, they are yours. Live in the moment as you are as you take over the world. We need more people that are proud of themselves and living at peace by their expectations and not others.

lilac and lilies forbesToday one of my dreams came true, we were included in Forbes. The article covers how small businesses can compete with big companies during the holidays. Lilac And Lilies Boutique was among other companies such as Handsocks, Crompton Collective and St. Croix Chocolate Company. Forbes.com focuses on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle and garners 29,759,863 viewers a month.

Couldn’t be more more proud of our incredible team and what we have created.

Click here to read the article.

How many times in your life have you been told to ‘brand yourself’ or ‘make sure you leave a lasting impression,”? Well speaking for myself, I would have to say a million times. Girlfriend, your brand is everything – it’s who you are. It stands for what you do, and why you do what you do. Your journey as an individual is a part of your brand and your product. Be proud of it and show it!

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room,” is a quote that I live by religiously. Just think about it for a second. You enter a room and you make an impression. When you leave, what will people think? What will people think of your business? Are they interested? (Have I made you think today? Good!)

Day in and day out, you’re a walking advertisement of yourself and your product. Just like Anna Wintour is to Vogue and Steve Jobs was to Apple – their brands followed them and vice versa.

michelle dimarco

As a business owner, I have to keep that at the forefront of my mind. Lilac And Lilies is an expression of who I am. From the fashion and accessories, I hand-pick for the boutique, to the music we play in store, it all comes down to my brand which is essentially me.

It wasn’t always easy for me to practice this. To be honest, it was hard as hell trying to merge our two identities. I was starting a business, had just moved back to Florida and honestly still grasping with life as an ambitious young woman. There were lessons I learned and some that I am still learning.

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear, shaping your personal brand is extremely important. Below are some personal tips that have helped me out, and I want to share with my favorite people:

1. Understand yourself and be true to who you are

Honey, you do not, and I repeat, do not want to build YOUR personal brand around something you are not. Can you just imagine how exhausting that would be? You would have to act a certain way, appear a certain way, and say certain things every day, regardless of how you felt about it. Damn, I am already winded just thinking about that. More wine, please! Be you and be authentic. That is what will ultimately lead to success in the long run.

2. Pitch, pitch, pitch yourself

Yes, you heard me. Pitch YOURSELF. Not your company or product, but the genuine and amazing you. I would recommend starting with some speaking engagements or applying for industry awards. These are opportunities to be seen and heard while also building your freaking amazing credibility. Viewers will begin to make a connection with you and be interested in what you are offering. Start small, and keep building. When I speak at events, I speak from the soul. I share my true opinions. If I can make at least one connection with someone in the room then I have succeeded.

michelle dimarco

3. Make your online presence remarkable

I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I have to mention social media or even the World Wide Web (Do people still call it that?). These days you can find anything online, and I mean anything including you. How does your online presence look? Is it something you yourself would be interested in? Social media is what people confide in when they want to get to know somebody. Do your channels represent you truly? Do they present you in the best light possible? It is always a good rule of thumb to never put something online that your grandmother wouldn’t approve.

 

I could have written a book on what I thought my life would be like.  Growing up, I imagined a devoted husband, the perfect 2.5 caring children and a shiny white picket fence in the suburbs.  An ideal life for a Stepford wife, but that’s not where the universe decided to take me, and I’m totally fine with that.

Instead, I am single (and dating, adventurously!), I own my own successful business and I have nowhere near 2.5 children.  And you know what?  I am exactly where I am meant to be.

So many of us have a cookie cutter model mapped out for our lives, but then we get thrown for a loop when fate decides to take us in a different direction.  Instead of cursing the universe, like I know we all want to, take a deep breath and surrender.  Just like taking a breath and falling into a not-so-comfy yoga pose, take a deep breath and let yourself fall into the arms of the universe and all that it has planned for you.

Take me, for example, who at 31 decided that I didn’t necessarily need to rely on a husband or children to find my sense of purpose. Instead, I pulled up my metaphorical bootstraps and decided to start my own business, Lilac And Lilies, which became my baby over time.  I’ve watched it grow and develop, and I couldn’t be prouder of all the work I’ve done to make it what it is today.

Beyond finding my own sense of fulfillment, I’ve been truly honored and inspired to see all of the dedicated female business owners who have followed in my footsteps.  I hope to see more individuals embracing different paths to success in the future; after all, I myself could not be happier with the path that fate decided to take me.

Whatever your path may be, I hope that it satisfies you; everyone deserves to find their version of success—even if there is no picket fence involved.

It’s 6:30 in the morning and all I can think about is what I have planned for today, tomorrow and this weekend. When did I get so busy? I’m sipping on my second cup of coffee and running through today’s agenda, which is looking pretty full. I’ll be lucky to whip up a protein smoothie in between meetings and errands.


I choose to stay busy because that’s what works for me. I’m energized by new business ventures, inspiring projects, events and of course spending time with my family and friends. However, there is something to be said for spending time by yourself. I am actually a huge advocate for this and have learned to embrace it as a result of a serious relationship ending. It is during these times you grow as a person and gain insight on becoming a better version of yourself. Sometimes you have to figure out what your alone time looks like. For some its eating by themselves or going to a movie. For me, I find that my most cherished time alone is when I travel.

It’s my thing. It includes just one bag, just one person and a itch to explore. The fact that I curate my solo adventures, stumble upon unexpected explorations and meet some pretty cool people along the way are what makes me appreciate life so much more. I have been to many places on solo adventures, both in the US and internationally. Yes, wanderlust destinations known for picturesque honeymoons and insta-worthy girls trips. Some of my best memories have been made during these times. I ate my way through France and experienced my first bomb scare there, may or may not have been on the back of a scooter driven by a sexy Italian man who (may or may not have) took me to a secluded beach where we drank wine and swam naked in the Amalfi coast, visited a orphanage in Thailand and rode on the back of an elephant through the river and a few more that I will leave for a future post.

Its during these times that I find myself and my voice as a individual. Without outside pressures you can form your own opinions and learn to embrace and appreciate the person you are before allowing others to appreciate you. Finding who you are, just you, without a title being attached to it. As author Marya Mannes says, “The greatest omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space free from outside pressure which is the incubator of the spirit.”

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I still look over my shoulder every single time I unlock my front door…

Fifteen years ago, I was attacked from behind in the hallway of my apartment building but the memories are as vivid as yesterday.

I was attacked right outside my front door. I am still haunted by the memory of his large, sweaty hand covering my mouth as he grabbed me from behind. One look into his sinister eyes and I knew that if he got me inside my apartment something very bad would happen.

According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. The majority of these assaults occur at, or near, the victim’s home. In addition, one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. One out of six! Those are sobering statistics. Think about those statistics on your next girl’s night out. Someone in your group of close friends has been victimized.

I knew I had to fight my attacker…time stood still. A struggle outside my door ensued in what felt like slow motion. At some point during the altercation, I had a clear shot of punching him between his legs, and I did just that. That’s when he released me from his grip and began running away. I ran after him screaming for someone to stop him. He was eventually caught, the police arrived after my neighbor dialed 911 and that son of a bitch went to jail.

I am sharing my story to hopefully inspire other women to speak up much like Taylor Swift’s sexual assault case inspired fellow survivors to seek help.

It took me a long time to find the words to share my very personal and raw story. However, there is strength in coming forward and pursuing justice.

The night before my attack, I was celebrating the holidays with my two best friends with lots of wine and laughter. The thought never crossed my mind that I would become our group’s “statistic” the next day as a victim of attempted sexual assault.

I hope that by sharing my very private and personal experience with you, it inspires other women to stand up to perpetrators. Working with so many women through business and fashion, I couldn’t neglect taking advantage of my professional platform to share the message that it’s “OK” to speak up.

Did you know that only 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are even reported to police. Why do we insist on keeping quiet? Why do we insist on devaluing ourselves and our safety? Don’t assume your assault is personal because its public, very public, and it’s always important enough to report.

I’ve always been very vocal about standing up for what I believe in. Especially when it comes to equality. I remember when I was 10 years old shopping with my Cuban mother at the Sawgrass Mills Mall when I heard the cashier say to the family standing in front of us “you damn Cubans”. Even at that young age, I recognized prejudice and I demanded to speak to the manager. This is my first recollection of knowing I had a voice and ever since then I haven’t been afraid to use it.

Today I am using my voice to share my story to let others know that they aren’t alone. Share your experiences. Share your feelings. Share the sisterhood so we can come together to share in hope!

(Statistics Source: RAINN)

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People are always asking me about my story. The truth is my story began as a young girl laying on my mom’s bed flipping through the pages of Vogue. I envisioned a life of fashion, design and expression — I grew up but my dreams didn’t. I moved to South Florida, opened the boutique and struggled through the obstacles of owning a business. The early days were hard, but I took a deep breathe, swallowed my fears, and woke up the next day to do it all over again. I had to dig deep and eventually the store started gaining traction. There was and still is this constant competition within myself to be better than I was yesterday. Some people live for the day they don’t have to do anything; I live for the day when I can wake up and realize everything I’m doing matters.

​There are plenty of highs and lows being an entrepreneur. And I’ll be proudly sharing them as a guest speaker at the screening of Dream, Girl, Thursday, December 8th at The Classic Gateway Theatre. Join me and other female entrepreneurs for a night of networking and the film screening of Dream, Girl featuring extraordinary individuals that live life intentionally, create great social impact, and bring inspiration to others.

Click here to RSVP

img_9541Name: Kim Phan
Company: Yumi Kim
Age: A lady never tells 🙂
IG: @YumiKim
Website: YumiKim.com

How did you get to where you are today?
Lots of hard work and sleepless nights!! Fortunately, I love what I do. My passion is what drives me to never give up. It’s the reason I wake up everyday grateful to be able to live out my dream of owning a fashion company.

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What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I make women feel pretty. Love dressing them in colorful prints they can dress up or down and take with them on their life travels.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself successful?
Success is being able to do what you love. I consider myself blessed.

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What have been the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Seeing women wearing my designs. It stills wows me every time I see a woman in one of my pieces. It’s that pinch me I’m dreaming moment, she’s wearing YK!

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
Not trusting my gut. It’s there for a reason and you should always follow it.

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What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
So much! I learn something new every day and incorporate it into my life. I’m loving all of the new technologies in social media and online shopping. Anything that lets me talk directly to my customer like Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

What has been your greatest inspiration?
My mother. She is the strongest woman I know and she’s taught me how to be strong, loving, and the best role model to those around me.

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When was the last time you cried from something provoked by work?
I cry over spilled milk. I’m a softie! I cry when I see sweet comments left on my Instagram.

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
It has taught me how to be a professional multi-tasker. I’ve learned how to balance work and play.
Most importantly, it’s taught me the value of time. I don’t have much time in my day, so if I am having dinner, happy hour, or family time, I like to make sure it’s quality time with the people I love.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes these thoughts?
Never! It would make me completely depressed. I’ve worked way too hard to make women happy in the clothes they’re wearing to give up. I would feel like I’m letting the whole world down.

What causes you anxiety/sleepness nights?
In the past it was late shipments and random company issues. Now, I’ve learned to just LET GO. Embrace the storms and rainbows. If it’s meant for you, it will be yours. The universe has a way of bringing it all together.

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