Her handbags are beautiful. Her soul is even more so. Megan Tierney has brought together her grandmas (Louise and Eleanor), the most gorgeous handbags and her passion for giving back to found amazing company Louise & Eleanor (louiseandeleanor.com and @louiseandeleanor on Instagram). Check out our inspiring interview with Megan, and be sure to explore this fabulous company’s line of handbags too!
What were you doing before you started Louise & Eleanor?
I worked in real estate before I started LOUISE & ELEANOR and even started another company before this. When I first began my career, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I had an idea of what I eventually wanted to create. It took me about 8 years from the time I graduated college to gain experience by working for other companies, saving up money and the confidence needed to start LOUISE & ELEANOR. When I started the company, I knew I finally found what I was meant to do. It’s changed my life in so many ways. We’re still in our infancy, but I’m excited about the direction we’re going and the possibilities as we keep growing.
What was your inspiration for starting the brand?
I started the company from my kitchen table with an idea and a lot of passion to make this crazy dream a reality. I wanted to create a company that makes affordable luxury products, helps people by giving back, and, at the same time, inspires others by lifting each other up and encourages going after your dreams.
Who are Louise & Eleanor?
LOUISE & ELEANOR are my beautiful, inspiring, loving and courageous grandmothers. They were both unique and special women who majorly impacted my life. They taught me so much, and through the company, I get to share some of their wisdom with others.
What is special about Louise & Eleanor handbags?
At LOUISE & ELEANOR, we make different products. Among our specialty items are our Unique Clutches. They are made from rare fabrics sourced from all over the world. We can only make as many bags as the fabric allows and we usually get between 2-10 bags per roll of fabric. The unique clutches are dear to my heart because they are affordable, chic and one-of-a-kind accent pieces. Also, they’re the first bag styles made when I started the company.
How do you get the inspiration for your designs? What is the one handbag style that we just should not be without this season?
We have many different styles and bags at LOUISE & ELEANOR but we try to create timeless and original pieces. I’m not so much into trends. I believe in making quality, classic designs that are versatile and wearable for more than one season. I like the saying, “Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.” I love seeing our customers enjoying our products and how they style them.
You were a major competitive tennis player. How did that prepare you for starting a business?
At the time, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have or realize how important it was. Yet, it’s the foundation on which I built so much of my life. My Dad taught me how to play tennis, and from an early age, he wanted me to learn how to compete, win and get back up after a loss. Tennis taught me about dedication, discipline and learning that a loss doesn’t mean defeat. In business and in life, there are always ups and downs, but it’s learning to ride those waves and not letting the ups go to your head or failures bruise your heart too much. It’s almost inevitable that we’ll get knocked down but I believe the magic happens in getting up, dusting yourself off and trying again.
How do you use your brand to do good? How do you choose the causes to which you donate?
From the beginning, we always focused on giving back. Doing something to benefit others is a core value of LOUISE & ELEANOR.
My family and friends are my greatest influences and their support has made all the difference in my life. I hope in some way through LOUISE & ELEANOR, we can offer encouragement, hope and support for others to chase their dreams and know we’re a company who’s cheering others on.
For every LOUISE & ELEANOR bag we sell, a percentage goes back to one of the charities we partner with. By doing this, our customers are directly giving back and they are creating a cycle of women helping women.
A few years ago, I watched a few documentaries about human trafficking. It really struck a cord with me and from there, I started reading more and trying to educate myself as much as possible about it. I was invited to a meeting in LA about Human Trafficking and that’s where I met Elena, the Founder of Two Wings. She’s an amazing woman and has an incredible organization that empowers survivors of sex trafficking through career and life skills classes to create a path for financial and physical independence.
We just had a fashion day with LOUISE & ELEANOR in celebration of Two Wings 2016 graduating class. We donated clothes, handbags and offered style and career tips to the recent graduates. It was a beautiful day and it was inspiring to meet these brave and beautiful women.
When I lived in Miami, I was introduced to Lotus House though a mutual contact. Lotus House is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women and children.
Both organizations are run by incredible people. They give back to the local community and we’re proud to be affiliated with them.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have studied or anything you would have done differently while in school?
There’s so much I would have done differently, but I can’t go back or change the past. All I can do is take what I’ve learned and work to be and do better everyday. Even if someone gave me all the right answers or direction from the start, it’s my mistakes that made me who I am. At times it was heartbreaking, but all mistake were equally, if not more important, than my successes.
I’ll never have it all figured out or all the answers and I’m comfortable in knowing that. There’s a beauty to embracing the unexpected and knowing there’s always more to learn.
How do you spread the word about your business? How are you building your following?
Right now, we mainly spread awareness via word of mouth. We collaborate with bloggers and I feel grateful to know these amazing women. They’re passionate about what they are doing, their grace and style extends beyond what they wear, and I am delighted to have such an incredible tribe of women to work and collaborate with. We’re going to start participating in larger tradeshows this year, we just hired a talented sales rep and we’ve been in contact with boutiques around the country. We’re excited to continue growing our brand and our community of interesting, stylish and incredible people.
Do you have a favorite quote or other inspiration?
“There are 3 types of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. Big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things and small people talk about other people. Which one are you?”
I love this quote and it resonates deeply with me and how I try conducting my life. It’s easy to judge others, tear people down and say negative things but really that says more about you than them. I think the goal in life should be to lift others up, make your presence a positive one and do as much good as possible. I believe in kindness. And more than any other quality, I admire that the most in others.
What’s your advice to any girl who wants to start a business?
Go for it, but do your due diligence. Take the time to learn all you can before you make any big decisions. This may take you more time in the beginning, but it will save you time and money in the long run.
Believe in yourself and know your worth. There are always people who have more of something, but there will never be anyone just like you. That’s powerful. No amount of outwardly anything will make you happy. It’s all about how you feel about yourself on the inside that really dictates who you are, how you treat others and what you’ll do with the time you’re given.
Next, I would say build your community. It’s important to have a tribe of people who support you and in turn, whom you support, too. These are the people who encourage you, cheer you on, help you up when you fall down and celebrate with you when you succeed. Just as you do the same for them.
Last, but not least, it’s important to love what you’re doing. There are going to be rough times and the passion and enjoyment for what you’re doing will make getting through the hard times easier. Most importantly, keep going and never give up on your dream. It may not be exactly what you originally envisioned, but if you keep persevering, it could lead to a road you never thought possible.
In closing, have the courage to stand tall and be whom you truly wish to become. Never miss an opportunity to leave this world a little better than you found it.