We love Lyss Stern’s story. As she tells it, when she “could not find a single company catering to the needs of a mother who didn’t want to give up her high heels and make-up in order to embrace the life-changes brought by motherhood,” Lyss knew there had to be a better way, and Divalysscious Moms was born. You don’t have to be a mom or even close to being one yet to appreciate the passion, sense of fun and commitment to keeping things FabuLyss that made Divalysscious a huge success, and Lyss a well-recognized contributor to numerous publications and TV shows.
1. What inspired you to start Divalysscious?
12 years ago, before marketers were even using social media marketing to target moms, I created Divalysscious Moms, (www.divamoms.com) as a way to get my groove back after giving birth to my first child and help other mothers find themselves post-baby. Today, with a database of a million moms across the country, DivaMoms is the premier network and event company for the New York area’s well-heeled moms.
2. How did you get people interested and excited about what you were doing?
I was able to get people interested in what I was doing by throwing exciting, new and #FabULyss events. My goal is two-fold — to help introduce new high-end brands for companies who need #Fabulyss exposure, and even new authors to my network of influential moms, while simultaneously keeping my community of moms in-the-know about the latest and greatest there is to offer.
- 3. How has Divalysscious grown, and where do you see it going in the future?
The company started as a blog 12 years ago with six of my friends, and, today, we have grown into a database and network with over 1 million moms across the globally. The growth is very exciting! My next book is coming out in spring 2017. I am very superstitious and I can’t announce the other exciting projects as of yet. I can say #StayTuned.
4. You’re on TV and speaking to large groups of people. I get nervous just giving an in-class presentation! Do you ever get nervous? What do you do to get over those nerves?
I do not get nervous on television. I also love speaking in front of large audiences. I guess it has to do something with all of the public speaking classes I took in college and graduate school. I was always an outgoing child — definitely not shy.
5. What’s your advice for the recent college grad?
My advice for recent college graduates would be to travel a bit before you start your job, if you can.
6. How should we apply your Divalysscious principles as we start “adulting”?
One of my DivaLysscious principles is to always be true to yourself. As you start “adulting,” figure out what you want to do for your career and future. Try not to be influenced by others, your peers and family. You, and only you, will know what makes you happy, especially when starting your career journey.
7. You’re known for your amazing sense of style. Who are some of your style influences?
Thank you very much. I guess my mom, Nanadoll, as my children call her. She was always dressed to the tens growing up. She never left the house, even to go to the supermarket, without her lipstick and blush. My style icons are Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Diane Von Furstenberg, Donna Karan and Melania Trump.
8. Did you have any expectations about what being a founder would be like? Were you right? What has surprised you?
I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work starting a business; however, I never realized how it would be my fourth child. I have watched the business start out as a baby 12 years ago and grow into a remarkable, thriving business 12 years later. I love what I do, and I think that also helps me justify working some nights until 2 or 3 a.m.
9. What is your advice to our aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to be an intern in high school and college. It’s never too early to start. You should try out all different fields if you can to see what you might really want to do after college. I also think that everyone should have a job from early on.
10. Are there must-take classes in college or must-have experiences?
I highly recommend taking some psychology classes in college, no matter what you are focusing on as your career. It will help you understand people in business later on. I also think you should travel if you can during college. For me, living in Italy when I was a junior in college was an experience that taught me so much about myself and the world. My travels allowed me to grow in a way that I believe has truly shaped me into the woman I am today.
11. Do you think it’s harder to be a female entrepreneur?
I think it’s hard being a woman and/or a man entrepreneur. When you start your own business, regardless of gender, be prepared to work hard. I like to tell people to work smarter and harder.
12. What’s your favorite inspirational quote or saying?
‘A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,’ by Coco Chanel
13. What does She’s Fit To Lead mean to you?
She’s Fit To Lead means, to me, that a woman is ready to start her own business and/or be a leader in business.
14. How does someone show he or she is fit to lead?
Someone shows that he or she is fit to lead when he or she is strong. That person needs to understand that this is going to be a lot of hard work, they will hear a lot of ‘no’s’ and they can’t get defeated by the people that try to stop them. They need to keep going and forging ahead!
Thank you Lyss for the absolutely Fabulyss inspiration!