While society seems to believe that one’s “influence” is directly correlated to the number of followers they have on Instagram, we chose a different (and dare I say, authentic) approach when choosing our Leading Ladies. The women featured in our summer series, The Women’s Edit, are women who are true trailblazers in our beautiful, booming city. We wanted to highlight women who, like us, are creatives seeking to add more life and love to our community. The Women’s Edit is a salute to those making their own way, setting trends we want to follow and shifting how Nashville is viewed by the outside world. This forward-thinking group of women makes us want to do more, to be better and to challenge ourselves to tackle something new.
This week’s Lady of the Moment?
Liza Graves | Founder of StyleBlueprint
The Nashville Edit: Tell us about creating StyleBlueprint at such a young age.
Liza Graves: StyleBlueprint was actually my third business to start! I opened a lunch café in my 20s, signing the lease when I was only 24. My parents were both entrepreneurs, my husband is an entrepreneur, my in-laws are entrepreneurs, my grandparents were entrepreneurs, my great-grandparents … it definitely runs in my blood.
TNE: SB’s tagline is “connecting women to their community.” This is such a lovely sentiment to the women in the area trying to find belonging. What was your inspiration for SB?
LG: Here in Nashville, it’s easy to hold a mirror up to the city and simply be part of a reflection of all the wonderful people and businesses found here. There’s so much good stuff to write about and hopefully inspire our readers, as well.
TNE: What has your favorite experience been with SB?
LG: In the early days, we wrote a story about a gold glitter floor gone wrong at an East Nashville shop, OMG. The owners needed $7,000 to fix it. We ran the story, the money was raised that very day, they fixed the floor and I’ve known ever since that Nashville has the biggest heart out there. If you get into a jam, Nashville houses the people who will come rescue you.
“If you get into a jam, Nashville houses the people who will come rescue you.”
– Liza Graves
TNE: How do you start your mornings? Is there a particular routine that gets your awake and ready for the day?
LG: The only true morning routine I have is waking up to NPR. I love waking to interesting stories and Nashville Public Radio has been my go-to alarm clock and radio station for 25 years.
TNE: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced early on in your career?
LG: My former business partner, Elizabeth Fox, and I faced many challenges, but we grew our little digital-publication-that-could from nothing, with no money and just a desire to be real and support local. I guess our biggest challenge was figuring out how to actually make a business out of it. I don’t recommend our game plan. Having a business plan, even if you abandon it, is likely a better path!
TNE: Did you have challenges when you first started out with people not taking you seriously because you were a young female?
LG: Definitely. When I first opened up my lunch café, I had vendors who wouldn’t show up for meetings. Many of them tried to secure my business a couple of years later when my place was so successful. But, I’m really loyal to people and businesses who believe in me from the beginning. I can’t imagine making an appointment with someone and not showing up. It was shocking how often it happened.
TNE: What advice do you have for people who have a great idea but may think they’re too young or inexperienced to go for it?
LG: I always break it down to this: if you pursue your idea and fail, how will you feel? For me, I’m okay that I tried the idea as I would always wonder “what if” if I didn’t. But, a lot of people won’t get over the failure in the same circumstance. If that’s you, maybe think long and hard about the entrepreneurial life as it’s not for the faint of heart and many times you aren’t making the money you would with a “regular” job and you will be working 24/7 every day, every year. If this life is for you, get a mentor, a support group and definitely hire the best bookkeeper you can find.
TNE: What is next for SB?
LG: This year, our main emphasis is on company culture, accountability and achieving goals. Yes, that’s as a company, but it’s also for our whole team as individuals. It’s exciting to see people say out loud what they want as individuals and make a plan to get there. It’s exciting for our company, also.
TNE: You’ve been both a stay-at-home mom and working mom.”Mom Guilt” is dished out to both, and way too often. What is your advice to women who are trying to balance children and working? What about women who are trying to transition from working full-time to full-time motherhood?
LG: “Mom Guilt” is real and there is always extra to pass around. Define your own ideas of what motherhood looks like and don’t fall into the trap of having others define it for you.
TNE: How On do you spend a day with her kids in Nashville?
LG: We love taking advantage of all the great hiking and greenways in Nashville, usually with a dog or two by our side!
This or That:
- Beach & Book / Mountains and a Mug
- Malls & Boutiques / Online Shopping
- Nashville Summer / Nashville Autumn