BBBY: What words best describe you?
LARISSA: Ambitious, giving, silly, fashionable
BBBY: Who is one of the most inspirational women in your life? And why?
LARISSA: Muzvare Betty Makoni founder of Girl Child Network. Betty was a victim of sexual violence as a youth in Africa. Instead of letting the situation define her negatively she used it to make a HUGE change for others in the same situation. Through her work she has saved over 37,000 lives. She inspires me every day to make a positive change in the lives of people less fortunate than myself.
BBBY: What was the inspiration for starting your own Business?
LARISSA: I started the magazines with the hope to not only showcase local designers but to also show that fashion and beauty can be a positive thing in people’s lives. We use models of all different sizes, race and ages. We believe all people are beautiful and they just need to feel it.
BBBY: What is the mission behind your business?
LARISSA: Feeling good on the outside helps people to feel beautiful inside.
BBBY: What challenges did you face when starting your own business?
LARISSA: Lack of financial help. Although I am extremely grateful for the amazing staff of volunteers who work so hard to keep us going we would LOVE to be able to pay our staff the wage they deserve.
BBBY: Do you have a life mission or inspirational quote that you live by?
LARISSA: I have many quotes I love. My favorite is “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” By Martin Luther King Jr.
However, the quote I live by, “if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy” – Prince
BBBY: What inspires you to do what you do?
LARISSA: What initially inspired me was my own lack of confidence; now I’m inspired by all the people that tell me what I am doing is boosting their own confidence. I love that I was able to help others while improving myself.
BBBY: Tell us about a time in your life, where you felt most powerful as a woman.
LARISSA: I think being a mother has been the most powerful tool I have had a s a woman. It’s a huge responsibility not just being a parent but teaching my children the importance women have in the world. For my girls teaching them to be strong and powerful while balancing respect and love. For my son it’s teaching him how to respect women and himself at the same time. I’m lucky I have an amazing husband that shares these values so we can teach them these values together.
BBBY: What has made you most proud and why?
LARISSA: Again I’ll say my children. Seeing the young people they’re becoming knowing that we as parents have to be doing something right. As far as something personal I'd say it's losing 80 pounds. After having my son I was at my heaviest and I worked really hard by exercising and eating right to lose it. I am also very proud of my magazine. It’s been quite the learning curve but we’re still going and improving with every issue.
BBBY: What's the most important lesson you've learned as an entrepreneur?
LARISSA: Jealousy gets you nowhere. I have learned this from both angles being both jealous of other around me going father than me. I’ve learned to watch what they’re doing to improve myself instead of letting their successes get me down. Supporting others benefits everyone. I’ve also seen other people become jealous of me. If they only knew me they would understand I want to see them succeed and I will help them to reach their goals too.
BBBY: What are 3 tips you can share with aspiring entrepreneurs or someone ready to go after their dreams?
Don’t give up. When you feel you’ve hit rock bottom that is the worst time to quit because you’re thinking emotionally. It’s easy to give up but that will get you nowhere.
As I mentioned before don’t let jealousy get the best of you. See others accomplishments as a positive thing.
No dream is too big. The bigger the dream the harder the reach but it’s possible. Remember people can fly and that was only once a dream.
BBBY: Fill in the blank: I feel most empowered when I__________________.
LARISSA: Give. I love to give any way I can from money to time. Like I have always said, you may not always have the money to give but you can always find the time. If you have a family you need to spend more time with include them. You can use your job as a way to give back, like we put on charity events or mentor youth. There are always ways to give back.