As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordana Woodland. At a very young age, Jordana fell in love with the art of dressing and the ritual of boudoir. Appropriately, she grew up to be the Founder & Creative Director of lifestyle brand Le Marché by NP and its house collection Naked Princess, a beloved line of effortlessly chic loungewear, lingerie and beauty products. “Le Marché by NP isn’t just a brand, it’s a curation of a life well-loved” says Woodland, whose celebrity fans, including Cindy Crawford, Petra Nemcova and Mindy Kaling, wholeheartedly agree. Woodland’s mission is to make the shopping experience inclusive, dynamic and empowering for all women. Clearly, she has succeeded. Here, she shares some of her favorite things.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was a young girl, I became fascinated with the art of dressing and ritual of Boudoir. My mom always had her uninterrupted time to herself, separate from her time with her family and I love that she always took that time and wasn’t ever ashamed of it. This always stayed with me and as I got older, I realized that I wanted to create a company that pursued a mission of encouraging the busiest of women to take time for themselves and erase any undeserved guilt surrounding self-care. This is how my company was born.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
Our major challenge in the beginning was truly identifying who our customer was. You’re basically guessing when you first launch in the marketplace, it’s not until you start receiving buyer and customer feedback that you truly understand your audience. We took every bit of feedback seriously and made the appropriate changes that we needed to in order to accommodate the lifestyle and desires of our customer base.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
Once we solidly identified our customer, we were able to truly own our voice. Being sure of you who you are and what you want to represent in the marketplace is key to any future success.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Always trust your gut. Be open to other’s opinions but don’t let yourself be swayed into following a direction that doesn’t authentically feel right. “But that person is so successful. They have to know what they are talking about!” Yes, that’s true but their path isn’t necessarily yours. Be inspired by their path but don’t try to follow it step by step.
- Always leave room for play. Sometimes the day to day operations can create a momentum that is difficult to separate from but it’s critical to the success of your business. Creativity needs to be fostered in order to keep the company fresh and current. Remember to take a step back from the inertia and leave room for creative thinking.
- You will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Don’t be afraid of making them. It’s the only way to find the correct way forward. If you never make a mistake, you aren’t taking enough risks. Innovation is all about risk. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.
- Never lose sight of your mission. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the growth of a company. Before adding anything new to your offerings always ask if it serves your basic mission. Your company will expand, shift and change but always remember where it started. That’s your compass for the road ahead.
- Find balance. It can be tempting to put everything you have into your company but don’t put your personal relationships on the back burner. The balance of personal and professional is the only way to ensure success. You need both to show up as your best self.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Build a good team. That’s of the utmost importance. When you run a company, you tend to want to have your hands in absolutely everything that is happening and although this is important in the beginning, it’s completely impossible to maintain. Don’t even attempt to hold that level of involvement in every single detail because you WILL start to burn out and it will come on fast and strong. A company needs a team. Hiring the right people is paramount for the success of the brand as well as your own sanity. You need to be able to focus on the aspects of the business that require your direct attention and have the ability to trust your team with the rest.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
The first few accounts that took a chance on our new company. Without their open mind and willingness to take a chance on a new brand, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I’ll never forget the first time that I walked into the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills and saw our products on display. It was a thrill unlike any other I had experienced. Something we had worked so hard on for years was finally out in the world. It made it feel real.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
Personally: I strive every day to find the best balance possible between my personal and professional life. It’s always a moving target. As your kids grow up, they need different things in different ways so I’m constantly reassessing where the best balance is. My kids mean the world to me so my goal is always to be the best mom that I can be.
Professionally: I would love to see our products in even larger retailers to reach an even larger customer base. I want our products to reach a diverse group of women around the world.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy? My ultimate goal has always been to foster and build confidence, to empower women to be the best version of themselves. In order to show up as our best selves we need to have a solid foundation. I love seeing that what we create feeds the strength of that foundation and the confidence it inspires.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
Kindness.It sounds so simple but leading with kindness can move mountains.
How can our readers follow you on social media? @jordana_woodland or @lemarchebynp