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Inspiring Conversations with Diana Lanot of Tout Fabuleux

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Lanot.

Hi Diana, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My name is Diana Lanot, I am a recent graduate of the illustrious Florida A&M University, I actually graduated a semester early with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a minor in English. Although I’ve always been involved academically and have been working since my sophomore year, I really craved something greater; more independence and control over my life. I felt like I didn’t have anything for myself. My reasoning for starting an online boutique business was simple; to be my own boss and another source of income to support myself.

I originally started my brand fall of 2019, I had the name, logo, and a few products but I allowed fear to get in the way. I did launch anonymously at first but that proved to be unsuccessful! I earned a small following but no orders at all! It wasn’t until August 2020 I decided to step out of fear and into faith. I launched publicly on all my social media platforms and I honed in on my business. Prior to my launch, I bought several business-related books, obtained my EIN, and connected with other business owners to prepare. Although I didn’t get the reception I anticipated, I was happy with my decision and I really benefited from that exposure.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Not at all! One of the biggest struggles I’ve had personally was gaining awareness and money management. I learned quickly that strangers would be my biggest supporters and that’s okay. It was also difficult to be consistent with creating content and promoting while keeping up with my coursework and not to mention, I was also working a 9-5 at a call center.

I’m naturally an organized person but there were so many times I felt so overwhelmed and defeated by my workload and responsibilities. Running a business is expensive! Marketing, inventory, branding and packaging are all costly and I didn’t really expect all the fees going in, luckily I did have a job, but I also had to pay rent and other monthly expenses. Money management was something that I overlooked greatly in the beginning stages of my business. But I remained faithful and positive, there is always a solution.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Tout Fabuleux (toot-fab-u-low) is French for all fabulous. My style has always been very simple but I’ve always loved accessories; from big hoop earrings to statement necklaces, I was always rocking something from Claire’s. Fast forward to being a college student trying to keep up with trends, I noticed that a lot of the major stores carried overpriced items or I would have to go to three different places for things, it was too much. So I thought, why not start a boutique and sell my own jewelry and accessories at affordable prices. I think what sets me apart is that I have items to meet every aesthetic need; whether you’re flashy, minimal, even spiritual, I have something for everybody. My goal is be a modern-day Claire’s in a sense, with my target audience being 16-25-year-olds. I’ve been playing around with apparel so that I hopefully reach the level of being a one-stop shop.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I would like your readers to know that I am more than an entrepreneur, I am an aspiring lawyer who is working on creating a non-profit organization (@BWILAW) geared towards assisting young African American women in their pursuit of a legal career. And I am a blogger, you can check out my inspirational and motivational blog @DISCOVERINGDI, where I focus on self-improvement and mental health. I want to do so much in my lifetime and I’m committed to making it happen, no matter how long it takes.

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