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Chloe Leonard

How and when did you know that you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I didn't know actually, this definitely wasn't the plan at all. It kind of just found me. I was always a design gal growing up - obsessing over magazines, design-style games on computers, and my love of fashion. When I was a senior in college, I started an online magazine and built my first website out of pure passion and interest in learning more about web design, graphics, and building a brand. I realized running a magazine wasn't for me, but the design/branding element was. And kismetly, my SoulCycle instructor Lindsey Simcik and her friend Krista Williams had started a podcast called Almost 30, at that same time and needed an intern. They gave me the creative freedom as their intern and really delegated so many amazing tasks to me that I'm beyond grateful for. It was like the perfect small business incubator to learn about what I liked and didn't like in design and business in general. Today, I wouldn't even call myself a graphic designer, but a designer and visionary in general - not to sound all high and mighty. My job is about seeing more than just the websites or graphics, it's about the big picture.

Who inspires you?
My friends. Period. I feel so proud to be at a stage in my life where a lot of my friends have their own businesses and we're all in the same-ish boat, just trying to figure it all out. During my 3 years in LA so far, I've met the most amazing women who are now either friends, mentors near or from afar, or just people I admire, and have made tremendous impacts on my mind, body, and spirit. There's a really special community of female creators and entrepreneurs here who are just their true selves and doing real work to change people's lives everyday and it makes me want to work harder and be better too.

What are some of your favorite projects so far?
I loved running the creative for Almost 30 Podcast for 3 years, and, specifically this past year, I worked with Girls Gotta Eat Podcast on building their site from scratch which was a blast because it came full circle. I had been a listener for a year and when they reached out, it felt so natural because I was their target audience.

I've also had the chance to work with my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Briana Wilson, founder of Bizfluence and influencer manager, and her clients last year, including Raven Elyse, Erin On Demand, and Jayla Koriyan. That really helped me to learn more about the content creator space, specifically the power of YouTube, which was equally fun and fascinating.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
"Own it." - so simple but so effective.
How do you use your platform as a successful female business owner to inspire others?
Right now, I'm specifically focusing on helping beginning and aspiring designers learn more about the design industry and business. I just came out with my first eBook called The Holistic Guide to Branding and Web Design, a 360 take on branding and web design, including design concepts, business, and the mindset to be successful. I'm so passionate about empowering young designers to start their journey, but in a way that is accessible, easily-digestible, and affordable. Because when I was starting out, I wasn't about to drop $3000 on a course when I wasn't even sure if I wanted to do this.

How do you like to spend your free time?
Hiking in the Palisades at the crack of dawn, cooking + using my airfryer to its fullest potential, binging any show on HBO (right now it's Succession and I'm floored by how good it is - easily a new favorite), wine tasting, baths (#bigbathgal), spending time with family, chilling on my friend's rooftop on Sundays, meditating + journaling, and taking long drives and listening to music.
What are some of your self-care rituals?
In the morning, I work out or go outside immediately. I usually do an InstaLive class with @Meg_Leyen who single handedly transformed my body during quarantine, or a trampoline class on LEKFit. I then meditate using To Be Magnetic or Insight Timer for 10-20 minutes and journal how I'm feeling or any thoughts from the night before.
In the evening, I take magnesium every single night before I go to bed. It's a game changer because it helps with sleep and makes things "regular" if you know what I mean.

What’s something you’ve been obsessed with lately and can’t get enough of?
@jfirstman and his impressions on Instagram, Jazmine Sullivan's new album, Heaux Tales, trying different clean wines, and my shameless $9 coffee order from Erewhon (large half caf Americano, with an extra shot, steamed raw coconut milk, and cinnamon)

If you could move anywhere in the world, where would you be and why?
FLORENCE, ITALY. I lived there in 2016 for study abroad for 6 months and truly it was the time of my life. I miss it everyday, not exaggerating. It's got art, the best food and WINE, great weather, a fun nightlife, and it's easily walkable in 20 mins. What more do you need?
Go-to words of motivation?
In general - "Who would you be if you knew you were worthy? Needing of nothing?"

When it comes to love/dating and if I'm feeling down about a guy, I always think back to that scene in Legally Blonde when Elle is about to leave and give up Law School because the professor hit on her. Weird I know but bare with me. She goes to the nail salon to say goodbye to Paulette and the other female professor is there and hears Elle talking about what had happened. The female professor goes, "If you're going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, then you're the girl I thought you were." That line just snaps me back into the right mindset every single time.
Any habits or hobbies you’ve picked up during quarantine?
Oh yes. I've never in my whole life been a reality TV girl, but quarantine got to me and now I just finished two of the Real Housewives franchises, Beverly Hills and New York. I'm in it now and I have zero shame. And I know you didn't ask but as of now, my favorites are Dorinda, Kyle, Bethenny, and Lisa Rinna.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
1) Be open to getting feedback and rejection. It's not personal because if you think about it, feedback and rejection are opinions and are all subject to change. Nothing is final. You can also use feedback and rejection as a moment for growth. You're growing thicker skin and can get better at differentiating at what helpful feedback is and what is more unnecessary criticism or projection.
2) Ask yourself, are you doing this for yourself or someone else? I am a recovering people pleaser so there were a lot of situations in my life where I did things in the beginning because I wanted to do them, but as time went on, that line got blurred and I sort of lost myself in the situation. I was too worried about how my decisions could make people not like me or make it harder for them. But you gotta do what's best for you and trust that you're doing the right thing for both of you!

Goals for the future?
Scaling my business, investing in a coach or course for myself, and working with a fun, dynamic, grounded, cool, innovative team who's unlike anyone I've ever worked with.

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