LENORE GOSS-MATJIE describes herself as an entrepreneur. Being a qualified image consultant and fashion stylist, she is the founder and CEO of “Styled by Le’Nore”.
Lenore has diversified her business to supply medical products into Africa at large. She says, “I have diversified my product range to the extent that I also supply furniture, baking equipment and anything to do with the fashion industry – I am supplying clothes as well.”
Lenore has recently been appointed as the vice chairperson of Women in Business at Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She says, “I am very humbled and honoured and want to make an impact and do the very most that I can to empower women.”
Lenore is a former educator as well as a professional Latin American and ballroom dancer. While she no longer competes, Lenore is involved in adjudicating competitions and in training. Her business Styled by Le’Nore came about as a result of her having her own dancing studio. Lenore was involved in grooming, styling, and makeup for all her dancers. She was responsible for putting together stage dance productions where the styling and image of the theme had to be communicated to the audience.
Speaking of her business, Lenore says, “For me, the greatest achievement in my business is styling a client from head to toe and seeing them transformed. People underestimate the value and power of looking good and feeling good, and they really don’t value styling. You could have all the fashion pieces on your body but how you put them together is important. I always say I could take a black paper bag and put it on you and make it look fabulous. But the greatest reward for me is seeing a happy confident client.”
Lenore says that she has been motivated to achieve by success by her three children and her husband. She has a debilitating muscular skeletal chronic medical condition, called Fibromyalgia (which to date has no cure but can be managed). “While I was in hospital, I had one of my children ask me, ‘mom are you going to die?’. From that day forward I vowed that pain or no pain I would make an effort. Every morning I would get up, I would style my hair, I would put on makeup and on the days that I was able to wear heels, I would. I had been told by my surgeons that I was not allowed to wear heels. But I dislocate anyway so I may as well dislocate in style!”
“They were the main motivating force in me getting up, picking myself up, getting the therapy that I needed to get back on my feet to get stronger. They are my everything and in everything that I do, I first and foremost want them to be proud.”
Speaking of her current business challenges, Lenore says that these relate especially to her new venture into Africa and that the number one challenge is finance. She said, “Finance was always going to be challenge and then finding the correct partners and suppliers to collaborate with. People promise you the world but until contracts are signed, and finance exchanged …that is quite difficult now. However, I seem to be on the correct path, so I am just persevering.”
Another challenge that Lenore finds is that in her experience some women don’t support each other. She commented, “We speak of women empowerment and uplifting each other – it’s good to talk the talk but you need to walk the walk. I find that my male counterparts have been there to support me. I just wish that we as women could truly support each other. Don’t be afraid if you see a woman coming up – be excited for them – pat them on the back and spread the news because something is in line for you as well and I want to thank those few women who do support myself and other women.”
The advice that Lenore would give to other women following in her path is to be persistent. She added, “Be confident even when you don’t feel confident. Don’t be scared to change, don’t be scared to diversify. You think that you don’t know something until you try it and that is why life is a learning experience.”
NEVER STOP LEARNING
Lenore added that we never stop learning so we should take up new challenges. Even if we don’t achieve what you want to, the learning experience is what you take from the situation. Importantly, she says that people should persevere – and just keep pushing and have confidence. If it’s not meant for you, the door will not open. if it’s meant for you, the door will open – you will just have to work hard at it.”
The goals that Lenore has set for herself are firstly that she wants to be happy which is critical to her. “You have to be happy in what you do, you cannot be miserable, because if there is no love there is no passion that goes with it. You can be the most successful person and be miserable.”
Secondly, Lenore would love to succeed and make a name for herself in Africa at large. She added that when people hear of Styled by Le’Nore or Lenore they must know that they are getting excellent service. “They are getting quality and I would just like this business to grow and to touch people’s lives even more.” Speaking of balance Lenore says, “I am a busybody – I am always doing something, but I love sitting with my husband and the kids around the table and just swapping stores – them telling me about what they have done during the day and making jokes. I love to laugh, it’s the best medicine.”
In conclusion, Lenore says that we should always strive to be a blessing to others, to uplift others, and to make others feel good about themselves. “You will be surprised as to how all that comes back to you in multitude.”