We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Fannon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Throughout my life I’ve taken many risks, oftentimes jumping into something and figuring it out along the way. I decided on New Years Day 2006 that I should move to Miami. I had just taken the GMATs, felt unfulfilled working in corporate finance, and knew there had to be more to life than updating spreadsheets and PowerPoints. By February, I was interviewing at the University of Miami for their MBA program and sipping a mojito on an outdoor bed at the Delano. I got the feeling of “this is where I belong,” and I knew I had to go for it. Over the past 14 years I’ve fallen in love with this city. These days, I’ve traded late nights partying for sunset yoga classes with friends, beautiful dinners on the water and I like to enjoy all of the variety Miami has to offer. I can’t wait until we can all safely enjoy sports and culture again. I love going to Heat games, gallery openings, the theater, and enjoy live music at a variety of places, ranging from the Jackie Gleason theater to little Havana to the Bayside Ampitheater.
My network expands from Pinecrest up to Palm Beach Gardens. I love that there are completely different vibes just a quick drive away. When I’m driving with my top down, wind blowing in my hair, gazing out at the water and soaking in the sunshine, blasting classic rock, I pinch myself everyday that this is where I get to call home. Throughout my career in the fashion industry, I’ve taken on many roles where I’ve had to very quickly learn something new- sink or swim- and just figure it out! After finishing my MBA, I began my career in Merchandising at the TJX Companies in Framingham, MA (ironically the town I grew up in). I loved the excitement of the off-price business, flying to NY for big deals, the exposure I got right away with being a part of making big decisions. I had to think on my feet and take risks with large amounts of money on the line with limited information at times. But what I learned is if you are taking a risk in the best interest of the customer then you are doing the right thing. If you fail, then you learn, but if you never tried, you’ll never know.
Soon after my move back to MA, I missed Miami, the international energy it had, and of course the warm weather. I loved being outside year round and the serenity the water and palm trees bring, so I reached out to Perry Ellis, where I had done a case study in grad school and went in for an exploratory interview. At that time, there wasn’t a position available, but as luck would have it, a Merchandising Manager for Mens came available that morning. After meeting with the President of the department, I sent a card with a tiger jumping through fire, explaining that even though I didn’t have Mens experience yet, I was ready to jump head in, through the fire, and learn and work hard to be successful. Similarly at my next company, Boston Proper, where I spent 8 years, there was also no job available in my initial interview. My mentor had introduced me to the President and SVP at a fashion show. I was eager to get back into Womens, and I enjoy learning new businesses. Shortly after that first interview, they created a position for me, and I took a risk by leaving Perry Ellis 15 months later to be a Buyer with this energetic new team, ready to learn the catalog business. Over the years there were many ups and downs, but it was in those times of struggle and bad business, where I gained resilience and learned the most. Even when budgets were tight, I learned to still take risks or business would be stagnant. You have to continue to innovate and always be in sync with what the customer wants. Another great mentor told me “in chaos comes opportunity,” and that stuck with me as I continuously asked for new opportunities. Eventually I became a Merchandising Manager and then Director of Merchandising. In January 2016, I sat at the dinner with our new owners, Brentwood Associates, toasting to my new role as Vice President of Merchandising and felt a sense of accomplishment that I got to be part of the meetings that made this deal possible. Over the next few years, I took on all of Merchandising and Product Development, Production, and Sourcing. Between these 2 teams and 25 people, I did my best to balance the overall strategy, foster teamwork, create efficiencies and instill into everyone at all levels that they should think big and if they feel passionate about something that is a little risky, then let’s take a risk together, let’s fall forward together. Let’s stand behind something. Let’s make a difference. I then learned an important lesson after Boston Proper went through multiple rounds of downsizing and Covid-19 hit the world. Always have a plan B, a plan C, a plan D… and be ready to embrace a plot twist! I had first got my real estate license in MA in 2005 and had thought about it many times over the last 15 years if it was something I wanted to do. Sometimes we just need that little extra push, something to go wrong, to make something new go right. I’m now excited to take my experience from the fashion industry, my global perspective, my South Florida expertise, and sense of style into the real estate world. Even if there is a client or friend I can’t help directly, I love connecting people to create opportunities and resolutions. For example, I’ve had a few phone calls this week with a friend, who lives in London and is currently on a business trip in Dubai. We are talking about commercial real estate opportunities in Miami, and I’ve found out who the best expert is in that area at Douglas Elliman, and it could lead to some exciting deals over the next couple years based on my introductions. On the residential side, I have a couple friends looking to buy condos and houses, and as I continue to get the word out that I’m doing real estate, opportunities keep arising, especially with the influx of New Yorkers and Californians moving here daily!
I’m currently working on growing my business through my network, referrals, and educating myself on all of the new tools I have at my fingertips. “The trouble is if you don’t risk anything, you risk more.” I’ve always liked to live my life by taking chances and following my dreams and my heart. I even have the following mantra at the bottom of my resume, “If you knew you could never fail at anything, what would you try?” 2020 has been a year of much personal growth and there’s been many times where I’ve had to recenter and regain confidence and remember my own boldness. I like to try to inspire others to take risks in their personal and professional lives as well. There is so much more to life than being stagnant or living in mediocrity. So add that king crab to your salad, jump off of that cliff into the ocean, go out on that date you’ve been wondering about, tell someone you love them, make that phone call you are scared of, go pursue that hobby you’ve always wondered about, or go try a career you’ve always been curious about. We create our own destinies. Journaling, creating vision boards, and practicing positive affirmations are all tools that I use to help me along the way.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
After a successful career in the fashion industry I’m now busy reinventing myself. 2020 has proven to be a tough year for many people due to pandemic. Many of us have experienced isolation, financial stress, and of course my heart goes out to all of those who have lost loved ones from Covid-19. 2020 has taught me how to pivot and the importance of broadening my range of skill sets. I continue to have a passion for the fashion industry, stay up to date on industry trends and news, and earlier in the year set up Fannon Fashion Consulting Corporation, which I’m the President and Owner of. I can offer expertise and guidance in merchandising and branding based on my experience in public and private retail companies across Mens and Womens apparel, swim, shoes, accessories, and intimates.
As far as my new business, real estate, this is my new venture and a new focus, which I’m super excited about. It is allowing me to take my financial and creative skills that I have polished the last 15 years and transfer them to a new industry that is currently booming. There are many similarities between the fashion industry and the real estate industry and ultimately the most important thing is to delight the customer- making the experience from start to finish one that is memorable. This business is not just about one time real estate transactions. It is about relationships that last a life time. I’m so lucky that my friends and family have been so supportive of my new career, and I look forward to continuing to learn every day. Being part of the Douglas Elliman family allows me to be part of a network of highly successful and motivated individuals, closing $28.7B in deals a year. Our international partner, Knight Frank, allows our reach to extend around the world. For anyone changing careers, I would recommend talking to friends in the industry. I have had some amazing people along the last few months that have given me great advice and have shared honest challenges and opportunities that are part of this industry. I also have some great people to lean on when I have a quick question or need to talk through challenges within and outside of Douglas Elliman. With most people currently working remote, self motivation is extra important. I try to map out a realistic to-do list each day, which currently includes lots of remote networking, virtual training, webinars, online marketing, and educating myself on our new luxury developments and latest properties for sale. I have also always found the best way to learn is by doing! I’m already working on some exciting searches and am taking a customized approach to reviewing listings with clients. Overwhelming someone with 100 options isn’t going to help anyone, so just like narrowing down a spread in a catalog of must-have dresses, it is important to do the same when showing someone houses or condos. Making sure you understand what they want and don’t want is crucial. And also, just like the fashion business, you have to be okay with change. What a client wanted yesterday or an hour ago could change by tomorrow. Right now, there is a huge influx of people moving down to South Florida, temporarily or permanently because they can work remotely, we don’t have state income tax, and our outdoor lifestyle makes us a more Covid-19 friendly place to live.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question! My friends around the country and the world know me for social planning! Here is an idea of how I would plan out a week long visit:
-Start the week off right with a great workout. I practice a lot of yoga, but I also like do pilates. Jetset is always nice for a great challenge.
-Have an acai bowl at Dreamer. I’m a big acai bowl connoisseur and I think Dreamer and Pura Vida have the best in Miami!
-Head to Coconut Grove to my friend Yeliz’s store and cafe, The Bazaar Project. You’ll probably walk away with a treat for yourself, a great gift, or even some wine, after enjoying tuna tartar.
-Head up to the top of the Mr. C Hotel for lunch round 2, maybe a lobster salad, and a glass of rose champagne at Belini while looking out to the water.
-Monday night dinner is at Cecconi’s at Soho House. As a member, I get a special discount on Monday nights I love the vibes here just as much as I dream about their octopus! I like to pair some yummy small plates with an Aperol Spritz!
-Take a ride up to Palm Beach with the top down, walk around Worth Ave and then have lunch at RH rooftop.
– Stop by the Breakers for a walk around the property before heading back.
-Virtual family yoga with Mimi is my Tuesday night routine (mimiyoga.com). My family tunes in from SC, CT, MA, NY, and sometimes even CA for a weekly private session! It’s become an amazing tradition. I like to light candles, sage, and palo santo. I also put out crystals and a mindful card to help set my intentions.
-Delivery from Zuma for dinner- always a favorite and they have great gluten free sushi options as well! This way we can enjoy something yummy, while staying in our yoga clothes. I love to eat out, cook, and get great delivery. I think life is about balance! I also love to pull up vintage concerts on YouTube and play during dinner. I’m on the 48th floor of my building, so I enjoy looking out to Star Island, Fisher Island, Museum Park, and Brickell. I love multi-sensory experiences, even when I’m at home!
-Walk to Brickell Key, do a few loops and then end at Brickell City Center and have lunch at Casa Tua Cucina.
-Go to the pool for a couple hours, catch some shade under a palm tree and do some journaling. Take a steam or sauna afterwards (once amenities like this can safely re-open).
-Head to Wynwood and walk around admiring the street art and the energy.
-Have dinner at Kyu and top it off with vegan ice cream at Dasher Crank.
-Walk around the Design District and have a casual lunch at Pura Vida.
-Enjoy some Cuban Jazz at Ball and Chain in Little Havana with a mojito and ceviche.
-Beach day at Soho House with some rose wine and guacamole is a good way to say TGIF!
-Dinner outside on the water at Amara at Paraiso is always nice! Their huge waterfront dining area is a gem and it’s a great place for sharing, which is how I prefer to enjoy every meal!
-Morning outdoor yoga with Paula at Green Monkey, followed by a long walk along the ocean and South Point Park is a great and healthy way to start off the day.
-Lunch outside at Pub Belly Sushi in Sunset Harbor is next on the list!
-Dinner at Mandolin in the Design District is always a favorite for locals and visitors!
-Take a boat Ride along the Venetian Islands and Miami River.
-Late lunch at Joia Beach on Jungle Island makes you feel transported into a Summer European afternoon. There’s great seafood, great music, and it has a relaxed yet trendy vibe.
-Hot Yin Candle lit Yoga at Wynwood Yoga with Jenny is a nice way to end the day. It’s okay if you ended up having a couple drinks earlier in the afternoon- you’ll sweat it out! Life is about balance
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
On days when I need a reminder to stay focused and optimistic, I like to listen books on audible, such as Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” and “The Power.” Our own thoughts and what we put out in the universe is very powerful for manifesting what we want.
Other: Portfolio of Global Developments: https://folio.elliman.com/lauren-fannon