Laura Smith is the epitome of a career-driven woman who effectively juggles her professional life and family. And she looks good doing it. The full-time credit manager works more than 40 hours per week, but still finds time to grow and manage a budding lifestyle brand. Plus, she’s a proud single mom of a 4-year-old daughter, Leighton. Laura admits it’s a lot to manage, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Her blog, Walking in Memphis in High Heels, has garnered national attention, boasting thousands of monthly pageviews and more than 130k+ followers from her social media accounts combined. The brand has grown so much in the last six years that Laura now has a staff of nine and an agent to help her land collaborations with local and national brands.
We spoke candidly with the Memphis blogger about juggling motherhood, building a brand and making time for self-care. Meet our newest FACE of Memphis!
Why did you decide to start your blog, Walking in Memphis in High Heels?
I started blogging six-and-a-half years ago, and it honestly started from reading blogs myself. I had recently started reading style blogs for a few months and fell in love with them. On a whim, I decided to create Walking in Memphis in High Heels to show that work wear didn’t have to be boring and to push myself out of my comfort zone when it came to fashion.
Your blog has grown from a hobby to now a small company with nine employs. What factors would you attribute to your growth?
Be yourself. Always. Don’t look at everyone else and compare yourself or copy them. I truly believe that if you are yourself and love what you do, that will shine through to others.
You have a large social media following. How do you manage to connect with your readers and continue to grow your brand?
I love interacting with my friends and followers and try to respond to people as much as I can. It’s not always feasible because by the time I can respond after work and Leighton is in the bed, I might be three Instagram posts behind and don’t have time to respond to 300 comments before I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. But I at least make sure to respond to any direct messages via email, Facebook or Instagram. I think you have to put in an effort though, and I think people see that and understand. Without friends and followers, my brand wouldn’t be what it is.
What do you think makes you stand out from other bloggers?
I feel like I share so many different aspects of my life. Not just style, and not just motherhood. I try to share what I love and just try to be myself. And for some reason, people seem to like it!
How do you balance motherhood, working full-time and growing a budding lifestyle brand?
It’s definitely hard managing my own business working full-time and being a single mom, but I do have a staff that helps me. Just like any company, you have to have employees. You can’t do it all. Outsource what you can’t do yourself at the level that you want to and the things you don’t love doing. You have to have people to help you. I never get on my laptop around Leighton, and I very rarely use my phone around her to do work. Does that mean I am not constantly responding to Instagram comments? Yes. Does that mean that I don’t share into the double digits of Instagram stories each day? Yes. But I’m okay with it — life, God and family come first. I truly love my friends and followers, but when I’m with my daughter, she comes first. Then I set aside time after she’s in bed each night to schedule out blog posts and post to social media.
When did you fall in love with fashion?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fashion. I was in beauty pageants as a child, and I think it was really then that I started to love getting dressed up and shopping. The rest is history.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Memphis?
I love Lanksy, Indigo and Southern Couture as far as boutiques go. The Shops of Saddle Creek is my go-to for larger retailers.
You’ve mentioned that you named the blog after the song “Walking in Memphis” because of your love for the city. What do you love most about Memphis?
Memphis is so diverse, and I feel like that is what truly makes us so unique. And we have a culture that is so rich in music and food. I feel like there is always somewhere to go and something to do, and it’s not all the same or cookie-cutter.
Because of your demanding schedule, what do you do to make time for self-care?
I used to be terrible about making time for myself; but honestly, I feel like my blog has actually helped me to make more time for self-care. I just got my first facial in over a decade last week because I was working with a local medical spa. It was for my blog, but it also forced me to take the time to relax and get a facial and make sure I’m taking care of myself and my skin.
I’m sharing things daily about my life, my style, my beauty routine and my haircare routine, so I think it’s important for me to make sure that I’m trying out new things and doing my best to share the products I truly love.
You expose a lot of yourself on your blog, but what’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I used to be pre-med, but now I’m a credit manager and a blogger. Life doesn’t always go how you think it’s going to go, but it’s my path, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
What motivates you as both a mother and a career woman?
My daughter. Aside from supporting my family, I want to show her how you can be a great mom and career woman too. You can have both, and it’s okay to want both.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or a motto that you live by?
You can’t please everyone. It seems so simple, yet we sometimes forget. I am a people pleaser by nature, so that was hard for me to accept, but at the end of the day, I have to make myself happy. And learn to say no — you can’t be everything for everyone.
What are three things (besides family, friends, and faith) that you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my tinted lip balm, a bottled water and moisturizer. They go everywhere with me!
To read more about Laura’s take on fashion, beauty and motherhood, visit her blog, Walking in Memphis in High Heels. Thank you to Laura Armstrong of NLA Projects for the beautiful photos!
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