LAFAYETTE’S BRANDY LANDRY ON DOING BUSINESS DIFFERENTLY.
Accomplished business owner, interior designer, and public speaker, Brandy Landry, doesn’t fit into just any mold you want to put her into: and that’s exactly the way she prefers it.
Brandy offers her professional interior design services as an independent contractor for the residential construction realm as well as workplace development. Her design career began in interior decorating, but after working on some projects which included new and renovation construction, she realized that designing for those facets of the industry lit her creative pilot light. Her specialty grew to today’s main focus on new construction.
She serves as Principal Interior Designer for Open Doors Louisiana, a non-pro t that creates safe and affordable housing for residents in need. “We bring the houses down to the studs and build them back up, I enjoy the meaning behind that…a fresh start… complete transformation….a safe place for someone,” she said. “I came from a family of skilled carpenters; I think that’s where my love for construction stems from – I’ve always been comfortable in a workshop,” she mentioned.
Her accomplished list doesn’t stop there; she acts as a Personal Branding Strategist and Communication Trainer for entrepreneurs with her business, iBrandYou360. “I show people how to monetize the power of their personality in business…how to be creative and innovative without boundaries…and that’s it’s possible doing so by not going the traditional route,“ she said.
Brandy is a widely sought after public speaker and keynote speaker for various conferences, events, and graduation commencement ceremonies. She also enjoys spending time speaking to what the general public might deem “at-risk” youth. “I’m not what people expect from the traditional ‘business woman’ as it relates to my non-traditional appearance and delivery style, but I think that’s what makes me relatable! I enjoy speaking
at what people call ‘at-risk’ schools…but I don’t consider them at-risk, I consider them ‘opportunity schools. These are the places where
there’s an opportunity to make a difference!”
With the vast array of leadership skills that she has meticulously molded over the years of her professional career in the corporate world, Brandy continuous- ly looks for ways to give back to those around her. Recently, she formulated
an all-female, by invitation
group of full time volume producing women called Iron 2717, with the name stemming from the Proverbs verse and passage about iron sharpening iron. It’s a newly formed mastermind group for female volume-producing entrepreneurs. They meet weekly and look to network, grow, and create solutions for their business with like-minded individuals. “I always yearned for a strong supportive group of women who I could also serve as support to. These ladies are my business besties,” she said.
I sat with Brandy in her o ce and she opened up to me about what she has endured to get to the professional level in which she nds herself today. “Growing up, I was a larger than average, taller than average, dark-skinned, African American girl. In South Louisiana, that has never been the accepted norm. I’ve always had to create a lane for myself,“ she explained. She told me she always had to sit in a makeshift desk during her schooling to sit comfortably and often times her mother had to sew clothes for her since she found it hard to nd anything to t her stature. “Instead of getting down about it, I would just tell myself ‘You’re just a big girl in a small world,” she told me. After getting to know a bit about her, making the best of things seems to be one of her (many) fortes.
When it comes to her professional life, she takes that uplifting outlook on life and seems to mold the world around her, instead of modding herself to t in the world. She explained to me, “I show up to speak with bright colors. I’m just di erent, but I enjoy standing out. I like to be in my own lane because there’s no tra c there.” That’s exactly what she seeks to instill in her clients and the groups that she speaks to. “There’s value and authenticity in being adaptable and nding the power in your own personality.”
Brandy enjoys paving the way for others. When I asked how she approaches a way in doing so, she explained, “In South Louisi- ana, there aren’t many
African American Interior Designers, so I enjoy treading the water that most won’t tread to show people ‘Hey, you CAN
do this. You have a place in this industry.’ I think people in our African American culture are very creative and often get mistreated and over- looked in the South to the point that THEY end up not believing that they are worthy. My objective is de nitely not about be- coming rich, I’m focused on leaving a legacy.”
Brandy grew up in what she likes to call
an “inverse diverse” situation. She grew up in a black family living in a white neigh- borhood. I was always a little too black for white people and a little too white for black people. I had to learn to just show up as ME. ALL of ME! ” She believed that having the feeling of not tting in anywhere gave her the resilience to gure out her own way to do things. One of her favorite sayings is,”Don’t try to t in. You were created to stand out!”
That’s what she prides herself on being able to bring to the business world. I
asked what advice she gives clients who go to her with questions on how to brand themselves. “I know that discomfort is the place where you grow. That’s what I teach. I want people to be uncomfortable…and be uncomfortable in shifting the paradigm. Not being afraid to challenge the status quo is where growth happens – once people get comfortable about not being so concerned about “fitting the norm”, that’s where the magic happens! Just make sure your heart is in whatever it is that you do! The caveat is you shouldn’t be doing it for you alone; you always have to be doing something for the greater good,” she explained.
She discussed how her parents influenced the way she lives her life today. “My Mother was always doing some sort of project, showing me how to be creative and to see things through from start to finish. My Father was my business role model and cheerleader, he always told me, ‘Don’t be average, be excellent.’” Another phrase from her Father that stuck with her was, “Re- member why you started.” She confided in me that she thinks about that phrase every morning when she wakes up. “That quote gets me out of bed every morning.“
I mentioned to her that many people see her as an infuencer, and I asked her what she thought about that. “My favorite Robert Frost quote comes to mind, ‘I am not a teacher, but an awakener.’” She explained further that aiding others in having their own realizations of their abilities is what fuels her. “All I can do is lead by example.
I enjoy being the person that I didn’t have when I started on this path of self-discov- ery and business; I didn’t have a Brandy Landry.”
Brandy thinks that people put too much emphasis on titles these days. “In the school setting I was never taught what to do with my creativity. I learned differently. Most of the very valuable life-shaping skills that I learned were self-taught. This way of learning is what I now know to be called an autodidact, a self-taught person. There’s value in teaching yourself because in the end, YOU are your biggest investment. But I never had anyone to tell me that. I’m here to tell people that.”
I posed the question of if she has any regrets professionally. “My only regret is not discovering my purpose earlier to enjoy it for a longer time…but, I remind myself, ‘I’m not a minute late, I’m right where I need to be at this time.’”
Brandy shared with me a few key bits of advice that she tells her coaching clients about doing business differently.
1. People buy into your personality, not your product. This is a difficult one for people to ascertain, but it’s true. A person who’s passionate about what they do or sell or o er will always get other people thinking, hey, maybe that will work for me, too.
2.Everything that we’ve done can be used for something-even the bad experiences or our out-of-steps. You can use those things to teach others and to help them to navigate through tough things.
3. You have to MAKE things happen for yourself. You have to hustle! You can’t cheat the grind. There’s no magic seat at the table, you have to create your own table. Always be strategic and intentional in what you do.
4. Be authentic & be consistent. Just be you.
At the time of my meeting with Brandy, life was still trodding along as the normal life we had come to know and expect. I wanted her view on the current situation in terms of the ailing economy and what advice she’d have for her business-owning clients during these unprecedented times of uncertainty, so I reached back out to her, and here’s what she had to say:
“Uncertain times like these show us who we really are at heart. These times make us reflect on self in very peculiar way! We see things that we don’t typically see when all the hurriedness
is in the midst. These times also show us who other people are. It’s easy to be nice when times are good. These times remind me of exactly what I love to say so often about not building business based on business. Build business based on relationships. I have built some
of the most valuable and rewarding friendships in the business world from letting the focus be on the relationship and not the business! Continue loving people and supporting them during this difficult time. Remain Resilient, focused, and open to change! Change is definitely on the way!”