Megan Child is the Client Concierge and Chief Hospitality Officer at MiKADO – a full service personal styling firm handling the shopping and fashion needs of busy individuals who value well-kept wardrobes. Based in Los Angeles, the company employs a team of expert Stylists who shop on their clients’ behaves and bring the full selection of the mall directly to them, so that they never have to leave home to shop.
She has been with MiKADO since its inception five years ago and has been a catalyst to its steadfast growth. Her ability to cultivate out-of-the-box concierge services, has grown the company into a trusted resource for many working professionals whose careers rely on putting forward a strong image.
Megan splits her time between the company’s various offices, overseeing client projects and strategic business partnerships. She has aligned MiKADO with a variety of luxury hotel, retail and real estate ventures in order to bring personal styling to a much wider audience.
As the retail world so dramatically shifted during the ongoing presence of COVID-19, she has been instrumental in realigning the company to meet the needs of an onslaught of consumers who no longer feel comfortable shopping outside of their homes.
Where did the idea for MiKADO come from?
Shopping and style are two overwhelming, and often confusing components in many peoples’ lives. We all want to look our best, but knowing how to do that can be an entirely different story. And in today’s world, where schedules are more demanding than ever and most people are trying to balance hectic home and work lives, finding the time to master your image can be a futile exercise. It’s not uncommon for people to just settle for feeling ‘ok’ with the way they present themselves, because they’re completely unsure of how to achieve better results.
Shopping in a mall is time consuming, overwhelming, and often not that effective. MiKADO was born out of the idea that expert Stylists could be partnered up with everyday people to effectively solve this challenge on their behaves. Since day one we knew that bringing clothing directly to our clients, so that they’d never have to leave home to shop, and teaching them how to style them, would be the element that would completely change their relationship to their wardrobe. All of a sudden what was daunting and overwhelming became relaxed and enjoyable.
From there we made it our primary focus to learn about people – what makes them tick, why they choose to express themselves in certain ways, and how to best help them relay their personal narrative through clothing. There’s a lot of people that can put together a lovely outfit, but we always wanted to be able to provide something much more than that. We wanted to create personal uniforms for people, collections of clothing that when put on, allowed them to feel like their best, most confident selves.
Our commitment has always been to combine expert service with unparalleled convenience to deliver a highly personalized experience that ensures look and feel their best without having to do any of the work.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As the Client Concierge and Hospitality Officer for the company, my role is to make sure our clients are receiving the best possible service we can provide them. On any given day, this looks like a constant stream of emails and phone calls, either monitoring existing projects or setting the ground work for those in the near future. We set out to create exceptional experiences for the people we serve, so there’s a lot of work that goes into the backend of bringing them to life.
My job is quite literally to keep our customers thrilled in whatever way that may look like. Some days it could be organizing a last-minute outfit delivery for a client who has to speak at an unexpected conference, other days it may be training our team of Stylists on new service standards and protocols.
In order to make it productive, I have strong systems in place to automate my work flow. This means a rigid morning routine, always being in the office at the same time, knowing what I’m doing the moment I get in, and having checks in place to monitor my efficiency. I generate the strongest results when I have clear structures in place. Not only does this help me to be more accountable, but it also ensures the best use of my time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When bringing service ideas to life, I start by standing in the shoes of our clients – envisioning their lives and forecasting what it is they’ll require to alleviate stress and meet the needs they don’t even know they have.
Before being a fashion company we are a service and experience company, so I always start by asking, what would shopping look like if it were easy? What kind of experience would make personal style rewarding, as opposed to overwhelming? How can someone learn to improve their personal dress code while still wearing clothes that are authentic to who they are?
As a team we create audacious goals and then work backwards, trying to find ways to implement them. Putting ourselves in the world of our customers, seeing everything through their eyes rather than our own, is what has led to the success of our company and allowed us to stand out amongst our competitors.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A lot of businesses have really come to realize the importance of enlightened hospitality, or impeccable customer service. While I don’t know that this is so much a trend, per se, it’s an area we’re seeing a lot of focus on right now that was otherwise often overlooked. Hotels and restaurants have been practicing this methodology for a long time, but now we’re seeing it transfer over into other sectors.
Businesses have come to realize that customers drive the entire narrative of their brands, and that selling great products or innovative services isn’t enough to succeed. In the past, we may have seen consumers left out of the conversations but now there’s a real shift in the opposite direction.
It’s this attention to really personalizing the experience on a granular level that excites me. How do we take what we know about our customers and adapt our offering to meet their very unique needs? Where are the opportunities for us as business owners to improve the lives of the people we work with and far exceed their expectations?
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
In order to be as productive as possible, I put strategies in place to plan my day in advance. Before leaving the office in the evening I write out my schedule for the next day, including a list of everything that needs to get done. I’m a big believer in accomplishing your most challenging tasks at the start of the day, typically before 11AM, and planning them in advance lets me know exactly what I’m doing the moment I get into my office.
I think a lot of people struggle with productivity because they have too much idle time. It’s not that they don’t want to get things done, so much as it is that they don’t know what they need to be doing. For me, having a list sitting on my desk in the morning is the most efficient way to guarantee my entire day is structured and that the important jobs that need my attention, always receive it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My advice to my younger self would be to ask more questions and seek more insight from people who have succeeded before you.
We often feel like we need to know everything, especially when we’re younger and haven’t yet found our footing. There’s this societal pressure to have it all figured out – but as you reach a certain age you realize that a lot of people are just as confused as you are. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’d tell my younger self not to talk about it with other people ask those who have already succeeded for their insight. Asking for help or guidance can open up a world of opportunities. You really never know what knowledge could be available to you unless you ask.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
A lot of women hate shopping and would rather someone else do it for them…and men 9 times out of 10 will buy more clothing than women.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As entrepreneurs, especially in the relatively early stages of business, it can be very easy to pay too much attention to the voice inside your head that says you won’t succeed. The one that says the odds are against you and that you don’t know what you’re doing. This gets even more challenging when that voice is validated by external sources – people around you possibly doubting your ideas or failing to see your vision.
On an almost daily basis I consciously separate myself from this voice, choosing not to give it power over me and recognizing that it isn’t real. It’s something I’ve had to train myself to do, because left on its own, it can have catastrophic consequences.
As entrepreneurs building companies, we have to believe that there is an answer to the problem we’re trying to solve and that finding it is within our capability. Our thoughts are very powerful, and if we give them too much control over our actions, we risk the chance of believing we don’t have the ability to find the solutions we’re working towards.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Strategic partnerships with other like-minded business has been a primary key to our growth and expansion. We continuously look for opportunities where we can service other peoples’ customers without it being a conflict of interest, and generating positive outcomes for both parties involved. This has allowed us to 10x our reach by getting in front of new customers we otherwise wouldn’t have had interaction with.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Because strategic partnerships are so instrumental to our growth, a big part of what I do is building relationships with businesses who specialize in hospitality and could benefit from offering a luxury service, like personal styling, to their customers.
A few years ago, when we were breaking into the hotel market, there was one chain in particular that we were really keen on forming a relationship with. We felt that their vision was in complete alignment with ours and that providing our services to their guests was a symbiotic fit. Following a presentation to their team, they politely passed on the opportunity, explaining that they didn’t foresee any sort of demand within their hotel for such a service.
It felt like a complete failure, not only because I very much knew that it could work, but more so because I had unsuccessfully articulated our vision in a way that made sense in their world. I also didn’t take any burden of stress off their plates should the partnership not work – something I came to realize after the fact.
A “no” in business should never be thought of as permanent, but rather an opportunity to reframe your offer and learn from what didn’t work the first time around. After coming to terms with the failures in my initial meeting, I requested another opportunity to re-pitch our idea – this time with a focus on how we would mitigate the risk on their end. I introduced the idea of a trial experiment on select staff, something we could use to get feedback on before launching. If they didn’t experience the type of service that would be up to the standards of their guests, then we would agreed to part ways.
This angle turned out to be a great success and we have been partners with them ever since. What I learned through this failure is the importance of mitigating the downside as much as possible for the party you’re pitching to and not assuming they’ll see things the way you do.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Since my mind is focused on concierge-related services, I’ve always been interested in the idea of mobile hair salons (and perhaps they already exist). A lot of people don’t have time in their day to go get their hair done, or would rather have it taken care of in the comfort of their home. I think the idea of a Stylist coming to you, with a proper set up so to efficiently cut and color your hair while not leaving a mess, would be quite popular.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently signed up for a monthly virtual roundtable discussion about hospitality in the era of COVID-19. While very few of the other participants are in the fashion industry, it’s been extremely informative to hear how other businesses are pivoting their strategies to meet social distancing measures while still guaranteeing their exceptional service standards. It has definitely been well worth the $100.00 sign up cost.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We rely heavily on Slack to keep our business functioning seamlessly. It allows our team to easily communicate about the clients we’re working with at any given moment, how far along their projects are and who might need help sourcing clothes for an upcoming fitting.
Efficiency is critical when there’s so many moving parts in an office like ours. Clothing is constantly coming in and out, clients may change deadlines at a moment’s notice. Slack has really allowed us to stay on top of everything and effectively communicate as a group.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer, which is not only my favorite book but also the one I most often give as a gift. I would highly recommend it to your community for anyone who hasn’t read it. While it’s not a business book, its teachings are instrumental for anyone who wants to calm their mind, free themselves of limitations and break boundaries in their career.
What is your favorite quote?
“Hope is not a strategy, luck is not a factor, fear is not an option”- James Cameron
- Don’t accept “no” as the final answer. There is always another approach, another way of looking at a problem, another opportunity to grow and try again.
- Always begin by putting yourself in the mind of your customers. Don’t assume that what you want is what everyone else wants. To be successful you must understand the unique needs of the people you sell to and create products and services that align with those needs accordingly.
- Never stop looking for new opportunities to create experiences that form memorable moments in your customers’ lives.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.