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Daily Inspiration: Meet Liza Fleming

Today we’d like to introduce you to Liza Fleming.

Hi Liza, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Everything started back in Puerto Rico. I was born and raised in the island. My parents, who owned a pharmacy in Morovis, PR, always instilled the importance of working hard for what you want but making sure you’re serving the community that you are part of. I graduated from college in Miami and returned to Puerto Rico to complete my master’s when a job opportunity presented itself in Tampa Bay over 15 years ago to work in marketing for CBS Radio. From there, after almost a decade working for Verizon in telecommunications, it was time to follow my dream to open a boutique. Inspired by my corporate career, I launched z•aa dress up studio online and by appointment back in December of 2017, following with the opening of a brick and mortar location 8 months after in the heart of downtown St. Pete.

As a Latina, navigating a competitive industry predominantly led by males, it was important to me to be successful without losing my own self throughout my journey for personal and professional growth. As a fashion lover, I always manage to incorporate appropriately fun pieces in a professional setting without having to wear a suit every day, helping me keep my individuality intact. So inspired in my corporate career, I developed the concept for z•aa to offer statement outfits and elevated essentials curated to transition between work and play without sacrificing style or fashion. Our core values are solely focused on customer experience. We don’t sell just fashion, we sell compliments. Our goal is that when one walks outside the door, they get as many compliments as possible. And that’s when we’ve done our job…

I have a passion for helping women style themselves in ways that push their envelope. I want their look to always match their confidence and spirit so z•aa is that vehicle to empower them to look and feel good about themselves.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Smooth road? Not at all, but certainly what was needed to get me exactly where I am today. I always wanted to do this, but also loved my job as a marketer, so it was hard to put that aside to get this going. In 2016, I lost my job as a result of a one of the biggest transitions in the telecommunications industry when Verizon sold their wireline business to Frontier Communications in this area. Despite the circumstances, it was the best opportunity to finally make it happen.

And like it wasn’t just enough, our friend Covid-19 hit us last year… that was certainly a set-back and a scary time. At that point, I felt I needed to have a backup plan. Frontier Communications approached me to join their team to support the marketing strategy for their fiber expansion efforts across the nation. Here I was joining my previous corporate family to embark on this journey again.

Not everything have been as easy as I’m describing right now, but I am enjoying my new corporate life while z•aa is going strong, and that’s all that matters. I’m thankful for every opportunity and blessed to be part of a community that truly supports small businesses.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Corporate Hat: I am a senior marketing manager and strategist in the telecommunications field
Small Business Entrepreneur Hat: I conceptualize, develop strategy, and oversee operations for z•aa dress up studio, including branding and positioning, curating inventory, and identifying key alliances and business opportunities.

Looking back, I feel my biggest accomplishments include being able to influence and support others, building a brand that empowers, celebrates, and supports women in whatever stage of life or part of their journey they are… building community.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
The secret sauce isn’t that secret… hard work, discipline, commitment, and passion. I live with intention. I’ve always lived by the saying “La pasión tiene cara de viernes,” which its literal translation is “Passion has a Friday face”. I get it… it doesn’t make sense, but what it means is that one must live with that Friday feeling… that excitement and passion should always take precedence in your life to tackle anything you’re are up to. And while it is important to work hard, it is equally important to have fun and enjoy both, the big and the little things. There’s no need to apologize for success, but it’s important to be thankful and give back. There are always key people along the way supporting and helping us achieve our goals; we should all make a priority to help others achieve theirs. That’s the point when everything fully makes sense and it just tastes better.

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Image Credits

Marian Guillén
Marcus Oania

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