Laura Fote wasn’t unhappy during her 14 years working as a registered nurse. Married to an ICU doctor, it was a comfortable fit, working together in the healthcare industry. For Laura, however, comfortable wasn’t enough.
Laura attributes her motivation in life to her parents who advised her to hustle and never give up on her dreams. She also learned through their example to take risks and grab opportunities where she could. While both her mother and father were hardworking and financially successful, they were in unsatisfying careers, and passed away while still in their prime. Her takeaway was to do what you love now and success will follow. By waiting, it may be too late.
The event that led to her entrepreneurial passion, L&B Concepts, was the planning of Laura’s own wedding. The creative aspect of the process sparked real joy in Laura and underscored the idea that there needed to be an element of innovation in her career moving forward. After her nuptials, it was a natural next step to find a way to work in the wedding space while bringing something new and marketable to the industry.
Laura and her husband, Bertrand Fote, identified high quality, inventive rental equipment at a fair price as the unmet need in the wedding trade. Together, they started L&B Concepts, serving the DMV area and its surroundings, to fill this demand. Laura dove right in, studying materials to ensure product quality and working directly with manufacturing, eliminating the “middle man,” to bring costs down. Laura attributes her continued success to keeping her finger on the pulse of the business, from the storefront/warehouse, to L&B’s online presence to the equipment’s arrival at an event. Laura prides herself on hosting daily Quality Assurance (QA) meetings, knowing where to locate any item in her warehouse, where it was sourced from, as well as how many units are available at a given time — a true finger on the pulse indeed.
Despite a pandemic year filled with cancelled weddings, birthdays and corporate events, L&B remains strong. Unexpected downtime provided opportunity to invest in community and business-building relationships and Laura did just that. She gained knowledge and grew through her affiliation with the National Association for Catering and Events, the American Rental Association, and American Business Women’s Association, to name a few. Laura offers up more tips for entrepreneurs here:
- Take advantage of lulls in your day: when flying to your next vacay or business event, or in waiting rooms, research industry trends. Her favorites? Forbes, Black Enterprise, Wedding Wire, The Knot.
- Stay engaged: despite capable staff, lean into the day-to-day of the business. Hold regular QA meetings and staff check-ins.
- Prioritize: focus on the most critical tasks every morning; don’t get derailed with less important nuances.
- Time Management: find a system that works for you. Laura plans out her day the night before, mapping out what needs to be done and when it will happen.
Considering the pent-up demand for weddings and events after a year’s hiatus, Laura predicts a surge in destination wedding gatherings and is ready to meet this demand. When asked what message she would like to leave readers with, her response was quick and direct: “Get inspired. Find your voice and re-affirm your values. Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams and jump-start your passion. I want to be the example to let you know that it’s okay. Start today.”
For more information on L&B Concepts and their luxury rental equipment, visit www.landbconcepts.com.