Today we’d like to introduce you to Summer Le Buchanan.
Summer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was interested in fashion at an early age, maybe it was because my parents were seamsters, they had a manufacturing business in the 90s and I grew up surrounded by clothes. After graduating from university as a Registered Nurse specializing in Mental Health, as a hobby, I attended the Fashion Institute in Sydney, I completed my course; Business Majoring in Fashion.
In 2014, I moved to New York and discovered a new passion, interior design. I attended interior design classes at The New York Fashion Institute and interned at one of the top interior design companies in New York; Dekar Design. After completing classes and my internship, I started my own business designing homes in New York and also flipped a few homes in New Jersey with my husband, Steve.
During my free time, I was a wardrobe stylist. I always did some kind of styling gig, whether it was New York Fashion Week or editorial shoots. It was a very inspiring and fun time in my life.
In 2016, my husband and I decided to move to California. We started a franchise business and realized how much we hated the 9-5 job and despised being a part of the rat race. After six months in, we closed down the business and moved onto our dream job; real estate investing, what we are both truly passionate about. We invest in multi-family homes. By this, I mean we find apartment buildings where we can add value and renovate them. My husband is the numbers guy and I design the apartments.
I still love fashion to this day and during my free time as my hobby I am a fashion/travel influencer. This way I get to do real estate investing, interior designing and still be in the fashion industry.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. There were some struggles along the way but I look at them more like life lessons. I have learned how to navigate myself along with my life journey when something doesn’t feel right. One thing I learned from my past is that when my gut tells me it’s wrong, follow it.
When my husband and I opened our franchise business, we realized the culture and lifestyle didn’t suit us. We were living a very unhealthy lifestyle, stressing too much, eating unhealthy, not going to the gym, not being able to go on vacation and not being able to spend time with anyone. All we did was work. That’s when we knew we had to cut the cord even though it was a financial loss but our guts were telling us how wrong this franchise was for us. We never once regretted closing the franchise because we are doing way better in life now. We often look back and reflect on that low period and appreciate our current jobs and our freedom to do what we want in our lives. Sometimes, you need to struggle to really know what you want in life.
As for my other career paths, most of it has been quite a smooth journey. If you really want something, go out there and pursue it. If you put in 100%, people actually see it and they want to work with you. I’ve been quite lucky to be able to go out there and doors have opened for me. If there wasn’t a door, I created that door. It doesn’t always happen on the first go, you have to try over and over again and if that doesn’t work out, in the end, you change directions. Just remember, never give up!
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a real estate investor, I specialize on the design side. My company focuses on multifamily investment. We try to improve the community by renovating and providing beautiful homes for people to live in. Every apartment I design I try to imagine like it’s my own home and give that to our tenants. We try to listen to our tenants and give them the best value. We pride ourselves in being priced competitively to other buildings around us by giving more to our tenants and charging less. Our goal is to improve the community’s living standards because we really care about people. I plan on working toward sustainable homes in the future, developing homes to save resources for future generations.
During my spare time, I am a fashion/travel influencer and occasionally blog. I love to style outfits and inspire others with my travels. My style varies depending on how I feel, where I am, how the weather is and what the occasion is. My other passion is travel. I enjoy sharing this because I believe everyone should travel as much as they can, even if it’s just a road trip to a neighboring city or halfway across the world. It really helps you to grow as a person, it opens up your mind and exposes you to different cultures out there. I love immersing myself in new places, trying exotic food and learning about people and their history. On my social media platforms, you will see a mix of both fashion and travel.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
One of the biggest barriers I face as a real estate investor is that most of my contractors have trouble listening to me. Whether it’s my accent or they’re just not used to having a female running a project and receiving instructions from me, they seem to always look to my husband for directions when he’s there. I just have to keep on repeating myself and eventually, the job gets done. Hopefully, as more women are out there in this field, it will become apparent that women can become leaders too.
- Website: LeBuchanan.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @summerlebuchanan