Leah Marie

by Terry Watson | May 22nd, 2020
Leah Marie

Leah Marie

Leah Rogers is really big on family. Affectionately known as Leah Marie, she is the eighth born of 11 children, and the fourth youngest. She is a native of Kinston, N.C. and grew up watching her parents struggle to provide for their family.

Leah shares that while under her mother’s tutelage, she learned the value of hard work and determination. “In my household, I learned many lessons that established the framework in building a successful business enterprise. At the age of 16, I started my journey by working modest jobs but I realized that I needed to pursue a higher education to solidify my goals. With my eyes set to attend college but not sure how to finance this goal at the age of 18, I joined the North Carolina Army National Guard. Upon completion of my military training, I was accepted into North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (HBCU). In 2014, I graduated with a degree in Business Management,” she says.

The training Leah received in the Army provided the discipline needed to accomplish her educational goals and created the opportunity to strive for more. This included the option to pursue an advanced degree. In 2018, she graduated from Liberty University Online with her MBA, and later received a professional certification in Human Resources. Later that year, she was called to serve her country in an austere environment located in Afghanistan. She returned from Afghanistan organized, disciplined, and focused. Those three words can accurately describe the guiding principles on how Leah pursued her business ventures, how she supports her community, and her commitment to mentor young women. “When I set a goal, I pursue it with passion and vigor until it is reached,” she shares.

Currently, Leah owns and manages House of LA, LLC. It is also the parent company for her clothing boutique (LA Kloset) and hair extension brand (LA Luxe). LA Kloset is a boutique for women wanting a curate mix of clothing and accessories that reflects their personal styles. LA Luxe provides ready to wear and custom-made wigs for women wanting to switch up hairstyles, protect their natural hair or dare to be different. “Our wigs are glue-less, making them perfect to throw on in little to no time, without the need for a hairstylist or visit to a salon. Our custom units are 100% human hair and can be made with your preference in regards to length, texture and/or color. Our goal is to provide our customers with an all in one seamless shopping experience, eliminating the need to shop in multiple locations to put together one look,” Leah says.

How did it all began for Leah? She was first introduced to the beauty of fashion while working as a sales associate at a women’s clothing boutique in Greensboro, N.C., called “Q Fashions”. Then, she was a part-time guardsman and full-time college student studying Business Management. Her job as a sales associate consisted of showcasing the store’s most popular items and offering solutions or ideas to customers, providing guidance on product fits and styles. As her passion for fashion grew, so did the relationship with her customers. It was then Leah realized she wanted to get into fashion more. “What started as a dream, selling my own used clothing and shoes, eventually tuned into much more. In 2013, I started my clothing boutique, known now as LA Kloset. In 2018, I relaunched and rebranded my business to House of LA, LLC,” Leah says.

As a National Guard soldier, Leah had the opportunity to serve her country, while also pursuing a civilian career. She wore her uniform one weekend out the month and 2 weeks during the summer unless deployed or activated state side. While in uniform, there are certain regulations that must be followed when it comes to appearance and hair. Being a black female with natural hair, Leah shares how she had to work around the frustrating limits of the Army regulation. To eliminate the constant troubles with her hair, Leah started wearing wigs to cover it up while on duty.
LA Luxe Extension Brand was created in 2019 under the parent company House of LA, LLC. Its focus is to allow female Soldiers the opportunity to not have to compromise their personal styles to adhere to military standards.

Starting a business is a big accomplishment for many aspiring entrepreneurs, but maintaining it can be the biggest challenge. Time management is essential. Leah shares that when she initially started, she was a full-time college student, working part-time with the Army National Guard, and working part-time at my civilian job. “In the beginning, I struggled with finding a balance between my business, work and school. Finding ways to devote time to both has proven to be key for achieving a work-life balance. Now that I am done with school, I have a better handle on devoting time to my business,” she says.

Being an entrepreneur gives Leah an opportunity to pour her love into something that she loves, and to help others. “Being an entrepreneur can be daunting at times but my family, friends, customer base, and other business owners make it worthwhile. Serving my growing clientele and learning the day to day operations of building my brand is always an ongoing . Waking up each day knowing I get to do something I love is more than I can say about almost any job that I’ve held,” she says.

Furthermore, Leah loves the opportunity she has to create new clothing outfits and hair styles and the ability to collaborate with other creatives, social media influencers, and business owners all over the world.

Leah says that her parents have inspired her to be the person she is. “My parents are my role models. Their actions in life guided me and give me the courage to face obstacles. Since childhood, my mother has always been a hard worker, working days and sometimes nights and doing everything possible to provide for us. She inspired me to never give up and to keep working hard no matter what. My dad came to the United States with little to no education from the Common Wealth of Dominica. His goal was to make a better life for himself. He is my pillar of strength. I’ve seen him at his highs and lows, and one thing I noticed is that he never gave up or surrendered to the situations life threw at him. At his lowest points in life, he remained positive and vigilant. No matter the circumstances, he continues to smile. He is the most caring, loving, and humble person I know. He gives me strength to face any problem in life. He inspired me to look at the bigger picture in life and focus on what’s really important,” she shares.

For those who may be thinking about starting a business, Leah offers some advice. “Believe in yourself. Your vision starts with you. If you don’t believe in yourself or your vision, how can you expect the next person to do so. Having the vision and believing in myself is the force that keeps me going daily even when times get hard or business is slow,” she says.
Leah also encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to do the time and put in the necessary work to succeed. “Success doesn’t happen overnight. Everyone starts as a beginner. You have to invest time into your business. No one succeeds in business alone. It took me a while to realize this but now I have the assistance of family and friends to help me with small things. I lived by the saying, teamwork makes the dream work.”

Moving forward, Leah desires to assist other aspiring entrepreneurs on starting their journey. She is in the planning stages of her next business venture. Her next move will involve taking her experience from both the civilian and military side to form Leah Marie & Company. “My dream has always been clear, to one day be my own boss and help others do the same. In order to do so, I had to learn the process on from the beginning. For those that have dreams inside but aren’t sure where to start, my team and I will be able to assist them along the way. I want to provide an all-in-one hub for upcoming entrepreneurs and help them to be able to feel confident when taking this journey by providing them with the resources needed to be successful,” she says.

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