Lená Burns reached out to me at the end of 2016, interested in joining our team (“I have done my research on local personal stylists and what you do…I want to be a part of that.”).
At that point, she was working as a media consultant. She had parlayed her career as an Emmy Award-winning journalist and press secretary for the mayor of a top-ten U.S. city into a communications consulting business. Her clients included politicians, corporations, small businesses, and more. On the style side, she perfected headshots and on-air looks for her clients.
I was looking to add another stylist to our team, but had yet to interview someone that was a good fit. My goal in building our team in 2017 was to hire stylists who brought their own expertise, professional experience, and skill. I wanted people with business know-how that no one else on our team possessed.
Within the first 15 minutes of meeting Lená, I knew. She had everything I was looking for in a stylist: fashion chops, smarts, warmth, customer-service experience, and a wicked sense of humor. To be on our team, you have to be able to laugh at life…a lot.
Most importantly, she got it. She got what our company is about: The connection we make with our clients comes first. Everyone deserves a look that feels polished, put-together, and authentic. We provide the tools and expertise for our clients to achieve this.
In terms of bringing new skills to the table, she had social media knowledge and expertise. For the first month, as she dove into our company’s intensive stylist training, she also set up a social media strategy. This included launching our #wednesdaywisdom videos on Instagram and Facebook. In just two months, the style tip videos have become one of our most clicked/viewed posts on our social media channels.
Lená is now 100 percent focused on her career as a DC Style Factory stylist. She is booking Closet Audit, Shopping, and Outfit Creation appointments each week.
I call her the Grace Kelly of our crew. Her natural elegance is not intimidating but welcoming, even as she is whipping her clients’ closets into shape! I am thrilled to have Lená as part of our team and know her work with DC Style Factory will be boundless.
Lená is wearing an outfit from Kiskadee and earrings from The Hive.
How do you spend your time? I spend a lot of time doing what I love, my job as a stylist at DC Style Factory. Sometimes days can be long but when I’m doing closet audits, in-person shopping, or outfit creations, I don’t notice the time because I love what I do. When I’m not working, I love spending time with my husband; we’re foodies so there’s lots of amazing restaurants in Alexandria we enjoy and we love going to the movies, too.
Neighborhood: Alexandria near Landmark Mall
How long have you lived in Alexandria: Three years. I moved out here from San Diego after marrying my husband who is a jazz musician in the Air Force, stationed at Bolling.
What is your hometown? I was born at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda. My mother was in the Navy at the time and my father was a Presidential Honor Guard in the Air Force, but our family roots are in Louisiana and Georgia.
What brought you to Alexandria? I reconnected with my childhood sweetheart after 24 years. We got married in San Diego and then moved out to Alexandria.
What would surprise people about you? I can eat four pounds of crawfish.
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? I’ve been told I’m fearless when it comes to meeting and connecting with people, perhaps which comes from my years as a television news reporter.
Favorite cocktail: A dirty gin martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives.
Last book read or movie seen: The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, one of my favorite books I like to re-read from time to time.
Guilty Pleasure: Not immediately responding to my phone when it makes a noise.
Phrase you overuse: What is happening?
Facebook or Instagram? Instagram
Latest binge-watch: “Big Little Lies”
Bucket list travel destination: Switzerland
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? Wine
Define your style in three words or less: Classic, simple, fun!!
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Black David Park Sky dress. Had it for over 20 years, still looks great.
Favorite trend ever: Shoulder pads
Favorite current trend: Statement earrings
Beauty product you can’t live without: Ren Lip Balm
Heels or flats? Heels
Favorite room in your home: The sitting area in our bedroom. We like to have coffee there in the morning and map out the day.
Antiques, modern, or a mix? Mix
Last item bought for your home: A white sofa pillow. It has three pineapples on it.
Next planned purchase: Looking for the perfect headboard/bed; I want to find a really tall one, gray, padded.
Favorite way to entertain: I love to throw parties, I get obsessed with the details. My husband’s 50th is coming up, we are having a party at Public House on Union Street in the oyster bar. It’s a favorite hangout.
Clutter-free or well-lived in? Clutter-free
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: No wallpaper, please.
Your go-to work-out: Bikram Yoga Alexandria
Most fun way to exercise: When it’s warm outside
Group exercise or solo: Group exercise
Fitness goal: Staying fit. The older I get, the harder it gets.
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Rock climbing
Proudest fitness achievement: Ran a six minute mile in high school, I wasn’t proud of that until many years later when I realized it wasn’t bad. At the time, my P.E. teacher said, “as soon as you finish your mile, you can leave class.” Since it was my least favorite class, I ran my fastest and got it done in six minutes every day. She tried to get me to join the track team, but I held her to her promise. LOL.
Favorite spot in Alexandria: Our new favorite spot is Restaurant Eve. The gin and tonics are the best we’ve ever had!
Last purchase in Alexandria: Groceries at Trader Joes
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: ESP Killer Coffee / Hank’s Oyster Bar / Vermillion or Yves Bistro
Favorite charity: Suited for Change
Favorite annual Alexandria event: The Scottish Walk Christmas Parade!!