“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” This is the life motto of Melissa Gonzalez. Melissa carries out this saying with her business, Lion’esque Style.

Lion’esque Style is an online destination where style-seekers can see the latest trends, and shop the latest designs from emerging designers. It’s a one shop website for fashion, beauty and lifestyle inspiration. After Melissa left the Wall Street business, she helped develop various pop up businesses. She has always loved the business side of things, and she has always had a passion for the fashion industry. Lion’esque Style allows her to combine her passion for business and fashion with those who are passionate with design. Her goal is to, simply, allow designers to be designers. Lion’esque Style does everything else.

Her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to think. Think about what kind of business they want. Think about what kind of life they want. They should know whether their quality of life or their revenue is more important to them. They should know marketing, and know their typical customer. Lastly, they should know their own goals and their purpose: what they are tying to achieve overall.

As the boss, Melissa said that the most difficult aspect of her business is the constant multi-tasking and prioritizing. With regards to e-commerce, knowing the customer provides another challenge. As a startup, the most important thing is focus. She says, “You can’t focus on things that are stopping you from growing an inch, when you should focus on things that will help you grow a mile.” Focus is key.

Melissa shows focus not only in her company, but also in her philanthropic work. She is part of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF). Melissa has been involved in this organization since college. She also holds a chair for the Young Professional network.

Melissa combines the business of Lion’esque Style with her need to give back. Lion’esque Style hosts trunk shows, where portions raised go to charities. Giving back has always been important to Melissa. She believes that it is essential for people to appreciate what they have. Her parents came from nothing. In this kind of environment, many people give up. However, Melissa found inspiration and guidance from her mother. She says that her mother was the exception. Her mother never gave up and she is now a managing director of JP Morgan Chase. Melissa believes that the lack of role models in culture has created a cycle in the lack of ambition. She hopes to provide role models, and to even serve as a role model: she wants to inspire people to follow their dreams and their aspirations throughout their entire life.

Melissa has had many life-changing experiences that have all shaped her worldview. With regards to work, she will always remember when she first started to deal with the pop up business. Seeing her designers just starting out to becoming popular runway designers has made her see that she can make a difference. Another significant experience occurred during one of her performances. Melissa performed in many indie films. In one film she played the daughter of a woman who was an activist for AIDS. After this actress passed away, she was asked to act out one of the scenes at the actress’s memorial service. The actress’s actual daughter sat there watching Melissa. After the performance, the daughter came up to her and gave Melissa a hug. This encounter changed Melissa’s life: she realized that in everything she does, she can be a role model and serve as a source of inspiration.

Even though everyone can see that Melissa is changing the world day by day, there are many things unknown about Melissa. For one, most people do not realize that she as endearing as she actually is. Her adventurous spirit has made her go motorcycle riding, skydiving, and even hand gliding in the Swiss Alps. Another hidden gem is that she loves creating things. In high school, she built a radio from scratch, and it even had two stations. Lastly, when she was younger, she wanted to be the first woman baseball player for Major League Baseball.

Even though she may not be playing Major League at the moment, Melissa is still making a hit with the One Dress. For every dress bought, one school dress is given to a girl. For her campaign, she chose women with different looks in order to show the universality of the dress. These women were all different sizes and different ethnicities. However, the same one dress fit and flattered all of these women. The versatility of the dress shows that even though all women have different messages, at the same time they have one message. Melissa describes the campaign as “One dress. Seven sizes. Seven messages. One message. “ The One campaign is sure to mold out a better world in style.

As for upcoming trends, Melissa predicts that lady-like style will be popular in the upcoming season. Other popular styles will include street art inspired accessories, metallic mixes and bold geometric prints. She plans to include a pattern play guide for the timid on Lion’esque Style. Melissa says that the fashion savvy need to be on the lookout for upcoming designers including Amber Patton, a New York based designer, and Rosalina Pong, a fabulous coat designer.

Melissa loves working with beginning designers. She wants to constantly be with the designers, but she realizes that she has to market. She works with the designers to see what part of their design aesthetic is unique, and to emphasize this theme.

She has many goals before the end of 2013. Professionally, she hopes to evolve the site, and keep up with the caliber of designers. Also, she hopes to include a storytelling component to the launch of their designs. Personally, she hopes to grow in her relationships, and keep up with fun side things, as to not burn out.

Knowing Melissa, she is likely to even serve as an inspiration in her side projects. Melissa constantly lives out her motto by living out each day to the fullest and constantly being open to learning new things. She is well on her way to fulfilling her goal: showing the importance of role models. Melissa not only provides fashion guidance through Lion’esque Style, but she also serves as a role model on how to live out a purposeful life.

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