This week we we spoke with lovely Lauren Williams Russett, founder of Lolo, a retail store dedicated to selling hand-made pieces made by a diverse set of designers in Brooklyn. Lauren talks to us about opening a new retail shop and café on Hoyt Street, dirty matcha oat lattes and much more!
Hey Lauren! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do
My name is Lauren Williams Russett and I'm the founder of Lolo! I studied Apparel Design at RISD and worked as a women's fashion designer in NYC for 8 years before founding Lolo. At least 2 of those years were spent planning Lolo secretly in my overworked noggin. Lolo is a Brooklyn based retail store (and soon-to-be coffeeshop!) replete with items for your home and your body. We focus on hand-made and thoughtfully designed pieces by emerging artists and designers. Nearly all of our inventory is by female identifying makers and/or majority women-owned businesses, but we welcome all folks and all genders to the roster and in the space. We are committed to continuously expanding the diversity of these makers.
I also have 3 cats. It’s a lot of cats for a one bedroom apartment, but to be fair, the last cat found me - I SWEAR!
I love your commitment to diversity (and cats)! Where are you from and where do you call home now?
I grew up on Long Island and moved to Brooklyn after college. I’ve been here for 8yrs now! Currently in the ever charming Cobble Hill.
I'm so curious to know where your love for flowers came from!
My mom, for sure! She’s always been a gardener and I grew up watching her tinker in the garden. She is also a lover of beautifying spaces and flowers instantly do that. They can bring literal life and beauty into your home. My favorite time of the year was when her lilies were in full bloom and she put the cuttings on the kitchen counter. The room filled with the scent of them and everyone got a smudge of bright orange-yellow pollen on their arm when they brushed by it ;)
That is such a wholesome memory. So, what are you working on at the moment ?
I’m focusing right now on opening my new shop location! It’s a bigger space than my previous shop and I’m adding a coffee shop aspect to it so… it’s a wholeeee lot of prep work. It was supposed to open last Spring but we’re about a year behind schedule because… 2020, but the delay has definitely been for the best.
Sounds exciting! What are some inspiring words you love and live by?
“Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.” Joss Whedon
Going to memorize that one. What’s a daily ritual that’s made an impact in your life?
A few years ago I started becoming super diligent with my skincare. This was prompted by stress and how it was really starting to take a toll on my face, ha! It’s now turned into a daily 8 step process that I do literally every single night. It signals bedtime for me, which helps turn my brain off a bit, and it really has undone some aging. And then once a week I do a clay mask to unclog my pores. Voila!
We love a good night time routine. What are you drinking and eating currently?
I’m drinking a dirty matcha oat latte. I know, I know - the espresso sort of undoes the benefit of the calm matcha caffeine, but I have a lot to do, okay!? I’m eating a ramekin full of raspberries to avoid eating Sour Patch Kids. Tonight I’ll have a Blue Lotus tea from The Qi to help come down from today’s caffeine :)
The Blue Lotus tea is one of my favorites for an end of day wind down. What brings you pure joy these days?
My 2 year old nephew! He is just… the absolute cutest and so emotionally adept for a little nugget. I love him so!
Who is someone that had the most impact in your life for the better?
My husband who I met about 3 years ago. He’s the one who helped me find the confidence within myself to start my own business and who helps daily to keep my stress at bay.
And where do you find inspiration or what have you found super inspiring lately?
I am constantly inspired by interiors, new and old, for color schemes, shapes, patterns, textures, etc. A part of me has always regretted studying fashion instead of interiors, but I do think that both worlds flow together.
In regards to general ideas, whether creative or business-wise, I always come up with something during a long run while my mind travels. Sometimes I run in silence, sometimes with a podcast. Both ways always produce some sort of idea that gets dropped into my notes app on my phone. Probably 70% of these ideas are complete shit, but yay to the other 30% and to exercise!
Quick fire Q’s
- My dreams can become my reality
- Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
Favorite food to cook?
- Eggs scrambled with leftovers of my husband’s far superior cooking
- Copenhagen! There are seriously beautiful gardens EVERYWHERE! This may sound weird, but their cemeteries are so stunning. People there take so much pride in the gardens around their loved ones.
- Ok it’s a mini series, but Queen’s Gambit!
What is one advice you would tell your “younger self”?
- Don’t let your nerves hold you back to create exactly what you want to create. And be more confident, damnit!
If you would like to learn more about, or connect with Lauren, follow the links below: