Lara B had a dream to launch her own fashion label and to provide a practical yet stylist hardback that women across the globe would be keen to flaunt. House of Coco spent some time with her to to find out more about her plans for the future, what style means to her and so much more.
Here’s what she had to say…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I started the business in Los Angeles after design school to fulfill my creative spirit and passion for leather handbags and accessories. After years of designing and selling to retail boutiques nationwide, I returned to the east coast to continue to grow Lara B. Designs and develop new skills and styles. In addition to designing, currently all cutting, sewing and manufacturing is done in my studio. My goal is to create a perfectly practical and stylish handbag, using only the highest quality materials, getting you compliments every time! My company is truly a labor of love.
What’s your background?
I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been involved in the fashion industry! Growing up, I helped my Mother with her children’s clothing store and worked in many retail locations. I’ve held different positions from office management in a factory to a jewelry sales representative to art director. I have a 4-year degree in Fashion Design/Marketing and a 2-year degree in Fashion Design.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
Not even a handful! As a business owner, you realize quickly how to juggle and wear many hats! I’m fortunate to have my Mother’s detailed eye helping me cut leather; and as a sounding board for a variety of thoughts and ideas I have! My husband is always there too for support and sound financial advice. Our Westie, Olivia, keeps the mood light by always wanting to fetch her ball!
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
More networking. I’d spend more time promoting my company. Sometimes it can be hard to promote yourself, but I find the more I do, the more people are interested! It’s truly invaluable to have great word of mouth advertising.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Finding time to design! There are so many facets to owning a business and they all need proper attention. I find it challenging to make the time to sit down and focus on designing.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I secretly have always wanted to be a ballerina!
2016 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I look forward to designing and manufacturing new handbag styles and expanding my line throughout Europe. Doing all of my own manufacturing allows me to keep things fresh and relevant with shorter lead times. I’m always in search of unique and fabulous leather that will enhance my designs perfectly.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Knowing my customers. I have to say, the excitement a customer has when they love one of my handbags is thrilling! I’ve created something that makes them smile.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
I love them all, but living so close to NYC, it’s where I feel most at home. I love the energy, excitement and drive people have. Everyone is so friendly, I always return with a new connection. It truly is electric!
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
A variety of lip gloss from Chanel in Giggle to Burt’s Bees in Coconut & Pear; Issey Miyaki, L’Eau D’Issey Perfume and Neutrogena Sunscreen
Having a strong sense of self – being comfortable and secure in how you dress as well as what you wear.
Best thing about London to you?
Tea at the Ritz, walks through Hampstead Heath and the many, many markets and museums!
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Statement Bag, of course, Lara B. Designs! And a great shoe to complement.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
Denim. Hands-down, the most versatile piece of clothing, easily dressed up or down from day to evening paired with a crisp white shirt.
Favourite love song?
So Nice by Bebel Gilberto – chosen for our first dance at our wedding.
Best place for a coffee?
At home with my husband discussing our plans for the day ahead.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Believe in yourself and listen to your gut, especially when someone says no.
Red wine and chocolate – together!
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
In the warm California sunshine, listening to the ocean waves crash with my toes in the sand surrounded by friends and family.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
I see the brand developing into Home Accent Items and Pet Accessories – designs are already in motion!
Find out more about Lara B Designs…