Cool Friends:  Lauren Williams

Meet Lauren, owner and curator of Lolo - a Carroll Gardens retail store (and soon-to-be coffee shop!). Almost all of Lolo’s unique art-objects and accessories are designed and made by women-owned businesses. Read about how it all began and be on the lookout for the new Lolo location opening this spring!

How did your shop, Lolo begin?

I kept the idea of Lolo in my mind for probably 2 years before saying it out loud to anyone in 2018. I went to an ideas workshop at Sincerely, Tommy in the Summer of 2018 and nervously listened to other entrepreneurial women talk about their ideas, side hustles, and/or growing businesses. It inspired me to start planning the shop I had always dreamed of. In December 2018, when I presented my father with a business plan to ask him for a loan, I began bawling. He was incredibly confused why I was crying, and it was because it was the first time I talked about this dream of mine out loud, outside of my own brain. I was terrified. A few months later, in March 2019, I was able to open the store! I signed a sublease for 1 year so in case it totally failed, I at least had a way out in a year (though I had no intention to fail). The store was funded by a mix of my loan, my savings from 8 years of modest fashion design salaries, credit cards, and the fact that I secretly worked remotely for a separate, full time job at the desk of the store for an entire year - ha! Since I was my only employee, aside from a few wonderful angels who covered for me when I needed a day off, I was the only one I had to train. Two years later, I'm getting ready to hire a small team who I'll entrust with my living dream.

What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?

Their adaptability and resilience! There's a reason why so many creatives live and work here, and why not everyone finds home here comfortable. New York is always in flux and the creative community is constantly adapting to this wild ride. This constant brain exercise definitely creates and inspires some incredible artists.

What's inspiring you right now?

Always always always, the makers and artists Lolo carries. All I do is create a space for a fraction of their wonderful work to live among others - whether that be virtually or in real life. I try to do it in a way that both allows their work to stand out and to live harmoniously with the others. Which I suppose is how some of us live our lives in a way? The colors, textures and stories are always driven by the work that goes into the shop and the brilliant minds behind the work. The result, the essence of Lolo, is how my mind interprets it all together.

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