Being your very own boss isn't always easy. Overcoming setbacks, pondering huge decisions, staying motivated, stop being so hard on yourself. In this girl-crush series, we ask our favorite female entrepreneurs how they do it all.
Today: super-stylish founder of Atelier Labro, Lisa.
Mega lovely and talented Lisa and her love of Italy, pure materials, classic shapes and vintage treasures are the heart of drop-dead gorgeous Atelier Labro. She and her growing team source only the best materials to make jewelry by hand in a sustainable, conscious, slow fashion production process. And it's all incredibly head-over-heels beautiful too. Sounds perfect, right? That's why we had to catch up with Lisa to talk about her Italian roots, Atelier Labro's game-plan and the perks and challenges of running your own business.
'I DROVE TO ITALY IN A FIAT 500 WITH MY MOTHER TO PICK UP MY FIRST LARGE ORDER OF HANDMADE BAGS'
Ciao Lisa! We're so in love with everything you make. How did you come up with Atelier Labro and what makes it so special?
It was during one of my lovely summers in the North of Italy that I decided to finally take the step. Since my years as a young student I knew I wanted to start my own company, I just did not know exactly what (and how) to do it. After gaining some years of experience in different retail companies, I felt I was ready. I spoke with local Italian entrepreneurs who had expertise in jewelry and could work out my ideas. In the same summer, I placed my first large order of handmade leather bags. A few months later, I went to Italy with my mother to pick them up in a Fiat 500. Labro is different because of the collaboration with small entrepreneurs and the fact that all my decisions are made based on feelings instead of knowledge. Of course I do use my brains but most battles are won based on what I feel. I believe in joining forces and growing together. We don't create unused large stocks, make limited edition pieces and never overprice. Step by step, the brand and platform grows and I couldn't be prouder to work on new projects!
You should be so proud! Where does your love for Italy come from?
Not only my second name (Elisabeth) but also my love for Italy is a legacy from my mother and grandmother. I used to spend every summer with my family in Italy. I’ve grown up there; learned to swim from my grandfather, learned drinking wine at local farmers from my father and had an Italian boyfriend once. The love for the pure lifestyle, language and of course the breathtaking landscapes grew in a very early stage. Being able to combine my work with passion feels like a privilege.
Sounds like you made your childhood dreams happen. What hidden Italian gems can you tell us about if we promise not to tell?
I am still discovering the country myself too and I have to say that until now I like every region. Just make sure you visit the local gems, eat local specialties and drink local wines. My favorite city trip would definitely be Florence or 'Firenze', less touristically than Rome and so romantic. My number one region is the one where I used to spend my summers: ‘Lago di Garda’. Underestimated due to its overwhelming tourism but try to go in the low seasons, visit the markets, eat a ‘brioche con crema’ for breakfast and take a fresh dive in the lake. Happiness is here my dear.
You are making us want to jump in that lake right now. What does a day in your life look like? Do you have a daily routine?
One of my goals for 2020 is getting any routine in my daily life. At the moment I just do what needs to be done but it's unclear and I’m trying to create an ‘administration day’, ‘a content creation day’, etc. But in the end I live for Labro, I cannot always have a ‘creative day’ because creative ideas come and go. New ideas and collections arise during a trip, one of my runs or when being with friends. If I count the hours I probably work way more than I should be, but my thoughts go on and on. I guess I just have to make sure that around dinner time I drop my phone, Instagram and email and spend time with the ones I love. That is what the Italians would do, right?
GO IN LOW SEASON, VISIT THE MARKETS, EAT A 'BRIOCHE CON CREMA' + TAKE A FRESH DIVE IN THE LAKE. HAPPINESS IS HERE, MY DEAR'
What is the best and worst part of having your own business?
I find it hard to call it a 'worse' part but it's less joyful to work hard without earning any money, because of the decision that I want to grow my company. The insecurity about if I will ever be able to get a mortgage. But of course I believe this will work out, otherwise I wouldn't have even started Labro. The best part is definitively that I can follow my dreams and passion. I met so many great entrepreneurs and artists and I can't wait to expand our 'Labro famiglia'.
I'm so happy to be part of your famiglia. You’re so stylish. Who is your ultimate muse?
Oh no, I don’t want to turn this into an annoying cliché but I don’t have one muse at a time. I feel inspired by powerful women. On Pinterest I mostly search for ‘streetstyle’, but I like the modern casual style of Leandra Medine & Freja Weywer. I guess I'm just on instagram and Pinterest a lot and am inspired by every outfit I like. More close are my mother and grandmother: Both have taught me to always look for classic shapes, colors and luxurious materials.
'I BELIEVE IN JOINING FORCES AND GROWING TOGETHER. I ALWAYS LOOK FOR SOMEONE'S STRENGHTS'
Mama's always right haha. What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
My mother told me that you should always look for someone's strengths. Try to see and support them. This is important with friends but also with colleagues and it is exactly what I try to do in my collaborations with small entrepreneurs.
You are moving so fast. What cool plans do you have coming up for Atelier Labro?
Currently I am working on expanding the Labro family and making sure we improve our processes. We just started working with compostable and recyclable packaging, bicycle couriers and more 'green' opportunities. My ultimate dream at this stage would be a weekend pop-up store in one of Italy's biggest cities.
That would be so cool. Do you have any advice for future girlbosses you wish someone had told you before you started?
Just do what you feel like, don't look too much at competitors or similar entrepreneurs. Follow your own path, make your own decisions and always keep in mind that there is only 1 of you: That is your 'unique selling point'!
And now for the final round: The lightning speed round. 3, 2, 1... GO
GUILTY PLEASURE | American drama series on Netflix. I love to make Fiori necklaces while watching series
3 THINGS YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT | Boyfriend, family, friends
FAVE ATELIER LABRO PIECE | The Maria coin ring in 14k gold or silver. It’s designed from a coin that I once took from one of my favorite churches at ‘Lago di Garda’. The coin was made from bad quality and discolored very soon but now I have one in my collection that will stay beautiful for a lifetime and I can share them with you
BEST SMALL HABIT | Take something sweet every once in a while, it keeps up your vibe :)
CHILDHOOD DREAM JOB | Entrepreneur
FAVE VINTAGE FIND EVER-EVER | I bought a dark blue vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket in Paris once...
FAVE GIRLBOSS BUSINESS | Girlbosses following their own path are very cool, I love them all!!