Local Artist of the Month: Lolafalk

Posted July 02 2013

Each month we feature a local Brooklyn artist we adore. Today we interviewed Lauren Falkowski of Lolafalk. You can find her on the web at her website, her Etsy shop, and her blog. Read on!

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lauren Falkowski and I’m the owner, designer, producer, and just about everything else you can imagine for the Brooklyn-based leather goods line Lolafalk.  Most folks here in NYC know me as Lola – it’s an old nickname from back in the day, and since it’s part of the brand name it’s just easier for people to remember. At this point it feels more like my name than Lauren!

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Describe the Lolafalk brand:

At its core, the Lolafalk brand is about one word: color.  More specifically - a mad, crazy mixing of eclectic color combinations that, upon first glance, don’t seem like they should be paired together….yet once I get working with them, they just seem to jive. It’s at the heart of what I do best, what planted the seed for me to start this business over 5 years ago when I barely knew how to sew and my first attempts at bag-making were sweet little mini-totes with crazily patterned scraps of taffeta and raw, exposed seams.  

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How has the line evolved since those early days?

I now produce the entire line exclusively in leather, which I taught myself to sew with back in 2010. There are three bag styles and three wallet styles, all unique in size, silhouette, and functionality. One of the key ways in how I’ve refined the line is in designing chic, elegant leather goods with multi-functional components to suit the varying needs of fashion-forward urban dwellers. For example, my Abby Satchel is actually three bags in one (foldover satchel, full-size messenger bag, and oversized clutch); the Stella Travel Wallet/Clutch, as the name suggests, doubles as both a full-size travel wallet (with room for passport, boarding pass, and phone) and also as a sleek evening clutch (with a hand strap on the back). 

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To what would you attribute your success as an independent leather goods designer?

Being self-taught at this gig, it was a slow progression to get things moving – not only in terms of developing bags and wallets that people would actually want to buy, but in getting awareness of the brand out there, managing the growth of the business, planning where I want to take the line next…there have been plenty of times when I’ve cursed my lack of technical design education and not having been immersed in the fashion/retail world much earlier in my life…but overall I feel my unorthodox, succeed-or-die-trying approach over these past 5 years has been one of the major keys to my success at this. It’s been a slow and steady rise with each year, not meteoric and destined to fizzle out. I have the talent to create a unique product, but more importantly I have the tenacity to deal with the highs and lows of running a business…and that’s truly the foundation to being successful in any entrepreneurial endeavor. 

Do you have a green thumb?

Mmmmm…..sort of. I can’t lie, I’ve inadvertently killed about half of the plants I’ve owned, so I tend to stick to small herb gardens that only require simple care. But I think I am due to treat myself to one of Roots in Rust’s gorgeous, elegant air plant arrangements! I know they’re perfect for not-so-green-thumbed people like me ;).

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Me + Brooklyn, a love story: (Wherein our interviewee addresses the question, “Why Brooklyn?!”)

I knew even before I moved here 3.5 years ago that it was Brooklyn or bust. I love the chill vibe over here; Manhattan is nice to have close by but for the most part, it jangles my nerves a bit. Plus the neighborhoods over here are so inspiring! Quirky walkups and brownstones with crazy-cool doors and architectural accents are a constant creative stimulus for me. I wake up every day and pinch myself for living here…Brooklyn is the best!