I’ve always been obsessed with a story and meaning behind an item or a brand – that’s essentially why I started TAE – but as I interview more makers and designers, I’m starting to become even more interested with the way they combine their business into their lives – the full circle implications of what they do and how they do it. Because if you are working to build an ethical, responsible business, it doesn’t make sense to let your work consume you – we all know that’s not sustainable, but in this case, it is in direct opposition with the ultimate goal.
Josh & Lauren Podoll are my new shining example of partners – in work and in life – who are building a conscious life and business. Alexandra and I visited with them at their store in Burlingame a few months ago and I am so impressed by what they have built. The Podolls is a carefully (gorgeously!) handcrafted apparel line with a flagship lifestyle concept store in Burlingame.
Josh & Lauren met over 10 years ago in California – Lauren was a retail buyer and Josh was an abstract artist and painter who sold a collection of tee shirts to Lauren’s store. They started dating and working together concurrently – moving from vintage patchwork and screen printed tee shirts sold all over the the world to a high end label that they presented at fashion week. Over time, they saw an opportunity to connect their lifestyle and their work and, in 2008, launched The Podolls, focusing on everyday staples made with great materials and interesting details. Since then, they have launched a kids line, podots, to manage scrap waste from the women’s line, and opened their flagship store.
The gorgeous store allows Josh & Lauren to share their overall vision for the brand- they can make special products, such as leather jackets, and sell them without wholesale markup, and they can support their friend’s brands and brands with a likeminded ethos. There is strict criteria for what is carried in the store – as explained on each item’s hangtang – but other than that, they don’t call it out – while shopping, you just think you are in a beautiful, impeccably curated boutique.
Read on for a little question and answer session with The Podolls that proved to me that Josh and Lauren are living the dream – amazing style, surfing everyday, an awesome little kid, and a business that takes an immense amount of hard work but complements and evolves their lifestyle. And on top of that – they are incredibly generous, and are giving TAE readers a discount. Happy Monday!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
L: Textiles every season – sometimes we make our own for the collection. The lifestyles of the women I know – how will they wear our clothes and what do they want them to be? We want our brand identity to take a backseat to the clothes working for the people who wear them.
J: Textiles – you see a fabric and you think, “What does that want to be?” – you can’t force it. Contemporary art. Historical art figures. Living in San Francisco.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
L: A Goyard tote – everyday. Diamond studs. Boots year round. Our wing blouse in all of the fabrics. RGB nail polish. bkr water bottles. Shawn Burke pouches in a Podolls print. Clare V. Leopard Pouches. A great leather jacket.
J: Engineered Garments jacket. Converse. Raleigh & Imogene + Willie Denim. A short, cropped hair cut. Westward Leaning Sunglasses. Fairends Baseball Caps.
WHAT GETS YOU THROUGH THE DAY? THROUGH THE WEEK?
L & J: Blue Bottle Espresso. Our son, Dashiell – who is also why we need so much caffeine.
J: Surfing – every morning.
WHERE DO YOU ESCAPE?
J: The Ocean. Whether or not it’s a good day for surfing, you are still in the ocean…with dolphins. You get 100 yards out and and it’s wild and free and amazing.
L: Being in nature and away from this material world we live in. Stay-cations. Discovering something new – like a new neighborhood restaurant.
It is so satisfying to be able to provide jobs and keep people in business. We love to support our local economy and fellow artisans. We appreciate the ability to oversee our manufacturing and quality. Also, the relationships we’ve made are the best part of what we do – there is a human side of manufacturing, and we believe that is translated into what you wear.
WHAT EXCITES YOU?
The store – it still feels really new. Some exclusive products – including leather jackets! – that we have coming in just for the store. The collection we are currently designing. The physical interpretation of our ideas as our samples come in – it feels like Christmas.
The Podolls have recently launched their new e-commerce site, and in celebration, they are giving TAE readers 15% off the entire site through the end of April! TROUBLE!!! Use code TAE 15 and stock up for spring! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my favorites from the site… get them while you can! Thank you, Josh & Lauren!!!
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