Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Lauren White. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Lauren, appreciate you joining us today. Before we get into specifics, let’s talk about success more generally. What do you think it takes to be successful?
Over the past 10 years of White Loft’s existence, I’ve learned so much about “success” – specifically what success means to me. Previous to being an entrepreneur, I had different expectations of what success meant. But when you own your own business and wear all the hats, each day’s wins and measures of success are different.
One of my favorite guiding principles is, “Be clear in your goals but flexible in your approach.” I love this mantra because each day’s goals can be slightly different. Without a doubt, everyday, I’m working to grow my business and drive revenue, and I like to recognize micro wins that don’t have to do with financial success. These goals are sometimes qualitative like, did I get to exercise today? Did I get some quality time with my kids and family? I’m inspired by the idea that entrepreneurship is the mix of both personal and professional successes and I strive to meet these goals and empower my team to do the same.
Lauren, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
In 2011, I had my first baby and upon returning to my corporate recruiting job, realized my passion for my current career had waned. There was a big part of me that wanted to do something different, more creative, and more flexible – so I started doing DIY design projects in my home, which turned out to inspire my next career path.
I’ve always had a passion for families and preserving precious childhood memories, and the products that I was working on creating helped do this in a functional, memorable way. As I leaned into my craftiness, the first product that I designed was a growth chart to measure a child’s yearly growth in the form of a beautiful, portable keepsake. I made the prototype on my kitchen table and a friend suggested that I sell it. This was the motivation that I needed to expand my side hustle into a full-blown business, even creating a studio within our home for production. White Loft was official!
Over the next 10 years, the business grew wildly and we developed new products that help families mark their most special moments with their children in meaningful, nostalgic ways.
Today, White Loft is a female-owned small business dedicated to making artful and heirloom goods that celebrate the joy of childhood and help preserve life’s most precious moments, all of which are handcrafted in Austin, TX, and have become treasured keepsakes to families across the country.
Can you talk to us about manufacturing? How’d you figure it all out? We’d love to hear the story.
We produce all of our handmade products in our studio in Austin, TX, with the help of several key local partners. While I created our first product, the wooden growth chart, on my dining room table, we’ve grown our production capabilities drastically, as well as our product selection. We now sell over 40 SKUs on our website and retail partners’ websites, and we’ve developed partnerships with several collaborative local vendors who help us create elements of a few of our best-selling products.
For example, we are known for our wooden growth charts that measure six feet tall! For each and every one that we create in our studio, I personally source each board from our lumber partner, inspecting each of them to ensure they meet our White Loft standards. I’m thrilled to have developed a relationship with this vendor partner over the years that allows us to have the hands-on sourcing experience that we need to deliver the most high quality materials to best serve our customers.
How’d you think through whether to sell directly on your own site or through a platform like Amazon, Etsy, Cratejoy, etc.
We’ve experienced a great deal of success selling on multiple platforms, including our own website that’s built on a Shopify platform, as well as Amazon and Etsy. For us, this is the perfect combination of reaching our ideal customers in the places where they shop the most.
Our website shop features every White Loft SKU and the ability to customize several of our top-selling products, which is unique to shopping on our site. On Amazon, we feature our top sellers and love the ability to reach a broader audience of shoppers and the ability to ship via the expedited shipping options that Amazon offers. And we love Etsy because it’s the makers’ platform and we know our customers go there to purchase specifically from small businesses like White Loft.
The best thing about buying from any of these platforms is that each and every item is made right here in our studio in Austin, so you are getting the same high quality keepsake, no matter where you purchase it.
- Website: https://shopwhiteloft.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shopwhiteloft/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShopWhiteLoft/
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/shopwhiteloft/