Recently, we had the opportunity to meet Lori Gilman, founder of Laurel & BlEAU. We love everything about Lori’s story – her passion, her entrepreneurial spirit, her amazing honestly, and the fact that she made it all happen for herself! We’re also crazy about her jewelry collection as are many celebs. Read on, and shop the collection at laurelandbleau.com. Use code FITTOLEAD to take 15% off now through April 24th on your purchase.
1. What was your first job when you started your career?
My vision from a very early age was to be in the fashion world. My first job was working for a contemporary clothing company.
2. How did you transition into jewelry design?
I was at a point in my career where I had my own multi- line showroom. I saw that the clothing industry was changing and I felt I needed to do something a bit more creative. A childhood friend was having her second child, and I wanted to get her a “special” gift. I couldn’t find anything that was as stylish and cool as she was, so I decided to design a ring with her son’s names on it. Everyone that saw the ring wanted one, and the collection took off from there. Now we offer jewelry for all ages and stages of life.
3. Was it scary taking that plunge? Did you ever doubt yourself?
It was scary to open my own showroom in the garment center. That was very scary. I was young and could have worked for a big company, but I wanted more than that. I wanted to build something of my own. So when I started Laurel & BLEAU, I had already learned so many things from my previous career that I was prepared for it.
4. What is unique about your designs?
We try to let the client be involved in the process as much as possible. They can choose length of the chain and mix and match metals, and if they have an idea we can make it come to life.
5. Who are some of the celebs that wear your designs?
Oprah, Gayle King, and Kate Winslet are a few. Sara Blakely and Melissa Joan Hart are huge fans. However my personal favorites are the basketball players like Lebron and his wife Savannah, and CP3 and his wife. We even made a special bracelet for Chris Bosh to give his wife when they got married. I love basketball so I was honored to make pieces for the big guys.
6. You have a daughter who is around the same age as many of our readers. If she were shopping your collection, what would she pick?
Her name is Lucky so she likes anything that is custom with her name on it. She likes to layer a lot of necklaces right now so she always has a leather choker on. Then she layers one with her name, and then adds our rock star necklace.
7. Mothers Day is coming. What should we get our moms? What from your collection makes a great gift?
Rings of love with engraved names are our original and still best selling style. My personal favorite is the family square monogram where we take the initials of everyone in your family and mix them around like a puzzle into a little charm. When people see it they aren’t sure what it is, so it’s like your own little secret. Kids (from toddlers to college aged) also love writing their names, the word mom or love, and we make a charm directly from their handwriting.
8. Please share with us your favorite quote, favorite song or other piece of inspiration or wisdom.
A mentor of mine once told me that if you want a job badly enough, you should offer to work for free to prove you are serious about the position. A very successful friend told me to write my movie in my head and then just fill in the pieces…Oh! The best piece of advice I can give is… If you were an ass before you had money, chances are you’ll be a bigger ass with it. Bottom line don’t be an ass!
9. Looking back on college, any advice for must take classes or for things to be sure to do during those 4 years?
My son is in college and was not sure exactly what he wanted to study. Truthfully, I told him he needed to get a law degree or accounting degree. I don’t care if he ever uses them, but to have the ability to think like a lawyer or to be able to understand numbers like an accountant are great things to always have in your back pocket for anything you do in life. And of course, experience everything! Take that trip to Europe! Live life! It goes by very fast!
10. What makes you feel confident?
Knowing that I do not have to rely on anyone else. It’s ok to rely on people but to know that I don’t need to makes me very confident in myself.
11. What does “She’s Fit To Lead” mean to you? How does someone become Fit To Lead?
I don’t think you become “fit to lead.” We are all fit to lead. We just have to choose to be that person. If you believe in yourself and are confident, you are a leader. The best leaders don’t even know that they are leaders they just have a positive attitude and people take notice.
Shop Laurel & BLEAU at laurelandbleau.com. Use code FITTOLEAD to receive 15% through April 24th.