Hey, ladies, it’s Anna again from Fash Boulevard, bringing you another edition of my interview series, Ladies Who Laptop. This month’s spotlight is an entrepreneurial ladyboss who is dominating the home décor industry with her wildly popular company, Lulu & Georgia. Armed with years of experience from working for her family’s custom rug business, Sara Sugarman Brenner set out to launch her very own company; a brand that would exceed your Pinterest board’s wildest dreams. From custom wallpaper and rugs to vintage, one-of-a-kind furniture, it’s easy to understand why everyone is pining to fill their living rooms with Lulu & Georgia. Today, this busy mom opens up about her favorite design trends and breaks down the scoop on her upcoming capsule collection. Let’s dive in…
Let’s start from the beginning! Where did the idea for Lulu & Georgia originate and how did you take it from idea to conception?
I started Lulu & Georgia in 2012, but my family has been in the design industry since 1955. My grandfather, Lou (“Lulu”), founded my family’s business (a custom rug company) in 1955 and my dad, George (“Georgia”) has run the company for the last 30 years. I wanted to utilize my experience in the business and create a more modern and accessible line, somewhere my friends would want to shop. I began by working on rug designs that were missing in the market and now those have become our heritage items.
What did you do before launching Lulu & Georgia?
After working at Oprah Magazine in New York, I moved back to Los Angeles and joined my family’s business. It was during that time that I became passionate about the idea of Lulu & Georgia. I split time between the two companies for a couple years before scaling back on the family business to expand on Lulu & Georgia’s success.
What is a typical day in the life of Sara Sugarman Brenner?
I wake up in the morning and spend some alone time with my daughter. I love starting the day reading to her and cuddling before the chaos of the day starts. We always have breakfast as a family and then I head out with my dog, Dolly, for work. Every day at the office is different. Sometimes I am in back-to-back meetings all day, working on a photoshoot, or glued to my desk tackling emails. I get home around 6pm and begin our nightly routine. Occasionally we’ll have plans with friends, sometimes I have a meeting, and other evenings my husband and I are at home, cooking dinner together.
What does the Lulu & Georgia brand include today?
Lulu and Georgia is home decor for the style-obsessed. We’ve always been a design company first, but have evolved to meet our customers’ growing needs in bringing their personal style home. We curate collections of coveted decor pieces and furniture to make the current trends available to everyone. Recently, we grew our product assortment to include our new Luxe Studio Collection—elevated decor from luxury designers. In the coming months we’ll also be releasing a kids capsule collection for the first time! In addition, we’ve incorporated a lot of vintage and one-of-a-kind items to the site.
What sets Lulu & Georgia apart from other interior design companies?
Our buyers are constantly sourcing products from around the world—designing custom wallpapers, rugs, and textiles that you can’t find anywhere else. Our design aesthetic and background/experience in the interior design world allows us to provide a truly unique assortment for our customers. I don’t think any other design company speaks to the customer in the same way—we want our customers to come to our site and feel connected to our brand and mission, and enjoy bringing their style to life in a truly unique way.
What do you think has been the most important part of your brand strategy and your key to success?
We are a team that truly loves what we do and that comes across on our social platforms, email, website, and all touch points. We are passionate about our products, our brand, and our commitment to our customers.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since becoming an entrepreneur?
Perseverance. There are days where you feel so successful and everything is going great. But there are also tons of challenges. You have to learn to put out fires while following your vision and moving on to the next obstacle.
As a successful business owner and a mommy, how do you find a healthy and productive balance?
It’s always a struggle to find balance. I live five minutes from the office—a huge rarity in LA—and that helps, as I can go back and forth so easily. I am grateful that I have the flexibility to take Vivian to a class or two during the week. And I make sure that the time I do spend with Vivian is true quality time. The phone is away and we really connect.
What are some current décor trends that you’re loving?
I think round, natural rugs are really pretty and add a casual, vintage element to a space. I love burnt sienna and terracotta hues for fall and matte black accents in furniture, lighting and walls. Handmade African woven baskets have been a big trend that I think will continue into next year.
What has been the best moment of your career so far? Paint the picture for all the dreamers out there who hope to someday be in your successful shoes.
I don’t know if there has been any moment in particular. But I am always amazed when I tell someone what I do and they say, “I was just on that site; I love it!” Or when I’m looking through Pinterest or Instagram and see our products in peoples’ homes.
I know this will be difficult to answer and for that, I apologize in advance: Can you share with us two of your favorite products currently available on www.Luluandgeorgia.com?
- Our Floral Art Deco collection was a line I had wanted to do for years. I’ve always been inspired by the vintage Chinese Art Deco rugs but they are hard to find and are really pricey. This Marceline rug is probably my favorite of the collection and great for fall, but they are all stunning.
- I think this jungle wallpaper is the perfect nursery wallpaper, but would also look great in a dining room or powder room.
What is your favorite part about owning your own company?
I am so grateful to be doing something every day that I love and am so passionate about. I don’t think most people feel that way about their careers and I feel so fortunate to get so much joy from mine. It’s also incredible to see our products and brand enjoyed by so many. And I think it’s an amazing opportunity to lead and collaborate with such a talented group of people.
For all of the dreamers out there, the fresh-out-of-college future entrepreneurs, what advice would you give them?
If you have an idea, try and execute that idea in its simplest form. That way you can test the market and see where you need to pivot and tweak that idea. I often see people spending years on a concept, only to find that it’s not viable.
Words to live by?
Live less out of habit and more out of intent.
Who would you like to see me interview for my next Ladies Who Laptop?