A 100% organic underwear brand growing from a passion for the environment
Laura, ‘Pansy Co’ is your fun line of organic under wear just for the ladies – can you share a little about your approach, your honest company ethos and how you got here?
I just try to make the things that I want to exist in the world in a way that feels good to me. Not coming from a fashion or design background I use my environmental and ethical standards to guide me towards making the best decisions. I put a lot of thought and care into the small details and try to be as transparent and accessible as possible.
The brand is making waves across the world, with stockists in Japan, Australia and your native home of America – how to your feel you have built this success?Do you feel there was a niche there waiting to be filled? a combination of both great quality product and great marketing? or just plain old hard work?
In some ways, it feels sudden, but I’ve also been working toward this slowly over the last few years. I am so passionate about the work I do. I think there was a need waiting to be met: a female-driven holistic approach to underwear. I try not to take my work too seriously and I think that shows. I started the company with my friend Rachel and we spent a year just making sure the underwear was comfortable. Starting out small with only 3 styles and taking ourselves out of the traditional fashion cycle was critical to creating something lasting. Most of the women we photograph are our friends and I think that makes our imagery more inclusive—snapshots of a dreamy version of our lives.
As many know its not the easiest thing to have the courage and the talent to start your own brand. Any advise to our followers taking the leap?
I would recommend taking it one day at a time and asking for lots of help and advice along the way. Try to apprentice with someone in your field to make sure that you actually want to pursue it. Always take moments to reflect on your intentions and renew your drive. Be kind to everyone you work with and remember that how you do business is crucial. Try to remove your ego from your work and be fearless.
You’re also a photographer, do you find this creative outlet goes hand in hand with your work?
It’s funny to answer this question. Only recently have I started to think of myself as a creative person and only in the last couple weeks have a begun to see myself as a photographer. My two best friends gave me a tiny point-and-shoot film camera for my birthday this month and I still have no idea how to use it. (I shot the first roll before realizing there was no roll inside.)
Imagery is so important to me. With our current social media scene, every photo is immediately accessible. It’s exciting to be able to share visions easily. I love the ease of the art form and the practice. I love setting up tiny still shoots with just me and some pansies and larger shoots with all my girlfriends there to help capture all the beauty.
Tell us a little about San Francisco. We know it’s a beautiful city on the harbour, by the beach – and a little crazy in parts…how do your surroundings inspire you?
I live in downtown Oakland just across the bay from SF. I love how slow it is here and, in ten minutes, I can go from our little city to hiking a fern-covered trail in the hills. It’s a quick day trip to the ocean or the mountains. California is such a dream. I need nature to feel grounded. I love that no one cares about fashion here; it’s quiet and the most happening part of my week is the Tuesday farmers’ market.
Where would you take us for dinner and a drink in San Fran? what should we order?
I’d take you for a glass of Gamay at the Starline Social Club in Oakland as the sun sets then over to Berkeley for yakitori at Ippuku: bacon-wrapped mochi, hot sake, quail, and a tiny ramen bowl.
Finally, if there were one place to spend a week away from work and the world, with friends, on a sweet little holiday where would you head to?
I’ve been dreaming of going to Cuba with all my girlfriends. But I think I’d love just to stay in a beautiful house somewhere on the northern California coast, like Sea Ranch or Mendocino, with a big kitchen for cooking, cliffs, a hot tub, wine, the stars, and all-night dancing.
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