In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and we are happy at The Southern C to do our part in sharing the creativity!
Travel has always played a large role in the life of Lark Champion. Strongly influenced by extensive trips for her mother’s international folk art gallery, Galerie Bonheur, Lark’s eyes were opened at an early age to the traditions, culture and crafts of lands abroad.
After 15 years as an interior designer, Lark decided to was time to combine her love of exquisite textiles, design, travel and art and form Larkin Lane Designs. With this venture, she is offering fresh and hand-made interpretations of centuries-old textile crafts with a modern aesthetic that is both elegant and accessible. Featuring accessories, apparel, and home decor crafted from these exquisite textiles, Lark has really put her on spin on original designs that beautifully combine history with her modern aesthetic.
Describe your brand/business:
Larkin Lane Designs is an online boutique specializing in unique accessories and apparel. Our designs are crafted from exquisite international textiles such as Otomi, Ikat, and Suzani. At Larkin Lane Designs, we believe in the traditional process of authentic craftsmen and women. We strive to interpret centuries-old textile craftsmanship with a modern aesthetic that is both elegant and accessible.
Describe your typical day as a designer:
Like most women, I am multi-tasking all day! Between stops at my local workrooms, I am on the phone or emailing with my international sources– sending photographs, sketches and specifications. I love the collaboration part of my job! I try to update the website as often as possible, keep up with social media, and write a blog post or two and then schedule them to be “published”. (Thank goodness for that scheduling feature!)
I’m most creative at night, so after my kids go to bed, I spread out my newest fabrics and trims, and play with them. I love that my designs can have a silk from Uzbekistan, with a textile from Mexico, and it all comes together right here in Columbus, Georgia!
What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?
To be honest, I wanted to be Jackie Kennedy – or at least be as stylish as she was! I was always drawn to fashion and interior design. Even my preschool teachers said that I was constantly re-arranging the furniture in the “housekeeping center”.
My mother’s international folk art gallery, Galerie Bonheur was in our family home, so I grew up surrounded by art, artists and beauty. I traveled extensively on buying trips for the gallery, so interacting with people from different cultures became second nature to me. While my mom was drawn to the paintings and sculptures, I gravitated toward the more “domestic” forms of art- the local dress and textiles. After 15 years as an interior designer, I decided to combine my love of textiles, travel, art, and fashion, and thus was born Larkin Lane Designs!
Favorite business tool?
Shopify! It integrates so many different pieces of my business from tracking inventory, to social media, to marketing strategies.
Where do you find inspiration?
Art and travel, of course! I love exploring different cultures and seeing how people express themselves artistically, and in the way that they dress, cook, and celebrate. I am fascinated by how cultural and artistic traditions endure and evolve over time. My mother’s passion for art and artists with integrity has always been my greatest inspiration.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
If I’m lucky enough to take a day for myself, I love to pop up to Atlanta for Scott’s Antique Show. I never come home empty-handed!
For time off with my family, I love Sundays. We go to church, brunch, and then for a walk in the woods around our house. And because my children are still young enough to want to play with me, there’s usually at least one heated game of four-square.
Best business advice?
“Be you all the time. Don’t hide behind another voice or try to be something that you’re not because you think that’s what your clients want from you. Something magical happens when you are you all the time from a business perspective. You attract the absolute best of your tribe into your life.” ~ Joe Ducker
It takes a leap of faith to do that, but I believe that in life, business, and art, it’s best to be authentic.
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Sound of Music
“Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest
My husband’s Moscow Mule in a copper mug
Always having fresh flowers in my kitchen
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This Q&A series offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below: