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Inspiring Conversations with Helena Lau of Artisanal Studios

Today we’d like to introduce you to Helena Lau.

Helena, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I wanted to be an artist as a child. As I got older, that creative drive slowly morphed into an obsession with all things Design, whether it’s Fashion, Products, Architecture or Interior. And that turned into a 20+ year career in Fashion where I’ve enjoyed working with some of the most talented people in the industry. After graduating from Parson’s in early 2000, my main focus has been in Design and Textiles. I love the collaborative process of working in a Design team and bouncing off ideas between each other. From building my own brand in NYC to starting my own textile agency a few years ago, it’s been so rewarding and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Now, under my textile agency – Artisanal Studios, I’m continuing to work with all different Designers to create beautiful textiles for all different esthetics. And I also get to work with some of the most talented textile mills and artisans, whose work speaks for themselves and they are like family to me.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Like all things in life, there are always challenges. Covid being the biggest struggle obviously, but everyone is just as affected and you just have to figure things out and keep going. My textile business grew steadily when I started it in 2017. I worked 24/7, but when it’s your own it doesn’t feel like work at all. When Covid hit, it was full stop. I’ve streamlined operations and just waited, and I am looking forward for that upward trajectory again. When things get tough, you just pivot and problem solves, baby steps, and you can work it out.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I work with Brands of all price points from daywear to evening to bridal. I source and create textiles and embellishments for their collections, as well as coordinating full-garment packages from development to production. Because of my background of Design, Product Development, Textile and Production, you can basically show me a sketch and I can work with you to create it into a garment. My clients would usually send me their mood boards or inspirational images, and I would show them textile and/or embellishment options that would work for their needs. I also assist in costing when needed to ensure the product meets the target prices for their market.

I’ve also started working on home goods which is exciting, so from bed to table linens and cushions, my partners in India and China can do it all. I am now working on a personal line of custom floor cushions and personalized plates, which will debut under this Fall 2021.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I am obsessed with gardening and natural urban farming. When I am home (which is a lot lately for most of us), I grow my own vegetables and tend to my chickens and beehive. It is meditative for me when I am in my garden, and I love spending time with my chicks. I’ve hatched four of them myself with an incubator. And now having my own beehive, I hope to harvest my first honey this Fall. There is nothing more rewarding than collecting fresh eggs from your hens and harvesting your own food.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Marchesa, Jonathan Simkhai, Jahnkoy, Sreepriya Exports Embroideries.

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