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Meet Laurie Gow of Lore Leatherworks in Santa Barbara

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie Gow.

Laurie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN and from an early age, was interested in creating art. I am fortunate to have had a young creative mother, who was always willing to help me draw, paint, craft, and sew. My Father is an Engineer/Inventor and Entrepreneur. After giving traditional college a try in Minnesota, I realized I missed art and making things with my hands. I decided to attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Downtown Los Angeles, to hopefully combine my interest in history and costume design. Post-college was spent trying out wardrobe assistant jobs in Los Angeles but ultimately feeling like I wanted to try New York. I was hired at a leatherwear company in Minneapolis and was quickly added to the handbag team, traveling to Asia and embarking on an exciting time that forever shaped my path.

I was immediately hooked on the leather bag business. After two years, I moved to New York to continue working in Handbag Design. I freelanced for many companies and licensing firms and found my way to Coach, where I learned from seasoned designers and my love of bags and knowledge of construction grew. After Coach, came Kate Spade, where I had my greatest career and personal success. I loved my team and the brand but after nearly ten years in Manhattan, I needed a break. My partner is from Santa Barbara and we always talked about returning to California.

In the fall of 2016, we bought a car, quit our jobs, setting out on a 6-week road trip across the country, landing in Santa Barbara. After a year of consulting on and off in New York, we decided to stay in beautiful Santa Barbara. I knew I wanted to start designing for myself and work with my hands again. I feel so fortunate that Santa Barbara has been such a welcoming and supportive community. I bought an industrial leather sewing machine and felt like I was finally using (sorry parents) my FIDM women’s apparel degree-sketching, making patterns, sewing, etc. Even though I designed handbags for over a decade, I wasn’t making the bags and there was a lot to learn. I am so thankful for the internet, YouTube videos and the overwhelming expertise and patience of the members of leatherworker.net’s message boards. I launched my line, Lore Leatherworks in April 2018.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
A constant challenge has been doing everything myself. I am thankful my partner was able to create my website and is there to help me navigate starting a business in California, but bag making takes time and after being a part of a team for so many years, things can be exhausting, overwhelming, and lonely. I am grateful for the maker’s community I have met in Southern California. We support each other and share insights and tips.

Please tell us about Lore Leatherworks.
Lore Leatherworks is an accessory company based in Santa Barbara, CA. We specialize in leather bags and small leather goods. What I am most proud of, and also what I feel sets us apart, is my commitment to making the product. I hope that can continue as the company grows. My goals are to continue making the product in California and to hire women.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have worried less. Obsessing about how things will be received kept me from fully exploring designs, images, markets, stores, etc. I realized early on that if I waited until things were absolutely perfect, I would never begin. Starting the company allowed me to let go, learn and improve as I went. I wish I could tell myself around this time last year “just keep going, it will all work out”.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.sheworelore.com
  • Email: laurie@sheworelore.com
  • Instagram: sheworelore
  • Facebook: sheworelore
  • Twitter: sheworelore


Image Credit:
Leela Cyd

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