Today we’d like to introduce you to Orly Altaras.
Orly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Our family moved to LA exactly two years ago from Israel. After being on a trip to LA a few years back, my husband was really inspired by the landscape and gardens in LA (he is a landscape designer) and we decided to move for him to grow and expand his business.
I was seven months pregnant and Sefi our son was three years old when we arrived. We basically arrived and started from scratch, renting an Airbnb and slowly started settling in. We had our beautiful daughter Lara, and while staying at home with Lara, I started to think what kind of work I could do from home, be creative and bring in some income as well. (I was previously a theater teacher in Israel)
While scrolling online, I came across a whole bunch of courses on how to sell online (I had no previous experience at all) and put two and two together…since I had to turn our house into a home and decorate and since I love finding unique items, why not offer what I find to others as well and so my journey and search began, for beautiful, one of a kind, handmade items from across the globe. I signed up for one of the online courses (it was offered by a someone who was a teacher as well in her past and it just felt right).
Within two months, I had a business up & running and named it Lara & Lou – laralou is our daughter’s nickname and she inspired me to have the courage to start a business, while the two names stand for my two children. I never imagined I could do this and it’s been an eye-opening experience.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been a smooth road and it’s a learning process but because you learn as you grow, you know what “mistakes” not to do the next time. It actually is and was very helpful to have a course and coach which offered so much advice on how to do things.
One of the hardest things when you run a business on your own is that you do everything (preparing orders, shipping, photography, finances, social media, e-mails and so much more) If there is something I’ve learned is that you don’t have to do it all on your own but it’s good to start out that way so that you know exactly how everything runs and once you are able to, to hire out and get assistance.
One of my coach’s mantras is “yes you can” and I truly believe that anyone who wants to try e-commerce or anything of that matter truly can, it’s all about changing the way you speak to yourself and believing in the journey-taking one step at a time.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Lara & Lou story. Tell us more about the business.
Lara & Lou has been open for a year now, is an online shop for home decor.
Our focus is on finding handcrafted items from different parts of the world, supporting artisans and their work.
I enjoy bringing the artisans’ stories and work directly with them whenever possible and hope to travel soon in order to make more meaningful connections. I think my love for travel and wanderlust, also keeping traditions and stories alive are what drive me. That is also the connection to my love of theater, hearing people’s stories.
I created Lara & Lou as a source of inspiration, collecting beautiful items, each a reflection of the culture and traditional craftsmanship. I believe your home tells a story and what better way to bring it to life and tell a story than with unique handmade items from countries around the world.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I feel very lucky and grateful for everything that has happened so far in my life and business. It hasn’t been easy, I sometimes have a tendency to complain and not always see the good but I feel that you are truly the one that creates your reality and things start to line up when you listen to your intuition and jump on opportunities when they come your way. I really believe the way you encourage yourself and find the drive to do something, you can figure out a way to overcome obstacles. It really is about pursuing your dreams and leaving fears aside as much as possible and also being open and use the help of others as well as help others whenever you can. I could have had fears get to me, or negative thoughts affect me but I try to tell myself everyday that nothing can’t be solved or find a solution for.
I think hard work and dedication, motivation and persistence are really the keys to anyone’s success and also bring “luck” into your life. Nothing is by chance. I truly believe that when you make space for your thoughts, intentions and go after what you want, life has a tendency to give you gifts and luck on the way. Again, it is all in the way you look at opportunities that show up for you. I feel very lucky I was able to move to the states with my family and lucky to have found my coach, lucky to have people enjoying my shop but also know that I was in pursuit of these things and when you want something, you can take the steps needed to make them happen.