TRADITIONALLY THE TERM “BASEMENT BETTY” REFERRED TO WOMEN WHO STARTED A BUSINESS OUT OF HER BASEMENT. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE TERM COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN WITH A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION. BUT YOU REMEMBER JULIE AIGNER-CLARK, OF BABY EINSTEIN, RIGHT? SHE STARTED HER COMPANY OUT OF HER BASEMENT AND SOLD IT TO DISNEY FOR AROUND 24 MILLION DOLLARS. NOTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THAT. WE ARE SEARCHING FOR OUR OWN LOCAL “POSH BETTYS” WHO ARE REENTERING THE WORKPLACE AS ENTREPRENEURS. THIS MONTH, WE SPOKE TO LARA ELLINGWOOD FROM WILLY & LOLA DESIGNS, A MOM WHO CREATES AMAZING GIFTS USING A WIDE RANGE OF MATERIALS.
Meet Laura Ellingwood, a Potomac Falls resident, wife, and mother of teenage twin boys who is the founder and creator of Willy and Lola Designs. She describes the products she offers as “classic American gifts and home decor.” Each unique item for sale is handmade with an artist’s vision and creativity that makes everything personal and exceptional. The fun and funky Willy and Lola products include everything from jewelry to home decor, knit ware and beauty products. Posh Seven met with Laura in her beautiful home, that is filled with her family’s trove of delightful artwork, to tell us more about what inspires her and her creative gifts.
Tell us a little about your company Willy and Lola.
I’ve always envisioned working for myself. I sew, knit, embroider, make jewelry, paint, paper craft, etc. Every day “at work “ is different. I started Willy and Lola several years ago in preparation for my boys (15-year-old twins) graduating and moving on to their life’s adventures. I knew I would need something to keep me busy and my mind off the sudden empty nest.
Are all of your products handmade and where do you get your materials from?
Yes, all of my designs are handmade and many utilize upcycled, vintage materials. I love repurposing beautiful materials into useful products for my clients. I find unique sources online and while traveling.
You are a very talented artist. What inspires you as an artist?
Thank you! I am inspired by so many things! If I had to pick a few, I’d say vintage everything, nature and textiles strongly influence my work. I love the process of creating a three-dimensional product from a simple, flat piece of raw material.
Is there a typical Willy and Lola customer?
I have a wide range of loyal clients. A common factor is an appreciation for one-of-a-kind design. I get many custom and repeat orders from people who first picked up one of my items in a boutique or market. We work together to create just the right thing for them.
Where can we buy your fabulous creations?
I sell my designs at local arts and crafts sales and yoga studios. I am excited to participate in the 2017 Christmas Market at the Old Stone School in Hillsboro December 9-10. My most recent designs are highlighted on the Willy and Lola Facebook page and website willyandloladesigns.wordpress.com. I’m always available at email@example.com.