For International Women’s Day, LOLA teamed up with one of its favorite female-founded brands, Cuyana, to introduce a Femme Pouch, designed to bring beauty and functionality to the idea of carrying your essentials (like tampons!) with pride. The Broadcast sat down with Cuyana founders Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah to discuss the origins of Cuyana, their inspiration behind the brand, and other women who inspire them.
What’s the story behind Cuyana?
Karla: Fashion should be empowering and when it came to a woman’s essentials, there was a lack of quality available in the middle range, between fast fashion and luxury goods. So, we set out to fill that gap—we started building our business model and supply chains in 2011, and launched our website shortly after. In June 2013, we opened our first store in San Francisco.
Cuyana is driven by the idea of fewer, better. We design pieces for the modern woman, made from the most premium materials by specialized, skilled artisans around the world. Our collections focus on elegant simplicity – clean lines, subtle details and careful craftsmanship.
Like LOLA co-founders Alex and Jordana, you’re also a duo of two female-founders. How did you meet?
Shilpa: We met when I was applying for business school and Karla was in her first year. Both of us shared a love of fashion, but felt unfulfilled by the way the industry was pushing us to consume in an unthoughtful way.
Karla: We believe that the pieces in your life should have purpose, be beautifully made, and embody luxury. When you approach your wardrobe with this philosophy, you find that you naturally own less things, and that the things you own you truly love. After many conversations, we decided to build a brand centered around this idea of fewer, better.
We read that you spent a long time coming up with the perfect tagline for your brand, and landed on “fewer, better things.” Why do you believe in this philosophy when it comes to fashion, and why did it take so long to find the right way to express it?
Shilpa: We are lucky to have created a company built with an ethos that is sustainable and timelessly relevant. We believe in a timeless design approach and our pieces are crafted with the same attention to detail as those of couture-quality. Fashion should be accessible to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should have to compromise on quality and design. We’ve traveled the world to find the best materials and the most passionate craftsmen out there. Each product we create is carefully considered from beginning to end, and this fresh, accessible approach to fashion really resonates with consumers.”
Do you think the idea of owning fewer, better things is something that was missing from the current retail market?
Karla: Yes, that was a big part of the reason for creating Cuyana. There was no one making high-quality women’s essentials at accessible price points. While there are were so many great fast fashion and luxury brands, no one was truly focusing on that middle range.
Tell us about the new Feminine Utility line launching this month and your inspiration behind it.
Karla: Our new range of Feminine Utility products includes the Femme Pouch, which was designed to bring beauty and functionality to an essential item for women, and celebrate the idea of carrying essentials like tampons with pride. Instead of treating a tampon as a taboo unmentionable, we wanted to put a spotlight on everyday aspects of female identity and celebrate them as manifestations of strength and power.
We’re super excited to be featured in your femme pouch. There are so many feminine care brands out there, what attracted you to LOLA specifically?
Shilpa: LOLA aligns perfectly with Cuyana’s fewer, better philosophy. We love the simplicity of LOLA products and knew that LOLA’s tampons made with 100% organic cotton would be the perfect addition to our Femme Pouch. Both Cuyana and LOLA aim to create thoughtful conversations about what it means to be a woman and we’re so thrilled to be able to share LOLA with our customers.
In honor of Women’s History Month, what other female-founded brands or individuals (past or present) do you look to for inspiration?
Rachel Cohen at Snowe, Christy Turlington, Katherine Power, Hillary Kerr, Katrina Lake, Christina Stembel at Farmgirl Flowers, and the amazing ladies at LOLA.