Interview with Laura Freedman

Apr 2020

Did you always envision having your own company? What inspired you to launch BE and how has it changed course over the years?
I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and am probably unemployable at this point. Besides a few jobs out of college I have always worked for myself. I've really only know Broken English. Broken English kinda raised me.  My mother was a showgirl and my father is a cooperate attorney. I grew up between Los Angeles and Zion National Park.  I think the juxtaposition of those two worlds gave me a unique sensibility. I can’t pinpoint the exact inspiration but I do know that I wholeheartedly went for it and haven’t looked back. When I opened the store in 2006 it was just me doing it all. I worked my butt off. It was everything and I put my heart and soul into it. It's changed gradually over the years but the one thing that has remained is the authenticity. I think that’s the magic. 


You seem to collaborate with female designers quite a bit. Why is collaborating with other women so important to you?
We have quite a few female designers. I love being apart of a community that is collaborative. It's fulfilling and meaningful. I like seeing my friends succeed and if I can be apart of that everyone wins. 


In the short time I’ve known you, you have already stepped into a mentor-like position. What are your go-to tips for young designers?
First and for most authenticity. Being authentic knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Asking for help when you need it. Not being afraid to be different. If fact celebrating what makes you different. Don’t try to be like anyone else. There is enough of that. Having a clear brand message. And have fun. People can feel that. They may not know what it is but they can feel it. 


You work with a lot of creatives. Do you have a creative process of your own you can share?
I’ve never broken it down or thought about it it. For me, it comes in aha moments. Like, oh shit… there it is. Sometimes, when I'm running it comes in waves. Mornings are the most productive for me. I can be inspired by a song, poem, texture, tone there is no reason or rhyme. Once, I get clarity on what I want to focus I write it down, pull inspiration, mood board. I like to have a well thought out vision. A start, middle, and end. The devil is in the details. At least that’s what my Dad used to say. 


How do you find time for yourself while operating a company?
That's a tuff one. Broken English is so much a part of who I am that it's hard to separate. I enjoy the work. I enjoy the challenges. It ebbs and flows. If I need to take a beat I do. I enjoy the process. I know it may seem cliche but it doesn’t really seem like work to me. I kinda feel like I won the lottery. 


What’s the one piece of advice you would give young women who are aspiring business owners? Go for it with reckless abandon. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, you can. You can do anything you put your mind to. The most interesting people are the people who have faced adversity, have been challenged, and overcome it. Fight through. It's worth it. 


Shifting with the times. Can you talk about what you have learned as a business owner in today’s world post corona Virus?
Hard work pays off. Surround your self with doers. This has been an amazing opportunity for me to reprioritize and reassess what is working and what isn't. It's been uncomfortable and challenging in so many ways, but it has helped me get reacquainted with myself and what our core values are. What our strengths and weaknesses are and strategizing on the best path forward. Now more than ever we have prioritized our vendors and our customers. It's opened my mind to a new way of doing things. I do my best work with my back against the wall. The most growth for me personally and in business comes from overcoming hard times.  I'm grateful for the experience. 

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