We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendall Zundel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kendall, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started Lu & Elle as a creative and entrepreneurial outlet because I wanted to build community, give back to my favorite causes and somehow figure out a way to support my love of travel. I had a surplus of vintage fabric and textiles that I had collected throughout my travels and I wanted to put it to good use. So one Saturday morning, I took my education in pattern making and made a simple pouch and learned how to sew in a zipper via You Tube. Once I got a stack made, I took them down to the local boutique and they bought them all up! I still sell to that boutique 🙂 It was important to me to highlight the beauty of different cultures through embroidery, color and texture, and in turn, build a strong community of support and friendship. It was also important that a portion of all retail sales were donated to a new charity each year. I am proud that so far, we have given to animals, oceans and babies!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My favorite part of the process is sourcing new fabrics and I think that shows through and sets us apart from the others. The diversity of patterns, colors chosen and fun embroideries makes each bag playful, modern and approachable. When I started Lu & Elle, I was working full time as a clothing designer. I am now full time on Lu & Elle but that took about 4 years of a lot of hard work and compromise to get to that point. Thankfully, I was able to relieve a lot of the pressure by keeping my day job. This helped me to remain focus and inspired on Lu & Elle in the beginning years. Keeping the brand values at top of mind; building community, giving back and travel, I was able to say no to a fun weekend activity in lu of working a market instead or staying up late into the night after a full day of work. Those values also helped me to overcome challenges and make business decisions. Asking myself, if this is in line with the brand values has been instrumental in moving the needle forward. I have also learn to LISTEN to and TRUST my instincts about people and business decisions.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Butcher’s Daughter in Venice with some boutique shopping along Abbott Kinney, Perch in Downtown, eating Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica while walking to the Farmers Market, Hiking in Griffith Park, seeing a show at the Pantages theater, getting Korean BBQ at Hae Jang Chon in Koreatown, Fat Dog in Noho and shopping vintage on Sunday morning at Melrose Trading Post.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to that first boutique that took a chance on me and has been supporting my small business ever since! Cove in San Clemente is an upscale, contemporary clothing boutique that specializes in essential brands for stylish coastal living. Their first order gave me the confidence I needed to start this business!
Photographer: Riley Starr @rileystarrphoto Model: Aysia @helloaysia