We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurel Ritchey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laurel, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Do more things that bring you real & honest joy.”
I know, I know… the concept is simple, & perhaps a little cliche, but it’s more than just “do what makes you happy.” It’s the “real & honest” adjectives that stand out & make me actually stop & think. To ask myself the question, “is what I’m doing in my life fulfilling?”
The act of acknowledging your day-to-day actions is key to staying present & truly living an intentional life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what society dictates: how much money you should be making, what your love life looks like, if you have an important job title…
This quote is my constant reminder that it’s not about what other’s think you should be doing, what things bring YOU joy? To remember why I started my business in the first place & continue to make decisions that align with my mission statement & values. 🙂
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started Cotton & Comb in 2017 as a creative outlet to my full-time office job. Most of my products are brass tags that I hand-stamp & customize as key tags & pet tags. More recently, I was encouraged by a friend to create brass pendant necklaces which then led me to branching out & creating an anti-tarnish jewelry line of custom 14k gold-filled options for everyday wear. These “Goldies” have quickly become my most popular & best selling products! I source my brass & gold-filled blanks from a small family business in California & the quality really makes my brand stand out from the rest.
This past July of 2020 I decided to take Cotton & Comb full-time & quit my office job of 6 years. It was the hardest decision I have ever made…. like who was I to give-up a good job surrounded by good people not to mention a consistent paycheck… especially in the middle of a pandemic. I just had this gut feeling that if I didn’t do it now, I never would, & I would regret not taking this chance on myself. So with that said, no, it was not easy getting to where I am today, & I still have a long way to go but having gone through what seemed like the end of the world at the time made me realize I can do hard things. 🙂
I hope by sharing my story that other people are encouraged to take a chance on themselves too. That we’re all just figuring it out as we go & trying our best. My goal is to curate a brand that inspires joy & a feel-good lifestyle. To offer products that make the perfect gifts & mementos: like carrying your favorite quote as a reminder on your key ring or gifting your best friend a thoughtful necklace or taking your pet more places in their cute new tag.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live here in Ventura with my husband Jason & our dog, Poesy. We are definitely creatures of habit, but we like what we like & keep it simple. 🙂 Favorite thing to do is grab coffee from a local spot (our favorites are Singing Sun & Prospect) then take them to go walk around the hilly neighborhoods with the amazing views or down on the promenade by surfer’s point. Oh! & grab an acai bowl from Palm & Boy for breakfast after. I also LOVE thrifting & could spend all day walking around downtown, popping into every thrift store, then for lunch check out what food trucks are at Topa Topa or Madewest or VCBC. For dinner, we would go to Water’s Edge, since it’s on the quiet side of the harbor. It has a fancy but low-key vibe… if that makes sense. Basically just being outside as much as possible is all you need to have a good time here!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shout-out is to all the wonderfully inspiring members of the Ventura Creative Collective. This group has made such a huge impact on my confidence as a maker & allowed me to make friendships & connections that I am so grateful for. The support in Ventura County for small business is truly amazing, & I wouldn’t be where I am today without this community.
all photos taken by cotton & comb