We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurel Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laurel, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Most people have no idea how damaging the fashion business is to the planet. In fact, fashion & textiles are the second most polluting industry on earth next to oil!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I spent much of my career as a fashion designer thinking that my talents weren’t particularly helpful to the world. I had no idea what it could look like to be both an artist and a humanitarian.
When I had the realization that I, as a designer, could take on the next generation’s #1 challenge–climate change–my entire posture changed. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that I am doing more than selling cute clothes, I’m contributing to a shift in global consciousness around the things we buy and how we use them.
My story is quite literally one of rags to riches. I sold my baby daughter’s outgrown clothes and used the money to buy fabric which I then stitched up into clothes that would last a whole lot longer. Because my business is entirely self-funded, it has been a long and winding journey. In some ways I feel like I’ve earned an honorary degree in business and marketing from the school of hard knocks!
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?
Living in Atlanta is like residing in a giant garden. I could spend a whole week just showing off our parks and green spaces! The Beltline has been such a game changer in this largely car-dependent city, and it would be fun to bike around and sample the local cuisine. My new go-to is Watchman’s at Krog St. Market; their oysters and cocktails are life-affirming . After that I’d hit up Ponce City Market and my favorite Black-owned business Sustainable Home Goods. I’m not much one for the nightlife, but I NEVER miss a show by The ATL Collective, an ever-evolving cast of local musicians who come together monthly to cover an iconic album. I often think there is no way the original musicians could play these records with as much heart or ingenuity as our own hometown folks!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mentor, Susan Bradley of The Social Salesgirls, has been the most incredible resource as I’ve grown this business. Her teaching is all about setting small, achievable goals and taking consistent action, and I don’t even know if I would still be doing this if it weren’t for her guidance!
Harley Storm Nicole McCrimmon Natalie Jackson (4 Corners Photography) Jazmyne Tripp Columbia Williams Beya Made