Feeling a need to channel the dueling emotional tug of political frustration against civic enthusiasm we went on the hunt for a ‘vote’ necklace. And happily not only did we find a great piece to wear with pride but another fantastic women-owned business excelling in its space. Jewelry designer Larissa Loden has been in the jewelry business for a long time; and it shows. With a clearly articulated brand identity and unique product set, she’s just one of the many exciting women-owned businesses being discovered by shoppers each day.
The Hunt for Women That Inspire
As is often the case when we learn about someone new, the FromAtoSHE team needed to hunt down Larissa Loden pronto and learn more about her brand. Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Larissa Loden jewelry is known for its handcrafted, high-quality and affordable designs. The company is also committed to being a model of women-owned and good corporate citizenry; having consistently given back to community causes. So, without a doubt, Larissa was someone we wanted to meet and were lucky to get the chance to interview her (and incidentally only days before she was to give birth to baby #2).
Larissa Loden Talks Entrepreneurship, Love of Jewelry & Giving Back
You’ve have had a number of businesses…tell us about your entrepreneurial journey?
My business has evolved over time and has gone through a couple of name changes as well. But it all started when a high school art teacher left a beaded necklace for me on my graduation chair. It was a light bulb moment. I honestly didn’t know you could could make jewelry up until that point.
After that I was hooked. I started pretty much making and selling jewelry right away. However, jewelry was not the original plan. I went to school for art education and was an art teacher for 8 years. But throughout college and teaching, I was selling jewelry on the side at art fairs, etc.
After a while, I starting picking up wholesale accounts and eventually I had two employees and was still teaching. It was at this point I knew I needed to go all-in on jewelry. That was 4 years ago. Now I have a staff of nine and Larissa Loden is sold in more than 500 stores nationwide. And we will keep on keeping on until hopefully everyone knows about our kick-ass little boss babe company.
What makes Larissa Loden Jewelry unique?
We are a purpose-driven company. I want everyone to have accessibility to handmade jewelry at an affordable price point. We also put our money where our mouth is and raise awareness and money for several non-profits.
Larissa on giving back yearly to causes:
“To date, this year alone, we have donated more than $30,000 dollars...“
You are originally from New York; how did you make your way to Minneapolis?
I followed a boy! We have been together now for 18 years. We have a daughter and next week we are about to bring a baby boy into this world.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your entrepreneurial journey?
Scaling and meeting the challenges of every new phase. Once you enter a new phase you have never been at before you don’t really know what to do. But I have learned to acknowledge the unknowing and uncomfortable. And I always take problems head-on and solve them.
What are you proudest of?
My team and team culture. Like a lot of people, I have worked in some pretty icky places and for people that I don’t share the same value structure. So I focus a lot on company culture and teamwork. I want everyone to come to work each day excited and not dreading it.
You are also focused on giving back in a meaningful and consistent way; why is this important?
It’s who I am as a person. I have always given back. This world has given me so much, so I want to do the same for it.
As the world’s attention was focused on Minneapolis this year; and the city’s fight against racial inequality and justice for George Floyd, how did it affect you personally and Larissa Loden Jewelry?
It affected me and my team a lot. Seeing the murder of George Floyd in our own city. And a city we love so much, is something we will never forget. During this time I gave my staff several paid days off to just focus on them and do what they needed to do. We also released the For George bracelet. With this bracelet, we have raised more than $20,000 to donate to Color for Change. A non-profit focused on racial justice.