Lauren PodollCo-Founder & Designer for The PodollsSAN FRANCISCO,CAPhotography by Lauri LevenfeldStory by Lauri Levenfeld
I had heard so many good things about Lauren. And when we met, I realized all are true. Lauren is an exceptional visionary with a crystal clear definition of detail and understanding in every aspect of her life. This understanding and acknowledgement is from deep and conscious roots, as everything she designs and curates comes from a place of respect, care, and consideration for her community and the world around her. A sentiment expressed perfectly in the hangtag of each garment she crafts. Lauren gives her list of favorite eco brands and great tips on becoming more green. And don’t forget to head over afterwards for my fun Q&A with our celebrity TMP moms at Style Me Pretty Living.
I am Lauren Berdell Podoll-designer; mother; entrepreneur; Bay Area native; only child; Leo; yogi; lover of travel, dance, cookbooks, astrology, massage and Rumi.
My husband Josh and I are the team behind The Podolls, a women’s clothing line and flagship store in Burlingame, CA. We have been designing clothing for about ten years and recently launched our children’s collection, podots, when we opened our retail store last Fall.
We have a two-year-old named Dashiell and he occupies all my time aside from running our business. Before he was born, I also taught yoga classes a few times a week-but now I’m lucky if I can keep up my personal practice!
It may sound cliché, but inspiration can come from anywhere… Perhaps an enlightening museum visit, people watching, vintage textiles, or even noticing a need that’s not being met. I feel continually inspired by the women in my life and love seeing how our customers style their Podolls purchases to fit their lifestyles. It’s always satisfying to see the same style on a woman in her twenties, one in her forties and one in her sixties—those timeless pieces that flatter the wearer and make dressing easier are my favorites. I’m continually excited by creating those pieces season after season.
Coveted Labels at The Podolls (Dashiell’s too)
1. Imogene + Willie jean jacket- proudly made with care in the USA
2. Melissa Joy Manning jewelry- sustainable, handmade and gorgeous
3. RGB five free nailcolor in Lavender- (worn throughout the photoshoot)
4. Raleigh Denim hi-rise Haywood jeans- USA made and excellent construction
5. Go Gently Baby- organic cotton knits
6. Manimals handcrafted leather moccasins
7. Jess Brown custom ‘po-dolls’ wearing clothes made of our upcycled fabrics
For us it’s never been about trend. In fact, our original hangtag on our tees said “we use 100% organic Supima cotton grown and sewn in the USA– Even if you don’t care”. Thankfully, it seems more people do care now than they did ten years ago. We’ve all heard media coverage of tragic stories like the factory collapse in Bangladesh and more discussion about the benefits of supporting American made products. Our garments have always been manufactured in the USA and we use natural fibers like organic cotton, linen and silk. There may be a premium to pay for apparel made with integrity, but we value quality over quantity and we would rather have our consumers buy fewer garments that are made to last over cheap, polyester items that may not last a season. For more on why, I always recommend reading ‘Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion’ by Elizabeth Cline. It is an enlightening book and we’re grateful she included The Podolls on her shopping directory of companies committed to domestic production and lowering their environmental impact. Our efforts in this direction include our line of children’s apparel called podots, sold exclusively at our flagship, which utilizes the leftover fabric from our women’s collection and thereby decreases waste each season.
“I TRY TO LET GO OF MY PERFECTIONISTIC TENDENCIES TO GET WORK DONE EFFECTIVELY AND STILL HAVE TIME FOR ACTIVITIES THAT KEEP ME GROUNDED. SOMEONE ONCE GAVE ME THE ADVICE ‘DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT’ AND THAT’S A GOOD REMINDER.”
Child: Dashiell Quinn Podoll-age 2 years, 7 months
Dashiell is the most joyful little being I’ve encountered. He’s playful and exuberant and he reminds me to be present, have fun and not take life too seriously.
One of the biggest changes is not having as much time for myself, so I’ve learned to become more efficient. I recognize that doing things like yoga or catching up with a friend are nurturing and vital to my mood so I can be a better mother. I try to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies to get work done effectively and still have time for activities that keep me grounded. Someone once gave me the advice “done is better than perfect” and that’s a good reminder.
Dashiell’s Fave Things:
1. Magnatiles – Dashiell loves constructing (and demolishing!) and these are fun for all ages
2. Hape Coffee Maker – Like most toddlers, Dashiell loves imitating what he sees and he loves making us cappucinos with his wooden machine-clearly, he’s been to lots of SF coffee shops with us!
3. Eco Kids Play Dough – This stuff is the best! I tried making my own but it was either too dry or too sticky. This lasts and lasts and the colors are bright without synthetic dyes.
4. Mahalo Ukulele – We’ve been taking music classes weekly since Dashiell was 6 months and he loves strumming and singing lots of tunes.
5. ‘Steam Train, Dream Train’ – One of our favorite bedtime books-great illustrations and soothing rhythm .
Dashiell likes comfort above all else and prefers knits and cozy sweaters. He wears tees and harem pants by podots, printed sweatpants by mini rodini, and boy + girl henleys. Lately he’s become much more opinionated about dressing and favors tees with animal themes or fun patterns like checkers or polka dots. Now that the spring rain has finally hit northern California, he wears Bogs boots and his K-Way rain jacket daily. He goes through shoes quickly so I buy him waterproof Native shoes or Feiyue sneakers that he can put on himself.
He’s still sleeping in a crib but when he’s ready for a toddler bed I’m thinking we’ll update his room and maybe wallpaper with one of the amazing papers on the Walnut site.
As for my style, I am a mix of classic/bohemian/minimalist design. I mostly wear our collection with denim from 6397 or Raleigh that we sell at the store. Somedays I favor a tomboy look with oversized tees, workwear staples and high tops; somedays I prefer sandwashed silk blouses or jumpsuits for comfortable elegance. I love timeless pieces like a black leather motorcycle jacket, diamond studs, and killer heels. In general I’m not into superfluous embellishment or logos—I prefer an understated type of drama.
When it comes to beauty, I am a creature of habit. I use Kerastase Volume Shampoo and Terax conditioner every other day. For moisturizing I love Arcona Magic White Ice and follow with a Beauty Balm by Andalou Naturals with spf 30. In terms of makeup, I love the Living Luminizer from RMS beauty and their cream blush is great too. Shu Uemura makes my favorite plum eyeliner and eyelash curler. My routine is pretty simple so if I want to take it up a notch, I add a bright lip—Julie Hewett makes the best long lasting colors.
Easy Ways To Be More Eco-Minded.
1. Be a conscious consumer: find out where things are made and with what contents. Choose better, buy fewer.
2. Transition your pantry toward buying in bulk and storing legumes & grains in recycled glass jars to cut down on packaging waste.
3. Use a glass water bottle. We sell bkr bottles at our store- functional and pretty to look at on your desk.
4. If you have outdoor space, plant a garden! We don’t have a large yard but our raised bed allows us to grow herbs, vegetables and strawberries- even in the SF foggy climate. It’s so fulfilling and our toddler loves taking care of it–and eating what we harvest.
Lauren, it was a ball to collaborate on this day with you and such a wealth of information and inspiration. I had no idea the curated magic your store would unfold for me when I walked in the door. And yes, Lauren outfitted me for all the latest perfection for Coachella. Now its time to get out my denim jumpsuit and rock SF! xo