Lalo by Honey

Bold, simple, recycled and community focussed; Lalo bags are a contemporary, considered approach to an artisanal trade. With a focus on creating work, fair pay and keeping this weaving approach alive and prosperous- Lalo bags have the makers at the centre of their business.

As well as their focus on social enterprise, Lalo have an approach to their designs which is fashionable but not overtly trend driven (a recipe for success in my opinion!) . With classics such as gingham and checks as a main staple, simplicity is key to their recognisable bags that will last a lifetime.

Please read on to find out about the conception of Lalo and go support this lovely label…

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

I’ve always been mesmerized by the art of weaving in Oaxaca, and the way they use recycled plastic that comes in the most mouth watering colours. My partner and I started Lalo at the beginning of lockdown last year after I got made redundant from my job as a graphic designer. We wanted to work with the weavers to create some of our own designs as we knew our mates in London would find them irresistible. It’s been quite a mad journey from being unemployed to having to become a wholesaler pretty much overnight. I reached out to some people that I know who worked in the industry to get some advice – I was so surprised by the support that I received and how much people are willing to help! To get the initial wheels in motion, we started working with a friend who is from Oaxaca – his name is Lalo! He introduced us to his mother, Monica, now head of the weaving team, who then started to put a female production team in place. Our mission is to provide a support system within the Oaxacan weaving community – to pay our female creatives a fair wage, whilst preserving their artisanal trade. Our team in Mexico set the prices for the bags, so that they have full financial control over their artistry. 

  1. What are your Inspirations?

Our inspirations will always be Mexico – the bright colours, the people, the food and festivities. Oaxaca is so rich with artisanal trade, and they create such beautiful things. Lalo bags are really sassy and colourful, so we try to keep the designs as simple as possible – usually just sticking to two or three colours at a time. I love the timelessness of checkerboards and gingham, there’s something really nostalgic and slightly kitsch about them.

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Definitely a help, as most of our sales are driven from the platform. It’s a great way to convey what you stand for as a brand – to be able to communicate your story as well as have full autonomy as to how you market yourself. I don’t have a social media plan as such, but I do try to post at times in the day that have the most impact. I also am learning about the importance of instagram advertising and promoting your posts – it can be really difficult to stick out in the sea of brands on Instagram. I need to spend less time on it though, so that would be the only hindrance.

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I would like to become more of a social enterprise, and be working with a larger group of females in Oaxaca. Ultimately, to give back more to the community through healthcare or educational support.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

There are so so many cool brands that have come about during lockdown – @in_casa_by_paboy is a Gambian asylum seeker in Naples, currently creating the most beautiful cushions, @make_nu is a door-to-door tailor and clothes repairing service. They also happen to be the most amazing denim decorators – they can do magic to your old pair of jeans. Currently in love with @lourdes_lopez bags made from surplus materials and I hope to be able to afford a dress from sustainable French label @wearemarcia one day!

Offbeat Sweet by Marissa Crider

I was Introduced to Offbeat Sweet recently, a lucky re-post by Dye Baby brought this awesome NY based brand to my attention: The epitome of satisfying, with vivid and bold colour palettes forming these perfectly puffy handmade handbags. I’m an absolute sucker for handbags anyway, but it’s as if Marissa (owner, designer and maker) is in my brain; with choices of chunky fabric chains, confetti totes or textural patterned satin, her designs are truly delicious and exciting.

Offbeat Sweet will be one to watch and I can’t wait to see what other sweet treats emerge, so the moment I saw these wonderful puffy bags I knew I wanted to chat to Marissa.

1. Tell us about yourself and your brand.

 Hi, I’m Marissa! I am the creator, designer, and sole employee of Offbeat Sweet. My background is in painting, but I found for me, designing and making usable objects to be the culmination of everything I love! Offbeat sweet’s roots are magical thinking, nostalgia, and a deep love for objects/ home goods. I hope the take away from my brand is JOY. Joy in color, joy in texture/shape, joy in pattern. As of right now Offbeat Sweet is a line of bags and accessories, but i aim to become an all encompassing brand of goods and wears! 

2. What are your Inspirations? 

– Movies! I take a lot of screenshots and use them for pattern/ color inspo 

– beautifully set tables/ picnics (plates, wine glasses, flowers in a vase) 

– The ritual of arranging table settings is very important to me creatively and personally.

 – Danish/ Nordic design 

– Set and costume design

 – Dark fairy tales/ ghost stories.

 – Household objects! 

– Magic found in nature (Rainbows, mist, mushroom fairy circles, flower gardens) 

3. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

– Ack. both. It is a necessary evil that can be used for good. I personally don’t feel great at it, like getting my personality across while remaining authentic feels like a tricky balance to strike. I find a lot of the things you have to do to get noticed feel kinda cheesy or slightly compromising…but i’m not above it lol. Also it’s sooo easy to get discouraged on IG. Like am I growing fast enough? How do I get more followers? Why am I comparing myself to everyone else? IG really teaches us that if something doesn’t instanously get attention, it’s not valid. Which is bullshit, especially when growing new ideas. 

4. Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start something? 

I picture Offbeat Sweet becoming a whole lifestyle brand! It’s my dream to learn how to make everything (shoes, furniture, clothing, mirrors, rugs ect ect.) I want Offbeat Sweet to be an unmistakable style no matter what it’s designed into.

 My advice for anyone wanting to start something is, if you believe you have a good idea, go for it. don’t overthink it and be a little delusional. It takes a special kind of confidence to make things and think “I like this and other people will too.” I think if I had over-thought what it would mean/take for me to start Offbeat Sweet, idk if I would have taken as many risks initially. OHH and get involved in your community! Collaborate with your peers/ people you look up to!

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

 I have so many. I am a huge fan girl of anyone making things. 

– Ugly rugly’s rugs and plant hangers 

– MyFawny ‘s beautiful marbled shirts

– Rosemilk ceramics 

– Caveglow studio ‘s candles 

– Earthtolane ‘s wire sculptures 

– Monapalmer’s mirrors 

– Gr8daneworld ‘s bags 

– Local womans ‘s dresses

 – Franca studios ‘s clothing 

– Everyones mother ‘s fiber works

 – Cakes 4 sport ‘s amazing cakes! (which i got for my bday) 

– Carozola ‘s floral arrangements 

And local stores like 

– FEELS 

– Shop sounds 

– Lolo and friend 

– Relationships (rip ://) 

– Topos books and coffee 

– Likemindedobjects 

– Otherwild ( also rip :/ )

 – Coming soon 

– Hester street fair The list goes on forever.