A Merchandising graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Laura Dweck was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Laura understood her desire to work in the fashion industry from a very early age and got her start with coveted internships in the Fashion Office at Bloomingdale’s and the Accessories Editorial Department at Women’s Wear Daily. These internships laid the foundation for an incredibly well rounded career in the industry, which included working her way up at Sam Edelman to Fashion Director.
Laura has also held positions in the Digital Media Department at Krupp Group and as the lead fashion designer and merchandiser at Onia swimwear. Today, Laura serves as the Creative Director of Basic Outfitters, where she oversees all design, branding, and marketing of the brand.
Laura, Michael, and Basic Outfitters have appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Entrepreneur 360 lists, as well as in a number of press outlets including GQ, People, Men’s Journal, Inc. and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
In 2014, my husband Michael and I moved into our first cozy apartment in New York City together. Like most in the city, it had very limited closet space and Michael’s overstuffed underwear drawer needed a serious overhaul.
The process of shopping for all of these basics became extremely frustrating for him. He found the shopping experience to be stressful and expensive when looking to replace everything at once. That’s when we realized there was a need for men to be able to refresh their basics in an extremely convenient and affordable way.
That’s when we came up with our Create-a-Drawer concept. Men can replenish their basics in less than 2 minutes with a fashionable, high quality and customizable collection of socks, underwear, t-shirts and jogger sweatpants for an unprecedented value.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
We always looked up to JetBlue as an exemplary brand who delivered on their brand promise to their customers; You Above All. Focusing on the customer as the top priority was very familiar to us and the brand we were building with Basic Outfitters. After designing the world’s softest socks, we had an idea. What if we could partner with a like-minded brand like JetBlue and have our SuperSoft socks in their amenity kits? They already make you feel like you are walking on clouds, but what if you could experience them in the clouds? We launched our co-branded SuperSoft socks in their Mint experience amenity kits in 2018. The response has been pretty incredible.
What was your biggest challenge to date either personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to juggle being a first time mom and running Basic Outfitters. Working with my husband is a huge reason I am able to manage it all. We are true partners in every sense of the word. I’ve also found how incredibly important it is to have an amazing team. My team is smart, agile, growth oriented and creative and I couldn’t do any of it without them.
What does leadership mean to you and how do you best inspire others to lead?
Leadership to me means giving someone the tools and direction to accomplish greatness on his or her own. It means imparting a vision and encouraging others to find creative ways to see that vision through. It means asking for feedback so that I can continue to learn and grow.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My husband and co-founder, Michael has always been incredibly supportive of me and a partner in every sense of the word.
Was it difficult to fit your life into your business/career and how did you do that?
Very difficult, especially since my business is so personal. Running a company takes over your life. Running a company with your husband adds a whole other layer of complexity but we’ve always found ways to make it work. Valuing communication has been a big part of how we are able to juggle it all.
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life?
Definitely. I’ve come to realize that I will always be busy, and life only gets busier and more complex from here. It’s about prioritizing what’s important and carving out the time for it.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal life?
- Take a digital detox once a week. I turn my phone off every Saturday and it is incredible how it shifts my attention to what’s important.
- Make time for experiences and travel. When I look back I always remember the trips as highlights.
- Plan your week on Sunday. It takes the guesswork out of your schedule and leaves you with more time for you.
- Learn how to say no. Work events can drain you and personal obligations can do the same. Prioritize the important ones.
- Create space. Give yourself time to do nothing. Daydream, meditate, stretch.
What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and pride?
On a personal note, my son! Professionally, building a business together with my husband, growing an amazing team, hitting milestones that seemed near impossible at the onset all give me an incredible sense of accomplishment.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d cure cancer.
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Authority magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live