We had the good fortune of connecting with Bree Lauren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bree, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Secret Garden Panties are the seed of my brand. The unique design in our collection that supports reproductive organs no matter what phase or identity the person wearing them connects to. These panties were born out of my own trauma from becoming a woman – when I got my first period when I was a teenager, it never stopped. Six months later I was getting an invasive operation done at just 15 years old which essentially led to me not having a period for the next 7 years. So my whole initiation into a sacred rite of passage led me into a serious disconnect with my body and sexuality during formative years of hormonal development. So by the time I was met with my menstrual cycle again at age 22, I was studying herbalism, yoga, birth keeping and also assisting a clothing designer while living in Guatemala learning about natural dyes and the importance of natural fibers in clothing. From there I knew I wanted to create my own small label so I sort of took all of my interests and passions and combined them into one unique product. Over time my love for all of the above as well as empowering myself + others became the forefront of my creative process. The business side of this passion project just sort of unfolded unintentionally.
This journey of entrepreneurship has never been just about profit, for me, the success is when humans with various body types can feel empowered and sexy in what is comfortable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My brand was born from a deep connection to the earth and body. I am proud to be an eco-conscious brand that uses plant-based and recycled fabrics as well as natural dyes. My desire to feel good in my body both inside and out has shaped the brand to represent inclusivity by challenging beauty standards and gender norms. At times it has not been easy to stay inspired along this journey of growing my brand. I have “failed,” learned a lot, and ultimately decided to keep going. In 2019 I took about a year away from the brand to consider if this whole running a business thing was a path I wanted to take. At that point, it felt like more of a hobby anyway. During that year I got to discover so much personal growth, relocate, and re-brand which was essentially like launching a new business. It was that self-work, inner growth that got me to where I am today in my personal and professional life. I’ve let my intuition guide me, even when on the outside it made no sense, and as a result I can say I am the most inspired and motivated I have ever been. I want Lekuna to be known as a lifestyle; one of authenticity, inclusivity, a comfortable safe space.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is so much to do around LA, and now that the world is opening up again, the excitement is real. When friends come to visit me, beach time is essential. You really can’t beat the beauty of Malibu beaches. Followed by a hike in Topanga Canyon, some of the most gorgeous views and nature you can hardly believe you are in LA. My favorite place to shop is Abott Kinney in Venice, as “LA” as that sounds, there really are so many great shops with a focus on sustainable brands and lifestyle. We would definitely hit up the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market and pop by Shop Morpheus across the street for some boutique bungalow vibes. Because I go downtown a lot for fabric and my production, I would have to take them to the infamous Santee Alley and Pilot rooftop for afternoon cocktails. When my friend Mischelle is doing tarot readings at Petit Hermitage in WeHo, I love to pop in for an evening by the open air pool and quirky characters. There is just too many good options to eat in LA, so we would probably spend an entire day just on food tour from Santa Monica, to Korea Town, to Long Beach, and everywhere in between.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have such an incredible community and family that has always believed in me and supported me. I feel extremely lucky for this and very privileged to even own a business. I would not be where I am today without all of the amazing women in my life. From my material lineage to my best girlfriends, to my amazing partner. There is still such a gender gap in the professional world and having a support system of badass ladies to lift each other up and encourage each other has made all the difference for me. I want to give a shout-out to a dear friend Tasha, who helped me dream up the concept on the Secret Garden Panties. She is a new mama and owner of an amazing tea company Arose Teas. I had the opportunity to serve tea with her a few years back at a gathering in New Mexico and this is when the idea of “herbal panties” was born, and not long after, this brand.