We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Lang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is something that needs to be done to add fuel to the fire and really live with the idea of not having those “what if” thoughts. I would have to say if I personally didn’t take some big risks I would not be where I am today with my creativity and career. One of the biggest risks I took that really led me to where I am today and on my path to the future is packing up my life in NYC with no time to plan and moving to LA. Before I bought that one way ticket, I had never been to LA and knew no one. This took me from my design jobs in NYC to then becoming the Creative Director of a successful haircare line in LA. This position provided me with the funds I needed to launch my own fragrance brand. Then during the first few months of the COVID19 pandemic, I sat there thinking what I really wanted to do with my time. During those uncertain times I decided to just pull the trigger and start the process for my perfume collection which just launched in May 2021.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When the question comes up in conversation about what I do, I always laugh and state “are you prepared for this because I do a lot.” I work as a designer specialized in packaging and branding. I am a photographer who focuses on portraiture and fashion. And I own my own business named WILE. I started WILE while working full-time as a Creative Director in the beauty industry. WILE was started as a passion project and it is my creative outlet. I own the company and have full say on what goes, which is really nice because I wanted to be my own “client” for once. I just launched my perfume collection and getting this far was definitely filled with a ton of pressure. I have put so much passion and so many late nights into these scents. Building connections and working for yourself is a 24/7 job. One thing you need to remember is to take a break and not feel bad if you need a personal day. I am constantly still learning about business and google is your best friend when you need answers. One suggestion I have is to always keep communication open and on-time. There is nothing worse than waiting around for answers and in order to have a smooth timeline you need to communicate clearly. When it comes to business there are also so many moving pieces at all times that the average consumer doesn’t know about. I could talk about this forever, but in the end go with your gut and just keep pushing yourself and when obstacles come your way, get creative! When it comes to WILE, I want the story of the brand to bind with the consumer’s own personal story and create a story we can share together. WILE is all about remembering and making memories with the use of scents. And when it comes to brand assets I just want WILE to represent the idea of uncensored creativity and passion.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am gonna keep this one short and sweet because I am terrible at remembering my favorite things when it comes down to these types of questions. When it comes to showing people around or planning trips, I always do my best to visit and support small businesses. This makes the time more unique and memorable. And to top it off you help support someone’s dream! I am also a big planner, so I will plan endlessly to make sure we can go to all the exclusive spots and visit all the hidden treasures.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Starting a business while also working a full-time job in the creative industry is, let’s just say, challenging. Without the support and encouragement I feel daily, I don’t know if everything would be worth it. To start off, I would just have to say thank you to my parents for always supporting my visions. I originally went to school for Dentistry and later switched to Package Design and Branding. With no push back they were always there cheering me on saying I knew what was best for myself and they fully believed in me. Next I would have to say Kelly Mudge Criswell, Chief Creative Officer of GRO, has really taught me how to be a powerful leader. Working under Kelly was always a pleasure and the amount of business and design knowledge I learned while having fun is endless. She is the queen of thinking outside the box! Next comes Sandra Krasovec and Marianne Klimchuk who helped mold my skills in Packaging Design and Branding at FIT. Their sincere and passionate guidance during my days at FIT really opened the door for me to be able to be a one-man show in all my endeavors. And lastly, to all my friends who have put up with endless messages about what design they liked or feedback on my never-ending ideas…. thank you, thank you, thank you!
Image of Dan Lang – Jack Juliar