We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Dahl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
Be true to you and pinpoint your purpose. This is a lesson that reaches well beyond business and serves every part of life, but since most entrepreneurs have trouble distinguishing between their business and their life – indeed, because they struggle to differentiate the two – the power of synching it up seamlessly is priceless. When you are crystal clear on your purpose, you find yourself in an effortless flow. Every decision, no matter how large, becomes obvious. You begin noticing the signals all around you. Inspiration fills your soul and opportunities present themselves from even the most unexpected places. Purpose is rooted in authenticity and those we reach can literally feel it. As humans, we’re wired with survival instincts that serve to protect us from bad choices, and, whether or not we succumb to the flat, overly produced and outwardly marketed product, we can see right through it. Do right by yourself and your buyer, be true to your pinpointed purpose, and you’ll tap into a world of wealth.
What should our readers know about your business?
My entrepreneurial story begins at the tender age of twelve, when my mother encouraged me to start my own political polling and volunteer coordination service, aptly named, Grassroots and Stuff. I earned the business of candidates ranging from state Assembly to Treasurer and assembled a fierce tribe of volunteers to ‘get out the vote.’ We got our candidates elected and I got myself hooked on entrepreneurship. I would balance my business with ballet rehearsals and book reports, and while my brace-faced little self didn’t fit a traditional image of CEO, it would come as no surprise to those who knew our family. I descend from a long line of innovative pioneers. My grandfather started the first radio station in Las Vegas and is widely known as an original visionary of the glitzy town. My mother was always dabbling in groundbreaking ventures from personal training gyms, before that was even a thing, to a coffee shop and bungee jumping experience, before building a dude ranch nestled in the Mojave desert. Not all entrepreneurs come from Vegas, naturally, but they do all share a gambler’s propensity for risk-taking, and I am no exception. When I had the audacity to launch a couture hand-beaded t-shirt brand out of my one bedroom apartment in New York City, I had no idea what I was getting into, and that turned out to be a great thing. As a young person throwing herself into the women’s fashion market, people often regarded me as insane. And in retrospect, I think they were right, to a point. Besides having a high-stakes poker player’s tolerance for risk, fearless passion and unflappable tenacity, I luckily also had a healthy dose of naiveté for what I was getting into, and that made all the difference. Having now founded multiple brands, I can say with certainty that, had I put my instincts and passion aside those many years ago, allowed my brain to take the lead, and I actually listened to the critics (inside and out), I likely would never have had the guts to start my brand and my entire life’s trajectory would have been altered. There truly is beauty in the unknown, and learning to allow my heart to guide my decisions, rather than my head, is the business (and life) lesson I am most grateful for. Today, I continue to create brands and I remain steadfast in following my purpose, which has evolved over the years. Through Built by Kids (builtbykids.com) we aim to raise incredible humans and help to empower our next generation of leaders with the tools they need to create an extraordinary future, for us all. Parenting is a priceless gift of love, patience, presence, and letting-go that illuminates the phrase ‘nothing worthwhile is ever easy’, more than any other ‘job’ I’ve ever held. At Built by Kids, we believe that our children innately know more and are more capable than we could ever imagine. We believe that by nurturing their curiosity, helping to develop their confidence, guiding them to self-actualization, and getting out of their way so they can live their own authentic life, we will raise not just our own exceptional children but we will raise the vibration of our entire planet. We are all entrepreneurs in the deepest sense of the word. Life itself is the business and we are tasked to create the best version of our unique selves. The process and purpose is different for each of us, but once we identify it, we become the Founder and CEO of the most precious commodity in the world. To join Laura’s journey optimizing the life experience, visit lauradahl.com.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When we moved to LA from New York’s West Village, everyone expected us to land in Silverlake, but our hearts gravitated to West LA and we spent 10 years living in a bungalow in Mar Vista. We’ve now settled into an amazing community near Culver City which provides easy access to the South Bay and everything else that LA offers. Here are some local favorites that we regularly enjoy. Coffee at Bar 9 in Culver City or Hi-Fi Espresso in Redondo Beach Hike down to PV Cove, around Kenneth Hahn Park or the Culver Steps Surfing at Manhattan Beach or Sunset Point Paddleboarding and kayaking at Marina del Rey Beach day at Matador Beach or Venice Beach fire pits in Corona Del Mar Biking the Ballona Creek bike path to the Strand Poke at Jus’ Poke in Redondo Beach Tacos at Bee Taqueria Pizza at Delicious Pizza Mediterranean food at Miz La La Jamaican Patties at Simply Wholesome Brunch at Superba Take out at Gjelina To Go Dinner at Margot Shopping on Abbott Kinney Farmer’s Market in Santa Monica The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A special shoutout to my fearless mother who inspired me to start my first business at age 12, and to my steadfast husband who’s encouragement has always challenged me to reach higher.
Photos by Steve Makowski