We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura La Rue and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Right now, I’m inspired by the movies ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Taking Woodstock’, brightly colored flowers like Strawflowers, my mountain man cowboy, old trailers like my 1981 Silver Streak, and my wiener dog, June Carter Cash.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Ride or Dye started with a friend of mine showing me her bed sheets that she had just tie dyed with Turmeric. She asked me if I wanted to start a plant dyeing business as a side hustle and so we did. We did a few markets and at the time, the only dyes we were using were Turmeric, Indigo and Avocados (beautiful pink color!). She eventually decided to go in a different direction and I just kept plant dyeing as a hobby. Once Covid hit, and the bed and breakfast where I was an Innkeeper at shut down, I decided to put all my time and energy into Ride or Dye. I started working with more and more plants, learning more tie dyeing techniques, watching YouTube How-Tos, and reading books about plant dyes history. I reconnected with my friend Camille and asked her if she wanted to intern for me. She would come over to my trailer once a week and I taught her what I knew. We were learning together, making a lot of mistakes and laughing a lot. Once I built my website and got a small section in a store in Ojai, the word began to spread about Ride or Dye. Now we’re on the cover of Ojai Magazine! So far, I have loved almost every part of growing this business. Some moments that were frustrating included setting up the LLC, DBA and all that very important stuff! We have also had some major dyeing catastrophes that have cost me more money than I’d like. But through all those moments, I am always reminding myself that nothing is that big of a deal, it’s all a journey, and how lucky I am to be doing what I love to do.
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.
I have friends coming to visit me all the time in Ojai! I highly recommend booking a pack trip with Los Padres Outfitters. They take you and all your gear on horses and mules into the back country and cook for you. I would suggest going for at least 2 nights. It’s pretty epic. My favorite bar/restaurant in town is the Ojai Deer Lodge. They have a pool table, live music and are very dog friendly. I also love The Nest. They have great drinks and their Fried Chicken Sandwich is bomb. Lastly, I would suggest checking out the new Ojai Community Farmers’ Market on Thursdays from 3-7pm at the Chaparral High School courtyard. There are so many amazing local farmers, food artisans and makers (including us!) selling their goods. And, there’s always live music!
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?
*My family for always being supportive of my unconventional life choices *My boyfriend for constantly giving me great ideas, making me laugh and building my self esteem
*Camille (my best friend/assistant) for also giving me great ideas and making Ride or Dye run as smoothly as possible while having the most fun
*My customers for making Ride or Dye possible!
Marc Alt Jess Purple