We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Ha and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, what makes you happy? Why?
It’s the little things that make me happy. It’s my cup of coffee on an early morning, the walk down the street to my car, the time spent running errands- I enjoy it all. I have come to a point in my life where I feel grateful for every waking moment. I truly believe that each person is responsible for their own happiness and that it can be achieved every day when you look at the smallest things with gratitude. Through several self reflections and insightful conversations with friends, I realized that humbled confidence and satisfaction stem from genuine happiness. I have made it my mission to encourage those around me to be happier. Using High Avail as a medium to connect with my community has allowed me to extend my network and influence farther than I could have ever imagined. Helping artists of varying mediums showcase their creativity has encouraged self-expression and raw originality. It makes me happy to know that my work has created a happy, safe place for young artists to be able to produce what they are most proud of. The creative space is unbounded to limitless opportunities of happiness.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
High Avail is a collaborative clothing brand. Aside from producing and commercializing streetwear, HA’s sole mission is to showcase and support various local artists and businesses. High Avail is truly a reflection of my beliefs and values. As an Asian-American entrepreneur, I have managed to integrate my purpose and culture within recent campaigns. I made it a point to still imprint my own originality while still representing a collaborated brand or business. A recent example would include the newest release of PorciHA. Drawing from my Chinese culture, I decided to implement a Porcelain themed design with High Avail. The distinct Porcelain designs will distinguish my works from others by the influence of Asian culture. I have worked with various artists and talented brands that have helped finalize the products that will be released around Chinese New Year. These inclusive collaborations will carry a message from artists within our culture. I love how each collection is attached to causes and traditions that I hold dear to me. With all that being said, it would be grossly inaccurate if I went on to say that this journey has been a walk in the park. Having ZERO operational knowledge on how to run a clothing line humbles me to start from ground up with no shortcuts. I am more excited about what I can accomplish with High Avail that can touch others to be creative, inspired to support locals, and wear the products created by High Avail. From start to finish, the journey will never be easy. However, the rewarding motivational voices from supporters from ensuring high quality of projects keeps me creating.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In LA, there are so many sights to see, events to attend, and people to meet. If my best friend were to visit me, I’d make sure to take them to the many places I draw inspiration from- it would be impossible to accomplish in just one week. First, we’d start our day with a cup of coffee and pastry then head to The Broad. This museum features over 200 artists. After admiring the diversity of contemporary arts, I’d make it a point to visit the Huntington Library. This attraction isn’t your normal library. The grounds of the Huntington Library is scattered with beautiful Zen gardens, galleries of exquisite artifacts, carefully preserved art, and a botanical conservatory. This location has never failed to bring me back to a place of Zen and gratitude. On another day, I would make sure to bring my friend to the Melrose Trading Post. Every Sunday, vendors of local art, collectors of rare antiques, and curators of vintage goods unite to showcase and sell their collections of their trade. It is amazing to see the individuality of each booth and vendor. This event unites many communities for those with a creative eye. After wandering the makeshift market, I would then decompress with my friend by taking a cruise down PCH. Beautiful beaches, cafes, and homes nest alongside the iconic highway. It wouldn’t be an LA trip without a PCH cruise- anyone can tell you that. To top it all off, I would make sure my friend and I eat good. I love alternating between supporting local farmers and attending local food events. The Original Farmers market promotes sustainable meals with organically grown foods. I love the fresh and healthy options to choose from. My friends and I love attending farmers markets of different cities. I am happy I have been able to consistently support one in my own city. Changing the pace on another night, I would bring my friend to the 626 night market. The night market is vibrant with good food and music. Highly popular in the Asian community, this event has become more of a social gathering. This is a hub for 250 vendors ranging between food, crafts, and merchandise. The creative and social energy is infectious and inspiring. Whether it’s a quiet farmers market or a booming eating event, I would make sure my friend enjoys the range of interactive eating experiences. To end the days after dinner, dessert would be ideal or even some night life in West Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles. This would be another opportunity to introduce my friends that live in Los Angeles to my best friend. 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?
It would be impossible to name all the helping hands that have molded High Avail into what it is today. It first started when 2 of my closest friends: Elyse Corpuz and Mary Ta, helped me create the original first few designs that were printed on our earliest products. Since then, several friends and family members pitched in to help with creative input, operational advice, clothing manufacturing and so on. Over the past 3 years, I have not forgotten a face nor a name that has lent a helping hand. High Avail’s network can be traced across various cities, states, and international borders. I am truly grateful for the many contributors who have dedicated their time and effort to make the seemingly impossible, possible. With all these moving parts and people, it would be most fitting to thank the first person who started this all- Malik Yasin. Thank you Malik for encouraging me to pursue this brand. He was my first influence that pushed me to become the entrepreneur I am today. For that and more, thank you all.