We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Richer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk is absolutely necessary when considering self-employment, success and expansion. I personally had to take the risk to get Hot Donna’s on her feet with just an instagram account and nothing else. With the risk, perseverance and belief that it would be successful, I was able to meet investors, people who cared to help me through areas that I was unfamiliar with, and eventually find followers who want to support the brand financially every month. As we surpass the seven month mark, we continue to take risks on supporting on queer organizers and creators, event themes, and general decision making that isolates us from the norm and forces to take a position politically and creatively. This feels like the only way to make something work, and not just work, but expand.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my career life in college as a graphic design advertising major, where I focused my craft on concept creation and execution. I practiced everything from ideation to getting in 3D form. My classes consisted of photography, illustration (digital and traditional), layout, graphic design, copywriting, campaigning, branding, etc. I never really connected with this job as a career as I never got the opportunity to work on brands that lit my heart and mind on fire with passion. So I transitioned to the film industry and found meaning in being an inclusive Casting Director for films and TV shows, focusing on hiring marginalized communities in major productions, giving them opportunity and visibility. It wasn’t until I felt forced to start Hot Donna’s by the universe’s nudge that I could figure out how to infuse my background into on the greatest decisions I’ve ever made – giving Hot Donna’s Clubhouse a life. I wanted to breathe life into the brand with excitability and youthfulness. I wanted to look retro, fun, wild and confident. I feel that those words are indicative of the queer community’s brand in Los Angeles. We will most likely always be evolving as we find new language to describe ourselves and connect with other hearts in the community – but for now we are married to bright colors and bold statements.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of the best things to do in LA are party and eat. Most people eat then party, but to each their own. There are a lot of queer woman centric parties that happen weekly or monthly – there’s always something to do – so we’d do whatever the flavor of that week was like. We’d definitely go to Malibu and lay on the beach while enjoying the view. There’s wonderful restaurants in every city, but we would of course find one with a roof top or a view. Additionally, there’s great art museums, and museums in general in Los Angeles. The Academy of Motion Pictures, LACMA, MOCA DTLA, and the Broad just to name a few. The LA Philharmonic is beautiful, but can be a relaxing option. We might even hit up a few flea markets like the Melrose Trading Post or the Rose Bowl Flea in Pasadena. We’d probably wrap up the week with a lay out by the pool or on the grass of some park in Beverly Hills, or some light shopping in Silverlake.

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?
I’d love to give a shoutout to the LA based queer community that has lifted me and this brand up as they realize the purpose of its existence is to help the current and future queer communities in LA and beyond. I’d love to thank Meg Kilroy for introducing me to really great queer talent, and Angelica Castellanos for helping me organize the business and keep things on track to continuously move the needle closer to our brick and mortar. I want to thank Kim Vu, owner of Sorry Not Sorry in West LA who continues to fearlessly and passionately support our goals and dreams, while making changes to her own business so we can thrive and continue to fundraise for our own space. I want to thank everyone who’s made it difficult for us to exist as they have challenged me creatively and emotionally to do better, be better and find non-traditional ways of existing, coping and expanding. Thank you to every person who’s ever attended an event or donated to our GoFundMe account, even if it was $2 – it means the world. Every person who’s shown up for an event, or been a performer or DJ, who’s maybe worked for free or for less than their standard rate – all for the sake of getting this brand out there and raising money – THANK YOU. That takes real heart and dedication and we wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you to all the brands that want to collaborate with us on events so we can create a connected community that thrives on connecting and not competing. Thank you.

Website: www.hotdonnas.com

Instagram: @hotdonnasclubhouse

Linkedin: Lauren Richer

Facebook: Hot Donna’s Clubhouse

Other: GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/cover-popup-and-opening-costs-for-hot-donnas LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/hotdonnasclubhouse

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