We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Tafuri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It all started after experiencing a small earthquake in Los Angeles in 2013. It was very much a wake-up call— the catalyst that prompted us to found Preppi. We realized we weren’t at all prepared and when talking to friends and fellow Angelenos about earthquake preparedness we realized that very few people had adequate or any supplies at all! We quickly wanted to change that and decided to start Preppi to engage people in the preparedness conversation through good, eye-catching design. I (Lauren) had been working in fashion styling for commercials and advertising for 15 years at the time of founding Preppi, and it was important to me to put something out into the world that could actually help people and our communities.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Preppi seeks to inspire more people around the world to be prepared for any situation. With extreme weather and unpredictable emergencies being commonplace it is no longer an option to treat the topic of preparedness lightly. Beginning in 2014, Preppi’s line of emergency kits has reshaped how people discuss and engage with the concept of preparedness.
One thing that really sets us apart: most emergency bags are made overseas, and I am proud that Preppi bags are designed and completely manufactured here in Los Angeles. Not only is this sustainable practice, but I love that our team is able to see each product go through the entire journey from cut-n-sew to customer delivery.
A challenge we faced when launching in 2014 was that people thought safety and design was a wacky concept. We initially had to overcome this through our messaging and convince people that stand out design was crucial to help catapult people over their emotional hurdles that frequently causes preparedness procrastination. We have been credited for mainstreaming some of these concepts in the preparedness space.
Last year was particularly challenging for us as it was for many. We have always stocked N95 masks in our kits (since 2014) as a standard item for wildfires, and when news came of the mask shortage we had to act quickly to donate them. We were just overwhelmed by the amount of requests we received from major hospitals and small clinics all over the country. We are so very proud we were able to donate thousands of n95 masks to clinics and hospitals around the country while many had zero access or were reusing them for weeks at a time. With any challenge, one has to assess what one can do to overcome and take small steps to get there. We are very glad Preppi was able to help!
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.
Well, this ones a bit tricky since things are just now reopening!
Coffee/Lunch & Flowers!
Bloom & Plume, my friend Maurice Harris’s shop it’s a marvel. Toast, drinks & hand ties!
Manuelas @Hauser & Wirth
Polo Lounge at Beverly Hills Hotel
Dover Street Market
The Good Liver
The Most Fun Interesting Exciting People:
Ryan Kuhlman- my co founder!
Karon Davis, Artist, Co-founder of the Underground Museum
Agnes Baddoo, bag designer, stylist, maven of all things
Ben Lee Handler, Curator, Nicodim Gallery
Hannah Byun – designer Hansel From Basel
Beth Gibbs – Designer of Bephie and co-owner of Union
Ana Calderon – Deejay
Maurice Harris – Bloom & Plume
Wilding & Cran
Hauser & Wirth
Wine Bar & Happy Hour
Our favorite place to hang out is Melody Wine Bar – Great Natural Wine Bar with rotating pop-up menu that’s always delicious!
https://melodyla.com ( not to be confused with melody lounge in Chinatown)
Night Market Song (silverlake)
Carousel (either location for Lebanese)
Old Favorites- The Dresden, Little Dom’s & Cafe Stella.
Usually something in K-town like the Bounty
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?
Karon Davis & The Underground Museum
photo credits: Preppi