We had the good fortune of connecting with Louise Buckley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Louise, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I am an artist from Brooklyn, New York currently in my fourth year at UCLA as an art student where I have been primarily making paintings, drawings, and photos. Collecting, sharing, combining, making, and learning are all very conducive to making art and they’re all things I’m drawn to doing. I added wearing to that list and started making jewelry. Louise To You is the jewelry project I began in 2020.
Louise To You is a gesture of love and connection motivated by an appreciation for the natural world, art, and the joys that can come with getting dressed in something that excites you. I like the idea of making something that will last and be treasured. I’m invested in cycles of giving and correspondence and I hope my jewelry gets passed around between friends and family, is gifted to oneself, and is taken care of by its wearer.
At the moment, Louise To You aims to reflect at least a sliver of the beauty of the ocean while drawing upon art history and various design references. The ocean provides so much and it is important to me to share with two organizations who protect it and partake in its power. A portion of Louise To You’s profit goes to City Surf Project, an organization focused on providing Bay Area youth with their first exposure to the ocean through surf lessons, and to Indigenous Climate Action who works to center Indigenous voices and knowledge in conversations about solutions to our climate crisis.I try to use the most sustainable and natural materials in all stages of production and I’ll forever be working on that.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I manage Louise To You myself, so I spend a lot of time dedicated to it. I design, make, package, photograph, source, and ship everything myself which can be a lot of work but it’s exciting and I’m constantly learning.
Four years ago when I began at UCLA, I became involved in GRAPHITE Interdisciplinary Journal of the Arts, a Hammer Museum supported student arts organization that has been dedicated to producing critical, creative projects since 2009. I am in my third year as a Co-Head and work with a thoughtful and dedicated team of students that has revealed to me a love of working collaboratively on creative projects. Working for GRAPHITE has taught me so much about planning, outreach, organization, communication, curating, and design that I have been able to apply to Louise To You.
Something that became clear early on with Louise To You was that I was going to have to take myself seriously and truly believe in what I was doing. Learning how to be proud of myself and to acknowledge how hard I work has given me more confidence both within myself and what I am making and has allowed me to express that to others when proposing ideas and collaborations.
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?
I have a lot of dear friends who don’t live in LA but make the trip to visit so this question does come up. I usually just bring friends along to where I’d usually go and incorporate anything special they want to do. I don’t drive (yet) so we’re either on the bus or my friend Talia is driving. Thank you, Talia!
I’m always in good company at the old Hollywood favorite Formosa Cafe for a night of Chinese food and drinks. I’ll go to Cholada after a day of surfing for papaya salad or crab fried rice, and Sweet Rose for a delicious ice cream date (mint chocolate chip in a sugar cone).
Soulfulofnoise hosts an open mic with a super groovy jazz band on the first Sunday of the month at Comfort LA downtown. Their good energy is made even better by a plate full of wings and mac n cheese! Rappcats for records and down the street El Huarache Azteca for agua fresca.
Flea markets, small shops, and friends have opened my eyes to some local brands I like including Mantra, Belle, Pretties Venice, Dotter, Eve Denim, The Corner Store, Seea, Maiden Venice, Une Heures, Baben, Courtyard. I like to go to Stories, Family, Skylight, and Arcana for books too.
I love Zebulon for dancing, Dodger Stadium for some good Dodger baseball, The Aero for movies, and behind the UCLA Broad Art Center building for a good group hangout!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m eternally grateful for the love and care in my life that comes from kind and thoughtful people. My brother Nathan and I are each other’s biggest fans and my family and friends are the most important part of my life. I have been lucky to have generous teachers who not only expanded my world but supported me and made me feel seen and understood at times when I really needed to be.
Growing up, I watched both of my parents make the transition to start working for themselves which has taught me a lot. It brings along lots of stress and difficulty, but can ultimately be so liberating to be in control of your own time and what you put your energy into. My dad has been a handyman, a construction worker, a substitute teacher (he taught my first-grade science class), and now is full-time in his studio as an artist. My mom has worked nonstop in public health services her entire life and now runs her own private practice. She also made drawings for a greeting card company she and a friend used to run. My mom has made clear to me how important it is to dedicate myself to something worthwhile. She has demonstrated to me how important it is to take care of myself and all the people around me the best that I can. I have seen both my parents take risks, struggle, and be independent while trying to balance their lives which has given me immense gratitude for them and valuable trust in myself.