We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Dauterman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I first started my sunglasses business Volterre, I was lucky enough to have had the “there’s nothing to lose” attitude. I was in my first job out of college and hated it, and I knew I needed to make a drastic pivot. I had 3 months of living expenses saved and decided to quit and turn an already-planned trip to Asia into an “independent study” in manufacturing. By the time I found a manufacturer for my designs, I came back and got another job, but was too excited to bring my ideas to life to not go through with it! It took over a year to fully develop the product so I had that time to plan for launch.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Even though the inspiration of Volterre has remained the same (my experiences traveling), my interpretation is always evolving. When I launched, I had designed them functionally for travel so they could fit in pockets and resist breaking. I dedicated them to places I loved around the world. In 2020, I decided to launch a campaign that’s about how my travel experiences shaped my perception of the world and current crises. It was so fun to be able to reframe and re-interpret my original creation. It’s almost like an extension of my own creative and personal growth. Volterre has been packed with manufacturing challenges, just getting more product made right. After 18 months of trying everything I could think of, I decided I didn’t have the answers and I lost touch with my creative, optimistic side that inspired the brand. It’s great to have her back – that’s one good thing that’s come from 2020. One big lesson I’ve learned is how essential it is to find balance within yourself to do good work. You have to keep the pressure at the right level, where you’re too excited to sit still, but not enough to fear failure.
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?
Stay at the Palihotel or an airbnb in Silverlake. Drink orange wine at Melody, it’s the hippest cutest French restaurant that isn’t a stereotypical brasserie (it actually captures French the way I see it which I love!!).
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?
Volterre’s foundation, The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (to which I donate 5% of proceeds) deserves some love. They send students from under-resourced high schools on educational class trips, which is amazing! Every kid deserves to feel inspired.