This season, we’re partnering with Loot, which means we’re having a killer party to kick off the sale. The welcoming party is Wednesday 12/5 from 6-9pm and hosted in the *new* Loot showroom (available for parties, workshops, and more). The space is full of warmth from the handmade details, vintage and new furnishings, and good vibes. Loot has certainly grown from the first time we visited them at their little warehouse and tiny office space in East Austin 5 years ago. We wanted to hear a little bit about how these two hard working ladies have since quintupled their team and got to where they are now, the kind of business that defines the Austin aesthetic and of course- is at all your favorite parties.
Loot has grown quite a bit since the beginning. Can you tell us what your first office was like and how that compares to the new space?
Well, when we started the business 8 years ago we were co-renting a 300 square foot studio in Flatbed where we met with clients and were housing our furnishings in storage units across the city. It was not very efficient to say the least. We poured everything we made back into the business for the first 2 years and were able to grow into larger warehouse spaces as the business grew. In our 5th year, we found our current space boasting 14,000 square feet (tripling our previous digs). We always wished to have a showroom where we could meet with clients and make them feel at home as soon as they walked in the door. After 4 months of renovations, we were able to move into our new home in July of 2015. We actually have a large breakroom/kitchen now (upgrade from a dishwasher and mini-fridge in a closet!), 3 office spaces (we used to all share one room), natural light (!), and a loft space for our retail shop, Loot Finer Goods.
Your new headquarters offers more storage, have you been able to introduce new inventory or pursue new ventures because of it?
We have probably tripled our inventory and in process of moving into new warehouse space next door! We have been able to fill the demand for bulk quantities of unique pieces, allowing us to increase our capabilities in the corporate events sector. We can outfit a party or conference for 500+ people now! Having space to grow has been necessary in our expansion. We introduced Loot Finer Goods, our lifestyle shop last August where clients can shop our custom creations, vintage finds, and French workwear or enroll in one of our craft workshops. Home Staging has been a new venture in the past year as well and one that we are very passionate about.
You’ve been able to host workshops - the Chunky Blanket workshop has been so popular! Do you have future workshops in the works?
Yes, we love offering workshops and seeing customers use their talents to create something they will cherish. We open up our showroom and feed everyone dinner and allow time for getting to know one another. It’s so much fun and a great way to meet new friends. We are excited about a new workshop that will take place on Jan. 6, 2019 where a Erin Mursch, a certified KonMari organizer will discuss how to declutter and organize your space the KonMari way. We anticipate that this will be wildly attractive for people after the holiday season ends.
Is there a dream event you’d like to see in the new space?
You know, the age old question “If you could have dinner with 3 people, who would they be?” … making that dream come to fruition for a special someone and using our space to host it. For us, right now we’d love to host Beto, Willie, and Lambert at our table.
The term “work wives” is being redefined to describe partnerships just like yours- can you describe some of the ways your distinct personalities work together to make Loot thrive?
Well, on top of being work wives, we are also sisters-in-law, so our lives are more intertwined beyond the workplace. We know each other beyond the workplace and understand the family commitments and home lives we are each trying to achieve. This allows some forgiveness of each other when we have family commitments that take us away from the workplace like maternity leave or family health issues. But when you think about it, we do spend more time with each other than our individual families which does make it seem like we’re really married.
Do you think there is a “must have” personality trait for running a small business? Are there members of the Loot team with an unexpected but critical trait for keeping it all running?
A passion for the hustle. First, you must have passion for the company and what they stand for. Second, you must be able to see opportunities for growth, harness your passion and hustle to execute a plan to achieve your goal. Everyone that we hire embodies both of these traits.
Is there a vendor you’re excited to shop and get to know at this season’s FELIZ?
Oh man, tough question. There are so many folks that we are excited about. However, Circle and Line is a maker we have admired for some time but have never had a chance to meet, so we are really looking forward to getting to know her at the sale! Her sculptures are so inspiring.