Calila Designs is Cameron and Lindsey’s love letter of sorts to DTLA. Calila Designs is fashion accessories brand based on the needs of the active lifestyle, with a clean, simple, and modern aesthetic. Cameron and Lindsey set out to design products that have style and charisma, yet maintaining functionality, durability and usability, all made in Los Angeles.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
We got started when we moved to Downtown Los Angeles and made this part of the city our home. There was such an instantaneous community of creative people that sparked our own creativity again and again, and we decided we needed to do something to capitalize on the art that we felt within us in a way that gave back to the community.
Lindsey went to FIDM downtown and has been a buyer, merchandizer, and retail manager, as well as previously a freelance designer. I wanted to harness that talent and build a brand that was representative of the lifestyle we love: active and creative, while simplifying the clutter.
We spent over 8 months honing the first design, battle testing it within Lindsey’s day to day pursuits, making sure we created a tote bag that was specifically functional and tailored to our lifestyle.
Finally, it was of upmost importance that we had the bags made in downtown Los Angeles as well. We have such a rich history of textiles, garments, and fashion right here, with people who have been hand crafting goods for years. That’s why we’re proud to claim we are “Los Angeles from Conception to Completion”, but that was something that came naturally and made sense because it was a part of the fabric of the brand we intended from the beginning.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BRAND NAME?
Calila Designs L.A. (pronounced cu-lee-luh) is essentially a mashup of “Cali” and “L.A.” It was inspired by the city we live in that gave us the confidence to bring our best selves to the table and create a brand of lasting significance.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET STARTED?
The biggest hurdle was easily time. We both work full time at the moment, but will be decreasing to one person full time in the new year to focus on marketing and business operations of Calila.
And since Lindsey and I are together, and we live together, there were initial hurdles of finding working styles that melded well and making sure we have time that is specifically for us and not talking about work 24/7. We’re still working on that part 🙂
WHAT WAS THAT “JUST DO IT” MOMENT FOR YOU TO GET STARTED?
There was a moment when we wanted to keep refining and tweaking our first tote bag design, but when we found a manufacturing team that we really liked and wanted to collaborate with us, they helped take our design to the next level anyway.
From there it was about saying, “We love this design, it’s working functionally day after day and it’s gorgeous. We may have tweaks in the future, but it is time to get this bag out into the world and start sharing.” It was that moment when we realized we weren’t learning by thinking and we needed to continue learning by doing. So we invested the money to build up some inventory and were off to the races!
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