One of our biggest joys at Yellow Co. is getting to know women, and brands, who are creating change for good in their very own, creative way. Of course, we’re even more drawn to those that share our name (and a love for a certain bright color). So naturally, we chatted with Lauren Lilly, founder of Yellow 108, to get her take on literally wearing many hats, creating sustainable products, and enjoying the ride of entrepreneurship.
Like many of our readers, you left a corporate job in pursuit of your own dream. Tell us about this transition, and how it brought you to founding Yellow 108.
I find that in life, it’s all about the perspective. Your perspective is what guides you to things that best suit you, or keeps in you places that do not. Maintaining the ability to change as things need to change in any capacity, in my opinion, is the only way to naturally find your way to professional and personal situations that fit you best. If something feels right, it’s for a reason. If something feels off, it’s for a reason. So personally, trusting my gut got me through a series of corporate jobs. All of which I consider to have been fulfilling during the time I was active in them, and all ended for a reason. Now I am entering into the 7th year of Yellow 108 existing and I am currently in the most positive mindset I’ve ever been in professionally - which feels amazing!
What is it about entrepreneurship that makes you feel alive?
Around the clock hard work, while exhausting, is really personally fulfilling. To see the results of your craft or effort, to accomplish, and to provide for a team is extremely gratifying for me. The other side of it - the struggle, the ups and downs, also make me feel very alive. To trust yourself and your ability to make it through any situation is pretty unreal. It doesn’t lack stress or pressure by any means haha, but it’s energizing nonetheless.
Clearly, we understand the draw of the name Yellow. What is its meaning to you?
For me it’s simple, Yellow represents sunshine, and sunshine makes people happy. Observing or interacting with happy people is contagious and inspiring!
We love that you value sustainability by creating with salvaged materials. What are your other values as a brand?
Sustainability: The ability to sustain in our business, growth, communities, and personal lives without depleting financial and natural resources.
Integrity: To be mission focused in all aspects of life and business.
Positivity: We trust that the quality of our thoughts and actions will lead us on a path to a quality lifestyle.
Unity: We believe people united are more powerful. Together we can change “waste” into resources, and share our mission of a positive and healthy lifestyle.
Tell us more about the production process for your sustainable lines.
We utilize materials that are waste from eco textile factories which enables us to create a product that is truly unique and “Limited Edition” from season to season, while helping our factories minimize waste and increasing recycling. We were founded on the principle to clean up the fashion industry, the third most polluting mainstream market. There is a growing consumer demand for companies to be environmentally friendly.
You wear many other hats aside from running Yellow 108. What inspired Howl, your event space and publication?
Honestly, staying creatively inspired when you are working around the clock as a creative professionally is not easy. Over the last decade I’ve developed some amazing friendships with other creatives that feel the same way. So Howl was simply created to inspire. It’s a contributor based network of working professionals that have the need to stay inspired. Working together and collaborating allows us all to keep that sparkle alive in each other! Since Howl has launched, that network has grown immensely. Howl believes adventure can start in your own backyard and can be a simple project, or an adventure in a country or city you’ve never visited. My hope is that the Howl network continues to grow and be a staple in the community that people look to for some stress free connections with other amazing humans!
Creating community seems to be something that drives you. Why is this such a key factor in your businesses?
One of the most gratifying moments for me is watching people have genuine fun. Smiling with each other, laughing, creating, and collaborating. I believe you find kindness and love when you’re connected to your community and participating in creating a certain vibe for everyone around you. Is creating community a key factor in my business? Yes, but mostly because I believe it is the foundation to a positive lifestyle!
What has been your greatest challenge as a business owner?
I would say my greatest challenge by far has been taking time for myself to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Running any business, you have team members that come and go. The people involved are the heart of the brand. You become members of each other’s families. You rely on each other for simple and complicated support. You communicate with each other through multiple mediums daily, likely more than anyone else in your life. I get really vested in considering my team’s happiness, providing for them, being a good listener, and maintaining an open line of communication. It is a heavy load to carry at times.
As a leader it is your role to put others before yourself. But it does take extra effort to stay balanced so you can maintain strength to carry the weight of the ups and downs and make the difficult decisions. I actually love talking with customers and our retailers. Their excitement and genuine love for the brand reminds me to stop and enjoy as many little moments as I can along the way, even though I have hundreds of emails and responsibilities. Ultimately my strength only exists if I am enjoying the process. Otherwise, whats the point?!
How do you create a healthy work/life balance?
I’d say this is likely one of the most difficult parts about owning your own business. You always take your work home, and you never “clock out”. When it’s your passion, it’s your life. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t work. If you’d like to keep it your passion, it’s vital you stay aware and put a ton of energy into staying balanced. It’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to disconnect from your phone. Rest and relaxation are key components. Carefree, mindless fun is generally what works best for me. A sunset bike ride. Really good live music and a dance party. Staying active is a key component as well.
Lauren Lilly, founder of Yellow 108
If you could say one thing to other women entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Believe in yourself the most. If you do not believe in yourself and trust yourself, no one else is going to either. It’s okay to make mistakes. Focus on solutions and methods to problem solve. Stay open minded to adapt to the ingredients in your equation. Nothing is the same forever, so maintain the ability to organically change as needed. Trust your gut. If something feels off, take a deeper look. Connecting to your intuition will help you to avoid some hard lessons. Most importantly, you are only one person and you can’t do it all. That is a mathematical fact! Trust the people around you, and work together to get the job done. Be kind to yourself, because you are amazing, and you deserve it.