By Jenna Jay
Young mothers shouldn't have to sacrifice fashion to keep up with their children's hectic schedules. Such is the mantra of Lauren Brandal, a Solana Beach company that provides personal shopping and in-house closet consultations for clients - mostly women - who do not have the time or desire to scour clothing racks at department stores.
Lauren Brandal, operating out of a studio by the sea in the home of co-founder Jody Schneider, puts a fresh spin on personal shopping. Established and run by two driven women with an eye for fashion and knack for networking, Lauren Brandal provides moms with out-of-date wardrobes and hectic schedules a fresh, time-saving and relatively cheap service with clothes shopped just for them.
Developing the idea for the personal shopping business from her own fashion crisis last fall, Schneider said, "It's like you have two kids and you start buying for them and you completely lose your sense of style."
The solution to this problem: Christina Hall; friend, fashion diva and bargain hunter. Hall, Schneider's business partner in Lauren Brandal, saves clients time by navigating sale racks at clothing stores for name brand clothes at bargain prices. Shopping with specific clients in mind, Hall and Schneider provide an affordable service for preoccupied mothers in need of a fashion pick-me-up.
Thus far, Solana Beach moms have been the first to tap into Lauren Brandal's signature services. The company's main clients are women seeking to rediscover their fashion senses after losing them somewhere between soccer games and carpools.
For Terra Carlson, a fashion-conscious mother of two, Lauren Brandal is mostly about convenience. "It's a huge time saver," she said of using the personal shopping service. "It's that time thing. If I've got time to go into the store and I have [the] kids I'm not necessarily there when there's a sale going on or knowing what the best price is."
Plus, Lauren Brandal's services provide clients with another opinion on clothing items. "It's almost like taking your friends shopping with you," Carlson said.
Busy mothers have been utilizing Lauren Brandal's services for the last six months, but Schneider and Hall don't limit their work to women. In fact, the opposite sex has also come to take fashion advice from Lauren Brandal's experts.
One client in particular gave Lauren Brandal the chance to shine as a fashion company for both genders. In what Hall playfully described "a surprise and kind of a joke," a male client came to Hall and Schneider for style guidance. The women provided a closet consultation for the gent and made him model his new clothes while playing "I'm Too Sexy" in the background. The pain-free shopping experience was a hit.
"He looked fantastic," Hall said, "and he got so many compliments on his new wardrobe and it all matched."
Now boasting 15 clients and growing, Lauren Brandal has expanded its services to include interior design, floral arrangements and gift options, and a future in full makeovers is not far behind. The company is also working to include outside vendors to make the female-powered Lauren Brandal experience a one-stop shop.
Incorporating the theme of motherhood into Lauren Brandal's every design, Schneider said, "Each of our partners is a friend of ours. Basically, our kids go to school together so it's neat how we're bringing together all these moms to make a business. We're all helping each other out."
As Schneider and Hall's company continues to grow, Solana Beach mothers find a place of solace in Lauren Brandal, a business that proves women can still be stylish even during motherhood.