Age || 27
Company Name || Larissa Kate
Job TitLE || CEO and Designer
Company Start Date || 2016
Years Living In New York || 10
Social Handles || @larissalampitelli, @larissakatelingerie
Company Website || larissa kate lingerie
What did you want to be as a child?
A ballerina. I’ve taken dance classes since the age of three so it’s always been a big part of my life. I’ve always been drawn to the beautiful costumes and set design given my love of fashion, but also love it as a form of exercise.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting Larissa Kate lingerie?
Push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone.
I am an introvert at heart, so it’s important for me to be vocal about Larissa Kate and to promote myself, knowing I’m an extension of the brand. One way of doing this is by showing behind the scenes looks and sneak peaks into my personal life on Instagram.
How do you define success?
I define success as appreciating small victories. By knocking down everyday goals to keep pushing forward it enables future growth and opportunity for the brand.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting out?
You, yourself are the key to getting ahead and your persistence and drive will determine if you are successful in achieving your dreams. I tell myself this everyday as a reminder to work harder and better.
What is your go-to motivational quote?
My go-to motivational quote is to “invest in yourself.”
Not just financially, but also emotionally. Your mental health influences your perspectives, decisions, feelings and awareness. It’s important to show yourself love and do things that make you happy.
What made you gravitate towards lingerie?
When I was young I worked at a speciality shop a that carried beautiful, luxury lingerie and organic soaps. I fell in love with the exceptional quality that these products had, and I developed a deep appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into each piece. As a result, I studied design at The Fashion Institute of Technology and specialized in Intimate Apparel. I love the challenge of working with a small, delicate canvas.
Do you have a personal motto?
My personal motto and the brand’s motto are the same: You are a work of art. Rather than trying to fit in, embrace what makes you special and unique. My greatest success in business only began when I used my own creativity as a driving force behind my designs rather than trying to emulate what everyone else was doing.
Which women inspire you?
One that comes to mind is Audrey Hepburn. She was such a fashion icon and had this larger than life aura about her. She was unique to the point of being her own recognizable brand.
I also love women who have built something from the ground up. For example, Sara Blakely, who founded Spanx, started with scissors and panty hose and turned it into a billion dollar business.
What is your workspace like?
I’d characterize it as ever-changing. As the brand’s and my needs grow so does the work environment. I’ve lately found myself working from home, keeping all my equipment and fabrics with me. The downside of this is it means there might be a mannequin in the kitchen or a sewing machine in the hallway at any moment.
I also work with multiple USA factories, with one in the heart of Manhattan. Keep an eye out for me running around Midtown with rolls of fabric in hand.
How do you overcome moments of self-doubt?
I remind myself that everyone started somewhere, and that everyone who has been successful has had to hear the word ‘no’ multiple times in their life. Rarely does it happen over night. The old adage of “Rome wasn’t built in a day” reminds me to always keep grinding and not to lose sight of the details.
I also love to listen to podcasts on women who have started their own companies. ‘How I Built This with Guy Raz’ and ‘Skimm’d from The Couch’ are great to check out if you are looking for inspiration.
What is the hardest part about being your own boss?
Wearing all different hats. Not a lot of people know that Larissa Kate Lingerie is a one-woman show. I self-run and self-fund the business on my own, and I started with a very small amount of money.
Aside from the obvious designing responsibilities, I humbly lead all other aspect of my business including sourcing, purchasing material supply, branding and marketing. It can be overwhelming at times but I look forward to having a team in the future.
How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?
I always make sure to take a time out and come back to center. Although I enjoy my career, it is also very demanding. My destressing often entails a good yoga class, enjoying a coffee while catching up with a friend, or sketching. These are all therapeutic things for me that remind me to slow down and that it’s important to take time to separate work from personal life.
What are some of your goals moving forward for Larissa Kate Lingerie?
Larissa Kate Lingerie has sold solely online on our website — this year I will be branching into speciality boutiques. I am also launching our first Bridal Collection in May of 2019. Be sure to save the date!
How do you ensure that your brand remains inclusive?
We provide custom orders to ensure any shape and size can be accomodated. I am also working to offer a wider instock range of sizes to cater to a more inclusive audience.
What advice would you give to other women trying to enter your field?
Keep hustling. You have to do everything it takes to make the dream happen. Keep emailing those buyers, pushing your product and make it happen! No one is going to hand your dreams to you.
My hope is that I will inspire other women to chase their passions and encourage them to crush any hesitations or fears they may have in beginning a journey like mine. You just have to go for it.
What is your design process?
I am constantly inspired by art, the colors in impressionist painting, and sculptures. In my current Modern Core Collection entitled “The Art of Romance” I wanted to offer a range of well crafted luxurious basics that were versatile in design. I was inspired by the idea of romance being a form of art.
After I sketch my designs, I source fabric and all materials needed to make the piece and than hand make the first sample myself. The brand was handmade by me the first year and I did my first factory run in 2018. I do small production runs of the styles in NYC.
How has your background helped you with this venture?
Not a lot of people are aware but I only recently went full-time with Larissa Kate this year (small cheer). I am beyond thrilled to be able to give the brand the full attention it deserves. I have accomplished a lot with it being part-time so I can't wait to see how it flourishes this year. I was working as a designer for a corporate sleepwear company and I believe those years of experience helped me to understand the ins and outs of designs, production, and working with buyers. I also studied abroad during college in Italy to get a more worldly outlook of how fashion has evolved both here in the states and abroad.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.