Originally posted on Lisa Says Gah
Lyndsey Butler was born in Texas and at the tender age of 18 she moved to New York. At twenty-one, she got her first job in fashion and after spending a few years in the industry, accumulating all the necessary know-how, this Dixie transplant decided to create the perfect leather jacket, thus launching VEDA. With an emphasis on fit and materials of the highest quality, Lindsey sees leather as an elegant layer between you and the elements of modern living.
Now, VEDA has your entire wardrobe covered and still holds fast to Lyndsey's founding principles. Lisa Says Gah takes you to the Chinatown headquarters of Veda for a chat with Lyndsey about the first leather jacket she loved, starting a business at twenty-three and valuable lessons learned through collaboration.
Q: How did you go about naming your company? Does "Veda" have anything to do with the Hindu Vedic texts?
A: It does! In Sanskrit, Veda means “truth,” which is something I cherish and actively seek.
Q: Who do you imagine wearing your designs? Do you have a muse in mind?
A: Initially, I just imagine myself wearing it. That is the easiest mental leap. After that, I think about my friends, the Veda team, and my mom.
Q: How does your community influence your collections?
A: I live and work in Chinatown, and I love the wild print and fabric mixing I see on my daily walk to work. In general, I find downtown NYC incredibly vibrant and inspiring in the way of style.
Q: Do you work alone? If not, tell us about your team.
A: I LOVE my team! I also LOVE being alone, so it’s a tricky dance. I want to be present and engaging when I am at the office, but I also like to put my head down and get lost in work.
Q: Where do you source inspiration and how do you organize it? Do you have a sketchbook, make mood boards or use Pinterest?
A: All of the above, though I am more of list writer than a sketcher. It is easier for me to describe what I am thinking verbally and then create it visually.
Q: What themes are influencing your work right now?
A: Art, literature, and travel are usually big influences every season. We are working on our Resort collection, and we’ve been looking at a lot of work by the painter Ana Mercedes Hoyos, and the photographer Uta Barth. I’ve also been reading some Kinky Friedman novels. He’s witty and great.
Q: Can you tell us about your process of designing a collection? What is the lifecycle of design at your company?
A: We start every collection with inspiration and color. Usually, it begins as a series of conversations between our Design Director, Jess Cambronero, and myself. After that, we start sketching and merchandising. Because we develop 90% of our samples in our studio, we quickly jump into prototype sampling and make changes to each style at the different stages. I am always pleasantly surprised when it all comes together. It’s very rewarding to see that you aren’t crazy and that there were a plan and vision in the final designs.
Q: Materials obviously play a huge part in your line, tell us about why you choose the main ones you do.
A: The original concept behind VEDA was to create the perfect leather jacket. That said, we are always bringing in new materials to work with our leather core. This Fall we’re working with a wide wale cord, and also a lush silk velvet.
Q: What do you think holds people back from starting a business?
A: Starting a business is scary. Typically in life, you have someone telling you what to do in some capacity, whether it is a parent, or a teacher, or a boss. It can be scary to realize there isn't anyone else above you in the hierarchy. You are the end of the line. It can be a lot of responsibility.
Q: As a business owner, what advice would you share with someone interested in starting a company?
A: Have confidence. Be bold, but also flexible. Be humble. Ask for help and guidance along the way.