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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Lolita Healy, Designer

It all started with a girls’ night out… one that contained more than the usual laughter and fun. Browsing for the first time through a Martini menu, Lolita Healy was inspired by the recipes. After being served a Cosmopolitan, her creative imagination made her see the glass differently – the way she thought it should be – a bit more dressed up with a pattern, with flair and a fabulous recipe on the bottom. It would become the first of many times Lolita would find a colorful vision dancing in a glass. After seeing each of her friends pick a different martini, reflective of their distinct personalities, the foundation for a product line was created. She knew this was something she had to pursue and she whole-heartedly did. The concept was developed in 2001 and after sketching, planning and nurturing the line, the "Love My Martini™" collection blossomed in 2004 to soon become the hottest gift brand in America today.

As a student, Lolita nurtured her love of creativity, entrepreneurship and business. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a double major in Marketing and Fine Arts from Mary Baldwin College in Virginia, her hard work helped jumpstart her career working in advertising and for Christian Dior and Donna Karan in the fashion industry. With experience behind her and inspiration from a fun girls’ night out, her special idea was in her capable hands to make her product idea a reality. Relying on her marketing and creative skills to help polish her crystal clear vision, she chose to tailor her product to each individual and give it the variety it needed to succeed. And it did.

As a designer, Lolita sees something quite extraordinary in the everyday and ordinary of life. She brings her vision into her products as a reflection of the Lolita lifestyle. It’s a balance of fun, entertaining and celebrating moments with the special people in our lives. As a designer, she injects her energy and charm into everything she produces, always pushing her designs in the fashion forward direction. Lolita monitors the trends, colors, textures and attitudes of the European runways. She takes care to incorporate the latest inspiration into her unique ideas and style when designing.

As an artist budding in early childhood, Lolita was driven to enter drawing contests, compete for art awards, file for and procure her own copyright – all before the age of 12. She grew up embracing the creative process, the lifestyle of noticing color combinations, details, and trends. Her family would say, “She has always been an artist.” As she grew and her career moved forward in other creative directions, she never lost her passion for painting. Her business allowed her to find her way back to painting. Now, as a seasoned artist, she enjoys the variety of shapes that act as her canvas and dives in with excitement.

She would say she was never afraid of a crowd, or the stage. In fact she would embrace it. By drawing on her former dramatic roles, musical parts, fashion, acting and modeling background earlier in her career, Lolita enjoys being the strong and vibrant image behind the imagination of the brand, Lolita.

As a female entrepreneur, Lolita knows it is no secret the crazy busy pace a woman in business raising a family needs to uphold. Running a business out of her basement with two toddler girls hanging onto her leg, she kept her hands dancing, creating, and moving to ship thousands of hand painted glasses and grow her business. As a business owner with an education in marketing, fine art and years of experience in the fashion industry, Lolita learned to create, strategize and market a product line and pair it with her artistic vision. Achieving her goal of being licensed was reached in 2004. Seeing first hand the loyal following and enthusiasm from her customers and fans is nothing but energizing to her. She knows they understand her vision and her products and the fun and special qualities that make them unique, sought out and collected.

Launching her first product line “Love My Martini™” was the beginning of a whole new playground she introduced to the public. Now, after many successful products, designs and collections have been thriving in the market, she continues to stand behind what she always believed to be attributed to her success and her enjoyment in life. Lolita believes that life should be lived to its fullest, and every moment should be celebrated.  Lolita launched her new line of textiles for fashion week in NYC on 9/14.  Her glasses are sold all over NYC and the rest of the country.  We are pleased to present her as our latest Mover and Shaker and this is her second feature.  This was her first.   

Peachy Deegan interviewed Lolita Healy for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What advice would you gave for people starting their own businesses? 
Lolita Healy: Rise above any negativity or anyone trying to keep you down. Go after your dream. Put people in place that strengthen the areas where you are weaker. Also, look for ways to cost-crunch, for instance, if you can work from home for a few years, do it! The kids will turn out okay, after all, they need time to be kids. You are either doing mom's housework or work–they don't notice. But, get help for the laundry and the bathrooms which is cheap really in opportunity cost terms! 

What neighborhood has the best bars in Manhattan and which carry your glasses?
I love Manhattan and especially it’s neighborhoods. There are so many fabulous areas for so many reasons, but I have to say my favorite is Soho– Not only for the great shopping, but the fantastic atmosphere. I love to stop into one of my favorite restaurants in Soho, Balthazar and the galleries. What’s the best bar? Oh my goodness. There are too many to mention, but you have to stop in for a martini at the Soho Grand Hotel Bar.  

What do you enjoy designing the most and why?
I enjoy figuring out first which emotion I am fulfilling with my art. Then, everything else falls from there, be it a color palette -My "Who needs a man?" design comes to mind with it’s very girly and valentine-y look. It’s kind of a valentine to yourself, which is how it started! (All single girls need that glass if they don't have a date on Valentine's Day!) I enjoy designing for the emotion at hand, be it lonely, happy, sad, low self-esteem (like my “Kind of on a diet” design), deserving of attention (Like my “Birthday Girl”) and it goes on and on! And, girls, it is for you to be happy in the end. So, any design based upon an emotion or moment is what I enjoy most! (I know it’s a little broad, but it's true!)
And, if you are talking about a product to design, then, it would have to be the martini glass. (Just the shape makes me crazy!) After that, I am really into fashion, and my new PJ's that are coming out are a reminder of what is in my head...unbelievable comfort and style. Just wait!  

What would you like to design that you haven’t designed yet?
I would love to design staterooms on Cruise ships! Or, hotel rooms in famous resorts. How about the "Lolita" room, anyone? What surprises might await! A “Shopaholic” decor or a “Flirt” look might be at hand.  

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
My husband, Michael has been that for me.  After that, I would say, my parents, because they always thought I was the best at everything even when I wasn't. I got my creativity from them.  

What are you proudest of and why?
My daughters. They are beautiful, smart, talented and budding entrepreneurs!  

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
In bed– asleep! 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
Saks 5th Avenue, and of course, Macy's Herald Square, as I always have to buy something from my top customer.  

What is your favorite drink?
The “Flirtini” martini, and Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc. And, I love Skim Milk. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
I love stopping in to Becco for Italian.  

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
Zagat's rates NY.  

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Walking the 20 blocks from Saks to my hotel with an armload of bags because it was gridlock (in heels, no less).  

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
See the Naked Cowboy and eat on the street, except for in India which I refuse to do.  

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
Definitely any shows I've seen, but Les Miserable was the best. And, I loved being in town for the Grammy Awards, and being among all the craziness!  

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated– the food; overrated–  the hotels.  

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
I love “Gracious Galleries” to give me inspiration on what to attend during my NY visits. I feel it’s important for me to surround myself with art and inspiration. This column works for my lifestyle. 

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I'm really a very nice person and I love being a blonde, because then I have an excuse for being my creative, flighty self! 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter enter “Designs by Lolita” 

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