If you’re anything like #teamTTS, chic activewear probably motivates the shit out of you to work out. We’re firm believers that a good pair of workout leggings or a comfortable sports bra can rewire your day-to-day fitness regime and push you to get back on track. So when we found out about Varley, a minimalists’ answer to activewear brand, you can bet that we filled our carts with everything and anything that they had, purchased a few workout classes, and immediately connected with the Boss Babe behind this LA/London-inspired line.
Lara Mead has a no BS approach when it comes to her career. After when her and her husband, Ben Mead, realized that a change to their lifestyle and career was way overdue, they decided to switch things up by joining forces and creating a company of their own. That’s when Varley was born. By designing for “the women on the move,” all of their products include touchable-soft textiles, signature performance fabrics (you know, for that anti-pilling, sweat wicking, four-way stretch and quick dry capabilities, duh), and out-of-this-world designs. Mead wanted to make sure that you felt your best while you worked your little toosh off — and while these items are meant for the gym, they’re chic enough to be paired with your everyday ensembles. So whip out your credit cards and schedule your next workout class, because Varley is going to make all your sweat-sesh dreams come true.
Favorite item from Varley:
Brooks Bra — I have it in every print
Cali restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out:
A personal flaw that you learned to get over:
I have short legs.
Where do you find inspiration when you’re feeling stuck:
Career goal for the second half of 2017:
[A] successful launch of [a] new product category.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started Varley.
[I] and my husband, Ben, wanted to create a brand together that supported the modern day [woman]. Women’s lives are so different [from] 10 years ago and we wanted to provide beautiful clothing that supported them in their everyday pursuits. When we started Varley, there were fewer brands out there making beautiful activewear.
Before the creation of Varley, you and your husband, Ben Mead, were both working stressful jobs. When did you know it was the right time to leave and how did you know you and your husband would work well together in creating a brand from scratch?
I don’t think there is ever a “right” time to make such a life-changing decision. I suppose we knew that one day we’d have a family, so it seemed like a good idea to start the business before we did so we could give it all [of] our time and energy. Varley was very much our first baby.
My husband is an incredibly talented, determined man. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, so who better to start a business with?
We’re absolutely in love with Varley’s overall look. How would you describe the aesthetic of this activewear brand?
Elegant, chic, elevated.
While you currently live in California, you also have offices in London. What do you believe is the biggest challenge when managing teams from different countries?
The time difference. The guys in the [London office] often have to work late to catch up with the LA office. That was one of the motivators for me moving to LA. I was spending all of my evenings in London on calls.
Varley’s clothing items are designed for the woman on the move. How do you choose to design your life through fitness and self-care while you’re on the move?
It’s all about trying to find that balance, which is not always so easy. Maybe it’s doing a hike for a meeting instead of grabbing [a] coffee, as a way to get a workout in. I try to eat healthy and listen to my body, but indulging is okay, too — being too strict is no fun! Taking time for yourself truly is the most important thing you can do. Also, being able to accept [that] sometimes you just can’t do it all.
If someone wanted to create their own clothing brand, what kind of unexpected skills would you advise someone to learn to prepare themselves for this kind of business?
Determination and Patience. It doesn’t happen over night.
Was there ever a moment where you feel like you think you’ve made it? Are there any fears that surround your business that you’re currently trying to get over?
I think going into Harrods with an exclusive collection was a personal defining moment for me. As a kid, we would make special visits to London to visit the iconic store. To have my own brand in Harrods is a real honor.
I try not to think about “making it.” We analyze sales reports and are enjoying our current growth. However, a growth rate of around 2000 percent does and has put our supply chain and operations department under immense pressure at times.
Where do you hope to see yourself and your career in the next five years?
I hope to see Varley continue its level of growth by expanding our collections and entering new product categories.
Any advice for future Boss Babes, especially those looking to enter into the fitness and fashion industry?
Do your due diligence, get a great mentor, and have realistic expectations. It takes time and a lot of energy to build a brand.
Written by Raven Ishak
Photography via Chelsea Leogrande