Louella Odié

Louella Odié by mother and daughter design team Karen and Lauren Mead, is fast becoming known for its artworks and other lovely products to swoon over. Hong Kong-born Karen is a trained print-maker and her collection of lithographs are sublime. Everything is done by hand and there is always an ‘East-meets-West’ twist in her work. Her floral lithograph that hangs in her workshop is a constant on my wish-list. Karen studied her craft in Britain; daughter Lauren started in fashion branding, and was working for UK label Jack Wills before she went into business with her mother. Now based on Hong Kong’s Lamma Island, the pair has certainly come full circle, and neither could imagine working with anyone else. A ride over to their atelier and workshop is guaranteed to produce delight at their interesting body of work.  

Why Louella Odié? 

Karen: As an artist I am never going to stop making my personal work, but I have to be realistic about finding an outlet for it. I recognised within my work there was a commercial element and I’ve chosen to develop that into Louella Odié.

Lauren: I’ve always wanted to work for myself, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

How did the name Louella Odié come about?

Karen: On the first day I met someone who is now one of my very good friends, she said I didn’t look like a ‘Karen’ and named me ‘Louella’ instead. The name stuck with a large group of my UK friends and I have been Louella ever since. Odié is my mother’s maiden name and as we have a history of creative women in the family we wanted to reflect it in our business name. 

Some of the things you might do in a day?

Karen: I try to make sure I draw every day, even if it is just a quick sketch or a scribble. Drawing calms me down. I often spend an entire day working on a print, but could just as easily be found walking around Sham Shui Po looking for fittings for bags. I also teach classes at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, so once a week I am with my students in the studio there. 

Lauren: Louelle Odié is a small company, so every day is different for me. Some days I spend locked on my computer organising things for a big trade fair we are going to in September. Other days I spend walking around meeting retailers, or – my favorite – meeting bloggers who we can collaborate with!

Describe your style?

Karen: I have no clear idea what my style is, but I am always drawn to extremes, even though I don’t go that far myself. I admire people whose style is decidedly quirky, such as Charlotte Olympia or Lulu Guinness. 

Lauren: I now live and work on Lamma Island which has meant a change in style. Gone are the high heels, jackets and pencil skirts, suddenly I am channeling laid-back resort wear that is perfect for island living. 

Can you name your three best traits?

Lauren: We’ve decided to pick for each other (so clearly, trust is one trait we share). So, for Mum, I think her three best traits are her intuitive nature. Mum often picks up on body language, colour trends and subtle clues that come from her ability to be permanently observant, even when she isn’t consciously aware she is doing it. Secondly her sense of the ridiculous – Mum can always see a disgusting joke in everything. Finally it goes without saying that Mum is creative, but more specifically her creative problem solving abilities are key to our business. She can create something out of nothing and see solutions I would never spot. 

Karen: You soon realise when you meet Lauren how driven she is, to the extent that you wouldn’t stand in front of her for very long because you’d get squashed. She is organised and makes paperwork and all the stuff I hate look easy, but she has a great sense of fun and I love to see her dissolve into giggles. 

Who or what inspires you?

Karen: I get visual inspiration from everything around me, but in Hong Kong I particularly like the juxtaposition of the man-made and the natural. 

Lauren: I have a number of business women I look up to and am inspired by. This would include Stacey Bendet, the founder of Alice and Olivia, for her own driven nature and her ability to beat to her own drum in terns of style. I would also include Tamara Mellon and Tory Burch on my would-like-to-meet-list. 


DSC_6275blogDSC_6311blogDSC_6305blogDSC_6277blogDSC_6321blogDSC_6303blogWhat achievements are you most proud of?

Karen: Growing my own marketing manager!

Lauren: Travelling around Indonesia on my own (having studied Indonesian at university) gave me a sense that there are so many interesting people to meet on the road.

Where is your all-time favourite place to visit?

Karen:  I’m a huge believer the world exists in microcosm and you don’t have to go very far to find meaningful, quiet and idyllic spots. I have favourite bays and hills on Lamma Island which I visit regularly.

Lauren: Easy question, Bali is my all-time favourite place to visit!

What are you currently reading?

Karen: I usually have two books on the go. I’ve just finished The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami and am also reading Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

Lauren: I have just finished Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I love everything he writes.

What are you listening to?

Karen: I am an obsessive listener of BBC Radio 4 when I am working on my prints.

Lauren: By default, I listen to BBC Radio 4 too! But when I do have my headphones in, I am a big fan of Ellie Goulding and Imagine Dragons. I’m On Top Of The World may be our soundtrack to summer 2014.

One of the meals you love most?

Karen: It would have to be Thai food of any variety. Pomelo salad and a fresh coconut, or a good pad Thai!

Lauren: A cool salad on a hot day.

Your favourite store?

Karen: Intaglio print makers in London, which is where I buy my materials, or actually any good book shop.

Lauren: I don’t have one favourite store, but I like Hong Kong’s growing pop-up store trend where you can see a collection of little brands.

What is your scent?

Karen: Prada Amber

Lauren: Dolce & Gabbana pour femme

What do you love about Lamma Island?

Karen: What I love about living on Lamma in Hong Kong is the bubble of peace within the buzz. I feel very lucky to be able to have those two disparate elements so that I can pick and choose according to my mood. This green space around us is like insulation against the things that are not so good about the city.

Lauren: I like seeing the beach at the end of my garden when I wake up in the morning.

Any pets?

Karen: Sadly not. We did have a small holding in the UK, with the full complement of cows, sheep, geese and pigs who were more pets than livestock, but our focus is our business for now instead. We have a resident gecko called George.

How do people find Louella Odié?

The best place to find our full collection is online at www.louellaodie.com, we offering free shipping as standard on all orders anywhere in the world. We are also stocked at a number of boutiques around Hong Kong, with new stockists coming on board all the time. A full list can be seen on our website.



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