Community Highlight: Lisa Limer of Bela Monde
Bela Monde is a globally-inspired, American-made textile and apparel collection by designer and travel photographer, Lisa Limer. We chatted with Lisa about her work and designs.
Lisa was also one of the 17 members of the 2015-2016 the Design Catalyst program. We are excited to host the program again in the coming months. Stay tuned for details by signing up to our newsletter!
1. Tell us a bit about you and your work!
Bela Monde is a lifestyle brand inspired by my extensive travel and journeys around the world. Photos become fabrics, fabrics become experiences which allow you to be enveloped in luxury and in touch with your inner wanderlust.
2. It’s been almost a year since the Design Catalyst ended. How has your business changed since then? How have you changed?
We launched our online shop and expanded on our products! We started with women’s accessories—silk scarves, caftans—and have expanded to loungewear—robes, pajamas, and slip dresses; becoming part of a lifestyle, rather than a product line. I have Peabody Essex and RISD Museum on my list of stores as well as Galapagos in Charlestown,RI and Latrice in Bryn Mawr, PA. We were featured in All New American, the Accessories Magazine, the Travel Weekly, and the THINK magazine. I collaborated on a surfboard with Spirare Surfboards (collaboration made for DxRI!) and hosted a first-ever studio sale. Most recently, I’ve met with Market and Accessories Directors at Vogue as well as the O Magazine. We will be featured in People en Español Gift guide for Dec!
How has the past year been for me, as a designer? Exhausting! I have never worked so hard. It has its shares of ups and downs. Seeing the concept grow, however, has been so rewarding. The creative moments are the most rewarding as well as the generosity and encouragement I have found in people who have gone out of their way to be helpful—many who I never knew before.
3. How does being in Rhode Island impact your work?
Rhode Island allowed this vision to become reality. Affordability, proximity, and variety of skills you can find here are unique. Seamstresses and manufacturing skills are here, and that gives me the ability to see and feel the product as it’s created; that is so helpful. Some work is done in the Southern US, and I’ve looked around the world—this summer I was talking with manufacturers from Lake Como, IT, who’s work was beautiful. Ultimately I decided to keep the line American made.
4. What’s next for your business? What should we look out for?
The loungewear expansion is exciting—our accessories are a trip around the world, the loungewear line lets you immerse in a specific region. The first loungewear collection, Orient Express, is moody and rich. The upcoming collection exudes the spirit of the Mediterranean.
5. What tips would you give to those who are looking to start their own firm/studio/businesses?
Passion, tenacity. That’s what gets you through the hard times! There are learning experiences an entrepreneur should anticipate, too. Business development, financing, inventory, marketing—these take a significant amount of effort. The creative part is the genesis. Enjoy it, and let it propel you through the rest!
In her career as a travel photographer, Lisa traveled to 6 continents and over 40 countries on assignment for US and international editions of Condé Nast Traveler, Marie Claire, and Harper’s Bazaar, among others.
Find Bela Monde this holiday season at West Elm in Wayland Square, Providence, on Saturday, November 25, and Sunday, December 10, noon to 4:00 pm, or online at belamonde.com and @belamonde on instagram.