top of page

BIZ CRUSH: An Upcycled Closet

BIZ crush

Lauren's responses have left me to believe that we may possibly be soul sisters. A fellow upcyling activist, jean mending maven, clothing swap extraordinaire & badass shop keeper, she's rockin' the motto, "secondhand first," in style.

Prepare to laugh, cry, &- if you're like me- cry from laughing from her answers below:

What kind of kid were you growing up?

I have always been curious. That coupled with great comfort and confidence in asking questions has always spurred my creative process. From an early age I orchestrated shows for my sister and I and expected complete attendance of my family members. All of these shows were heavily laden in costume and glamour. This was encouraged by both of my grandmothers sewing hands: one had made me fabulous dress up clothes and the other made my dolls their own pieces. I was lucky to have an incredibly supportive family that fanned the flame of my confidence (although maybe they regret that today…) and acknowledged my desire to be an artist was legitimate and worthy pursuit from day one.

How did that affect your path towards working with clothing?

My background is in painting. I was making a lot of pieces that would bring me joy during the creative process, but inevitably would accumulate around my house once they were done. There is only so much wall space one can fill…

In grad school I focused more on fiber arts and began valuing garments and textiles as an art form just as much as a painting. The functionality of garments was appealing and truthfully was just a more grown-up version of what I had been doing my whole life.

If your story could fit into a 30 second commercial, how would it unfold?

The running joke is that I live in a sitcom. It would probably contain some less than glamorous stumble and laugh track.

Who’s positively influenced your path the most?

There are some fierce women that came before me. I feel greatly indebted to the way my grandmothers and mom live/d. Ultimately they showed me through doing that we are capable of a lot more than we think we are. They demonstrated this in big ways by facing great hardship with grace and small ways like making yourself cookies when you want to, dang it.

What ultimately made you decide to do the lovely thing you do?

What stemmed from frugal and self expressive shopping at thrift stores, quickly turned into a critical eye of the clothing industry. I enjoyed extending the life of garments and learned a lot about the demand our need for “new” clothing, home goods, etc, contributes to waste and leads to lesser quality lives for the ones making it as well as our planet.

What inspired you to start up-cycling?

I can get pretty metaphorical about upcycling: Making something new out of something old is a beautiful process that can change our thinking and give us pause.

Talk a bit about your retail location.

I share a retail space in the Northrup King Building (studio 238!) with two other lady-owned businesses. I love being in the building and have quickly become inspired by many other women owned businesses. In the short time I’ve been there, I’ve already gotten to work with, generate new projects with, and be rescued by (thanks Celina Kane!) some really rad folks.

Favorite part about working for yourself?

There is a lot of freedom in working for yourself. Some days the freedom can be scary and others it can be inspiring. In general, surviving the spectrum of both of those is pretty empowering.

Most challenging thing about working for yourself?

I love conversation and it can be hard to not have anything to bounce your ideas off of mid-day. So far, I’ve just increased the amount I talk to myself.

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

Cleaning my studio can feel like a fool’s errand, but at the end of the day it is a great exercise in reminding myself what I have and ways to reconsider old projects.

If you could be a fly on the wall to anyone’s creative space {dead or alive} who would it be?

The women of Gee’s Bend are endlessly incredible. Their artistry is obvious and I am inspired by their stories individually and as a community.

Talk about a failure you’ve learned from.

It’s challenging to learn where to put your time and effort. I’ve had countless times where I have walked away with $0 compared to the amount of time that I invested. I’m still learning but I ask myself a lot is will this aid growth or will it restrict?

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in business?

I am so thrilled anytime I get returning customers. I am proud when I pay my bills from this idea in my head. For the most part, the pride comes from incredibly mundane circumstances.

What do you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

From the get-go I’ve always tried to keep a tidier “back room”.

What has been your favorite project to date & how did it come to fruition?

That one is in the works, stay tuned! :)

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or experienced thanks to your career path?

My background is in art therapy. Any time I work with a client and they learn something new about themselves in the creative process is nothing short of magic. Art has real power to impacts people’s lives, add value, and change the story.

What’s next / What are you most excited about?

I am looking forward to Art-A-Whirl! It is a crazy, jam packed weekend (May 17-19th) at the Northrup King building and all of NorthEast MPLS. Swing by!

Time of the day you are most productive:


The app you couldn’t live without:

Google maps, how else do you know where there are thrift stores near you?

Social media outlet you love most:


Favorite account to follow on this outlet:

Follow @nessa_bess. She’s the real deal and I am lucky she is in my community!

Favorite internet radio station or podcast at the moment:

At the end of the day, nothing beats Kerri Miller on MPR at 9 am. Except maybe 1A at 10am….

Favorite Netflix binge:

It’s on Hulu but Pen15 had me in stitches. Go watch!

Go to piece in your wardrobe:

I’ve never been without a jean jacket.

Coolest thing you’ve ever thrifted:

I thrifted myself a set of LeCreuset pans. I’ve peaked.

Weirdest sewing tool:

When you sit and think about a serger, they are really odd. They cut towards you (what you were always told not to do) and then sew the mess they just made.

Favorite hidden gem in the Twin Cities area:

612 Sauna Society! But don’t you dare take my seat on the bench.

Where can we find you (online/in person/etc):

Find me at or on Instagram! You can always make an appointment to shop at my brick and mortar in the Northrup King building or check my website/Instagram for the most up to date hours! I also pop up around Minneapolis a lot for markets and general curiosities.

See more from An Upcycled Closet here: Online | Instagram

& visit her at Art-A-Whirl at the Thorp Building on May 17-19

bottom of page