Bachelor’s Degree, Individual Concentration, UMass Amherst
For Yulia Laricheva, it all began with a pencil, some wallpaper graffiti and (we’re guessing) one not-so-happy mother. Yulia did, however, put her anti-establishment beginnings to good use, combining her love for art, textiles, storytelling and fashion into Loup Kids. And now Yulia is creating her vision one piece at a time, building her budding brand on nights, weekends and between gigs as freelance interactive art director.
On a mission to provide “Big Style for Little People,” Loup creates small batch, hand drawn and silk-screened tees. All that attention to detail means a whole lot of work for Yulia, but loving what she’s created means it doesn’t necessarily have to feel like it. “It doesn’t feel like work,” says Yulia “I get to play all day.”
Don’t get hung up on the details — keep your eye on the bigger picture.
How did you discover your current job?
I think it discovered me. I picked up a pencil at the age of two and did some early graffiti on our wallpaper. As an artist, I've always loved drawing fashion. I loved textiles and being able to show the world your personality through dress.
I fell in love with advertising in high school. The power of storytelling attracted me. Having a lot of people see your ideas was powerful. My art took an evolution from drawings on my mothers wallpaper to pictures on the TV screen to pictures on mobile platforms.
After college, I started working as an art director in an NYC ad agency. I realized that I could combine my love of fashion, storytelling and technology into one brand. Loup Scarves was born in 2006 and over time, it morphed into Loup Kids.
During the day, I still work in NYC as a freelance interactive art director in advertising. I run Loup between gigs, in the evenings and during the weekends. I love being an art director, because I'm always learning about breakthrough technology. I love the fast pace and the people—they’re all makers and innovators.
What responsibilities do you have in your role?
For Loup, I create "Big Style for Little People.” And right now, I do everything. Sometimes when I get really busy, I get an assistant to help me with PR and social media. I tackle everything from web design to sourcing fabrics to hand silk screening the items. As Loup grows, I’m looking forward to working with sewing factories and pattern makers. I love being hands-on, but it's also important to be able to have a 30,000-foot view so you don’t get hung up on the details when you’re running a brand.
Loup Kids is small right now, but I have a big vision for it. It will take some time to grow, but I’m patient. I'm working on partnering with a local Brooklyn Magnet school. Proceeds from Loup Kids will go to sponsor their Arts program. I want Loup to give back to kids and encourage imagination and creativity. I also work with different artists on collaborations. I have one coming up with a super-talented illustrator by the name of Kelly Denato. She’s doing a few illustrations and we're releasing it as a limited line.
What was it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I love it, so it doesn't feel like work. I get to play all day. Every day, I wake up excited to be able to combine fashion, technology and design, and with my business, I can combine them all in one place. I have so many interests and Loup Kids is a perfect platform for cross-pollinating those ideas into products.
I also love kids. I think they’re so honest and creative. They’re little sponges, ready to be filled with information. They have the chance to make the world a better place. A brand like Loup Kids can help them realize their full potential, because we’re a modern brand committed to teaching sustainability, innovation and creativity to the next generation.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Keeping the costs of production down while manufacturing in NYC is a challenge. Another challenge is creating engaging designs and products. How can I attract new customers and turn previous buyers into repeat customers? How do I establish genuine relationships with people?
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
You have to be a curious person. You have to be interested in the latest technology, in pop culture and in how people behave. You have to be able to empathize and really understand the user’s needs. You have to not complain and be able to work long hours. You have to love it. You have to sacrifice happy hours, weekends and even holidays sometimes (that goes for both advertising and running your own business).
Do you think women can really have it all?
I don't know. Maybe the super-successful ones can have it all? Ask me when I'm 80. Right now, I don't think one person can have it all. I don’t know how I can be great at work, have a loving relationship, kids, stay in great shape and eat healthy without assistants — be they interns/assistants, house cleaners or personal trainers.