When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
Or in the case of Elle Draper, you make Lemonelle. Elle Draper, the entrepreneur who has carved a decidedly different path from her progenitors is launching Lemonelle this month. Grit Daily caught up with Elle to find out more about Lemonelle’s Trunk Show on December 19 at 43 5th Avenue, on the fifth floor, in Greenwich Village. Of course that’s New York.
1. What’s behind the name?
I love this question because the name ‘Lemonelle’ carries a lot of significance for me. Obviously the ‘elle’ part is my first name, but the ‘Lemon’ comes from the old adage ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’
I recently came to a crossroads in my career path, and I thought, what should I do with these ‘lemons’ ? Don’t get me wrong, my life is amazing and I am so lucky, I was just at a mild and temporary fork in the road. So, I thought, what am I going to do with these metaphorical lemons?
I also appreciate the way that this universal expression can take a number of directions; the outcome doesn’t have to be lemonade. One of my favorites is ”When life gives you lemons, make grape juice. Then sit back and watch the world try to figure out how you did it.” Lemonelle is my grape juice, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.
One more part of the ‘Lemon’ idea that is significant is the entrepreneurial history of the fruit! Just like many children have done, I used to sit out on the side of the road with a colorful hand-drawn poster, a pitcher of lemonade, and some kind of ‘cash box’ and people would come buy my delightful elixir for twenty five cents. Technically, that was my first business, Lemonelle is my second.
2. There are so many fashion shows in NYC. How is yours different?
I wouldn’t consider this event a ‘fashion show’. It is more of a ‘brand launch’ and celebration of niche, nostalgic goodies.
When I think of a traditional fashion show, I picture attendees on the sidelines watching models strut down a runway outfitted in various designers’ collections of ready-to-wear, seasonal, and/or specialty garments. The Lemonelle trunk show is going to be interactive! No sidelines; it is rooted in the ‘stocking stuffer’ concept since the holidays are coming up. I am, however, excited about the fact that scrunchies ARE coming back onto the runways, so there is very much a crossover into the ‘high fashion/ fashion show’ essence.
I am co-hosting with the brand, Inked By Dani, another niche NYC brand that, like Lemonelle, brings a nostalgic trend back into current fashion. Dani (the founder) creates unique and trendy temporary tattoo packs. We are both going to be showcasing our new lines at the event. It will be fun and interactive; I have an elaborate and creative scrunchie display where people can try on different looks, feel the fabrics, be a part of the curation process with mixing and matching and request customizations,.
Inked by Dani will similarly be having a ‘DIY’ tattoo station where you can try out different tattoos, paste them all over your arms and face (if you so choose) etc. The setting of the event also sets us apart from the standard fashion show. We will be hosting the crowd in a beautiful 5th avenue home where everyone will feel included, social, and warm.
3. What can people expect at your trunk show?
Expect the unexpected! We will of course have some tasty appetizers, drinks, and music. We will have some surprise guests(!), lots of gifting opportunities, and the fun interactive things that I mentioned before. There will be a photographer, (lots of ‘instagrammable moments’) an open bar with mixed drinks as well as delicious wine and rose sponsored by Archer Roose. This is a can’t miss opportunity to mingle and enjoy a night in a fabulous Greenwich Village home (and get those last minute stocking stuffers from the founders themselves)!
4. Who can we expect to be there?
There will be lots of NYC based 20-30 somethings, a few notable influencers/ famous faces, and of course, myself (Elle Draper) and Dani Egna – the founders and co-hosts of the event! And after this article – some Daily Grit readers!
5. You’ve had your own interesting early career. Share that.
After graduating USC in 2014 with a BA in graphic design, I flew right to New York. I didn’t have a job lined up, and my parents were not exactly keen on the idea of me moving here without a solid plan.
In two weeks I found a job at a laser cutting studio (a concept similar to 3D printing for those who aren’t familiar) it was tiny, and I didn’t even know what laser cutting was when I got the job, but I hopped right in. I was able to use my creative brain and work with my hands, so that was fun. After a while I had outgrown that position, so I took a role at a very traditional high end interior design company.
I ended up in a sales role that didn’t suit me, so I moved on. I found an all female NYC start-up where I began as a summer intern, but grew into a full time hire (the first full time hire after the two co-founders!). I was the graphic designer technically, but wore many, many hats, got my hands dirty, and learned A TON. All of these work experiences were so different! I appreciate them all. Now, I am founder/creator of Lemonelle.co. I’m only a few months in, and I’m excited to see what happens.
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Grit Daily. An award-winning journalist, he is on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur.
He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.