We’ll let you in on a little secret: Whether we’re looking for cool clothes, next-level styling inspo, or intel on the up-and-coming designers who are about to blow up, Lisa Says Gah is our go-to. The e-shop with the most covetable aesthetic (you may already follow it on Instagram) is not just a retailer, but a resource for editors and consumers alike. That’s why today we’ve tapped owner and founder Lisa Williams to fill us in on everything from how she finds the brands to how LSG’s unique product shots came about to what she thinks every girl will be wearing this summer. And if the new arrivals section is any indicator (it’s almost always sold out), we think she knows a thing or two about what girls will want to wear.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Can you give us a brief history of when, how, and why you launched your site?
LISA WILLIAMS: I started Lisa Says Gah because I wanted to create a space that went beyond just shopping—I wanted a shop that used fashion to build a community of creative, insightful women.
I launched Lisa Says Gah in early 2015 after moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I started with an inspirational blog, now called Look. I then began reaching out to independent designers. The blog was a way for me to show the LSG aesthetic and vision I was aiming for before I had my own imagery and product to show. Once I got a handful of designers on board, I took it a step further with interviews to connect the consumer with the product.
WWW: How does social media play into your business?
LSG: Our Instagram is now shoppable, which helps keep the conversation going with our customers without sending lots of obnoxious newsletters to their inbox. Most people say they found us through Instagram, which I love because our feed represents all parts of LSG—it’s a mix of behind-the-scenes bits, new products, blog inspiration, and quotes from our interviews. It’s also a place for us get feedback!
WWW: It seems like you feature a lot of up-and-coming brands as well as some really unique under-the-radar ones—how do you go about finding them?
LSG: From all corners! We have found new brands through Instagram, Pinterest, showrooms that we already work with, and the handful of designers who’ve reached out to us. We’ve also introduced vintage to the shop, which is SO exciting for novelty, but it’s sad when things sell out so quickly. Example: this bag—we received a flood of emails for restocking this.
WWW: Your imagery is unique for e-commerce in that it feels like more of a street style shot than a product shot—tell us about the inspiration behind that choice.
LSG: We use “real,” local girls—sometimes the ladies at LSG—and shoot in natural places. That started unintentionally; we began with a limited budget that only allowed us access to “real girls.” As our business became more established, we experimented with using actual models in a studio setting, but it didn’t feel authentic to LSG, so we quickly switched back.
We like the relaxed honesty and don’t want to present ourselves as glossy. Our customer doesn’t care if a “professional” is wearing the product or whether it’s shot in a studio with lighting and post-production. She’s more interested in the brand, the quality, and the way the model wears it in a familiar setting—connections with her own character and life.
LSG: We keep it simple. I typically photograph, and Gabriela, our assistant buyer, styles. It’s important for us not to overthink it. We don’t want an overly produced result, because that’s not reality. No one lives in a lit studio with post-production touch-ups. What you see is what you get, and that’s so refreshing to us. And honestly, it requires less work and cuts unnecessary costs. We are still a small team and “quick shoots” are sometimes all we can handle. We shoot just outside of the office during the week. We prep looks but are also flexible and change as needed during the shoots.
WWW: What makes LSG different from other e-retailers?
LSG: We’ve always wanted to create a space to not only shop but to hang out and be inspired. There’s nothing worse than that icky sales-y shopping experience—always on sale and hawking the latest “trend” they need to dump. We obviously need sales to survive, but there is an authentic way to reach that. I’m happy when people tell me they see LSG as a blog, or even an IG account, first and a shop second.
Community is the word I keep coming back to. We want to create something inspiring for intelligent consumers to thrive in. That’s why we strive to work with ethical designers who use high-quality materials. That’s also why we do our interview series with women of all different paths—we want to encourage our community to seek empowerment. That’s what has come naturally to us, and that’s what has helped set us apart.