This week’s creative interview is with Lorina Daiana, co-founder of the incredible blog Grâcebelle. Lorina is a wonderful soul. We became fast friends when I met her at The School of Styling in Los Angeles this summer and I am so excited to see all the exciting ways she will change the world. I love her heart and her passion for intentional living, and I’m so excited to introduce her to you lovely readers today!
I feel like every person has something they stand for, something they really fight for in everything they do. For me it’s the belief that life is short and I don’t believe we were made to work 9-5, come home exhausted, be numb in front of the tv, go to sleep and start all over until the weekend. I see so many people who work really hard to have the means to live yet can’t actually enjoy life. They work their life away. I crave something more. I crave relationships to be important… to want to spend time with one another over a good meal and talk for hours. One of my favorite memories is of when I went back to Romania to visit (back in 2006) and my cousins and I made a bonfire in the back of our grandmas house. We stayed on logs around the bonfire, eating sunflowers seeds and talking and laughing for hours. It’s simple really. Authentic friendships are good for the soul. I see a recurring theme of people craving to go “back to the basics”. People being tired and fed up with the clutter of this world and craving to have something more meaningful than this fast food “drive through” lifestyle.
If I would have to describe myself in one sentence I would say simply I grew up in Romania, moved to the States (California specifically) when I was 10 and loved being creative since a young age. I started with photography and blogging sometime in highschool and from then on just taught myself how to do it all. I majored in Architecture (with an associates degree) and then life took a twist as I switched majors to the business side of fashion. I fell in love with marketing and branding and discovered I had an entrepreneur spirit. I started dreaming of different directions I wanted to go and realized the best thing to do is start somewhere and wait and see all the opportunities that come from it because God has a funny way of bringing something completely new to the plans we create.
I find beauty in thoughtful details, in people who are fired up to chase their dreams, and in moments where words are unnecessary.
I’ve always been intrigued with thoughtful details. I’m the kind of person that looks an an object and analyses how it was made. How it all came together and I imagine how the idea first came up and the sketches that helped it come to life. Because of that I admire extra details placed in products. For example a peacoat that has a flower fabric for the lining or a purse that has pockets for specific things. This is not only in clothing, it’s in everything. I’ve also admired architecture from a young age. I love built-ins in a house for a similar reason, a purpose for an extra detail. It didn’t have to be there but it makes it that much more thoughtful.
Later in life as I started loving entrepreneurship I realized how much I admire other people who don’t do the normal thing but take a risk and chase their dreams. I always love hearing their stories, how they started and how they got to where they are. There’s so much bravery in taking on the unknown to follow your heart. It’s incredibly inspiring to me to see people passionate about something and willing to work hard to reach their goals.
“where words are unnecessary” … Have you ever felt a connection with someone where you can talk with your eyes? You automatically know how they feel without having to say a word? This isn’t necessarily specific to relationships between a man and a woman but goes further to relationships between friends too. An example being as a few of us were dangling our feet over the dock at the lake… the water reflecting the beautiful trees around us … leaves creating ripples as they fell down… we sat there contently. We sat there after a conversation and just enjoyed the moment. We knew in our hearts we wanted the best for each other, we cared about one another, and our friendship was unbreakable. We sat and absorbed the glory of God in nature and in our friendships. It was quiet.. it was beautiful… it was memorable.
What does Grâce Belle mean?
What are your favorite places to shop?
When I go shopping I tend to go more to get inspired than anything. I love looking a visual display, at new color stories, at new silhouettes in clothes. My favorite places to visit is JCrew, Banana Republic, Forever 21, Ann Taylor and family owned boutiques. My style is something like Parisian, classy, basic. I love simple pieces and neutral colors, feminine silhouettes, and classy accessories. My favorite accent color is a dusty blush pink.
How did the idea for Grâce belle come to you?
Sometime in college I started dreaming of opening a clothing boutique. I hoped for it to be more that just a store, I wanted it to hold events and creative workshops, to bring people together. I also wanted the store to teach ladies about etiquette and manners. I wanted in a way to recreate the standards of what a lady is. The tagline was “combining luxury with simplicity & empowering a beautiful lifestyle.” Here’s a little slideshow I did for one of my homework assignments showing a little more of that vision. You can see a similar branding image to our new grace belle brand.
I knew opening a store would take a lot of work and investment so I imagined it would be years before I take on that challenge. Then while in school for Apparel Merchandising I realized it would be a good idea to launch a gracebelle.com website prior to launching the store to start gaining exposure. I taught myself everything about website design and blogging and I remember hearing that having simple blog categories is best. SO at that time I had LorinaDaiana.com and looked at what I wanted to blog about. I narrowed it down to 4 main topics -> fashion & beauty (I’ve always had an interest in fashion), creative (diy, design, etc… at that time I called that category “creative bug”), adventures (I looove exploring, doing random roadtrips, checking out family owned shops), and lastly I wanted something that has heart..something that focused on friendships and relationships. After analyzing these categories I was thinking about branding and marketing and knew how important it is for people to become loyal to a brand. I knew categories themselves were not enough. Then somehow after saying the word fashionista a few times I realized it would be fun to create personas instead of these 4 categories. I quickly called my friend and now co-founder, Dienna, and we met up and came up with the four personas and their characteristics. We also started planning our first big photoshoot which happened April 13th, 2015.
The personas are The Creative, The Adventurer, The Sweetheart, and The Fashionista.
(Photos by Closer To Love Photography from our launch shoot)
Then I realized the heart of the blog being about creating authentic relationships and inspiring others to live a beautiful life is enough. That I did not need to necessarily open a store front to share that message. That’s when we took our ideas for grace belle a step further and planned how we can make the blog stand on its own. I’m thankful for Dienna and her eagerness to team up with me to take gb to a new level.
I love the heart behind Grâce belle. Can you explain your mission statement?
Grâce Belle strives to inspire others to live life with a greater purpose – to live a more beautiful life. We’ve observed the endless cycle of routine of the world’s standards and how much impact it has on people. In a society where having a busier schedule is expected, people are burdened with stress due to work, school, etc. We crave something more. We crave a community of authentic and passionate people. We crave a strong relationship with God. We don’t want to go through this life always rushing and stressing to get things done. Our journey on Earth is short. One day the things that society idolizes will be gone. We’re passionate about finding a new way to live. To live with life beautifully through the relationships we create, the adventures we take, the way we represent ourselves, and through the way we express ourselves.
What is your vision for Grâce belle/where do you want it to go in the future? What impact do you hope it has?
Our vision for grâce belle is first to create a blog that inspires ladies to take action of their lives and plan it intentionally. We also want to cultivate community between these ladies. We plan to hold events in the future such as watercolor workshop, bonfires, styled dinners, fashion shows, and etc. Each one of our characters will host events related to her category. We hope it will create connections and new friendships.
I also dream of having an office, with a long rectangle table and a team of people working together for gb. I’m beyond thankful to have the best business partner, Dienna, and to see new people wanting to be a part of our team. We are currently looking to bring on 3 more ladies and we can’t wait to introduce them to you.
As for our long term goals, they are big but as always we know God can create opportunities we never even imagined.
What is your ideal Saturday?
I love exploring and so does Dienna (that’s one of the ways we first connected). An ideal saturday for us would be going on an adventure visiting a new coffee shop or museum either in LA or here in Orange County. We love driving to loud music, trying new food and deserts, and taking photos along the way.
How can we stay in touch/follow you?
website – gracebelle.com
Instagram @Lorina_Daiana & @GraceBelle