Voyage LA: Meet Kym Gold of Style Union Home in Encino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kym Gold.

Kym, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started on the boardwalk in Venice, buying irregulars downtown. After a lot of knocking on doors, business picked up. I was getting my real estate license and my business degree. I realized I was ready for more, so I opened my first company. I always joke that I am a serial entrepreneur because most people don’t know that I had three companies before True Religion.

While opening up my first company, I bought a building and moved to Malibu, which is where I grew up. I bought my first home with Mark Burnett, my first husband. After Mark and I divorced, I married Jeff Lubell and we have three amazing kids together. Jeff was a fabric salesperson, and I was a designer, so it felt like the perfect match. When he lost his job, we decided to take a leap and open True Religion. We spent all of our savings, all of our money, while trying to raise three little kids. However, I wouldn’t change anything because I think, as an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to financially invest in yourself. Why would an investor want to invest in you if you haven’t invested in yourself?

I knew when I started True Religion, I wanted it to be different and to say something different. That’s where the idea for the boyfriend jean came in. I have always been sort of a tomboy and curvier at that. I wanted to make denim for women like me who didn’t fit into the industry standards of that time. It took about a year to take off, but boy when it did. After a crazy run, the company went public. I eventually sold my shares and Jeff and I divorced.

After True Religion, I started another company called Babakul, which means hippie in French. I opened up about five stores and then ended up selling Babakul for personal reasons. After selling Babakul, I sold my house in Malibu and moved to Encino, where I built the house I’m in now. I started building my own homes, which sounds like a challenge, but I love a challenge!

While I was staging the homes I flipped, I realized I couldn’t find a real cohesive brand that set the tone for the home. For me, having a bunch of different vendors is great, but I wanted to set the tone to have your dinnerware match your accessories so it was more cohesive throughout the home. That’s how Style Union Home began. The difference to me in any business I do is that it’s just a different product. With my business acumen and knowledge, I run a business the same way I would run any business. This one just happens to be clay, the other one happens to be a house and the other one is clothing. So I think if you’re creative and you know how to run a business and build a good team, there’s no limit.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Struggles are always a part of any business. I struggled early on with being too attached to the businesses. Business is not an emotional prospect. I have worked for years now on being less attached and not making emotional decisions regarding my business. I also learned not to have too much inventory. People will wait if your product offers value. When you lean into your obstacles, your business and team become stronger.

Style Union Home – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Style Union Home is a luxury handcrafted home fashion line made from ceramics. All products are crafted in my LA home. What sets us apart? I think because it’s not just tableware, it’s fashioned for the home in its entirety, you don’t see a lot of that. People are geared towards maybe just a tabletop, but SUH is a lifestyle, a home fashion brand. I started Style Union Home because of my mom Nikki and the nostalgic memories as a child from our Sunday family dinners in Malibu. I’m an identical triplet and have two brothers, so as a big family, we built memories at the tabletops. I remember all of my mom’s serving bowls, which was the biggest impetus for me starting this company, building memories in what you eat with. I value family above all and it is threaded within this company. When people buy a piece from my line, I want them to feel the heart.

I am very proud that the company has persevered through COVID, and we haven’t backed off. I am most proud of my exceptional team, from PR to strategic marketing, to sales, to my production, to my potters. Their work ethic has been inspiring as we all try to get through these unsettling times and stay as positive as possible.

 

Reposted from Voyage LA

"I had a great team at my last business and have the same now. When you have reliable people on your team that feels appreciated and empowered, your business can be unstoppable. Surround yourself with competent and dedicated members that you can trust delegating tasks."

Kym Gold