One of Houston’s “go-to” destinations for upholstered furnishings, as well as design ideas for everything in your home, is Lam Bespoke owned by husband–wife, Cathy and Patrick Lam. MILIEU’s Editor-at-Large, Shannon Bowers, spoke with co-owner, Cathy Lam, to find out more about their business ethos.
Patrick’s parents, refugees from Vietnam, founded their thriving upholstery business many years ago. When you and he married, you established what is now Lam Bespoke. How did you and Patrick meet and then become involved in the furniture/upholstery industry?
As silly as it sounds, Patrick and I met while I was waitressing. I had just finished college and was determining whether or not to pursue grad school. He proposed within six months (though we did maintain a longer engagement).
Growing up, Patrick helped his parents at their upholstery business after school, weekends, summers-basically most of his free time was spent at the workroom. Immersed in all things upholstered, he wondered why design-led furniture wasn’t more readily available. He asked if I’d like to open a furniture store with him and the rest is history.
How important is family to you in terms of your business? How do you and Patrick balance business and family?
Our business is rooted in the idea of family and much of our company culture upholds those values. We say our team members are part of the LAM fam! We believe in a positive work/life balance, so we champion non-traditional retail hours (10-5:30 weekdays) and are closed on Sundays and most major holidays, including a ten-day winter closure at the end of each year. We want each team member, ourselves included, to have time with their loved ones, to rest, recharge and return feeling truly replenished.
What words of wisdom or advice do you have for young families launching a business?
Proceed with the best intentions but temper it with realistic expectations. Entrepreneurialism is gritty and the biggest sacrifice is time with loved ones. When your family is young, those are years and moments you don’t get back, so establishing balance is immensely important.
What are the key objectives of your business and what is your targeted clientele? We love how lovely your line is and how sophisticated, affordable, and accessible it is to clients.
We want to offer a curated mix of furnishings for the home that’s immediately available to designers and design-minded clientele. Beautiful, well-made things should be accessible. We especially feel honored that objects from our stores find their way to homes where they are woven into the memories and lives of those enjoying them.
To what do you contribute your success?
Our story is still being written, but thus far, the highlights of our journey could be attributed to our community: family, friends, neighbors, and industry partners like interior designers. No one is an island and achievements are rarely singular. We are where we’re at because good people surround, uplift, share, collaborate with and support us.
What does home mean to you?
Home is where our hearts gather for refuge and shelter from the outside world. It is a sense of being and belonging that transcends place and time.
What have we not asked you that you would like to share? With a major shift to e-commerce and the closure of stores during this particular moment in the world, an ongoing question for retailers is “are brick & mortar shops still relevant?” We believe that they are, that we are.
For more information, please visit lambespoke.com
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INTERVIEW BY SHANNON BOWERS
Images courtesy of Lam Bespoke