ICT Girl Boss: Liv Grant



   Liv+work is a lifestyle brand that provides customers with handmade goods for every part of life: art, clothing, accessories, home décor and more. Grant likes to blur the line between art and the functional object with her Homewares and Selfwares product lines. Just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean it can’t be used, she said. 
    Every piece in Grant’s collection is handmade with American materials sourced from American, often family-owned, businesses. It’s incredibly important to Grant that the businesses she works with share liv+work’s values on integrity, quality and pride. All products start as raw, natural material that is hand-dyed or hand-painted. She handcrafts every part of every product.
    In addition to the liv+work online store, Grant’s products are found in more than 20 stores across the country, as well as Paris.  She also teaches workshops for people to learn creative skills with their hands: macramé, weaving and dyeing. 
    Liv+work was born four years ago in Chicago while Grant was an elementary school art director. She is  also the co-founder of Haute Handmade Pop Up Market, a high-end handcrafted market popping up in local pubs and eateries around Wichita. 

What inspired you to start your own business?  
    I had a job at a design magazine in Chicago. After the magazine folded and before I found my next job (as an elementary school art director), I pulled my art supplies out of a box from college and made a couple things. I did my first market in Chicago, showing a few of my creations and only taking custom orders. 
It was a total bust, but I was determined. Six months later, I had created enough stock to fill  double the booth space and so I did my second show.  It was a huge success. I kept going with liv+work and slowly resigned from my art director position. I really haven’t stopped since.

Do you have a mentor or someone who influenced your life professionally? 
    My mom, Pam Fruhauf. She is also an entrepreneur, an interior designer. She turned her hobby into her career all while she was raising two kids and working sometimes two jobs. It’s simply amazing. She’s given me hope for what my business could be and a sounding board for advice – not to mention she’s my No. 11 fan and comes to every show!

What’s your most significant professional accomplishment so far? 
    The mobile shop. I remodeled an old camper into a “shop truck” and opened it April 2016. It was a total adventure to overhaul and to finally open the doors for business. It was exhilarating, to say the least. To show my work inside of a space by  staging my products  – a pillow, the clothing, the wall art and more – would actually be used couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m so looking forward to liv+work’s next chapter of mobile shops for summer 2017.

What’s your favorite aspect of Wichita’s business community? 
    When I moved back to my hometown Wichita in 2015 after being in Chicago for several years, I was floored by the growing art and design community downtown. Not only have events like Final Friday and 2nd Saturday flourished and transformed how patrons shop local, Wichita’s business owners themselves continually surprise me with how they support one another. I haven’t seen or heard of any community like it. The amount of helping hands here is irreplaceable. I value it so much. 

What are your professional aspirations for the near future? 
    A new liv+work shop is on the horizon. I plan to hit the road to spread my brand around the country. My clothing is so beachy, so I really look forward to connecting with California clients. After a few more years of traveling around the country for artisan shows, I’m sure I’ll be ready to plant my feet in Wichita with a storefront for retail, workshops and community events!

What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?  
    Don’t stop. Hustle.Always wake up refreshed and ready to step it up. I am constantly repeating to myself: “Keep going! Now is the time to show everyone you’re not messing around.This gorgeous brand means business.”