Sourcing Products That Enhance Your Lifestyle With LEIF
Founded in 2011 by Stacy Anne Longenecker in Brooklyn, NY, LEIF started off as a lifestyle online store for the first six years, and more recently, has opened up shop with a brick and mortar. What do you source at LEIF? Small, special objects that enrich your everyday life, whether it be a custom textile originally sourced from Thailand, a local ceramic, or a pretty throw pillow. This shop is a client-pleaser, a place where you can grab one-of-a-kind pieces that your clients will cherish.
Stacy shares with us LEIF’s sourcing strategy, the introduction to LEIF original products, and the brand’s digital marketing efforts.
Photography courtesy of LEIF
LEIF sells beautiful pieces that add a unique touch to day-to-day living – what’s your sourcing strategy?
I’m always on the lookout for new products no matter what I’m doing—I’ll be on Instagram before I go to bed and I’ll see a ceramicist with 400 followers and screenshot it and contact them the next day. I never limit where I find products to just traditional sources like the typical trade shows. A big part of LEIF’s appeal is that we feature brands you haven’t seen in 20 other stores. I’ve also started traveling to find things—I just got back from Thailand and found amazing stuff at the markets there.
How would you describe the LEIF lifestyle?
Simple yet inspired. A lot of what I see when I picture the “LEIF lifestyle” has nothing to do with the product themselves—it’s more about really special products enhancing that lifestyle. Like, writing a letter, and the beautiful card or stationary that goes with that. Or, a Sunday afternoon at home with a scented candle burning. Your morning coffee in a handmade mug. Basically the magic behind these everyday combinations.
“Any time I can work with a customer and do something unique for them is always really wonderful and reminds me of how much I love this job.”
Who are some local independent artists and interior designers that you admire?
I’ve never been part of the local train; it’s always fun to find Brooklyn/NY designers but I don’t ever prefer them just because they’re local. Some of my favorite designers in New York though are Kristin Texeira (abstract art) and Courtney Aldor of Studio Mamu (ceramics).
How does being based in Brooklyn influence your business?
When we were just online for the first 6 years, it didn’t affect us much (other than paying more for our office rent than we would anywhere else—ha). Now that we have a brick and mortar, people are definitely more in tune with trends here, so I can get away with selling things that aren’t quite mainstream yet.
What are some spaces featuring LEIF products that you are particularly proud of?
Coming out with our own products has been a slow and gradual process; we’re just now getting into textiles. I picked up a bunch of vintage fabric in Thailand and have had the opportunity to make some custom, one of a kind pieces for local customers, and that’s super fulfilling. Any time I can work with a customer and do something unique for them is always really wonderful and reminds me of how much I love this job.
Your website design and social media content is gorgeous – how much time does your team dedicate to maintaining your digital presence?
I’m actually still doing it all myself, which is totally insane on my part. I’m pretty OCD about how the website and Instagram pages look—like I’ll crop a product photo 5 times to make sure it sits right on the product page. There’s a ton of room for improvement in how I manage social media; I’ve never set aside time for it and kind of just post things when I feel inspired. I’ve been meaning to make a consistent schedule for things like Instagram posts but it hasn’t happened yet… but I almost think if I did that, if I forced it, it wouldn’t look as nice or the posts wouldn’t be as high quality.
What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
Definitely Pinterest followed by Instagram. I very rarely use Facebook, and I wish I was into Snapchat but I haven’t been able to get in the groove. What appeals to me about Instagram and Pinterest is having a visual ‘board’ or grid that instantly gives the viewer an idea of what we’re all about—I think part of why I haven’t yet embraced Snapchat is because it doesn’t have that aspect so it just doesn’t feel to me like it results in anything lasting.
“What appeals to me about Instagram and Pinterest is having a visual ‘board’ or grid that instantly gives the viewer an idea of what we’re all about.”
How do you typically consult with customers who need help picking out pieces for a space?
We didn’t really get to do this before we opened the brick & mortar, so it’s been so fun to work with people in person. I try to work a few times a month in the shop (unfortunately it’s separate from our office, where I usually am). Probably what we get asked for help with the most is pillow assortments. I’ll ask if they have a picture of the space, try to get a feel for how adventurous they are or what kind of look they’re after. Then it’s really all about finding a combination that speaks to them. The best is when I make a suggestion and they say “I never would have thought of that, but I love it”.
In your opinion, what’s the most essential element to a room?
Oh, so hard to limit it to one thing. Can I have two things? I just want to say that I’ve been really into painted walls lately. I used to be in the all white everything crowd, but I think colored walls are going to come back in a big way. Other than that, I think art is the most important thing.
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