Creativity is our rocket fuel at LDJ, and we’re especially boosted by women whose work is an authentic extension of their passion, love and light—who transform challenges into golden opportunities and who are redefining what it means to be a “creator.” This article is part of our Conscious Creators series of West Coast wonder women, whose creativity comes from their innate and unadulterated passions, photographed by the legend with a lens, Todd Selby.
“Better, not more”. This is one of the core values at Lady & Larder, the LA store serving up the most whimsical charcuterie boards on the West Coast, showcasing American made cheeses, meats, beverages and breads, and a host of exquisite accoutrements. The key to its unique brand of magic (beyond their delectable wares, certo)? Boo and Sarah Simms, the twin sisters behind the much beloved LA company from the ground up. Their joy is infectious, and evidenced throughout the shop, where their love of vibrant color and meticulous attention to detail touches every item. Even us LDJers, arriving from Italy, where aperitivo is an art and quality is Queen, were bowled over by the beauty of this little dream shop, and fell instantly in love with its owners.
In this digital age, where purchases are increasingly made online or over Instagram, Lady & Larder takes a refreshingly traditional approach to the customer experience. For Sarah and Boo, who funded the shop entirely on their own, this is deeply intentional. “We wanted an old school company built on the backs of just word of mouth and the people who love us.” This attention to detail and curatorial approach to creating a 360 experience evidenced throughout their beautiful LA storefront.
A rack of rainbow candles leans against the exposed brick walls, next to a tableaux of gorgeous chutneys, sauces and caviars. In one corner, a vintage fridge houses beverages crafted by local artisans, while outside an explosion of flower arrangements await happy new homes. Marrying a European approach to sourcing the best local ingredients, with their ebullient West Coast energy, the store is a beautiful blend of color and quality.
But committing completely to this core set of values comes with challenges. “It’s messy. 100% more difficult – working directly with each farmer comes with extra legwork”, says Boo. “But we committed to sourcing everything domestically and to be stewards of everyone we’re representing. We’re full transparency, we want to share who we work with. The people we work with are often 5th 6th, 7th generation farmers. They’re not here to be making money. These are salt of the earth people holding up their legacy.” The effort has clearly paid off. While the pandemic has taken a major toll on many in the hospitality industry, Lady & Larder has stayed strong, its community of customers ever expanding. The Simms credit their success to the farmers. “If you look at the bigger picture, at the world in this moment, those who thrive are remembering that at the core, the important thing is where the food is coming from.”
“Finding true joy and purpose in this life is connected to making others feel seen, welcomed, valued, loved and supported. This is where all the good stuff happens.”
Cultivating such deep connections with their vendors has added unexpected personal value, too. When Sarah learned that she had cancer last year, the twins made the difficult decision to share the diagnosis with their community. Boo was hesitant initially, wanting to protect her sister and best friend. But once the news was shared, they were astonished by the outpouring of love, with vendors stopping in constantly to see how Sarah was doing. “When you open yourself up and be vulnerable, it adds trust” she remarks.
Both sisters are warriors by nature – “Getting up and going to work is what I need right now” Sarah says, “The pandemic reminded us that everyone is dealing with something and it’s so important to create space.” Boo, pregnant at the time of Sarah’s diagnosis, powered through alongside her, strapping baby Mavis to her chest while preparing board after board for their expanding clientele.
Lady & Larder, this little LA dream shop, is a true labor of love, serving as a space to give back to the community they adore, and in return, the community has given back. “I feel so lucky to be doing a job I love every day. Each day we walk into it I can’t believe we’ve created this space.” Boo beams. Sarah mirrors that infectious Simms smile. “Finding true joy and purpose in this life is connected to making others feel seen, welcomed, valued, loved and supported. This is where all the good stuff happens.”
Sending big love to Boo and Sarah for having us and to Todd Selby for photography.