We chatted with Larissa Loden, a Minneapolis-based jewelry designer, to find out what makes her tick. Her designs are a best seller at The Lake + Co. Shop, and we are proud to bring you her story as our featured Minnesota Maker. 

You're not from Minnesota originally. What brought you here? And what has inspired you to stay?

No, I'm not originally from MN. I actually grew up in upstate New York, sandwiched in between the Catskills and the Adirondacks, in a small town called Schoharie. My graduating class size was around 80 people... so yeah, not too big.

I came out to Minnesota because of my husband. We met at a music festival in NY (he was touring with the festival, doing technical stuff for them). I had just graduated high school, and knew I wanted to go to school for art education and knew Minnesota had some great schools so I was like yeah, I will come to MN. I mean you have winter, we have winter, so that wasn't a big deal. 

I have been in Minnesota now for almost 15 years and I have to say I love it here. I love how connected to the outdoors MN is. Pretty much once it is 55 or warmer I will bike to my studio. (Yeah I know 55 is warm for bike standards but I am a wimp!) What really inspires me about MN is the amount of creativity that comes out of this area, but also the work ethic behind that creativity to get stuff done. People here don't just think "Oh, that would be nice." They think "Oh that would be nice, now let's figure out how to do it and do it." That kind of culture is intoxicating for me and just keeps me going. 

We love that you make jewelry for women who are 'strong and fearless.'  Who are some strong and fearless women that inspire you?

Oh gosh, there have been so many strong and fearless women who have inspired me. A big one for me is Amy Poehler. Her book Yes, Please is a constant inspiration and reminder that I am not crazy. One thing that came out of that book that has somewhat become a personal mantra of mine is, "Good for you, not for me." Society can be quite judgy sometimes, "Oh you haven't done X yet?" "You should do it this way." etc. Amy came along and was like "Oh, no, no, no. Good for you, but not for me." That statement was really a life changer for me, but it also reminds me that while that works for me, that might not work for other people. We also love Parks and Recreation at the studio. Our two yearly sales "Treat Yo Self" and "Galentine's Day" are inspired by the show. 

Another person is of course my Mom. She has instilled in me a tireless work ethic and I know I wouldn't be where I am today without this work ethic. But even more so she knew not to stifle my creativity at a young age and let it flourish. Having that opportunity has really let me know that if I can work hard enough I truly can make anything happen. 

What is your favorite piece in your current collection? 

This is such an interesting question, as people sometimes think I walk around caked in jewelry. I am very simple in what I wear and very monochromatic. We often joke in the studio I only know two colors: chambray (denim) and black.

My favorite piece right now is probably our Araya necklace. It is our first collaboration piece we have done with another MN-based artist and I love what the product is combined. It is an effortless piece that can be worn with so much. 

What's next for Larissa Loden?

I have a couple more collaboration projects I would like to have happen this year. One is with a MN-based illustrator named Emily Krueger- I am very excited about that one! I also have some great designs burning holes in my sketchbooks that I would love to get some time in the studio to figure out. That is the hardest thing - running a business and finding time to design. 

If you are going to head up north for a weekend, what's on your agenda?  

Water, definitely something with water. I think from growing up on the East Coast and spending lots of time on the ocean, the sooner I can get myself by some water the happier I am. I just find something so calming about being by water. I have also really gotten into hiking the past couple of years, so always looking for more good trails to trek. Food! Love, love, love food. I love finding the hidden gems or sometimes not-so-hidden gems that are worth the wait.