Lakum, the Cultural Inspired Wedding Brand for Cool Brides

Sathya Balakumar and Heather Green at Lakum Boutique

Lakum (https://www.lakumcollection.com) is taken from Sathya Balakumar’s last name. As the name implies, the Brooklyn based new luxury wedding dress atelier is certainly inspired by traditional artisans yet very contemporary and global. Founders Sathya Balakumar and Heather Green created this modern brand with their mutual dedications to couture by handcrafting, sourcing, fabricating and constructing globally. They have shared with us who is a Lakum Bride, what their thoughts on social media and what makes Lakum special in the crowded wedding dress market.

1. What do you do?

H: Heather heads up wholesale and retail sales for the brand. She also maintains relationships with press, social media influencers, stores and brides. Marketing and advertising efforts must be signed off by her as well as photoshoot production and brand positioning.

S: I am responsible for design and production of the line. I do all the sketching, draping and sample development. I oversee fittings and production orders from start to finish. I source fabrics and trims and manage the relationships with all of the suppliers and production staff that we work with. Finally, I also oversee creative content for our social media channels.

Together we define the brand aesthetic and direction for the company. We select the new silhouettes for each season and we work together on selecting the fabrics and trims for each of the collections. Lastly, we try to both be present for the final sales appointment with each of our Lakum brides. The brides that shop in our boutique have a unique experience that is created by our presence.

2. What have you been working on recently? 
H: We launched the retail store a few weeks back. I’ve been working on designing and furnishing the space to feel warm and inviting for brides. I’ve also been working with brides one on one more than ever before and it’s been an incredible experience.
 
S: I have been working on creating a new production cycle based on our recent influx of brides in our store. I’m looking to optimize the production time on orders from our wholesale accounts to create a faster turnaround time for everyone, but especially our brides.
Together, we are working on securing a marketing firm to get the word out about our new shop in the New Year.
Heather Green at Lakum Boutique
Sathya Balakumar and Heather Green at Lakum Boutique
3. What does Lakum mean?
It’s the middle of Sathya’s last name: Ba ‘lakum‘ ar. The name represents the inspiration we get from our Indian artisans who do our trims and beadwork and the respect we have for their meticulously craftsmanship.
Summer Y.L. at Lakum Boutique
Lakum Boutique
4. Do you consider Lakum a global brand? 
H: Absolutely. Our brides have been from all over the world and we seem to be on the radar of more and more global magazines and influencers.
S: Of course. The brand has roots in my Indian culture and we design every dress to satisfy the needs of our sophisticated brides who truly do reflect a global community. We use models of every ethnicity and our pieces are versatile enough for all kinds of weddings.
Lakum Boutique Lakum Boutique Lakum Boutique
5. Lakum is born of high-fashion roots and cultural inspiration; what kind of cultures have contributed to the brand?
H: 🙂 Please see above

6. What is a Lakum bride?

H: She is strong, and knows her personal aesthetic. She will not be swayed into wearing something that doesn’t represent her true self on her wedding day. She wants to be unique, sophisticated and stylish. This is who she is every day, why should it be different on that day.
S: Our brides inspire me every day. They walk into the boutique and know which shade of white works best on their complexion. The know which style of bodice flatters them. They are elegant, confident women who know and love their bodies and want a brand that enhances who they are. Her sense of self is what brings our designs to life.
Lakum Boutique
Lakum Boutique 
7. What differentiates Lakum in the crowded wedding dress market?
H: We cater to the truly modern bride, one who has a taste for high fashion, quality and luxury. Our silhouettes are simple, clean and elegant. Our trims are unique and what truly sets us apart. Most importantly, we control the experience a bride has in our boutique. Everything about working with us is different, and feels more personal. We take time with each bride to give her everything she needs when she walks into our boutique and when she leaves. We also only work with boutiques that provide the same level of care and service.
S: From a design perspective, we don’t look at what the ‘competition’ is doing. Trends are tricky in bridal especially. We look at our silhouettes and think about how they will look to a bride looking back on her wedding photos in 10 or 20 years.  Each piece reads sophisticated and elegant, even our pantsuits. We stay away from traditional laces and we only use the highest quality silks. In this market, you’ll find a lot of designers compromising on fabric to reach a particular price point. We don’t believe in doing that.

Summer Y.L. Sathya Balakumar and Heather Green at Lakum Boutique

8. What do you think about social media in relation to the bridal dress business?
H: It’s extremely important. Up until now, this business has risen from the ground up by our efforts alone. We see the importance and power of social media and we hope to dedicate just as much to that aspect of the business in our next phase of growth.
S: It’s the new mood board/vision board for life. Our brides are all over it and we want them to be able to find and engage with us daily.
 
9. Any suggestions to people who are interested in having their own business in fashion and wedding dress especially?
H: It’s important to have a strong network of professionals to draw from. Seamstresses, marketers, press, vendors etc. The experience of owning and bridal business is hard. But working with good people is what gets us through the day. It’s important that anyone looking to take this next step has a strong foundation!
S: It takes a village. You need the support of friends, family and colleagues from day one. There will be hard moments when things will go wrong and you need to be able to deal with unexpected events with a cool head. It’s also a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly.  A bridal designer will be tasked with making each dress with care, precision and love.

Sathya Balakumar and Heather Green at Lakum Boutique

10. If you were not a co-founder and CEO of a wedding dress/bridal brand or an expert of wholesale in fashion, what would you like to do?
Haha, that’s tough, as we’ve both had a pretty colorful set of careers prior to this. Heather was in film and I was in media and finance. It was a journey for us both to get here. Let’s hope we can stay here!

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Summer

Hi, I'm Summer 言奕. I'm a NYC based Chinese Globetrotter with friendships and network in more than 20 different countries. I'm attracted to international cultures and peoples. I can play chess better than Chinese chess, and I'm an avid Argentine Tango social dancer. Please always hit me up if you'd like to dine together or go to a show :)