Things My Father Taught Me: Lauren Wilkins
“Dude, there was a bug — not kidding you — this big in my ear. Huge! Huge! Not even joking. The doctor needed tweezers that were this big.”
It was then I became completely enamored with my buddy, Lauren Wilkins, owner of Austin, Texas store Bows + Arrows.
We’d met once before, in the lobby of this ridiculously hip hotel in New York City, and it was either the low light or the loud music or the five Micheladas tearing at my stomach, but I failed to recognize the cool this chick carried. She has more cool in her back pocket than could fill three of those hotel lobbies. Pair fun, funny, and easy-going with an eye for life’s fineries, and you have Lauren Wilkins. That’s why, while driving a brand new Dodge Charger all over the Motor City, yapping on my phone with Wilkins, Coney Dog in hand, I started laughing so hard I had to pull over. I called her about business, but she didn’t want to talk about business. She wanted to tell me her epic Huge Bug In Ear tale. And after that, she became Korean Leon: the person I rely on for a great laugh, a great little inside joke, or a great night with friends new and old in a hidden Korea Town gem where we’re waited on hand-and-foot and Billy Moore orders for the table and who knows what that was but it was delicious. That’s Lauren Wilkins. That’s straight cool.
My dad was raised outside of Dallas, He knew how to raise hell but not before getting things done in order to live life by his own rules. He worked hard to build the life he wanted without sacrificing his passion for living. He always made time for us, and he always did it looking good. Quickly, put together, and always movin’ on….
There was an art to the way he put himself together, but it was natural and it was influenced over time and experience. Named “Best Dressed” in high school, my dad was a man of his own style and was always put together. Always. Whether it was going to work, to dinner, or just hanging around the house. He was not a scrubby t-shirt and jeans man, even his casual clothes had a deliberate style, always classic. But as far as style goes – his classic simplicity has been the utmost influence on me and and why I do what I do today.
He was the one who took me shopping. That’s what we did together. We would run up to the mall after dinner, he took me on father/daughter vacations to New York and San Francisco for museums and shopping, and to the RL store on the weekends. The latter he would let me have my own little decorating projects, send me upstairs to the home floor and let me go to town. I got to decorate my room, the play room, design chairs, you name it….
I also got dragged to art galleries, flea markets, auctions, and exhibitions, anywhere with an assemblage of visuals and materials to absorb. Of course at the time, I didn’t appreciate the huge impact this would have on me aesthetically and culturally. But now I appreciate every bit of it. These little things that he surrounded me with and let me participate in with him has had an overwhelming impact on me. Including me on these little adventures shaped the way I see and appreciate things, but also in the way I understood those around me, both professionally and personally. Everyone has the potential to be a buddy. Sure, there’s a difference between work and personal but the person was always important He taught me early on to ALWAYS ask questions, be it to a stranger or a friend – and that being authentic in your interests is the most important thing in life. Maybe business is business, but relationships are fundamental, and every moment is a genuine opportunity to learn and grow.
My dad has allowed me to explore and experience my own mistakes, he’s always there for me no matter what and stands by my all of my personal decisions. He loves to participate in my store from both a business and creative perspective, but he knows when to take a step back. He will help me if I ask for it, but until I do… Ric likes to stop by the shop every now and then just to make sure the light bulbs are stocked and changed, and maybe share a tune or two.