Interview: Anjali Pathak

Find out why Happy Lucky Me creator, Anjali Pathak, is so damn happy.



Behind the Scenes With…
Happy Lucky Me creator, Anjali Pathak

by kelly lee

The Vitals

Occupation: Designer by way of law school

Birthdate/Sign: March 5/Pisces

Current Digs: Los Angeles, CA (moving to New York City this spring)

The 411:
Anjali Pathak oozes happiness, even if you’ve never met her in person, and just “know” her via her blog and website. So it’s only apt that she named her company “Happy Lucky Me.” Feeding on her unadulterated love of Asian cuisine, she’s built her own lil design niche, scoring her share of mentions in YM, Elle Girl, Bust, Venus, Tiger Beat and many more mags. She took a few minutes out of her non-stop schedule to chat with us about what happens when a former lawyer turned designer sets out to conquer — or at least, find her way in — the fashion world.

School Me

What was your major in college and where did you go to school?

I double majored. I always intended to be a PoliSci major and then just started taking history classes for fun. By the end of my third year, I had racked up enough history to turn it into another major. The day I found out I was two or three classes away from a major in history was a nice surprise. I went to Cal Berkeley. It will be one of the most important experiences of my life. My love for that place is a bottomless pit.

You worked as a lawyer and then jumped into your wonderfully creative and successful design business. How did that happen?

I’ve always been interested in living a creative life. When I reflect on why I took the leap when I did, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that my 20s were coming to a close and I got a glimpse into the future. I thought about where I wanted to be in 10 years and I realized that I’d rather be 10 years into a career as a designer than 13th year lawyer.

Has your background in law helped you in your business? If yes, how so?

I value my legal education tremendously and feel blessed to have it. Law school developed my critical thinking, my communication skills and my confidence. I owe a significant portion of my current and future success to my legal education.

We Are Family

How did your family react when you told them you were leaving LA law behind and heading into a field that’s almost 100% subjective?

My parents and I are very close. When I announced that I wanted to make it as a designer, they were thrown for a bit of a loop, but, they are so sweet now – always telling me to not work so hard.

Did you inherit any of your creativity from anyone in your family or are you paving the way for future generations.

My paternal aunt, Pushpa, taught me to sew when I was still in high school. My first project was a pair of leopard print flannel pajamas. I’m sure I get it from her.

Let’s here about your hubby, Young. Does he work at HLM fulltime as well or is he moonlighting?

Young has his own career, but (somehow) he finds time to help me whenever he can. I ask a lot of him and he obliges – even when my favors include modeling. You can see him in the new men’s shirts. He’s my number one supporter.

How do you like working together?

It’s great most of the time, but there are of course times when we are in desperate need of “fun time.” That usually means seeing friends over a weekend. When we are with other people, we can’t work. We need that type of regulation or we’ll work. That’s who we are.

All Up In Your Business

What was your first job?

In high school I did telephone surveys. I spoke to a *lot* of farmers in the MidWest about what type of herbicide they preferred to use on their Winter Wheat. It was the perfect after-school job for me since I love to talk.

How did you come up with the name HLM?

I sat on my couch with that 1000 5×7 index card pack and just kept writing names and words in all different combinations until Happy Lucky Me revealed itself. I never looked back or second guessed it after that. It just felt right.

Please walk us through the process you went through to form HLM…did you just start playing around with materials and ideas?

I’ve been committed to the idea of Asian fusion fashion from the start. Then I just worked on mixing my personal style with the message.

Do you handmake all of the items on HLM?

Yes, all the bags and tees are handmade in my little factory. There are a couple of new items on the site and those are collaborations with other talented craftswomen. The lip balms are handmade especially for HappyLuckyMe by a chemist in Alaska and the Lover necklaces are hand carved by a silversmith in Florida.

Have you found the design/craft community in your city to be supportive?

Because of my tight work schedule, I rely on my online DIY friends for support.

Did you study your craft in school or are you self-taught?

In high school, I took Spanish language classes at the local city college during the summers so I could take Art as my elective during the school year. Other than that, I’ve been an avid crafter and art-maker my entire life.

Many people have grandiose ideas, but never put them into action, but you have. Any advice for people out there who might want to do something similar?

Work hard. That’s my advice. If you love what you do, it doesn’t really feel like work though. I guess that’s the secret.

Starting your own business is exciting, scary and full of obstacles and learning experiences. What’s been the most rewarding part of HappyLuckyMe.com?

I often find myself comparing my business to a new mom with her baby – every single accomplishment, no matter how seemingly insignificant to others, is thrilling for me. The first sale, the first magazine, the first show, each new design, a new retailer…I can go on and on.

The most frustrating? What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?

When you put yourself out there creatively, it’s easy to be thin-skinned at times. I’m learning to better deal with stress and to roll with the punches.

Many of your items are based on your love of ethnic foods. Tell us more about that.

When I first started out, I wanted to start with what I know. I know Asian food, so I started there. It’s easy to be inspired by Asian food too. It’s all so ridiculously fantastic.


I’ve read on your blog that you’ve recently hired an assistant. That’s great news since it implies you’re so busy with orders that you need help. How great a day was that when you realized your company had grown so much?

You don’t realize you need help until you are so overwhelmed that you want to tear your hair out and cry. So, I wouldn’t say it was a great day when I realized I needed help – but looking back, it does mean something special and I’m proud of that.

Where can we find HLM products?

The best place to see all the latest offerings is on the website: www.happyluckyme.com.

Playing Favorites

Other than your own site, what are some of your favorite online destinations?

EBAY!!! Who doesn’t love ebay? I went through a crazy obsessive vintage LV phase and Gucci navy stripe phase and ebay was there to satisfy my addiction.

Favorite way to procrastinate?

see above.

Favorite magazine?

I’m a total fashion magazine fiend. I read them all. No one single fashion magazine has it all. For celebrity or human interest stories, I do like to read People.


Favorite food?

Candy. Even though my New Year’s Resolution is to stop pretending it’s a required food group.


Fave color?

To see: red and to wear: black.

In the spirit of Inside the Actors Studio, your favorite curse word?

Holy Shit. Everytime I say it – I crack myself up. How did shit get to be holy?

More importantly, Seth or Ryan?

If you would have asked me 2 months ago, I would’ve said Seth, but he chose Anna so I don’t like him anymore. So, now I say Ryan, even though I think he should dump Marissa because she’s being so dumb about the whole Oliver thing. Yes, I’m a fan.

Because We’re Nosy

What are you craving right now?

CANDY!

What’s on your Tivo’s To-Do List?

The Apprentice, The O.C., Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kid Notorious, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, ER, Average Joe Hawaii.

In your CD player?

The Tyde.

Current Crush?

Brad Pitt since 1993.

AM or PM?

PM. (Although it is 4:13 am right now and I’m still up).

Friendster – yay or nay?

I found my grammar school best friend on Friendster. Yay.

What are your thoughts on LA…would you like to stay for a while or are there any other cities you’d like to try living in?

I’m moving to NYC this Spring. I think of it as a sabbatical from LA.

Please turn the tables and ask us a question!

What’s the most interesting bit of information you have learned from doing these interviews?

There’s two things. One is ask and you shall receive, although my college roommie Melissa taught me that a while ago. In that case it was more like, “Hey Blockbuster guy, could you please make it so I don’t have to pay my late charges? Thanks.” So in short, ask and 95% of the time people say “yes.” And two, that people respect passion. Oh wait, there’s a third. Okay, there’s a ton, but I’ll stop at three. It sounds trite but it’s true: You really have to do what makes you happy in life. So just do it already.

Visit Happy Lucky Anjali online at happyluckyme.com.


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