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Southlake Style

Local Business Tackles Issue of Modern-day Slavery

May 12, 2016 09:34PM ● By Kevin

Sarah and Katie Lambert, sisters who own Lambert Home & Garden in Southlake.

As an interior designer, Sarah Lambert had years of experience searching the market for beautiful products, according to Lambert Home & Garden's website. When it came to buying interior design accessories, Sarah and her sister Katie found a lack of knowledge, accountability, and sometimes integrity in the manufacturing, processing, and retailing.

"We decided that just wouldn't work, and since then we've made it our priority and passion to source lifestyle products with integrity," the website says. The two built a company in Southlake and use their belief in true, honest work to drive them to everyday successes.

We caught up with Katie, who took some time to answer our questions about their business and its cause.

Southlake Style: Tell us about your business - how/when you got started and the story of how you got to where you are today.

Katie Lambert: The idea of our business started in January 2012. Sarah and I attended a christian conference, Passion, in Atlanta, and there learned about the issue of modern day slavery. The fact that over 27 million people are enslaved today was absolutely unacceptable to us. We knew at that point that our lives would be about ending slavery..but how? May of that year, Sarah and I decided that we would open an interior design retail store where all the products were ethically manufactured with no slave labor and no child labor. Sarah had started her own interior design business years before, so it felt like a natural next step to open a store front!

SS: Why operate in Southlake? Do you have local ties? Was there another reason why this area was perfect for your business location?

Lambert: We were raised here! Right between Keller and Southlake. We believe Southlake has the power to influence the globe  in terms of the slavery issue. Our thought at Lambert Home & Garden is that the world economy often times dictates morals. For example, if the buyer would quit buying slave-made goods, the manufacturers would have no choice but to quit making slave-made goods. Since Southlake has been so blessed, we feel confident they will take a stand for the helpless.

SS: Tell us more about the Slave Free initiative featured on your website. How did your involvement in this come about? How have you pushed this initiative forward lately?

Lambert: Like I said before, we learned about modern day slavery at Passion in 2012 and were honestly so floored. We had no clue this was happening. The studies show that truly well over 27 million people are enslaved, up to 36% of those people are trapped in forced labor. This is the traditional type of slavery we think of. Forced to work for little to no pay with no freedom, no choice, no opportunity to leave or find other work, often under the threat of physical abuse.

Our primary push is that everything in our store has been manufactured ethically with no slave labor. When we pick our products at markets we have pretty tedious meetings with the manufacturers about where their products are made, and by whom. Most often, we talk to the actual person in charge of visiting the factories to ensure a good quality of life for the workers. This has been a very eye-opening experience as many many manufacturers have told us flat out, “that’s not something that we’re interested in. We intentionally avoid our factories because we don’t want to see what’s happening.” Essentially they’re keeping their head in the sand so as to not be held accountable.

Secondarily, we are involved with several slave-free organizations. This month we’re sponsoring the Race 2 Rescue 5k, here in Southlake, at Bicentennial park. It’s hosted by Rescue Her, a local organization that rescues girls out of sex trafficking. We’ve been involved with unlikely heroes, A21 campaign, End it Movement, and Love146.

SS: What makes you different/stand out from other interior design businesses?

Lambert: Well, all designers are different. Some of the Southlake designers have a specific style, and stick with it. So if you’re looking for a Tuscan home, you go to so-and-so designer! This is not us at all. Sarah is our designer, and she’s really incredible because she truly learns the character of her clients and then translates that into their living spaces. I’ve seen her do it time and time again, and It blows me away every time. (I am NOT a designer in any way. Colors? Matching? What?!)

We also come into every home, with humility. We’ve heard horror stories from clients about past designers demanding certain budgets, or certain timelines that our clients were uncomfortable with. I think Sarah’s spectacular because she can work with any budget. Our current clients budgets and projects range from “I can spend $500 a month, and we’ll do a little project here and a little project there” to “I hate my house. i want to change every single thing. new rugs, drapes, furniture, accessories, wallpaper, and I have no budget, just make it happen!” The cool thing is, we really love our clients, and treat them all equally. So a high-budget project gets no better treatment than a low-budget project.

SS: Tell us more about yourselves, personally - give us a short bio of who you are and what you like to do outside of normal business.

Lambert: Sarah and I both went to Keller High School, and Texas Tech University. Sarah majored in Interior design and minored in music. She loves movies, traveling, hunting for cool antiques, and teaching bible study to youth girls. Her guilty pleasure is for sure cheese enchiladas.

I majored in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional management. My favorite thing in the world is being outside. I love to garden, kayak, swim, hike, camp. I, too, love teaching bible study with Sarah to the youth girls at our church. My guilty pleasure is binge watching Bob’s Burgers on Netflix. Yikes!

SS: Where would you like to see the business in 5-10 years? What are your goals and aspirations?

Lambert: This is the question people ask us, and when we answer, they look at us like we’re insane. And we may be!

We have several business plans in the work for new brands to open in the next few years. We have a women’s clothing and lifestyle brand: “West.” A men’s clothing and lifestyle brand: “B.F. Schroeder.” (named after our grandfather, a WWII Veteran and general beast of life) A kitchen/dining/entertaining brand: “The Beehive” —And several other brand ideas that are unnamed so far. Baby clothes/nursery design. We want to write books. Produce music. Publish magazines. And after all those things, we plan to open orphanages in several countries in Africa.

I think an overarching theme of our brands, and the general goal of our lives, is we want to be a light to a dark world. We want to bring hope, and positivity, and truth, and joy to America and much farther.