An Inspiring Talk With Singer BRYN and Entrepreneur Lars Lagaisse

Every success story starts with a vision that gives the creator the drive to achieve the impossible. In collaboration with Bulldog gin, we portrayed the brand’s four ambassadors and four upcoming creatives to have a heart-to-heart chat about their bold beginnings. Today, we introduce you to entrepreneur and founder of Kaart Blanche Lars Lagaisse and singer BRYN.

This is the most asked question ever, but how are you doing?

Lars: I’m very happy to be here. It’s fun to finally get out again after being locked inside a house. Stuff like this is very, very freeing.

Were you able to be creative while stuck at home, or were the walls closing you in?

BRYN: At one point, I was very creative, but then there was nothing to do and nothing to write about. The things I wrote about were from the past, so it was a good moment to reflect on past events, but then I got a bit bored of living in the past, and I stopped writing, I guess. Then exams came, and every time I have exams, I procrastinate, and I make music, but it was a different process from when everything is open: I can party, and I can write about what I am living at the moment. Now it was just going back to the past for me.

Lars: For me, it was in the beginning really challenging, but then I found a way to put it to good use because I have my company that sells cards. So then I thought, “Okay, this is the perfect time to send people cards because we can’t see each other, and a text is not that personal!” So we made cards specifically for Covid, and that went really well. That’s how I stayed sane because I kept on working.

Do you think that Covid changed your perspective on how you work now?

Lars: At first, you do it for yourself, so you just want the product to be good, and you will not put it out there if you’re not happy with it. When you notice that people are buying it and you get feedback on Instagram — a lot of people told us, “I got a card in the mailbox, and it made my day!” That’s why you do it: to put some love and laughter into the world, and I’m really happy that I get to be part of that. It’s something small, but it’s something.

Both of you started from a passion that somehow was created in the past. Do you think that your passion for what you’re doing was challenging at that time, or do you think that it became even stronger?

Lars: For every entrepreneur or someone creative, it’s challenging, but I also think it’s kind of a blessing because it gets to challenge you. I was just making cards and going on a roll, but then Covid happens, so you have to challenge yourself and get creative. I like that because it puts you further, I guess. Normally, we started doing fairs because we wanted to expand our business, but all the fairs closed, and then it was challenging because all the stores closed, and we used to sell our cards to stores. I was stressed about how we were going to get our money, but then the website did well with the cards that we designed. It’s stressful, but then you see that it’s working.

And they’re still interested.

Lars: And they’re still interested in it because we never know. That’s kind of risky about being a creative and an entrepreneur; it could be gone in a second, but you try to keep on going.

BRYN, how was it for you to know that someone listening to your songs might get cheered up when they’re in a bad mood?

BRYN: I got some messages; they were so cute. But I’m very much at the early stage of my career, and even though it’s stressful to be forgotten, social media is very overwhelming sometimes. Every day you’re just scrolling, and it got tiring, and a lot of things were happening during the lockdown politically. Everything was very overwhelming, and so I stopped engaging. I’m still trying to get back into social media because, at this stage of my career, I depend so much on it. It was kind of a conflict between, “Okay I need to take some time because I’m going crazy on social media because that’s all I do,” and also, “If I do that, people might forget me.” But still, I got some messages, and people were like, “Oh, I listened to this, and it cheered me up,” and I was like …

Lars: They didn’t forget me!

BRYN: (laughs) Yeah, but as he said at the end, it didn’t challenge my passion—well, it did challenge it, but we do it for ourselves initially. I was writing for myself. Even if nobody listens to those songs, they’re just for me. But out of those songs, hits maybe come out of it, and if people like it, they’re gonna like it if they don’t, well …

Lars: You did it for you.

BRYN: I’m still studying. (laughs) I’ll get a degree. (laughs)

Lars, looking back on it, were you always an entrepreneur?

Lars: I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m an entrepreneur; I would more say that I’m a creative that likes to make things. I’m not good at selling myself or selling the product, and that’s where my boyfriend Timo comes in. He’s the sales guy, so without him, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing right now. It’s a really good balance of me just being creative making cards doing all the aesthetics and him doing more like the technicalities of it. I started as a creative, but I do feel like because of my growth, I’m more of an entrepreneur. And Timo started more as an entrepreneur, and he’s more creative now as well, so it kind of fluctuates.

And BRYN, how is it for you? How did music influence your life that you decided I want to make music myself?

BRYN: Oh my god, well, I’m just a creative, but as an independent artist, you have to take on the business side of it, and to be honest, I don’t know a lot of it. I’m still learning as we go, but I’m doing a residency at Volta; I’m meeting a lot of people even though I’m not performing or putting songs out. I’m kind of getting on the practical side of it, thinking about: “Okay, if I’m going to release, how do I do it? How do I do it better than my last EP?” Because my last EP, I produced everything, I paid for everything, I scheduled it. I didn’t know better, and now I’m taking time to know better because it’s always good to have both sides: being creative but also understanding what it takes to release a song, the marketing side, the business side, the funding … If you don’t have a team, you need both of those, but it’s also good to know what you’re good at.

Lars: Yeah, stick to that.

BRYN: Stick to that, yeah, but sometimes you have to do both. But if you have someone who compliments you, it’s good to be like: “Okay, I’m good at this. I understand what you’re doing, and I could do it but …”

Lars: “You could do it better.” (laughs)

BRYN: “Yeah, maybe you could do it better, and I’ll let you do that” Also, don’t get too tired because you’re kind of jumping into both.

Based on your own story, could you give a piece of advice to someone who wants to have a bold beginning?

Lars: I’m going to have to say that it needs to start out as a passion. I have a lot of people that are like: “Oh, it’s so cool; you have your own business!” or “You’re an independent, you can choose your own hours. I want to do that!” And if you want to do that, do it, but they don’t really know. They want an independent life, and then they’re looking for something that they want to do, but that’s the wrong way of doing it. If you have a hobby and you really like doing it, just think about how you can change it into a job. Maybe start as a side job and see how it goes because you don’t want the financial stress, and you have to be prepared to work long hours and really go for it.

BRYN: I never took any music classes. I have no knowledge of music theory whatsoever. (laughs) I learned to play guitar from the internet. At one point, I couldn’t go to school because of my immigration situation, so my dad bought me a guitar.  I didn’t have a love life going on, so I wrote songs about my friends’ love lives. Before I realized it, I kind of understood what the structure of a song was. I played the simple chords, but I knew I could switch them around and looked up online how to make a song. If you listen to a lot of music, you get a hint of what it is. Looking at music and listening to music in a critical way instead of just a passive way helps a lot as well.

I graduated, came here, started making music, I worked full time to finance my EP because I didn’t have any money. If you’re able to make those kinds of hard decisions and put in the work to do it… you’ll get there.

Lars is wearing a full look by Vetements. Bryn is wearing a two piece by Leo and necklace by Atelier Jean.

Photography and video direction by Matias Batallé
Production and art direction by ENFNTS TERRIBLES StudioDries Vriesacker
Styling by Kate Housh
Makeup and hair by Emma Catry
Production assistantIsa De Boeck
Styling assistants: Lyncia Froidmont, Lauryn Vanhaverbeke, Iman Majid
Makeup assistant: Sarah Carlier
directorAitana Del Sol

Interview by Maxim Meyer-Horn

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