Meet Suzy, Founder of La Lyra

Meet Suzy, Founder of La Lyra

Posted by Rachel Berenbaum on

Get to know Suzy Brokkman, founder of La Lyra - then join us at Phosphene for a Pop Up offering her natural body and home products on October 14th.


What does this season of life look like for you?

As a busy mother of two young children I am juggling many different things on any given day. From school drop offs to playground meet ups to grocery store ventures a typical day in my life is usually buzzing with activity while tending to the needs of my kids. I try to carve out moments of the day when I can have some quality time with them and truly enjoy their presence. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, so making this time helps put things in perspective…a reminder that time is fleeting and to not let the most wonderful thing to have ever happened to me slip away with the commotion of daily stressors. As the day draws to a close and the children are in bed, I make myself a mug of peppermint tea and catch up on messages, emails, and get some work done in the studio. It’s not long before I turn into a pumpkin myself so I usually have to stay on track with my “to-dos” so that I get the most efficient use out of my work hours.

Tell us a little about your creative process and background.

I moved to the country with my husband a couple years after we started dating. It was vastly different from the apartment we lived in that was steps away from shops, restaurants, and a bustling nightlife. The silence and moonlit nights that surrounded our new home struck a chord within me that let me know that I was exactly where I should be. We befriended a neighbor through the woods who was an expert homesteader and shared much of his wisdom with us. On a whim, I borrowed a book on candle making from the library and there was a section on soap making as well. I tried both and really enjoyed the challenge and creative allowance it gave me. This led me to experiment with making other self-care items. Fast forward a couple years and I found myself at the weekly farmer’s market selling a full line of products and wholesaling to local shops.

My creative process is initially fueled by a smell or a need. For example, the first skincare item that I ever formulated was a natural insect repellent because I was living in the country where the mosquitoes were plentiful and hungry and I didn’t want to keep using the DEET sprays. None of the natural bug sprays I tried worked for me so I was determined to figure it out. Through some research and trial and error, I came out with my very own natural bug spray that I aptly named “Liberation” and it remains as my #1 selling product every summer since! Another example is when my creative process is fueled by smell. I used to work in vintage and found a solid perfume in the pocket of a gorgeous 1920s duster. The smell of the perfume was exquisite. I couldn’t believe it still smelled so good because it seemed as old as the coat. My nose decoded that it was rose and amber so I went to work, experimenting with all sorts of rose oils with amber and playing with the proportions. Finally, I landed on a winner and I named it “Mystical Muse” just like the mysterious woman who that duster and perfume belonged to. 

Could you share with us any specific works of art, literature, music, etc that have been inspiring to you recently?

I draw inspiration from a wide range of things including Art Nouveau / 1800s Arts & Crafts Movement, the whole vibe I get from a Gunne Sax dress, The New Age Movement and especially its music, the hippy DIY books by Alicia Bay Laurel and similarly The Whole Earth Catalog. However, most recently, I have been loving listening to a compilation called Sad About The Times. 

Can you describe your workspace? How has your workspace evolved alongside your work? 

I work from home so my workspace consists of my admin/shipping office which is upstairs in a spare bedroom and my actual studio where I produce all my soap/products, which is in the mudroom of my home. Due to spatial limitations and my very curious 2 and 5 yr old sidekicks, I only keep what is absolutely necessary in those spaces and keep it super organized.

My workspace has evolved to reflect a much clearer path forward. When I was starting out, I had a lot of different ideas bubbling so I would have a lot of random things scattered about, but now, every single item has a purpose and it’s definitely helped me stay focused.

Is there something you tend to collect?

I love vintage clothing. I started getting into it in middle school when my older siblings were wearing it. I’d go thrifting with my mom all throughout high school and found so many amazing things that I started selling them on eBay (this was the early 2000s)! I have always been a minimalist so I don’t know if I ever did “collect” vintage clothing, but now that I have two girls of my own, I tend to hold onto the really special vintage finds instead of sell them so that they can be passed down to them.
One of my favorite pieces from my wardrobe is an early 1910s silk kimono with these psychedelic black and white curvy designs that outlines a depiction of mountains in this beautiful orange colorway. I found it on a cross-country roadtrip in the middle of America - I can’t even remember which state it was - but it was a time in my life when I felt very happy and free so the kimono also carries that energy with it.

A very full question - how would you choose to spend alone time if/when you get it? What does an ideal day of rest and recharging for you include? What are your favorite rituals for self-care?

This is quite the loaded question for a stay-at-home mom of two young ones! Honestly, I would enjoy doing anything if I could do it alone…wash the dishes…take a shower…read an email…but, it’s fun to fantasize so if I got an opportunity to truly be alone for a whole day, I would start it by waking up early and tackling some to-dos in the studio then go get a facial from Anne at Boketto Wellness and when I emerge from cloud 9 with glowing skin I’d grab a latte and drink it outside in silence as I listen to the birds. I’d then go thrifting/antiquing for about 3 hours and then stop by the farmer’s market to pick up some fish and veggies for dinner. I’d return home, cook a lovely dinner and then have a few girlfriends come over for wine and a game of scrabble! And then I’d be in bed by 10 pm :)

My favorite self-care ritual is using a gua sha on my face and neck after applying face oil. It’s so relaxing and really helps with any puffiness I have. I also love getting plenty of sleep and drinking plenty of water.

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