The Lily&Strum Interview

Published On April 4, 2014 | By Sweet1Lani | Interviews

laurenThe future of gift giving is on its way, and it was developed right here at home in the Burgh. Lily&Strum is an innovative app developed not only to help you never miss a special occasion gift again, but to also provide thoughtfully-curated gifts anyone would be happy to receive. The app will allow you to build and save profiles for all the special people in your life, provide timely reminders for your special occasions, curate the best gifts by asking insightful questions about the recipient, and even invite friends and family to weigh in on your choices. All that only runs you $36/year, which is less than the cost of overnighting a forgotten gift! Your subscription will include unlimited profiles, occasions, and recommendations. As a subscription based service, you can rest assured the curator will be handpicking their genuine favorites and not sponsored suggestions. Speaking of the curator, we had a chance to interview the lucky lady who landed this dream job, Lauren Urbschat.

Going from a working in performing arts to event planner to personal shopping curator is certainly a unique trajectory. How did you connect with Lily & Strum and discover this special talent to land such a dream job?

I came to this job by way of a former classmate. He suggested I meet Traci Lipple, Lily&Strum’s founder. We hit it off immediately, trading stories of our favorite gifting memories. We didn’t know exactly what my job would be, just that we wanted to work together.

In addition to hunting down unique gifts and retailers, Traci and I tag team the content strategy and I’m responsible for mapping the tags that match an individual’s interests and style to the right gifts. I credit my BFA/MBA combo for the mix of creative and analytical thinking capabilities this job requires.

You mention on the site you’ve been an avid thrifter all your life, but have moved on to online shopping. What are some of the pros and cons to both formats? What are some of your favorite online and brick & mortar shops?

I spend my days shopping online, but I’ll never ever stop thrifting. Pittsburgh’s best is definitely Red, White & Blue on 51. I’ve found so many gems there.

Thrifting Cons: No dressing rooms, so leggings or long skirts are a must if you want to try stuff on.
Thrifting Pros: You can’t beat the prices or the fun if you’ve got a good partner in crime like I do.

The communal experience is definitely a big part of why I love thrifting so much. But online shopping has clearly moved in that direction too.

Online Pros: The potential for awesome finds is infinite.
Online Cons: You can shop 24/7 and I have a somewhat addictive personality.

My list of online favorites keeps growing daily! (If you follow me on Twitter you can subscribe to it.) It includes current obsessions like Kaufmann Mercantile and Provisions by Food52 and sites that bring together small regional retailers and individual artists like Of A Kind, Scoutmob, and Bourbon & Boots (not just because I love both those things).


Finding the perfect, thoughtful gift for someone is always so exciting. What’s the coolest/most thoughtful gift you’ve ever received and given?

I love making gifts when I have time, especially photo books. I created a particularly special one for my dad last year commemorating a father-daughter road trip through Arizona. Nobody prints photos anymore, so people are always really blown away when you give them a gift like this. I’ve had great luck with Shutterfly, but I also love Printstagram. I’m working on my Instagram feed so I’ll have enough content to create a daily calendar to give as this year’s Christmas gifts.

Some of my favorite gifts have come from my mom. I have a pretty particular style, so when she successfully picks out jewelry that I really love, it means a lot. It shows that she really knows me and then when I wear it I think of her. Awww.

We don’t know about you guys, but we’re super excited to try it out! Make you sure head to their site to request a beta invite once it goes live.

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