Lake started doing leatherwork as a creative outlet in the evenings and on the weekends when she was living in Seattle and working a 9-5 desk job. She spent a year taking various leather workshops and watching lots of youtube videos.
She quit her desk job in early 2016 and founded Billie Marie (formerly Buffalo & Co) in March 2016.
She moved herself and the business to San Francisco in early 2017 to take a year-long course in fine french leatherworking from Beatrice Amblard in Inner Richmond at Amblard Leather Atelier. Beatrice worked as a leather artisan for Hermes in Paris and then moved with the company to the USA to assist in opening their new San Francisco store. After working for Hermes for 14 years, she began her own line, April in Paris, and eventually opened her leather school Amblard Leather Atelier.
Lake combines the fine french leather working techniques she learned from Beatrice with chunkier, more durable leather and a unique everyday aesthetic to make her leather bags and accessories.
Billie Marie was located in a basement production workshop that was not open to the public in 2017 and the first half of 2018. Tired of the dark basement and disconnection with her customers, Lake opened the very first Billie Marie boutique and production workshop at 709 Hyde St. in September 2018.
She moved the boutique/workshop to Dogpatch in April 2020 during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic and was finally able to open to the public in June after 3 months of being closed. Unfortunately, Billie Marie was permanently closed down in September 2020 after losing the lease on the new boutique in Dogpatch due to pandemic-related circumstances.
But luckily, after some time to rest and think, Lake has decided to re-launch the Billie Marie brand in Summer 2021! Stay tuned to see what happens next...