Reality show fame can be fleeting, but Lauren Burnham-Luyendyk aims to keep her name recognition going with today’s launch of a direct-to-consumer sportswear line.
After appearing on season 22 of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” she eventually wound up marrying the lead Arie Luyendyk Jr. Like many made-for-TV courtships, theirs took some turns and twists before resulting in matrimony and parenthood. Reached Friday in Arizona, where she was hiding out from the 114-degree heat, Burnham-Luyendyk discussed her new company, life as an influencer and the importance of not dwelling on other people’s false perceptions.
Although the pandemic shutdown delayed the March launch date for Shades of Rose, she decided to go forward now since many people are still hanging out at home and are spending more time on social media than they normally would. And that is where she plans to promote it. With the help of a silent investor, Burnham-Luyendyk owns the Los Angeles-based label that is produced overseas. After two years in the making, she was eager to launch. “Obviously, there is a lot of negativity going around so I was looking to bring a little positivity and excitement to people’s lives.“
Millions know the founder for her appearance on “The Bachelor,” despite not walking away with the final rose. Luyendyk proposed to her during “After the Final Rose” with a live studio audience watching in 2018. Their union has been a much-publicized one — their wedding date was revealed on “The View.“ Before their co-bachelor/bachelorette party, they announced they were expecting a daughter. “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison officiated at their wedding in January 2019 and their daughter was born in May of last year.
As the name of Burnham-Luyendyk’s company suggests, Shades of Rose, the idea is that neither she, nor the 12-piece collection can be typecast. Styles include WFH-friendly sweats, rompers, blouses dresses and pants. Considering her 1 million Instagram followers and the more than 7.7 million viewers who tuned in for season’s 22 final rose ceremony, the founder offers somewhat of a captive audience. Asked about the debate in fashion about design talent not being as important as having a built-in audience, Burnham-Luyendyk said, “It obviously helps a ton to have a built-in audience. I might be biased but I think I’m pretty talented in design as well.”
During high school and college she modeled on the local level, dabbled in design at Heidi Fish Swimwear and worked retail at Michael Kors and Hollister. Those part-time jobs have since proved to be more valuable as she has ventured into fashion. Styling people to make them feel good about themselves or helping them find the perfect gift were some of the upsides, she said. Whether working as a salesperson or stocking inventory at the back of the store, it’s important for business owners to see every single aspect of their businesses so they can relate to the employees working on their teams, Burnham-Luyendyk said. “There’s so much work that goes into but you don’t realize that until you’re in it.”
Previously selling tech solutions to corporate companies for Vontage, she said she learned a different kind of creativity, managed her own portfolio and developed individual goals and team-building skills. More recently, she and her real estate agent husband have been buying, renovating and staging old homes to rent or sell.
Well aware that many viewers may have an idea of what they are like, the couple have been using social media to show that they’re very devoted to each other and that they love each other “a lot,” she said. “I don’t think people really thought that coming off the show. It’s something that they’ve gotten to know over time.”
Having Harrison officiate their nuptials “wasn’t weird,” since they know him on a different level — more of “a stepdad” or “a godfather,” she said. As serious as Harrison is about his on-air job, he’s “full of dad jokes, constantly goofing off and is a lot of fun to be around,” off-the-clock, she said. As for whether “The Bachelor” overvalues the importance of marriage in a person’s life, Burnham-Luyendyk said, “Yes. The show obviously is about finding your person to get married to, so yes. That may not be as important as other things at particular other stages in your life. But that’s what it’s about.”
Burnham-Luyendyk singled out other “Bachelor” personalities like Lauren Bushnell Lane and Hannah Godwin (or “Hannah G” as her fans call her) for their personal style. As for her own preferences, she is “not much of a brand name label type of person” and is more inclined to wear random things that she thinks look good together. Sets, skirts, dresses, rompers and jumpsuits are a few favorite styles. “As a mom, it’s always good to have something easy to throw on that still looks cute,” she said.
The middle-of-the-road d-t-c offering is meant to be affordable with retail prices ranging from $40 to $150. The founder said she had “no idea” what to expect for first-year sales. Having always imagined that she would one day run her own business, the reality star said she is “finally at the place where she thought she would be. Growing up, I was pushed to do something that was stable and dependable, which is what every parent really wants for their kids — for them to be able to support themselves. My passions were always more creative and a little more unstable in my parents’ eyes. I focused what they wanted me to do first and now I’m doing what I want.”
On average each month, 10 brands send her selected styles that they hope she will wear and post on social media. “Some are sent to be sent and some are set up as partnerships. I 100 percent disclose that it’s a partnership, and I’m promoting it because I was sent it or they’re paying me, Burnham-Luyendyk said.
As for whether the average person makes that distinction, she said she wasn’t sure. “A lot of people are accustomed to seeing that stuff on social media. If they’re curious enough, they’ll look to see if ‘#ad’ is included.”
Burnham-Luyendyk’s daughter is also a fledgling influencer. Like her mother, the toddler has clothes sent to her and she has her own Instagram account. Although sometimes she gets a little uncomfortable with her daughter being on Instagram, Burnham-Luyendyk said, “I feel because she’s on my social media already that there’s not a big difference of her being on her own. We are not as active on her page.”
As for what makes her wary, the reality star said, “Obviously, with all of the things that are in the news now and being aware of who is looking at her pictures.”
Helping children through different charities is another priority for her. Sky High for Kids and NPH, nonprofits that respectively help pediatric cancer patients and orphans‘ educational needs, have her support. Adding a charitable component to Shades of Rose is being considered.
Despite developing her career beyond her TV persona, Burnham-Luyendyk still hears some off-the-wall comments from viewers such as “You’re so much prettier in person,” she said.
All in all, Burnham-Luyendyk said she has learned not to focus too much about other people’s perceptions, especially negative ones. “I don’t know what they think about me now. In the past after the show, people assumed that there wasn’t a lot to me. Other than, I guess, being pretty, is what they would say. What they don’t know is that I work really hard, my family is really important to me and helping people is one of my big passions in life,” she said.