Ali Kraus-Flower and Loren Neus started their business venture with an awareness — an awareness that when so many goods, particularly in the “fast fashion” age, were being mass-produced, the time and process required to create a unique item was becoming more and more precious. To Ali, who first started Indigo Tilt, that hands-on approach was becoming unavoidably captivating.
Ali moved from Milwaukee to Charlotte and attended high school here, launched Indigo Tilt as a blog, meant to illuminate the different designs she was discovering along with the artists creating them. On the side, for her own enjoyment, Ali was sewing, tinkering, and creating all kinds of pieces herself. When a kind of artistic kismet brought Ali to Loren in late 2016, the similarly inspired Charlotteans were able to expand the blog into a full-blown artisanal brand. There, they began to sell original designs that Ali creates.
Today, Indigo Tilt, with its striking leather tops (you’ve likely seen one on a stylish southern woman by now), statement jewelry, belts, and other accessories, has captured a deeply Southern flair alongside an organic simplicity, with designs uniquely made to be both versatile and multifunctional.
The duo have a creativity energy that’s nothing short of infectious, as they talked with us about the roots of the business, what inspires each woman, and what’s next.
Where did the name “Indigo Tilt” come from?
(Ali) In our opinion, a name should make a person feel something and trigger your senses. The word “indigo” evokes in its presence a sense of delight, hope, and individuality. We thought this would be a great beginning. And to end, “tilt” was the perfect match, given that we both have an innate fascination with uniqueness in design and life. Most often when the norm is shifted, or rather tilted, beauty is found.
Ali, how did you get interested in design?
I was raised by ‘unaware artisans’ and taught at an early age to be environmentally-conscious. My father was raised on a dairy farm and, to this day, crafts wooden toys and furniture for hobby and my mother taught me to sew. I developed a great sense of appreciation for the natural details and beauty of hand-crafted objects made with love.
How did you two meet and partner?
(Ali) We were both asked to spearhead a new philanthropic organization called “About Face Charlotte” and met working on that.(Loren) It was evident to me from our first meeting that not only did Ali possess great polish and poise, but also those around her were also attracted to her sense of style and considered her a tastemaker. We immediately clicked. I’m not usually a quick decision maker or risk-taker, but when Ali presented me with her business idea, I felt extremely comfortable and implicitly trusted her design vision.
(Ali) And I was instantly impressed with Loren’s business savvy and marketing acumen. Most importantly, she was greatly talented in all the areas that I am not. I knew if I wanted to be successful in a business, I would need someone with those skills and knowledge. Fortunately, the timing for us both seemed right.
There’s something about your designs that, to me, seem implicitly “southern” in a way that’s not necessarily obvious or overt. How does the style and aesthetic of the South come into play for you?
(Ali) I tend to create things that I would want to wear. Southern women have a beautiful style of easy elegance, so Indigo Tilt aims to reflect that Southern “effortlessness” aesthetic.
As tastemakers, how would you describe your own styles?
(Ali) I aim to live by the idea of “living a simple life beautifully.” Hopefully my personal style and home décor reflect that.
(Loren) Well, I’m not sure if I’m pulling it off, as I’m usually in workout clothes, but when I do “get dressed,” my aim is elegance with a modern twist. My style mantra is that beauty and style should look effortless.
What is a typical workday like?
(Loren) Every day is different! As a new company, Ali and I wear many hats. In general, my responsibilities are marketing/sales, branding, social media, operations, and business development. Ali is mainly focused on the thoughtfulness behind the function and design of all creations, without which there is no business. She also has the difficult task of sourcing the best materials and setting up relationships with our vendors.
What is next for Indigo Tilt?
We’ve been delighted by how quickly our company has grown in the last year. In terms of next, we have lots of design ideas percolating and are excited about further market expansion.