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George Laboda |

George Laboda | "A Series of Personal Stories"

George Laboda, a visionary, has created an exceptional space for modern men called Gents Lounge. It's where you can get lost exploring, learning, and becoming fascinated by things you would've never come across otherwise. George takes a natural and spontaneous approach to sharing with his audience, and is always guided by his own passion for a subject matter. Read on about his past, present, and future plans... 

What did you want to do when you were young? What was your earliest ambition?

When I was young I wanted to be an architect. Well, I think my parents planted that idea in my head because I was always building things out of legos. I don't design buildings today, but I think the idea of creating something new and interesting always stuck with me. 

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. It's a small town about two hours away from 3 cities you've probably heard of (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo). I may never go back there but honestly, I don't think I would want to grow up anywhere else. It was easy living. People actually talked to their neighbors, no one locked their doors, and you literally couldn't go anywhere without seeing a friend or someone you knew. Looking back I'm not sure if that last one was actually a good thing haha. 

What did you study in school and what was your first job out of college?

I went to Cal State Long Beach and studied film and media arts. Out of college I got extremely lucky and landed a job editing a TV show called Tech Toys 360 that was on Discovery for 3 seasons. I was just interning there in college and the guy who had signed on to edit the show backed out so they gave me a chance to put the show together. Needless to say, I don't think I have ever been more stressed in my life during that first season but they kept me on for two more seasons so I guess I didn't mess up too bad.

What prompted you to move from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles? 

After high school, I decided I wanted to go to film school. (My mom wouldn't let me be a ceramics major... Yea, I wanted to be a professional potter. BTW thanks Mom for talking me out of that one!) When you think movies you don't really think midwest Pennsylvania, so I decided to make the move out west.

When did you launch Gent’s Lounge, and how did the idea of starting it spark? What did you hope would bring to your audience? 

Gent's Lounge launched in March of 2014 with the goal of helping guys become better guys in all aspects of their life. I was about 25 when I came up with the idea. There had been somethings I had learned on my own at this point that I wished someone would have helped show me the way. Guys being guys, we really don't like to ask for help, directions, or admit that we don't know something. I decided I was going to make an easy accessible platform that gave guys the answers to questions they never even thought to ask. And that's how Gent's Lounge was born.

You showcase a lot of amazing videos, how-to’s, and tips for men. How did you start creating content in the beginning for Gent’s Lounge and how has it evolved throughout time?

In the beginning, everything was really basic, we really didn't know what was going to work and what wasn't. We just talked about what we knew best, tie knots, types of shoes, basic tailoring, etiquette etc... I think it's good we started like that because it gave our audience the chance to learn with us. Over time we have made friends with a lot of amazing talented people that have shared their expertise with us and allowed us to bring their knowledge to our audience.  

Where do you look for inspiration - either for yourself or for Gent’s Lounge?  

Inspiration is everywhere for us. It's food, it's Art, it's our fellow creators and brands out there. Our goal is to never stop learning. When I started Gent's Lounge I already had a passion for learning new things, but now it's not just about me. We have a whole audience that is hungry for knowledge and that's such an amazing feeling. It's not just about putting outfits together, it's about becoming a better person.

In what areas might you wish to expand Gent’s Lounge? Will we ever see a multilingual Gent’s Lounge website? Or a more extensive product line? 

You hit the nail on the head! We are looking to roll out some new product for the holiday season. As far as a multilingual website, that might be a year or two down the road!

What do you still wish to discover more of or wish to learn more about?

I get on these kicks. Two years ago I wanted to learn about all about whiskey. Last year it was cigars. This year I am really into furniture and design.

What is your dream for your career?

As long as I can make a living creating things I'll be happy. 

Is there a best piece of advice from someone that you go back to all the time?

If you're the smartest person in the room it's time to find a new room. 


Quick takes!

Food of choice: Fried Chicken

Your next vacation spot: Cancun

Whisky, wine, or scotch: Whiskey

All-time favorite car: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Top 3 The Goods products you can’t live without: The Surface, The Hit, The Shade


Follow George on: Instagram / Facebook / Website 

Khalif Boyd | 'A Series of Personal Stories'

Khalif Boyd | 'A Series of Personal Stories'

Khalif Boyd's got an upbeat energy to him that you won't find in most people. He's undeniably easy and fun to be around, but when it comes to his passion, acting is where he gives his 110%. His fearless characteristic of longing to explore the unknown while pushing his own boundaries testifies to his determination and hard work. Read on about the Khalifornian native...

What did you want to do when you were young? What was your earliest ambition?

When the Lakers drafted Nick Van Exel in ’93, there was something about his tenacity and the way he would celebrate after scoring a bucket that made my 6-year-old heart want to make it into the NBA. My earliest ambition was ridiculous and that was to buy my parents a house but then also purchase a fully decked out Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade with gigantic rims for my dad to drive me in because it seemed like the cool thing then, am I right?

Where did you grow up and what was daily life like?

I grew up in Lakewood, CA (named “SportsTown” by Sports Illustrated in 2004), but to avoid explaining to people where that is, I tell them that I’m from Long Beach. I feel like my generation just got the tail end of the what it really was like to play outdoors. My apartment complex was a huge melting pot in itself, mixed with all different races and religions from whom I loved learning from. My eclectic group of friends consisted of Josh, the White kid, Mauricio, the Mexican kid, Matt, the Black kid, and Mark, the Filipino kid and then me, the Mutt. We played video games, jumped around on two story buildings, walked a mile out to the community swimming pool to flirt with the girls and then hit up Thrifty for some ice cream and then usually ended the night with a movie or with our own illegal bonfire in the apartment’s sand playground.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I went to Whittier College where I studied Kinesiology in hopes that if I didn’t make it to the NBA, I would still be around sports and maybe become a physical therapist but then… I dropped out my last year because I was completely overtaken by the acting bug and headed up to Hollywood to learn and work on my new craft.

How and when did you discover your passion for acting?

After coming back from playing basketball in Costa Rica, a friend of mine told me that he was taking this acting class at the nearby junior college and that I should join him. The thought of “acting” NEVER crossed my mind but I was burned out from basketball and was already open and curious to explore something new. While being in that acting class, I went to watch “Biutiful” by Alejandro Iñarritu by myself and I remember waking up the next day knowing that I wanted to go towards those deeper questions about myself and the human condition.    

Does acting allow you to go on a journey of discovering more about yourself? If so, what’s been the most important one? 

Acting is a very vulnerable medium and it always allows me to go on a journey to discover more about myself. That’s why I do it. The most important discovery is that there is a reason for why the human condition is the way it is, and when you dig deep, it can be terrifying.

What type of movie genre would you want to partake in most? 

That’s a real difficult question! I love all the genres but if I absolutely had to choose, I'd partake in comedy because I agree with what Victor Borge said, "laughter is the shortest distance between two people”.

What’s the most thrilling part of acting in film for you?

Plunging into the unknown and surprising yourself. Those moments don’t come as often as I would like them to but that’s why I love staying in class - to try and train myself to have that constant allowance to be spontaneous.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being an actor?

To accept that if I don’t book a gig even after feeling that I did a great job in my audition, it's NOT ME.

What is your dream for your career?

I want to be on a crazy successful television show where it has a story that has never been told before, like “Transparent”. I’m working on my own feature film right now that's somewhat based on my unique upbringing as a Vietnamese and African-American man who is just weird because the world is weird. Think “Everybody Hates Chris” meets “Master of None”.

Is there a best piece of advice from someone that you go back to all the time?

“Take a deep breath. You’re enough.”


Quick takes!

If you could move to any city in the world: London

Favorite director: Spike Lee

You’re an animal lover, what’s your favorite animal: Beluga Whale

Describe yourself in three words: Zen, Athletic, Philomath

Top 3 The Goods products you can’t live without: Definitely The Shade, The Shell, and The Loop!


Follow Khalif on: Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook/ IMDB

Laura Albouy | 'A Series of Personal Stories'

Laura Albouy | 'A Series of Personal Stories'

Laura Albouy, the ultimate quintessential Parisian woman, stands for it all - from her fashion choices, to her raison d'être. In her feature with us, she is nothing but honest in revealing her story, choices, and struggles throughout. The ultimate importance is that she's mindful of her every move. Let's get started on a journey with her, in France... 

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I grew up in France, in a beautiful place by the ocean, called Biarritz. People call it the "Little California", and then I moved to Paris.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I went to school in Paris, and graduated from Business School and Higher Commercial Studies.

What was your first job after college?

Area Manager for a French luxury cosmetic company called By Terry

Growing up in Paris, has fashion always been a big part of your life? 

Absolutely, and I would even say growing up more generally as a French girl, fashion is a big part of our lives, something that mothers teach to their daughters. I think we are really proud of this legacy.

What prompted you to move from Paris to Los Angeles?

A man, now my husband and the father of my 2 year old son.

When did you first start your fashion and beauty blog initials.la and how did you get inspired to start it? Any hints on how the name came about?

I started the blog when I moved to LA, because I was waiting for a work permit and wanted to keep myself occupied. I have been working with so many French designers in France that I wanted to start talking about them, and help promote the minimal French style, where everything does not have to be branded (unlike in LA). As for the name of the blog: LA were my initials before I married my husband (Laura Albouy), after I married him (Laura Angelone), and of course LA also refers to Los Angeles. The "initials" refers to a very famous song by iconic songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, a song he wrote for Brigitte Bardot, called "initials bb". 

What do you love most about being a blogger and what drives you to do what you do?

To be honest, I love blogging less and less. I think it was nice a few years ago but now it's all advertising, nobody really "likes" the stuff they're wearing, but they get paid to wear it. There's no difference between Chiara Ferragni's blog and the ads you see in Vogue, they're all ads. I might be a little 'old-fashioned', but I carefully choose who I work with and would never talk about something I don't like just for money. Maybe that's why I am not Chiara lol!

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect?

The time required to blog! I don't know how other girls do, but I am a working mother, I work from home AND take care of my son. My days start at 7:30am and end at 9-10pm. Once he's in bed and I finally have time to finish my work, I don't have the energy to blog after!

What is your dream for your career?

Creating my Community Management agency and helping small designers who can't afford the totally unreasonable prices of communication agencies develop their social media platforms. That's what I am currently doing.


Quick takes! 

Favorite city to vacation: Guethary, France

Top 3 items in your wardrobe: Black blazer, high-waisted jeans, black boots

Coffee, Rosé, or Tea: Rosé!!!

Winter, summer, fall or spring: Spring or Fall

Describe your style in 3 words: Minimal, Parisian, often Black

Your favorite The Goods item: The bike, without hesitation!


Follow Laura on: Instagram / Facebook / Website