Lake Effect Co. encourages you to connect with the beauty, adventure, and healing power of nature (namely the water) through consciously sourced apparel and accessories. It's a venue to create magnetic moments in Mother Nature, to embrace a unique Earth-minded lifestyle, and to let the ever-changing water inspire us. It’s about being balanced in adventure, health, beauty, and self, all through the lens of life by the lake. It's a suggestion to "Chase More Sunsets" which is code for finding what inspires you and building a life that includes more of that.
Lake effect literally means the precipitation or other miscellaneous weather patterns produced when cold air passes over warmer water or vice versa. In my world, the lake effect includes crisp breezes swirling off the lake on sweltering days and incubator-type temps on cold days. A lake’s effects extend far beyond the weather. When you’re on lake time, you know it. It’s a slower pace. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s connecting with nature. It's letting the waves heal you. It’s forgetting you’ve ever been anywhere else. When you’re on lake time, it’s never wanting to leave.
And while we may not all have the chance to reside lakeside, or even near a body of water, we can still find common ground in those prized, even if brief, moments when we catch a glimpse of the closest body of water or remember a moment when the water filled us with a sense of awe. Sometimes you just know what feels good to your soul, and for many like me, that is the Lake Effect.
So nice to meet you! I’m Katherine. Growing up in the Lake Country area, just 30 miles west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, kept me constantly under the magical influence of the water, and really all of nature. My favorite childhood memories are either running the fields and trails around our family home or playing in/on the water. I consider myself truly lucky to get a glimpse of the water most days. I am in love with the water, for the beauty, adventure, inspiration, and healing. It constantly heals me and shapes my existence, and that is at the core of this brand. I talk about it a lot on the blog. Like, here and here.
Lake Michigan and the Lake Country are lovely, but “my lake” is Medicine Lake in Three Lakes, WI (my family wrote about it here). Medicine Lake is a place I’ve called true home since age three. The days always seemed to go on forever, giving me extra hours of pier time. I tossed and turned all night before we hit the road to the lake, butterflies of excitement in my belly that felt almost as aggressive as the fish flopping on the pier after I’d reeled them in. I flew off the end of the pier without a care in the world. None of that has changed, because despite growing older, we never truly grow up at the lake. We’re all truly at our happiest when we’re lakeside. It's just our truest nature.
Whether in the Lake Country or in Northern Wisconsin, one thing has always been top of mind for me, that these lands were loved by many before me. I have a deep reverence for Native American culture, and growing up near these lush/rich landscapes, I've always felt the presence of Spirit of the earth and those who respect(ed) her before me. I honor all of those who were displaced and disrespected.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Lake Effect Co. was born after many years dreaming of a concept, products, phrasing, and branding that embodied how I felt about my beloved time at the lake. Every shared conversation with a fellow lake-lover ending in “How would anyone ever find out about that hidden gem,” or “We need a shirt that says that” brought me that much closer to bringing the idea to life..
Lake Effect Co. is more than a shop selling items that embody your lake life love - though there's nothing wrong with simply wanting to buy and fly. It's also a community to connect with others who feel similarly via our blog, social channels, and in-person events. I love the idea that there is an entire crew of summertime swimmers, boaters, wet dogs, sunset-chasers, eagle-spotters, and pier-loungers, all sharing a love of their version of lake life. While summertime lake love is often easiest to express, loving the lake is a four-seasons adventure. We not only embrace the spring blossoms, fall hikes, windburned cheeks, cozy, bundled, fireside nights, and snowshoeing, skiing, and Irish-coffee-heavy-ice-fishing mornings, but in these times it's often MORE important to intentionally seek out things that make us feel alive. Which leads us to the fact that nature is our favorite healer. While we can't help but share ways the water brings us to life, we'd love to have you share your story if it does the same for you.
So let’s celebrate how lucky we are to live and loveon and in these beautiful bodies of water. And since we love them so much, we're fierce about protecting them. We encourage eco-awareness and living environmentally consciously, meaning our products our carefully sourced so as to minimize our impact to the best of our ability, while sharing with you how you might do the same.
Lake Effect Co. products & stories are the vision of a few lake-minded folks and produced in collaboration with mostly WI-based manufacturers. We're proud to introduce a number of products by a number of nature-loving makers, too! We do our best to stock products made by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color that share in our company values.
After 5.5 years and nearly $10,000 in giving 1-5% of sales to organizations such as the following, we are no longer giving in this way. As margins have decreased due to sourcing and production of responsible and small-batch goods, it's no longer a viable option. Instead we've what we've seen as most effective is this: when you recognize that some of your greatest joys and your easiest healing comes from the water, you do everything you can to celebrate and protect it! You make the biggest impact.
So again, our primary initiative is to inspire you to live a life that is supportive of the Great Lakes and great people we love. When part of the whole is suffering, we are all suffering.
We know that when you love the lake, it becomes more authentic and natural to take steps to protect their health, so we encourage you to let yourself fall in love with the water and take steps each day to support its health.