How Crystal Hodges Runs Luft Studio

entrepreneur, founder, inspiration

Project Entrepreneur’s founding partner, Rent the Runway, has a special place for women entrepreneurs. Not just in its heart but also in an actual community called “The Real Runway.” Here is an excerpt from the collection of voices to motivate and inspire your own runway, whatever that may be. Read on for Crystal Hodges’s story.

It all started with… waste.

While working as a designer for a major retailer, Crystal Hodges was disheartened by the amount of materials she saw the company wasting. Anytime she questioned their process, she heard, “That’s just how it is.” Dissatisfied with that answer, Crystal joined forces with her like-minded artist friend LINSEY ROSEN to launch INDO. Together, they rescued materials from dumpsters — paper, plastic, fabric — and transformed them into innovative art that decorated store windows across Chicago (including Rent the Runway’s Gold Coast store). After seven years the two parted ways, and Crystal — a new mom — now owns and operates Luft, a design studio. Find out how questioning tradition led this artist to go after her entrepreneurial spirit.


How do you not take “No” for an answer?


When you’re starting anything, you learn a lot by addressing people’s concerns. There have been quite a few projects where people would say to me, “Can’t you just do it this way? It would be so much simpler.” And I would say, “Well, that decision is not best for these reasons based on my experience.” If that doesn’t work, sometimes you have to let people try things their way. Then they learn a lesson, too. I’m all about educating.



When you’re having a bad day, what saves you?


I think of the big picture. If I’m having a down moment, I view it as a tiny blip in my entire life. I think, “Okay, this project is going to last for maybe another month. This feeling is going to last for a couple of days.” Overall, it’s nothing. I try not to sweat the small stuff because I have a lot to be really thankful for. When you’re discouraged, the achievements feel even better.


What’s the payoff for you?


My mom has always been an inspiration to me. Since I was little, she taught me that if I’m upset about something, I can do something about it. She empowered me. It would totally be easier to go to work, get a check and have a very regular schedule. But I’m in charge of my life. At the end of the day, I don’t spend a lot of money. I don’t have a lot of things that I have to pay for. I’m happy living simply and I keep the business small to live a life that I love. That’s important to me.

Connect with Crystal Hodges’s Luft Studio

Twitter / Instagram


Read the full article on Rent the Runway’s The Real Runway.