New York-to-Los Angeles transplant Alicia Liu pivoted from high fashion to plant-based ice cream, launching Lavender and Truffles last year. The luxury ice cream is already stocked (and often sold out) at LA’s Erewhon, and Liu has collabed with chic foodie partners like Ghetto Gastro for Nike, Chifa in LA, and Jack’s Wife Freda in New York.
Being a one-woman startup means Liu’s week goes from developing new flavors in the kitchen to having pitch meetings with venture capitalists to traveling back to New York for special events. So while most people would take things down a notch on Sundays, Liu prefers to explore and adventure along the West Coast with her daughter and her dog on her day off.
In our new series, “A Perfect Sunday,” we spotlight our favorite tastemakers and their ideal Sunday vibe, life advice, and beauty and style must-haves. Here, Alicia Liu shares her routine.
I get up early on Sundays, around 7 or 8 a.m. I take my Cockalier, Jax, for a walk and grab a coffee and a breakfast treat for me. Demitasse is a sweet local cafe in Santa Monica, and they have good dog treats, so Jax likes to go there. I also like supporting local and small businesses.
I take a morning yoga class at We Love Camp that combines HIIT and yoga. So I get my high-intensity workout followed by twenty to thirty minutes of yoga. It’s a great Sunday workout, intense but fun, so I don’t dread going.
After that, I pack up my daughter and Jax, and we go on a Sunday adventure.
Fashion-wise, I’ve embraced the laidback LA style. I’m exhausted by having to put on an outfit every day. It was about wearing high fashion, high heels, and having a power brunch in New York. It’s nice to be relaxed and be in joggers, a tank, and flip-flops. I haven’t put on heels since I moved here. I can finally let my body, skin, and feet breathe!
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My favorite look is my linen jumpsuit from [food emporium] Gjusta. I love Gjusta because an internship I did there five years ago prompted my move to LA and work in food. I’m also never without my straw hat from Janessa Leone, and I only wear sunscreen on the weekends — no makeup!
Since I’ve only been in California for three years, I like to drive and discover new places on Sundays. Whether it’s Malibu, Ojai, Laguna, East LA, or even downtown. I like driving within two to three hours to find new food places and communities.
Last Sunday, we went to Ojai. I found this cool interior shop called deKor and had an amazing experience at the Magic Hour tea shop. They have such beautiful branding and packaging and great names for their teas.
I like to scope out a place first, get the lay of the land and then make a second trip to deep dive into the community. I like to get lost in a place. So I walk around without using a map. That’s how I found the Magic Hour!
We went to a local seafood place in Ojai for dinner, and I had oysters and champagne. Even if I stayed in LA for the weekend, I would go out to eat on Sunday night. I want to utilize my days off to discover new places. Last weekend, we went to Hide Sushi. It’s an old-school sushi place that’s super fresh, cash only. We arrived at 5 p.m. before the dinner rush and had a great meal.
We’ll almost always check out a dessert place, whether it’s boba or ice cream. Finding new ice cream places is part of my work!
I always take a bath to wind down. If I have essential oils, I use them, but I soak for at least twenty minutes. It’s my quiet time when I can shut my brain off. Jax will come in and lie down on the bath rug.
My skincare consists of a toner, a serum, and a face and body oil. I have sensitive skin, so I need clean products without too many active ingredients, so I don’t break out.
I probably go to bed around 11 p.m. Sometimes, I’ll listen to some Yoga Nidra or another sleeping meditation.
LA style and blonde necessities
I like linen because it’s comfortable and airy for LA. Seaside Tones is made in Poland, and they have easy shapes that are effortlessly chic.
I went blonde thanks to [hair colorist] Megumi in Beverly Hills, so I’ve been using Milbon hair products. It’s a Japanese line that understands Asian hair. I use Christophe Robinshade Variation Hair Mask to remove the brassiness, which always happens with bleached hair.
Career and life advice
Pivoting from luxury fashion to my ice cream brand wasn’t as jarring as one would think. Of course, the field’s a little different with different players, but my experience in launching luxury brands was so helpful when it came to launching my brand. It’s important to know your skills can translate from one industry to another; at the end of the day, it’s selling a product and that’s the same game, whether it’s designer lingerie or high-end ice cream.
I’m doing this all on my own, so I definitely have limited opportunities because of limited funds. But since I’m not going after VC money, I haven’t had to weather the challenges of being a WOC vying for big investment dollars. I’ve learned you don’t need a big team to do big things. You need good partners and have a great relationship with them. I’ve got great relationships with my co-packer and distributor, and for now, keeping my team lean works. For me, it’s about quality, not quantity, and being strategic. I’ve always hustled, but now I choose to be calculated in my hustle. It’s really rewarding to see my brand and product come to fruition and have people love it.
What inspires you the most?
Going to local supermarkets and grocers in foreign countries. You find the best and coolest things there and learn about people and cultures quickly. It sparks my creativity when I’m coming up with my ice cream flavors. One example is black sesame, which is like the chocolate of Taiwan. That’s why I made Black Tahini because it’s a nod to my Taiwanese roots, and it’s my favorite flavor.
What are you binge-watching?
I like docu-series and just saw The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist and Bad Vegan. It’s always more interesting when it’s a real-life story. I prefer it to fiction.
Most treasured item
My home in Garrison, NY. Even though I don’t live there right now, it’s still my home, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into making it what it is. Takatina is a husband and wife architect team, and they helped me renovate. They have a very zen-like approach to design, and I love that aesthetic, especially in the countryside where my home is.
(Alicia is currently renting her home on Airbnb. Check it out here.)
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