Dreams Into Reality: Paula Franco, From Corporate to Creating a Lifestyle Brand
Paula Franco is the creator of artisanal lifestyle brand Luz Editions that creates and sells beautiful Portuguese homeware products such as linen wall hangings, ceramic plates, and artisanal knives.
Paula’s love of photography and her faith in the creative process and listening to her heart has led her on a journey from working in a corporate role at L’Oreal to embracing photography, interior design, and her beloved country Portugal and marrying them together to create Luz Editions, ‘born from nostalgia, made for the modern life’.
Paula generously shares how she turned lifestyle brand Luz Editions from a dream into a reality and her thoughts and insights on creativity, courage, age, and beauty if you dare to follow your dreams.
Many people find it difficult to bring different things they love together. What was your process that allowed you to marry your love of photography, Portugal, your love of the past and interiors to create your extraordinarily beautiful Luz Editions?
As everyone knows, you can’t create if you don’t start from a genuine feeling. The discovery of old photographs by Artur Pastor was a trigger for me. His work has so much beauty and depth it deserves to be shown. And above all, outside our borders! Seeing these photographs from the 1950’s and 1960’s took me back to my childhood and memories of my grandparents. Because frankly, the Portugal of the 70’s hadn’t changed. Portugal experienced a dictatorship which began in the 1930’s and ended in 1974. The gap that I experienced between my childhood in Paris and my childhood in the summer in Portugal is the basis of who I am now. I understood the importance of roots and how the past and the present are a necessary connection. Giving importance to simple and true things was the idea I wanted to convey and strangely it coincided with the arrival of Covid…
The biggest difficulty was finding a way to reinterpret these photos. I wanted them to be hung on the walls but not in the form of fine art print (too obvious) and I wanted to highlight the vintage side of them… Screen printing and its process — which gives a certain imperfection to the photograph — seemed to be the best way to translate that. And then, the idea of associating a Portuguese word to the image to communicate the essence came to me. I think the result reflects my love for photography as well as for interior design.
Women are often told that at 50+, they are too late to realise their dreams. How has your age and experience been a positive asset in starting this new adventure? What would you say to women who need to take their first step?
First of all, I want to start with an anecdote. In 2012, I was at the bottom of the abyss. I didn’t like my job at all and I only did it for the financial security it brought me. I don’t remember how I found out about your Carla Loves Photography blog and your story of changing your life, changing country for Italy and falling in love… I thought to myself, this sounds a bit like my story! And I just thought, “If she can do it, so can I.”
From there, I joined this community of women who want to dream. In 2016, I lost my father after 4 months of cancer. It was a shock, he was too young to die and he was still afraid of not having enough money at the end of his life. So I believe I learned from both of you and in 2017, I finally quit my job. Then you launched the Yes, Yes, Yes program and it gave me the confidence to go further. I believe that there is no age to reinvent yourself because life is too short. We always find excuses not to start over or to try… not the right moment, not enough money, not enough strength or energy. Yet the secret is to find again the person we were when we were 20 years or older who had no money but wanted to try everything. Find this strength and this determination. Choose a mentor or guide, like Carla, who can support us in times of doubt. As I often say, only death is irreversible.
Courage is essential when we do something new or dare to move towards something we care about. What role has courage played in your new project and has there been something in particular that has motivated you to be courageous with lifestyle brand Luz Editions?
The whole process of living is an act of faith. The greatest courage that we can have in ourselves is that of refusing to live a life that doesn’t suit us. Some people live a conventional life very well and there’s nothing wrong with that, but when we ask ourselves questions or we feel dissatisfied, we should take it as a sign. Creating my brand, Luz Editions, was simply the next step I needed for myself. There’s no certainty if it will work or last but the real purpose is to be doing something for myself that brings me joy and enrichment in my everyday life. It’s also a way of keeping learning about many things on a daily basis: textile, printing techniques, business, marketing… For example, I’ve joined my passion for photography and textiles by trying different techniques for the future like cyanotype.
Also, the name Luz means light in Portuguese. Choosing a name for your brand is also very important because it will carry all the love you put in it. For me, it was the light after the darkness. A rebirth.
You are a photographer and you love interior design, what is one habit, tip, or behaviour that supports your ongoing creativity? What has creativity taught you about yourself?
Whether it’s photography or interior design, I have at the base a lot of observation and curiosity about people and their way of life. This curiosity has been greatly satisfied by culture and life, quite simply. I was lucky to be born in France and grow up in Paris where culture and history are everywhere. Since I was young, I have been passionate about magazines and cinema. Photography was the next step in observing the world.
Observation has nurtured me and has developed my sense of requirement because I only like things that have a story to tell and are well made. Today, I still have this curiosity and I do a lot of research to transfer this requirement to my Luz Editions brand. I just don’t want to produce “objects” but to create pieces that people will identify with and be proud to own.
What role has community played in launching Luz Editions? Has it brought a new community into your life or connected you to an already existing one?
The first important community for me was all the women of the Yes, Yes, Yes program that inspired me and gave me faith. Also people like Julie Gibbs, Claire Lloyd, Domenica More Gordon — or of course you, Carla — are a constant inspiration on starting over or embarking on a project that makes sense. Since I created my brand, I have discovered “my own” community of enthusiasts, whether through the products or the messages conveyed. For instance, Instagram brings me a lot of this community that comments and encourages. I also like to do pop-ups to meet people and get their feedback live. And, I am also very grateful to all the traders who took a risk on Luz Editions through the difficult times we are living.
I believe that there is no age to reinvent yourself because life is too short. We always find excuses not to start over or to try… Yet, the secret is to find again the person we were when we were 20 years or older who had no money but wanted to try everything.
What’s a message, quote or saying you would like to send out to the world about taking a risk and doing what you love? And why?
“The only journey is the one within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Because you are the captain of your life. Nobody will do the work for you and you should always be your first supporter. That’s it!
Congratulations to Paula for all the beauty she has created and for following her heart and bringing this beautiful project to life.
You can check out Paula’s beautiful work here: luzeditions.com
You can follow Paula on Instagram here: instagram.com/luz_editions
I hope you enjoyed this inspirational story of bringing different loves together. Thanks to Paula for sharing her thoughts and insights on her journey.
Love and light,