VAUTE Founder & CEO Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart


Meet Leanne

The Danielle Lurie Team is in awe of this month's super woman Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, Founder & CEO of VAUTE. Leanne is using fashion as her vehicle to create change for all - Humans, Animals, Earth - and we are in full support!

Leanne became an animal activist when she was eight years old. After reading Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, which asked the question, “How can I serve the world with who I am?”, Leanne stepped away from her Ford Modeling career and MBA in 2008 to launch VAUTE (V for Vegan + Haute for High Design), the world’s first vegan apparel house.  Although it was the bottom of the recession, Leanne believed that there was no time like the present to follow her passion and present it to the world. Without a background in fashion or help from outside vendors, Leanne bootstrapped it for 7 years and her hard work and dedication to her mission has paid off by being named “Most Influential Designer” by PETA! Following fashion week, CNN reported, “The rebel of fashion week, breaking runway history - Hilgart is the next Stella McCartney.”

We are excited to introduce you to Leanne and see firsthand why Conde Nast calls her “A Gamechanger, embodying courage, creativity, and conviction.”


The DLT: What is your superpower?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: I love finding the win win win. When goals and talents come together through that invisible intersection and makes the most of everything.

The DLT: What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: “Nobody knows what they’re doing anyway.” Ricky Gervais

The DLT: How do you structure your days? How do you start your days? When does your work day end?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: Ask me this a year ago, 3 years ago, 10 years ago and it’s all a different answer. “How do you want to live?”, I believe that this is the question we need to constantly be asking ourselves while embracing that the answer will be ever-evolving. 

I used to strategize my days for the outcome, for the productivity until I discovered a weird counter-intuitive truth. The more we put our human needs first, by humbly accepting our limits, our human bodies, minds and hearts - the more productive we are. This truth is the opposite of what society teaches us about life as women. We are raised to be people pleasers, to be perfect, and now as career women to be hustlers, to be machines. We are not machines, we are human beings. As women, it is important to learn ourselves inside out and create a strong relationship with our own voice, body, and needs. We were not created with only an On Mode (work) and an Off Mode (sleep), rather we were created to also play, love, create, explore and restore.  Changing our mindset to believe that these self preservation actions are not selfish rather thoughtful will empower each of us to take care of ourselves so that we are not spilling our unmet needs onto everyone else. 

I structure my days in order to meet my Big needs in Small ways. 

Sleep is extremely important to my productivity in both work and life. There is nothing worse than starting a day out of anxiety or tension. If I wake up and my body feels as if it needs more time to rest, I go back to bed. For years, I did not sleep well and I have had to learn how to get myself to a place of relaxation. Part of my relaxation comes from scheduling a workout, whether it is yoga, barre or a run, I base my workout on what I need that day. I also feel energized when I can organically see someone that I love and I now live with and near many best friends for this reason! 

I also love making lists. I keep several lists running constantly (handwritten, Google Pages and Notes on my phone) to help me see what’s happening now as well as what I need to do in the future. For years my lists used to run my life but now I make life my priority and make the lists work for me! I figure out the 3 most important things to create or accomplish that day to move towards my vision, and if something is draining on my list I make sure to follow it with something nourishing!

Just as I begin my day, I switch into focusing on receiving good energy for the evening in order for me to sleep well. I end any work related communication at 7 pm, unless I am so pumped that I can’t stop working - which does happen on occasion. I then read a book, I am currently re-reading The Joy Diet by Martha Beck or take a bath, and do about 5 minutes of yoga poses before bed.

Photos by:  Anthony Two Moons

The DLT: Who is your role model and why?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: I swear this isn’t a kiss-a** answer, but without a doubt it is Danielle Lurie! She is fearless- SO beautifully alive- feels a ton, gives so much to those she loves, and is constantly learning herself. She doesn’t put up with what she doesn’t want, and she is open to life to give her more than she could ever dream. It is amazing to watch her life unfold!

The DLT: Now to get to the fun real estate questions! What is home to you? How can a home make you better at the work you do?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: I didn’t have a home for most of last year, so I had a lot of time to think about what home means to me and notice how the word “home” affects me. To me, home is being with the people I love while doing life honestly and vulnerably with them, creating spontaneous celebrations, giving a space to feel seen and heard while processing human experiences that are challenging and triggering, knowing no matter what happens we are okay because we all have each other. 

Finding my “home” has made both my work and overall well-being so much better. I am reminded that no matter what happens externally, I am lucky to be alive, to love and be loved, and to experience this world. 

The DLT: What is your dream neighborhood and why?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: I am so fortunate to be living in my dream neighborhood now in East Williamsburg! My neighborhood however isn’t a “dream” because of a location, rather because it is filled with people I love! I can also walk to everything and see some of the most amazing independent stores and unique cafes that were started from someone’s dream - that is so inspiring! The only thing I would add is to have my family near and to be closer to the water. 

The DLT: What is your must-have for your dream apartment and why?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: I love being outside as much as possible! In fact, I am sitting in my backyard as I answer these questions, so without a doubt, I must have a backyard!

The DLT: What is one thing you wish everyone knew?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: This world can be very loud. If you aren’t sure what hurts, why it hurts or how to fix it, stop asking everyone else. Instead, tell the world to “shut up” so that you can get to the quiet, and actually hear the answer. You know yourself better than anyone else - trust that!

The DLT: How can people keep up with your activities?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: The best place to see what I’m up to is on our Website and Instagram → @vaute_nyc

Leanne has a special gift for you!

VAUTE creates shockingly warm winter coats built for a Chicago winter (where Leanne is from!), of 100% cruelty free and recycled fibers, sewn sweatshop free locally.

Don’t miss the launch!Pre-orders begin September 10th and are 50% for the first 24 hours! Sign up for Vaute’s newsletter + follow on Instagram.


Use code DaniellesFavorites

after September 15th, to take 25% off Vaute’s winter coat!

The Danielle Lurie Team and  Leanne  - after a fabulous vegan lunch at our friend  Chef Chloe's  Pop Up,  Supernatural !

The Danielle Lurie Team and Leanne - after a fabulous vegan lunch at our friend Chef Chloe's Pop Up, Supernatural!

With over $100 million in real estate transactions under our belt and our business doubling in size each year - coupled with Compass' rise to a valuation of $6.4 Billion - we are ready to help our clients achieve their real estate goals! Click here to find out more about The Danielle Lurie Team!


This blog is published by The Danielle Lurie Team.

A long time women's rights activist, Danielle has created "Where She Lives" in order to give everyone access to the authentic journeys and struggles of entrepreneurs that identify as female. Home is often a sanctuary, and we have investigated what our fellow female entrepreneur needs to make their home a salvation from their daily work. We hope this blog both inspires you and brings up new ways of seeing the world and your own journey. To contact us to help with your own home process, or for any other reason, please reach out to us here.

Evelyn & Bobbie Founder Bree McKeen


Meet Bree

The Danielle Lurie Team sure does love this month's super woman Bree McKeen, Founder & CEO of Evelyn & Bobbie. Bree's bold and innovative company is on a mission to make the world's most comfortable and supportive intimates and we are big fans!

Frustrated by decades of discomfort with her own bras, and puzzled by the lack of innovation in intimate apparel, Bree McKeen capitalized on her extensive background as a product researcher, investor, storyteller, strategist, and management consultant to create a women-led bra company committed to defying outdated norms.

Evelyn & Bobbie is named after her two matriarchs, who symbolize the inextricable link between beauty and purpose. Evelyn symbolizes grace and poise, and Bobbie symbolizes creativity and hard work. Evelyn & Bobbie is comprised of a team of engineers, designers and problem solvers. 

Rooted in technology and the celebration of the natural form, this women-led bra company exists to deliver solutions for your real life. 


Raised in the middle of the forest to “homesteader” parents who built a cabin in the woods with its own water source, Bree experienced firsthand the beautiful dance between hard work and creativity. After moving from the homestead, Bree attended Stanford University (where she met our team leader, Danielle) to study Anthropology and Social Science methodology. She loved Stanford so much, she went back to Business School and was the youngest-ever Sloan Fellow, completing her Masters in 2009. 

Without further ado - here is what makes Bree shine the way she does:

The DLT: What is your superpower?

Bree McKeen: Pairing creativity with tenacity is my superpower! I believe that we all have an innate creativity and it’s pretty spectacular to witness human beings begin with an idea and make it a reality. The key to success is having the force of will to not give up! 

The DLT: What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?

Bree McKeen: I’ve had several life-changing bits of advice given to me throughout my life. But among the top ten was “Take an improv class!” These four words have had a lasting impact on my life. (And was given to me by Danielle Lurie, by the way!)

The DLT: How do you structure your days? How do you start your days? When does your work day end?

Bree McKeen: It is often difficult to define structure within the demands of running a start-up that entails an abundance of travel. But I believe in the importance of my life having a more consistent rhythm and I am working hard to discover it.

On my best days, I wake up before my alarm after a full 8 hours of sleep. I drink a big glass of water, then pop into my little “meditation corner,” light a candle, and say some prayers, set some intentions, and stretch or move a little. Then I have a matcha latte blended with coconut oil instead of milk. (I gave up coffee and I don’t miss it!) Then I steal a few hours to work from home and enjoy the beautiful view from my apartment which helps to check some essential to-do’s off my list for the day. 

After that, my little dog Otto and I walk across the river on the Tillicum bridge to Evelyn & Bobbie headquarters, where my busy little team is already deep into the day’s projects. I have only recently begun to be intentional with my mornings, allowing myself to focus on my individual work and although at times it has it's challenges, it has really helped me to cut the noise - which I believe is very important! 

The DLT: Who is your role model and why?

Bree McKeen: Missy Elliot. She is brilliant, fierce and she’s a survivor! She stands confidently in her creative power and has her own unique version of femininity that I really respect.

The DLT: Now to get to the fun real estate questions! What is home to you? How can a home make you better at the work you do?

Bree McKeen: Home is everything for me! As an entrepreneur, my mind is constantly racing, so having a quiet, safe place to call home makes all the difference. My current home has the most breathtaking views of the river and Mt. Hood and has a minimalism design with clean lines which really help to quiet my mind. I am so lucky to be able to wake up every morning, with a smile, to an incredible sunrise which positions my mindset for a great day ahead.

The DLT: What is your dream neighborhood and why?

Bree McKeen: I’m a mountain girl at heart, so I suppose my dream neighborhood isn’t really a neighborhood at all. Rather, my dream home is an eco-cabin on a hill with a breathtaking view, horse stables and a little airplane hanger outback. It has to be a short drive (or flight!) to amazing restaurants and to the people who inspire me.

The DLT: What is your must-have for your dream apartment and why?

Bree McKeen: Hardwood floors, gorgeous natural light, and a view, of course! I admit -- I’m always looking for my ivory tower.

The DLT: Who has most helped you along the way?

Bree McKeen: So many people have helped me along the way. My previous boss, Will Kessinger, was a huge influence on me. He taught me most of what I know about the business 'facts of life'. I've also had friends and mentors, Danielle Lurie being one of the most important, who have intervened when I try and get in my own way. And perhaps most importantly, Aunt Bobbie (whom Evelyn & Bobbie was named after) . She instilled the value of forging your own path when the predetermined path doesn't serve you -- that there are more solutions than problems.

The DLT: How can people keep up with your activities?

Bree McKeen: The best place to see what I’m up to is on our Blog and Instagram → @evelynbobbie

Bree has a special gift for you!


Use Code DANIELLELURIETEAM when you purchase anything from Evelyn & Bobbie and receive both a free wash bag and travel bag!

Please note that you will have to manually add the wash and travel bags to your order. Once the code is entered, it will remove the cost of these items.

Click  here  to find out more about us and how an all woman team can help you find or sell your home in NYC!

Click here to find out more about us and how an all woman team can help you find or sell your home in NYC!

Why We Love Smarties Co-President Liz Dee

Meet Liz

This month's super woman we are in awe of is Smarties Candy Company's (yes, the iconic Smarties candy rolls that was your favorite candy of your childhood!) Co-President Liz Dee, who tells us her best advice for women in business - and why natural light is a must-have in her dream NYC home.

In addition to being a candy-maker, Liz is also CEO of Baleine & Bjorn Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in businesses creating solutions to outdated animal products, and founder of Vegan Ladyboss, a global community of organized, connected and empowered vegan women. Liz lives in the West Village in NYC with her husband, Nick Garin, and their rescue dog, Sandy.

The DLT: What is your superpower?

Liz Dee: Kindness! It really is everything.

The DLT: What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?

Liz Dee: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” - Annie Dillard

The DLT: How do you structure your days? How do you start your days? When does your work day end?

Liz Dee: I prefer to keep my days very structured. My color coded outlook calendar is my guide and I plan almost everything in advance, including workouts, commutes and down time. 

Time, to me, is more precious than anything else, and I am mindful about how I spend it. 

I’m on year three of reading at least a book per week, so I always take time to read each day.

I start my days snuggling with the dog, Sandy. Then on to a green drink (using green vibrance powder right now) and meditation. Soon after, I head to work at Smarties Candy Company with a smoothie (my husband makes a delicious smoothie with banana, berries, kale, almond butter, flax seeds, chia seeds and dates) and an oat milk latte. 

My work day never really ends, but I generally am at the Smarties NJ office from 8am to 3:30pm. 

Fun fact: Monday through Friday, I smell like candy! Outside of my Smarties office hours, I fit in work for Baleine & Bjorn Capital and Vegan Ladyboss.

The DLT: Who is your role model and why?

Liz Dee: Right now, I feel very inspired by my Smarties co-presidents Jessica Dee Sawyer and Sarah Dee who are incredible working moms with young kids. I have much to learn from their perseverance, commitment, and ability to prioritize.

The DLT: Now to get to the fun real estate questions! What is home to you? How can a home make you better at the work you do?

Liz Dee: Home is sanctuary where I can rest, recharge and be with loved ones. It is imperative to have my basic needs covered at home so I can do meaningful work out in the world. 

The DLT: What is your dream neighborhood and why?

Liz Dee: The West Village is my dream neighborhood because of its quiet charming streets and beautiful buildings. It feels like an oasis to me. 

The DLT: What is your must-have for your dream apartment and why?

Liz Dee: My must-haves for my dream apartment are ample natural light, lots of plants around, excellent air filters and a top notch drinking water purifier. Light, nature, clean air and water - basic and so important! 

The DLT:  How can people keep up with your activities?

Liz Dee: The best place to see what I’m up to is on Instagram → @TheLizDee

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