women making an impact: loren dunsworth
Editor’s note: Women Making an Impact is a series of articles that highlights successful women in the industry. If you would like to nominate someone for recognition please send submissions to Kristen Santoro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It may have been a culture shock when Vancouver native, Loren “Lola” Dunsworth, owner of Lola’s moved to Hollywood, California, but switching from the legal industry to working in the hospitality industry was definitely an unexpected detour.
It was a serendipitous meeting in 1986 between Dunsworth and two French brothers, Frederic and Nicolas Meschin, who were clients of the law firm Dunsworth was working in. That meeting led to them asking her to leave her legal job to help them open a supper club. And she did. “It kind of gets in your blood,” she says.
Dunsworth hopped around working at different clubs with the brothers until finally branching out on her own, starting with opening her own catering company. She always preferred being her own boss. “I find it much more gratifying, you have a much better quality of life working for yourself.” Eventually, a friend convinced her to open her own place, and Lola’s was born.
However, the industry is “completely male dominated. There’s few women considering owning a restaurant,” and owning a bar is an even riskier proposition Dunsworth says. However, she relied on her successful stints at major nightspots like Vertigo, Flaming Colossus, and House of Blues to make Lola's a destination experience.
“I don’t know a lot of women that are cut out for that. It can be pretty hardcore,” she says. “Women are innately a little more maternal, innately more honest with what you’re doing and it’s not an industry that lends itself to that.”
Dunsworth, however, is a trailblazer and has kept Lola’s a popular bar for almost two decades. She has created a venue that is both elegant and comfortable. It presents an inviting mix of warm earth tones accented by animal prints. She continuously strives to keep it professional yet personable; making sure her guests feel welcome.
Loren Dunsworth is one woman that has shattered the glass ceiling in an industry that is known for its boy’s club. “I move through life with a confidence because to me there isn’t any other option.”