Katerina Williams opened Lullanest in East Hampton to help new parents give their babies the best start possible. Williams knows a thing or two about getting a new start herself. The graduate of Hofstra Law spent seven years working in corporate law, but when she returned from maternity leave after having her son, Sebastian, three years ago, she realized her priorities and passions had shifted.
“I was kind of a different person when I came back, and I resigned three months after I returned,” Williams recalled. “I realized that I wasn’t really capable of giving 100 percent from myself to my family and my job at the same time and that I would want to seek another option.”
For about two years, Williams focused on watching Sebastian (and soon after, preparing for the birth of Loukas, who is now 1). All the while, she developed a passion for finding quality products for her child. There was one problem: she couldn’t find a go-to spot where she could get items from her favorite brands, like Little Giraffe and Chewbeads, so she started her own.
“Parents generally like to let other parents know what works for them and what doesn’t, and I thought it would be great to have a hub for parents in that way, a place that really cuts out a lot of the guess work for the items you want for your child and only brings in really great quality products so you feel like you have a really one-stop location to shop,” Williams said.
Customers have responded, flocking to the store for the products as well as the atmosphere.
“We’re unique because we’re genuinely trying to have an intimate community experience. We really get to know our customers,” Williams said. “Our relationship doesn’t stop when they make the purchase. That’s something I didn’t find when I was pregnant with either one of my sons, and that’s what I wanted to create.”
Though her career path has taken her in a different direction, Williams still uses the lessons she learned as a lawyer every day, like meticulously researching the safest products and negotiating with people to come up with a compromise that leaves both parties satisfied.
“I feel as though having a legal education really changes the way you think and it can really help you in every field,” Williams said. “I also apply everything that I’ve learned as a business owner, so I consider it a continuation just in a different way.”
After a journey from the courtroom to the retail world, Williams has more than just advice to give new parents about brands. She knows all about what it takes to successfully start a business, too.
“Make sure you have a really good team in place and that you’re very good with organizing and managing your time,” Williams said. “Be prepared to give yourself a schedule.”