Entrepreneur, Designer, Mama, All-Around-Creative Kanlaya Crosby: Retrospec Community Series


Entrepreneur, designer, cool mama, and all-around creative Kanlaya Crosby spends her days designing and creating with her family in Minneapolis. Follow her through Minnesota's four seasons, her dreams for the future, and her current projects. 

R: Describe yourself, who you are, and what you do 

KC: My name’s Kanlaya Crosby and I'm a Renaissance woman: mother, entrepreneur, wanderlust, bohemian, francophile. I'm a UX designer by day and designer of all things by night: fashion + interiors. I also own and operate Landmarks & Lions, a lifestyle leather goods company based out of Minneapolis, with my husband, Canyon Crosby.

R: Minneapolis is lucky enough to have four beautiful seasons. What are your favorite things to do in each season? Do you have a favorite?

KC: The fall weather right now is perfect! Minnesota in the autumn is so lush - we’re busy apple and pumpkin picking at the orchards and just enjoying the fall scenery. This year I'm embracing my Minnesota roots so we'll be renting a cabin up north and exploring what the north shore has to offer.

There's no way to sugar coat it, the winters are long and bitterly cold - but it is a winter wonderland! Christmas is magical - you have Holidazzle, ice skating and skiing. My favorite event is the kite festival on top of a frozen Lake Harriet.  After January, the long wait for spring is only tolerable if I can get away someplace warmer - preferably the Caribbean.

Once the snow melts, I'll be out in my bike. In the summer it's strawberry picking, farmers markets, swimming at the lakes. I spent 20 years living in NYC and LA and everywhere in between but we moved back to Minnesota because it's a great place to raise a family.

R: Your travel photos are amazing, how do you decide where you're going to visit next? Do you have a favorite vacation that stands out to you?

KC: My most memorable vacation is our wedding at Villa Cipressi in Lake Como, Italy. It was a week-long affair with our closest friends and family.  I’m planning our 10 year anniversary, but this time to Positano. One day I will retire and move to the south of France and run a small B&B. 

Lately, Scotland has been close to my heart as my sister just got married there so that guarantees a trip to the UK every year. I've been to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London so I'm planning to visit Cornwall next time.

R: We'd argue that the best memories are made while adventuring outside. Is there a certain outdoor experience that stands out as the greatest memory for you?

KC: When we lived in Northern California for the year, we spent every weekend exploring the majestic coastline and beaches, redwood forests, all the way from Point Reyes, down to Big Sur. Ironically, even though I chose to settle down in landlocked Minnesota, my happiest place is sitting quietly on a beach.

R: Where are your favorite places to bike to or around in your neighborhood? (i.e. great coffee shop nearby, cool shops, nice scenery, etc.

KC: The chain of lakes and Minnehaha creek area is pretty idyllic with endless bike trails that weave through charming neighborhoods with a quaint mix of architecture from Tudors and bungalows to ultra-modern structures.

Minneapolis is foodie heaven so my destinations are driven by when and what I want to eat! I usually visit Patisserie 46 first thing in the morning for the flakiest buttery croissants outside of France. My favorite coffee place is Spyhouse near Lake of the Isles in Uptown. For lunch, I either choose between something casual at Bread & Pickle where I get a lobster roll with root beer float or a Cubano at Victor’s Cafe or fancier brunch at Lake Harriet Brasserie with a glass of champagne. One of the best ice cream shops is a short bike ride along Minnehaha creek towards Lake Nokomis, at Pumphouse Creamery. The butterscotch or caramel with salted pecans is a must have. 

R: How did you first get into style and design?

KC: I loved art and math ever since I was a kid. After a decade of being a software engineer, I realized how much I missed my creative side so I quit my career, enrolled at Parsons to study fashion design. In New York, I was a fashion design assistant for a small local designer and worked on two runway shoes for NYFW, one of which was hosted at Patricia Field's house. I was living the dream!

R: Describe your perfect weekend.

KC: I’m a city girl at heart but on the weekends it's all about family time and exploring the outdoors - hiking, biking and swimming at the lakes. I fell in love with big southern breakfasts from my husband’s side of the family, so on the weekends, we make grits, sausage, Belgian waffles, or hashbrowns. Sunday afternoon is for slow cooking big family meals followed by roasting marshmallows over a fire with a good bottle of wine.

R: How do you take your coffee?

KC: Cream and no sugar. I grind a fresh batch first thing each morning and brew my coffee using a  french press or Chemex. The best place to get coffee beans is from Coffee & Tea Limited in Linden Hills.

R: Best pizza in Minneapolis?

KC: Hands down Lola Pizzeria. I know I keep saying this, but I swear it’s the best pizza outside of Italy.

Follow Kanlaya on Instagram for her travels, mom moments, and Minneapolis go-tos. 


Spring, Summer, and Fall never looked so good. 


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