Lauren & Merlyn: The Go-To Women for Everything Brooklyn

Brooklynites Lauren Riley and Merlyn Oliver show love to their city with plenty of style! As the founders of the Brooklyn Mavens, a creative outlet that highlights Brooklyn’s shops, restaurants, and other creative mavens, Lauren and Merlyn started their unique brand to show the authentic side of Brooklyn. I caught up with these fashionistas as we chatted about their personal styles, the power of partnership, and overcoming adversity and setbacks.




Lauren Riley (left) & Merlyn Oliver (right), Brooklyn Mavens


Congratulations on making 2 years of running The Brooklyn Mavens. What inspired the startup and what’s your mission? 

Merlyn “We actually rebranded Brooklyn Mavens in early 2018 and we wanted to share more about our borough, and why we love it even with the the changes of gentrification. Our mission is to share our fave things about Brooklyn while highlighting mavens and local businesses in every neighborhood, besides just the popular ones.”

Lauren-We want to be your go-to women for all things Brooklyn. So we highlight, local businesses, entrepanuers, events and more! As Merlyn mentioned, we first started out as a fashion blog and rebranded to expand our focus to not only fashion but Brooklyn as a whole.”

Going in business with a partner can be a challenge sometimes! What are the pros and what advice can you give about a person considering partnership? 

Lauren – “Its great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and take control of things when the other person can’t. Make sure you work with someone that you are on the same page with and work well with. You won’t always agree on things but its important that you both have a sense of maturity and understanding that you can make business decisions.”


What is the funniest experience you’ve had together since you started your brand? 

Lauren- “We once had to change our clothes in the middle of the street while out photographer kept watch.”

Merlyn “Yea, that was funny. Only one person passed us and I think he was just jogging lol.”

What have been your most awesome fashion finds so far?

Merlyn- “I started Rent the Runway a few months ago and it’s honestly is a life saver. We also collaborated with a few Brooklyn brands and I love the pieces from @kingdmofbrooklyn.”
Lauren – “Yes, Rent the Runway has been an amazing help to me for the blog and personal use. its so much easier than having to run to stores all the time. I have found some amazing items at Beacons Closet.”

What does style mean to you? What is your own personal style? 

Merlyn “It’s a way of expressing yourself without speaking- it’s part of the first impression you make on others. I love being creative, comfortable and unique. I like purchasing things some people may not even think to wear. I’ve taken it down notch over the years but that’s because I’m taking a different approach on my style. Two key things in my closet? Sneakers and boyfriend jeans!”

Lauren  “Style is being your own individual person. Expressing yourself in ways that make you feel happy. I love being comfortable when it comes to my style, so sneakers are a must, you’ll never catch me in heels for too long. Sexy but comfortable is my thing.”

Who are your fashion influences and why? 

Merlyn- “I have a lot. My top influences are Juliette Fox (@romeosfashionfix), Rihanna, and Alyssa Forever, @foreverflawlyss. They all represent how I like to switch it up from sneakers to heels and still keep up with trends.”

Lauren – “I love @wuzg00d, @Msmelina, @londongirlinnyc, and @Shionat (I have a not so secret obsession). They each have such a unique style that I look up to and are constantly giving me ideas on how to revamp my own style.”




What is the most important thing to remember when you’re running a business?

Merlyn “Staying on brand. We don’t want our followers being confused on who we are or what we do. This is the way we retain them and grow our brand.”

Lauren – “Always be professional and prompt!”

What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting out? 

Merlyn– “Ask for help. There are so many bloggers/influencers in the industry that are doing similar things and are willing to share tips and tricks. They may even need assistance as well. Collaboration over competition.

LaurenKeep going, even when you think you aren’t doing well, don’t get discouraged. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”



In moments of adversity or setbacks, how do you build yourself up?

Merlyn- “Personally, taking time to myself and meditation. It always best to take a woo-sat and then think about what’s important and what I need to do.”

Lauren “I like to remind myself that there will always be setbacks. Very successful person didn’t get to where they are today without adversity. This is just part of my story.” *


Brooklyn Mavens is a creative outlet founded by Brooklynites Lauren and Merlyn. Together we’ve experienced High School, Penn State and now post-grad life in the city we love. No doubt, for most, Manhattan is the first borough to come in mind when it comes to NYC. However, we’ve started this brand to share the authentic side of Brooklyn and what people might be missing. While we hit the Brooklyn neighborhood streets showing our personal styles, we also highlight restaurants, local shops, events and dope mavens killing their industry. 
Full Name: Merlyn Oliver and Lauren Riley

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