Best friends are known for finishing each other’s sentences. Business partners? Not so much. Luckily, Greenway Parks’ Flauren Bender and Hallie Lamont are both.
In September 2017, the ladies made a 180-degree turn from their careers in law—Bender and Lamont practiced health and corporate law, respectively—to launch The Greenway Shop, a boutique inside Madre on Lovers Lane in Dallas carrying a curated assortment of clean beauty and wellness products.
Wellness junkies themselves, the ladies, who met in a music class for their first babies, launched the shop to satisfy their own desire for a local destination for green beauty and skin care brands.
One year later, the shop’s success is proof that these moms weren’t the only local women craving cleaner beauty.
And as The Greenway Shop has gotten busier, so have the best friends whose current days are a balancing act of overseeing a burgeoning business and raising three kids each—all while doing their best to take care of themselves.
What is your dedication to clean living rooted in?
HALLIE LAMONT: It started with our children and the foods we fed them, how we bathed them and how we cleaned our homes—just making sure they had a safe, nontoxic environments to grow up in. Then we started thinking about what we were putting on and in our bodies.
Did the two of you hit it off right away?
FLAUREN BENDER: We met around the time we were having our oldest kids, and both of us had an interest in wellness. Now, our houses actually back up to each other, so our kids run back and forth.
Was your friendship built on a mutual dedication to greener living?
HL: Flauren is really curious and always asks a ton of questions. I think our friendship really got started by just bouncing ideas back and forth about wellness and nursing and foods.
And what sparked the idea for The Greenway Shop?
HL: Both of us had this sincere passion for wellness and saw that we couldn’t get any of the products that we loved and used in Dallas. So we thought, let’s open up this shop here in Dallas and take advantage of the gap in the market. We both like working, we both wanted to do something entrepreneurial, and it just kind of grew from there.
HL: I like to say that Flauren is the “chicer edit” of what we do. She brings this mature wellness aspect, whereas for a long time I was just focused on the nontoxic.
How are you raising green kids?
HL: We see a holistic pediatrician. He’s an MD, but I love his presentation of what a healthy child means and how to get there, whether that starts with organic foods, essential oils or immune building. I definitely take it a step above your normal person. I make my own elderberry syrup. Always organic foods. We seek chiropractic care. Obviously, we use nontoxic cleaning products. I look at the materials in rugs, and I’m not going to buy mattresses with flame-retardants in them. I would never have nonstick pots and pans in my house. There’s not a lot of plastic. I take it to a more paranoid level …
FB: No, not paranoid. You’re super informed and you are truly living this lifestyle all the time. I care about giving my kids organic fruits and vegetables and being kind to the earth and each other, but I’m definitely the more moderate of the two of us.
What have you learned over the past year?
FB: Every aspect of the entrepreneurial experience has been a learning experience. We’re having so much fun doing it. It’s been sort of like a business-school experience …
HL: Yeah, it’s been like a mini MBA. Being attorneys, we can get caught up in minutia. But you have to think creatively. We have to take risks. I think every retail outlet has the same issues: inventory management, customer service issues, shipping problems and technology issues. Those are things that happen every single day, but they’re easily fixed.
“We both know how the other one works and we just sort of work through it. We need each other.”
What have you found most challenging about running your own business?
HL: I actually think the biggest challenge for me has been realizing that brands today are about the people behind them. We have to push ourselves to put ourselves out there. For me, that’s been the biggest challenge.
what are your respective roles with the greenway shop?
HL: We were advised to outline every responsibility and divvy them up, so there are no blurred lines. We really overdid that and I have to say it’s worked out. Flauren does a lot of the social media and she’s excellent at it. I take more of the back office stuff.
FB: Hallie is so well-versed on ingredients and has done so much research on every product. But we do the buying together and both love the exploration and discovery of new products.
How do you balance a growing business with six combined kids?
FB: We lean on each other a lot. We’re so grateful to have each other, and our families are so supportive. We also feel so grateful to be in a shop with other female entrepreneurs [from Madre], who are good friends. It’s so cheesy, but it really does take a village.
HL: We also have a wonderful sales associate who manages the store day in and day out. And we have flexible meeting times. Flauren and I will check in at night and in the morning on our way to carpool.
FB: Oh, and great babysitters! We count on our entire support system.
Has running a business together put any strain on your friendship?
HL: We have totally different ideas about business, but we both know at the end of the day that this would never break our friendship. It’s not worth it. We really try to be lighthearted about everything. Mistakes happen.
FB: We both know how the other one works, and we just sort of work through it. We need each other.
What’s the big-picture dream?
HL: We’re focusing on our online shop and continuing to bring Dallas the most thoughtful curation in beauty and wellness.
FB: We love Dallas and want to create a place of community with our shop. We want people to come to us and ask for advice. We really care about our community.
Get the lowdown on their top picks for living well here.