Meet Mo Mullen

Streetstyle Details // Jacket, Vintage ;    Sunglasses, Le Specs x Adam Selman    ; Jeans, Collection LA
Mo is an expert on retail and the localizing movement and is currently the Director of Business Development for West Elm LOCAL, which she considers her dream job. She thrives on bringing together employees, local makers and designers, and consumers to create destinations where people can celebrate community, diversity and inclusion. 
Tracksuit, Full Court Sport


I always joke that I’m going to be a morning person in my next life. This round, I’m absolutely pathetic in the mornings, a total sad sack, but my favorite mornings are Tuesdays and Thursdays when I meet a group of neighborhood friends for a workout with a trainer in Fort Greene Park. It sounds so simple, but it’s deceptively jam-packed with goodness—hanging with amazing ladies, moving my body, and time outside. I find that it grounds me and makes me feel like I really live here, in this exact neighborhood. The feeling of being connected to a place can be more rare today, I think, especially in NYC—most people are not from here, travel a lot and have fun, but full schedules.

On the many different paths of her career

I’ve had a diverse career path and feel fortunate to be able to say I’ve loved each chapter. I started my career working for the mayor of my hometown, Chattanooga, TN, helping to develop a blueprint to end chronic homelessness; I worked in India for a major hospital to create a strategic plan; I was the right hand to the CEO of a marketing and branding firm in St Louis, MO; I’ve helped people build new leadership muscles as part of a Harvard-founded leadership consultancy in NYC. The crazy thing is I’ve never actually “applied for a job”. They have all been FIO (figure-it-out) types of roles. Looking back, the experiences share a common set of core values: building community, empowering underdogs and driving real impact.

On Working Her Dream Job

My job is the most anti-vanilla job ever, empowering our employees with a tangible way to be good neighbors in the communities where we do business. I love getting to work with new makers and designers, hearing their stories and help them grow, but the best part is that this reaches far beyond retail. LOCAL fosters community, diversity and inclusion, for a positive social impact.

My mom gave me a daily meditation book, “Journey to the Heart” about 20 years ago.  It looks like it’s been put through the washing machine about 100x and is one of the oldest things I own. The cover has long fallen off and I tried to preserve her inscription with scotch tape. A tribe of women in my family that I love, admire and respect all have this book, so reading it daily makes me feel connected to them.
— On one of her favorite books
I also believe that everyone has a superpower. I’m not talking about things like being a ninja at Excel or crazy fast with Photoshop. I’m talking about the unique strengths and core capacities that make a person special and make their contribution significant. As a young child I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Reading and writing did not come easy for me, and therefore collaboration was essential for me to get things done. I like to think that this helped me hone my superpower identification skills, making me more attuned to unique skillsets people brought to the table. This has stuck with me as I’ve worked on getting big things done in lots of different environments.
— on personal superpowers

On landing at west elm

Before starting west elm LOCAL I was building a startup that I co-founded called Maker Maker. It was an incubator for high-quality makers and designers of furniture, lighting and decorative accessories. Maker Maker represented, scaled and connected select makers and designers. At the time we were getting to know west elm with the hope that they would become one of our clients. After a few conversations, we had a better understanding the scope of west elm’s commitment to supporting artisans and handcrafted work around the world. I was both impressed and intrigued by their approach. In a weird twist of fate, I went from pitching west elm to working for west elm, and was brought on to design and build what is now west elm LOCAL.

On Her approach to home DESIGN & decor

My apartment is small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and character. I’m a total sucker for its original pocket shutters, high ceilings, and herringbone floor that has been refinished so many times, it’s paper thin. The woman who owned this building for many years personally oversaw the design and restoration of each of the apartments. She never had kids and I like to think the apartments were in some way her little loves—you can feel it. They are all different, but have the consistency of someone who cared very much about the details. Some of my favorite LOCAL products are sprinkled throughout my home. Judy Jackson vases are lining my mantle. I recently added the Quiet Town Home Shower curtain, a Brooklyn-based company that is one of my current favorites.

Mo Mullen for Passerbuys85.jpg
Outfit Details: Jumpsuit, Rachel Comey; Earrings,    Annie Costello Brown

Outfit Details: Jumpsuit, Rachel Comey; Earrings, Annie Costello Brown

on her beauty routine

I try to keep it simple. I wash my face with Little Seed Farm Lavender Bar soap and use their Electricity Serum as my moisturiser. I try to be religious about sunscreen, La Roche Posay's Anthelios SPF 60 Melt-in Sunscreen. For makeup I use RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, Maybelline's Great Lash MascaraLaura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and Bobbi Brown nude lip gloss. I swear by Little Seed Farm products! They are so high quality. I also love Farmacy Honey Potion face mask.

On Her Personal Style

Classic, Fun, Stripe-y. I’m not sure if you can over-love something, but I have a weakness for stripes! I took a hard look at my closet last year ago and had to put out a bulletin: “Mo Mullen is banned from purchasing anything with stripes for at least 12 months.” More generally, I try to buy things that I think I’ll love for some time to come and are versatile. I definitely have a less-is-more mentality that seems to only be getting stronger. Two brands that I find myself coming back to year after year are Apiece Apart for clothing and Loeffler Randall for shoes.

Mo Mullen Passerbuys