Claire Harlin and Justin Luria: Love, Entrepreneurship, and Living the Dream in Bisbee, Arizona

Claire Harlin and Justin Luria: Love, Entrepreneurship, and Living the Dream in Bisbee, Arizona
Photo Courtesy: Lynz Baxter

By: Carl Newman

A tale of love, entrepreneurship, and dream-chasing unfolds in the tiny border town of Bisbee, Arizona. The narrative challenges the age-old cliché that business and pleasure should never mix. This story stars Claire Harlin and Justin Luria, who are partners in life and ambition. A closer look at this entrepreneurial duo — a rising fashion designer married to a hotelier/restaurateur who seamlessly blends their personal lives with their professional endeavors.

Harlin and Luria are no ordinary couple. They are parents to two toddler girls, entrepreneurs who have carved out niches in their respective industries, and, most importantly, they are each other’s biggest supporters. Luria owns The Shady Dell, renowned for being the first vintage trailer hotel and celebrated for its originality far beyond the borders of Bisbee. Harlin is the creative mind behind Classic Rock Couture, a fashion line creating waves in Hollywood and beyond for its distinctive designs reminiscent of the 1970s and desert charm. 

Classic Rock Couture ( is a vintage-inspired fashion brand and online store with some 3,000 square feet of retail space in a historic JC Penney’s department store in Bisbee. Harlin’s designs are carried in shops worldwide and worn by A-list celebrities. Luria’s The Shady Dell Hotel ( has offered a nostalgic high desert escape since the 90s with its original pre-1960s trailers. He has been running the hotel since he bought it in 2006 — with a clear vision to make it a household name for unique stays. And he certainly was ahead of the curve, as it’s a concept that has popped up in cities all over the world in recent years. 

Since being together, the couple’s businesses have flourished. The two went from selling vintage clothing at music festivals together for Classic Rock Couture to Harlin embarking on designing her own clothing line, all while becoming mothers to two. Luria and Harlin also worked together to open Dot’s Diner in 2020, a 1957 mobile diner on the Shady Dell property serving elevated brunches and dinners. The following year, they added a cocktail bar housed in a 1955 Airstream, and they have also, over the past several years, been working on a joint four-room boutique hotel in Bisbee, which they expect to open this year. 

Their ventures not only complement each other but also contribute significantly to putting Bisbee on the map as a destination for travelers seeking unique experiences. The Shady Dell has garnered attention from the New York Times to the Travel Channel, and Classic Rock Couture’s designs have popped up on countless movies and TV shows, as well as on major music stars such as Miley Cyrus, Elle King, and Orville Peck (among many others).

When asked about which came first – their business ventures or their love story – the couple shared insights into their journey together. They both had their businesses and shared a passion for vintage before meeting each other, but it was their relationship that set the stage for many more entrepreneurial pursuits.

Balancing work and personal life is an art form Harlin and Luria are always learning. Claire explains how they try to maintain harmony: “We really try not to talk about our businesses at home, and we really stay out of each others’ businesses for the most part.” This approach allows them to compartmentalize their lives effectively – ensuring that while they are dedicated entrepreneurs during work hours, they can switch off and become fully present parents and partners once they step through the door of their home.

Exploring further into how they manage this balance reveals another layer to their success — mutual respect for each other’s ventures while maintaining independence within those realms. They offer support when needed but trust in each other’s ability to make decisions regarding their businesses. This level of trust extends beyond mere emotional support; it reflects deep confidence in each other’s professional acumen.

The narrative of Harlin and Luria is more than just a love story; it is a beacon of success for aspiring entrepreneurs who fear losing themselves or their relationships in pursuit of professional dreams. And for Harlin, in particular, it is a reminder that motherhood doesn’t mean sacrificing one’s career. 

This couple’s story demonstrates that with communication, respect, boundaries, and genuine passion—balancing work-life dynamics is not just possible but can also be incredibly fulfilling.

Let us take inspiration from Harlin and Luria — not because they have everything perfectly figured out but because they embrace imperfection every day, while making every effort to sustain both their love story and entrepreneurial dreams side by side. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

Justin: I am a member of the 5 a.m. club. It’s a real club, and it’s inspiring. There’s a book about it by Robin Sharma. I have 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of self-reflection, and 20 minutes of learning a new skill. Then, I pack our kids’ lunch, and we get them ready for school. I like to listen to Thelonious Monk in the morning. I usually go to the Shady Dell after dropping the kids off at school with Claire. I usually work on various projects, anywhere from customer service to fixing and repairing vintage trailers or meeting with my staff at Dot’s Diner. 

I run errands to the hardware store or down to Mexico for various things like metalwork or getting a car painted. Some days, I am trying to get one of my vintage cars started. I also love to go for motorcycle rides with my dog Squid in my sidecar. We reconvene at home after picking the kids up from daycare, and we usually make dinner at home and start the kids’ bedtime routine. I am usually fast asleep soon after.

Claire: I don’t have a real routine. Ever since having kids, it’s been so chaotic, and everyday changes. Usually, when I wake up, it’s immediately to the grind. If I have time before the kids get up, I usually start on their breakfast or check my email. If everyone is still asleep, I can often find some creative time, and this is when I like to post to my business social media pages or edit reels or ad content together. I have my best creative moments in the very early moments of the morning, and they are always spontaneous—I get an idea and start doing it. 

I love my morning time if I get it, but many days, I wake up to a hectic rush of getting the kids breakfast, getting dressed, and going to school on time. Once dropped off, I usually stop at the grocery store for a coffee and any immediate grocery needs, and one or two days a week, I have a personal training session at 10 a.m. with one of my beloved friends, Sonia, who runs a small wellness studio in town. I usually plan out each day of my week by the hour, dedicating blocks of time to projects like clothing design, marketing, administrative tasks, or purchasing for my two shops. I usually have to make a to-do list and prioritize the tasks, and some days, I have the kids at home, which means NO work gets done, and I just spend my day with them. Not only is it impossible (they are toddlers), but it is not worth it to lose that time with them. If they have daycare, the moment I pick them up, the focus turns to making dinner and doing activities with the kids. About once a week, I attend an aerial silks class at Aerie Studio in town, and seven days a week, I have storytime and tuck my kids into bed and tell them I love them to Pluto and back. 

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur couple? 

Justin That I am always inspired by Claire and we push each other, not in a competitive way, but in an inspiring way, to see where we can expand on our creativity and ideas. 

Claire, It is definitely nice having some flexibility in our schedule, even if our schedule is always packed. Neither of us has a boss to answer to, so we can be home with the kids when they are sick if we need to be. Despite the flexibility, we are always swamped with work and being pulled in a million directions! But at the end of the day, we can be there for our kids or each other in case of an emergency. With that flexibility comes the occasional all-nighter I have to spend catching up on work or the stress of having to meet the needs of dozens of employees, clients, customers, etc, on a daily basis. 

However, being an entrepreneurial couple also brings inspiration—this feeling that we can do anything together and we will survive any of the greatest challenges because we truly have. So, on those days when one of us is not 100%, the other one is always able to make up for it. I am always inspired and excited about what the future will bring with Justin, what endeavors we may take on, and what adventures we may explore.

What are your biggest challenges as a married couple who are both entrepreneurs? 

Justin: Finding time for each other. Having conversations that don’t involve our work. Separation from work and personal time. 

Claire: Well, we are not married— We just have not had time! So maybe that kind of answers the question regarding the challenges we face. It always feels like the work is never done, and after you have tended to all the needs of your kids and business, there is little left for yourself—our ourselves as a couple. Maybe one of these days, we will actually get around to planning a wedding! Luckily, we share the same values in that it’s not a top priority in life, and it will only be even more special when it finally happens. Even though we have the rest of our lives ahead of us, prioritizing our relationship now is really important.

How do you stay on top of your business and balance family time with kids?

Justin: Short answer— I don’t. I feel like there are so many things to do that I can never get ahead. But we prioritize our children, especially in these years when they are so young. I know these are the years I will never get back. 

Claire: I live by my planner! It’s a lifesaver, and I would be lost without it. But most importantly, I just try to disconnect from work once I am home with the kids. It’s not always possible, but one can try! We also try to get away every now and then to our second home in Tucson, which feels like a bit of a vacation. We rent the house out when we aren’t using it to make it cost-effective, and it has been such a worthwhile investment to be able to drive less than two hours and feel like we are really separated from our workplaces for a day or two every month or so. It truly feels like a reset to get in the car and take a small road trip to clear our minds and adventure in a different city with the kids.

What is the romantic moment you most remember? 

Justin: Our first date. It felt like a movie, and I told Claire that. Also, I learned about the time she first told me she was pregnant. I was driving, and I almost ran off the road, actually. But also, I realized I was the luckiest man in the world to be with the most beautiful and amazing woman and have a child with her.

Claire: Definitely when Justin proposed to me! We had just returned from our babymoon in Morocco, and we were at a First Aid Kit concert in Phoenix at the Crescent Ballroom. It was during the song “Emmylou,” which is probably one of the most romantic songs ever written. Another really memorable moment was when I got in the car going home from the hospital after having our oldest daughter, Winnie, who was born on Feb 13. I was in such a foggy whirlwind that I had forgotten it was Valentine’s Day, and when he brought the car to the front of the hospital, it didn’t even register at first why there was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me in the passenger’s seat. I was a hormonal mess and cried over how sweet it was.


Published By: Aize Perez


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