"It sounds like a cliché, but follow your passion. You need that to keep you focussed during difficult times."
- Sonia White, Founder of LoveLula.com
Can you give us a brief overview of what Love Lula is?
We are an online natural beauty destination, bringing together the very best natural and organic products from around the world.
Tell me more about your career before starting your business?
In 1998 I co-founded perfuma.com selling beauty products online. Having my son, Nicholas in 2004 was the real impetus to change and I launched my retail business Amarya Ltd in 2008 selling natural products from our high street store in Cheshire. Then last year I acquired LoveLula.com and re-launched the two businesses as one.
What inspired you to start Love Lula?
My son was born with severe eczema and I didn’t want to put prescribed steroids onto his skin so went in search of a more natural alternative. It quickly became clear that the term ‘natural’ is widely mis-used; finding a source of truly natural and organic products was a real struggle – so I set to establish my own.
How did you manage building it alongside your full time career?
I went for it and threw myself in full-time from the start. I was so passionate about what I was doing there was really no other way.
What’s been the biggest highlight?
Launching the all-new LoveLula in April 2013. It was already an established natural beauty website but I invested a huge amount of time re-branding and re-structuring it to make it bigger and better. I wanted shopping for natural products to be a positive and easy experience and seeing how we have grown has been testament that we are doing something right!
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Taking that leap of faith from being a relatively small retailer to launching a global shopping destination. We are learning every day and continuing to expand – we have recently launched a Boutique section to encourage small and growing brands. The fact that we now represent more than 150 amazing brands each with their own personal story, fills me with pride.
You’ve built up a fantastic following on social media and won a variety of beauty awards. What’s your secret?
I hope that what makes us work is that no matter how much we grow we still give the same personal service as when we had our shop. We are a small, passionate team who care about the choices our customers make. We are always available to answer questions and have trained beauty therapists on live chat. We encourage honest feedback and like to keep customers up to date with the natural world through our blog. Our loyalty scheme, free worldwide deliveries and free-phone service are all part of this ethos.
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
It sounds like a cliché, but follow your passion. You need that to keep you focussed during difficult times. You have to have a clear vision of where you want to be and aim for it.
What’s next for you?
More of the same! The next step is to launch a men’s version of LoveLula – not quite so pink! And also we are in the final stages of developing our own natural brand – so watch this space.
What’s your favourite quote?
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” Aristotle
You can hop on over to the LoveLula.com website to discover the very best natural and organic products from around the world.
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