LoVu is an online shopping destination created by two friends, Carolina and Michelle, to help new and emerging designers make a name for themselves in the industry. We were able to find out a little more about the concept in this recent interview.
Hi, and welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
How did you meet and begin working together?
We met while working together in retail. We were both studying at the same time and had our eyes on a bigger and brighter future.
Can you tell us a little about your background before starting LoVu?
Michelle – I studied business at University of Technology Sydney while I was working towards a career in fashion buying. After graduating from university, I worked as a buyer for a short time and by a twist of fate I moved into software…. Strange I know. A couple of years ago I started wanting more and this is when Carolina and I put our heads and ideas together to develop the LoVu concept.
Carolina – I have always wanted to work in the business side of fashion as I’ve always found myself to be very business minded and I have always had a huge interest in everything fashion related. After school I took a year off where I worked overseas in fashion retail management and buying for a shoe company. I then studied fashion business and design at The Fashion Business Institute in Sydney, whilst working in retail management for the renowned Australian brand Metalicus. It was at Metalicus where I learnt about all aspects of managing a fashion business which led me to gain full responsibly of running our stores.
After I finished my studies I gained work experience with big name fashion industry brands including Fleur Wood, Camilla and David Jones. It was then when I decided it was time for me to take my knowledge and start my own business. That’s when Michelle and I blended our ideas together and created LoVu.
What inspired you to start LoVu?
It is hard to make it in fashion; this is something that we are both well aware of. Carolina and I live and breathe fashion but when it came to a career in the industry, the market was competitive and the medians in which you could sell yourself were limited. We wanted to create a platform where we could build and support a community of networks that emerging designers could leverage from who may not have had the resources and/or experience to reach otherwise. This platform also had to have a ready target market that could support the sale of emerging designer wear. The idea was not only to sell yourself and your designers but lean on the network of designers and other creatives who are also starting up.
Can you tell us a little about how you came up with the name?
It’s actually pretty simple. Michelle and I wanted to create a name that was catchy but meaningful to us. We both took the first two letters of our surnames (Michelle’s maiden name at the time) and it spelt LoVu, Lo for Lopes in Carolina’s name and Vu for Vukovich in Michelle’s name. This is why LoVu is spelt with a Capital L and a capital V.
Can you tell us a little about LoVu, who you are and what you do?
LoVu is an online shopfront where the fashion conscious can come and buy fashion items that are new and unique and be the first to wrap themselves into the threads of tomorrow’s big designers.
What is the process involved in taking on new designers?
The process definitely varies between each designer. Most of our designers contact us and then we request a profile on their brand and look books. Where possible we like to meet up with the designer in person and see their range. We like to get to know all of our designers on a personal as well as business level; this helps us to help them.
We look for inspired career driven designers that really want to grow in the industry.
What services do you offer new designers that may be lacking in other areas of the industry?
There is no brief as to what services we offer necessarily. Our core service is marketing and selling the designers wares through our online store however, we take a consultative approach. We will usually ask questions to divulge into the business objectives of the designer so that we can use our network to introduce them to other services from public relations to accounting. The idea of LoVu’s network is to leverage from other designers experiences that came from their successes and their struggles, so we can either provide advice or additional services. It is rare to have a store that is genuinely interested in the success of a designer and open with their contacts and knowledge.
Have you got a favourite piece that’s available through the site?
Oh this is a tough one because Michelle and I have very different tastes and we love so many of our emerging designer’s pieces.
It is hard to pick just one but it is safe to say we love all of our emerging designer pieces because they are original pieces that you won’t see on everyone else.
Can you tell us a little about your sense of style?
Michelle- in one word. Random. My style is influenced by my mood and Carolina will probably tell you that is often unpredictable and sometimes very odd.
Carolina – My style is more classic. I like basic cuts and well-tailored clothing. However every once in a while when the mood strikes I go for something with an edge.
What is one fashion item that you couldn’t live without?
Michelle – Blazers…. Love them.
Carolina – Basic white tee – it never goes out of style and they are effortlessly stylish.
Where would you like to see LoVu in another 12 months?
In 12 months we aim to be bringing in more and more emerging designers and working with colleges and design institutes to nurture new talent. In 12 months we want to be the first website that comes to mind when the fashion pack want something new and unique.
What does being a woman mean to you?
It means balance. It is hard being a driven woman in society today. There are stigmas and labels whether they are good or bad. We have learnt that more than anything else, to be a woman, especially a successful one, you must derive your self-value from something more than your image. A woman is not differentiated by her look but rather her ability to push through or to be thoughtful, intelligent or to just be a genuinely nice person. If you only derive value from your physical appearance then a good or bad day is dependent on how many people look at you and not really what you have achieved. Being a woman is more than skin deep.
*Images: Sarah Jane Knapp in the white dress, Michelle is in the brown top and Carolina is in the purple top. They are all wearing Sarah Jane Knapp pieces.