May 11, 2020

Interview with Monica, founder of The Lovely Things


If you've been reading my blog for long enough, you have definitely seen some of the designs of today's guest. Her bags, to be more specific. So it made perfect sense to invite her to participate in  the interviews. We are meeting Monica, the founder of The Lovely things!


Hi Monica, thanks for joining this series of interviews. You are the founder of The Lovely Things, one of my favourite vegan accessories brands. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? 

Hi Alba, thanks for having me and I’m pleased to know that TLT is one of your favourite brands, it really means a lot to me! I grew up in London and have always been interested in designing and creating. When I was in school I was always more focused on the arts subjects including music and I decided to study fashion design in university so I could learn to create my ideas. Besides running my brand I also like to explore places/countries and photographing my little adventures. I mostly like to shoot landscapes and details, I love capturing the beauty of nature and cultural things. Believe it or not, I also like to play video games some times!




Where did this idea come from? What made you want to launch your brand? 

After I graduated I worked various jobs with most of them within the fashion industry. Even though my career was going quite well, I wasn’t entirely sure if that was what I wanted to do so I decided to leave my job to take a career break, to give myself a chance to clear my mind and to feel what my heart wanted. I was already vegan at that time and I started exploring the vegan community as I never really got around to it. I was amazed to see all the passionate vegan businesses, and somehow I was particularly drawn to the vegan handbags and accessories. I was excited to learn about all those meaningful vegan businesses, it inspired me to do something for the community as well and as I had always wanted to have my own brand or store since I was young so I thought, why don’t I start now? Thats when I decided to make it my mission to promote vegan fashion by offering affordable vegan accessories. Then months later, The Lovely Things was born.




Was it scary? 

It was a little scary but also very exciting at the time. It took a lot of time for myself and the brand to adjust, develop and evolve...these steps are important and necessary. 

How do your designs come to life? 

As my awareness in different aspects grows, the brand evolves too. You might have noticed that The Lovely Things has changed and evolved quite a lot over the last couple of years. In the past I cared more about having designs that are fashionable where as now I focus more on designing simple and timeless style that can last, and using materials that are more sustainable. When I design I would draw sketches and lay out my fabrics to help visualise my ideas. Once I have a design I’m happy with I would make a prototype before finalising it. 

What's the difference between your bags and conventional faux-leather bags? 

As mentioned previously, The Lovely Things has evolved quite a lot over the past couple of years. The brand started with standard faux leather and now the brand mainly focuses on using natural alternatives such as cork and pinatex. Currently majority of my products are handmade with some made-to-order. Each product was designed and made with care and love, and with lots of thoughts put in to them. 




On a daily basis, what is the most exciting part of your job and what do you find more difficult? 

Designing and creating are definitely exciting but admin work is sometimes enjoyable too! I generally enjoy doing everything for the business, even when sometimes it can get stressful...I guess because this is my true passion and it’s a big part of my life. I would say the most difficult part is trying to keep up with everything by myself especially when I’m a quite thorough person...and a perfectionist! However, I believe that when you’re truly passionate about something, you would always look forward to doing it no matter how difficult it is because at the end it will always bring you joy and happiness. At least that’s how it is for me.  


You recently relocated from the UK to Hong-Kong. Have you noticed differences between the European and Asian markets? 

Yes, there is definitely a difference because of the different cultural backgrounds. Veganism in Asia certainly hasn’t grown as fast as it has in Europe, but from my observation, people are generally open to eating vegetarian or vegan here, and you get to see more and more plant- based options available at restaurants. There are also many small local businesses in Hong Kong which I find very inspiring. It is motivating to see so many passionate creative individuals who are also working hard for their dreams and trying to making a difference in the world. These changes somewhat show the gradual progressive cultural movement towards a more 'green' way of living which has undoubtedly expanded significantly in the past few years. That being said, like in many countries, vegetarianism or veganism here tend to be more associated more with diet and health than animal welfare or the environment. Nonetheless, I believe that with the growing understanding and acceptance of veganism, more positive changes in their consuming behaviours are to be expected in the near future! 




What's coming next for you? 

Besides adding new designs to my main collection, I am planning to introduce some homeware items to my store later on this year or early next year and I will also continue to work on my low waste project which was launched not long ago - It is a collection of small accessories made from left over materials and scraps which I had collected from production over the last two years. The idea of it is to make use of the materials as much as possible to reduce waste, it is a way to show my commitment to responsible production. I would like to hold a market stall more regularly as well (when the situation allows me to) because I really enjoy talking and connecting with my visitors and customers, and it is also a very effective way of promoting vegan fashion and raising awareness on animal cruelty. I am very excited about all the things I have planned for the brand. 

And finally, do you have any advice on starting your own business? 

If you have good ideas and a true passion then go for it! I understand it can be scary but it is also very exciting and rewarding. Life is too short to worry too much and not do what is meaningful to you and what fulfils you. There will always be ups and downs, and there will be mistakes and errors too but that’s ok! Mistakes are valuable lessons for us, they help us learn and get better. It is important to be flexible and keep an open mind because it will allow your business to improve and grow. Your well being is also very important so don’t forget to look after yourself too! Last but not least, no matter what type of business you’re running, please consider your impact on the world, and the sustainability of your business and your products. It is important to care for the world and act responsibly as we are all part of it. 




Follow The Lovely Things on Instagram: @thelovelythingsstore
Or on Facebook: thelovelythingsstore
Buy a cool bag: The Lovely Things

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5/12/2020

    What an inspiring lady! Well done!

    ReplyDelete