I’m expecting a lot this year.
When this blogging journey started three and a half years ago, I was sitting at the airport waiting to set off to Italy for the first time. I had great expectations of where the story would lead, while at the same time, I had no idea what to expect! I just knew that I had to tell the raw story as I went – not just trot out the glossy bits as some kind of highlight reel later on.
Part of my reasoning is because if you asked me years ago, I was never the sort of person to take on an ambitious task like trying to launch a global fashion label. So if I succeed, my story might inspire others who think the same way I used to; if I fail, I hope to have shared the value of taking a leap of faith in the first place.
The other part of my thinking is that I wanted to have a reminder – like a public diary – of all the crazy, wonderful, and unexpected things that would happen along the way.
Now, back to the airport….
One of the biggest expectations I had in that moment was that I would have definitely launched my shoes by now. If someone told me in that moment that, still, almost 4 years later, my shoes wouldn’t be in store/production yet, I wouldn’t have believed them… but I would also find it hard to believe some of the other incredible things that have happened in that time too. As each new year rolled around, I expected and planned that this year would be the year. And well, after the year that was 2020, we’ve all learned that we never truly know what’s around the corner.
It turns out that it was a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t trying to trade through last year.
Imagine launching a brand new shoe label and then the world coming to a standstill:
a whole lot of stock produced and potentially stuck in Italy (one of the first and most major countries to have been affected by the pandemic), not being able to manufacture more for months on end, no real opportunity to wear new shoes (except slippers and trainers hidden out of view on Zoom calls), and then telling your team you were going to have to let some of them go because your investors were getting cold feet (and not for a lack of slippers!). Pre-launch me is pretty thankful that sometimes things don’t happen on our desired schedule.
So what did 2020 actually involve for me?
A lot, as it turns out. All of which make me excited for this coming year, and confident that yes, this actually will be the year Løvinde launches! Oh, and speaking of expectations…wait, I’ll get to that.
A quick overview of 2020 progress:
Our Italian contacts have been amazing throughout what was a really tough year for them. Not only did they contact us on their first day back in business when factories reopened after lockdown, they worked to produce two more rounds of prototypes of the buckle too. This is a critical part which has been in development since our second trip to Italy in 2019 (yes, that whirlwind trip when we left with a week’s notice, 6 months pregnant, and with our 12 month old in tow!) The most recent, and most exciting, prototype to date was sent just days before Christmas and miraculously arrived before New Years’. A momentous way to end and then start a new year!
Last year also saw the onboarding of two more investors. We’re so thankful that not only are they providing much-needed capital, but also incredible support in a range of ways… and doing so with divine patience. It’s certainly an interesting scenario when you’ve just had an open discussion on the challenges of running a startup with two children under two… only to have to call them shortly after and explain it’s now (surprise!) going to be three under three.
Startup Accelerator Course
I was excited to be accepted into the Charles Sturt 10-week ‘Ready To Launch’ incubator program, which provided me the opportunity to learn startup/business principles and develop my pitching skills (think Shark Tank, but a little more like ‘Dolphin Tank’!). It was a great experience and, strangely enough, one only available to me thanks to COVID. Previously, these types of opportunities were only available via in-person, intensive sessions over many weeks/months – hardly a schedule that works when you’re looking after two toddlers. The culmination of this course was delivering a live 3-minute pitch to a virtual audience around the country. Not being in the market for investment, my pitch wasn’t for investment… just a big practice session, really. You can watch the live recording below:
For those who may have missed my Facebook post last night: That’s right… last but certainly not least, we’re excited to be expecting our 3rd little one, affectionately known as ‘Littlest Cub’, in May! And with all 5 from cousins on Andrew’s side being boys, and 4 from 4 on my side also all being boys, we were surprised to find out that we’re actually having a baby girl. Of course I’ll encourage her to follow her own heart, but I can’t help but wonder if she’ll develop a love for shoes too?!
So, how does that last point affect my launch plans? Will I be focused on welcoming a new little one into the world, or getting ready for a spring/summer brand launch? The answer is… both. And I know with all my heart that that is the correct answer. How? Well, that’s a story for another day!
Until then, much løve,
Follow the Journey
I’d love to share with you what inspires me and what I learn along the way… Join me?