Irina Ovrutsky has been in the fashion industry for (what feels like) forever and had always dreamed of opening up her own women’s boutique. But of course, her dream of being a mom came true and it was put on hold. After having children, she re-discovered her passion for fashion and started designing her kids clothes. She felt that there was something missing in the children’s wear market: playful, bold, and good quality kids clothing that is not only unique and fashion forward, but also a really great price point moms would love! Read our interview with the lovely Irina below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Fashion is something I am extremely passionate about. I’ve always had my own unique style and once I became a part of the industry, I immediately fell in love with the freedom of expressing yourself through apparel. I started off as a model, but my lifelong dream was to open my very own women’s boutique. However, this was put on hold when my best dream came true: being a mom. After having children, I re-discovered my passion for fashion and started designing clothes for my little ones. I found inspiration in their bold personalities and realized that there was something missing in the children’s wear market: playful, charismatic, and good-quality kids clothing that is not only fashion-forward, but also at an amazing price point moms will love!
Tell us about your business.
Lola + The Boys is named after my daughter, Lola and her 2 younger brothers. It was an idea I had been playing around with for about a year until I finally launched it March of last year. I handled the designing, marketing and every little detail in between. My mind is always working and running. This company is all me and it’s been amazing to watch it grow from the startup stage to getting international orders.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Whenever you sign up with your email on the Lola + The Boys site, you will get 15% off your next order. You will also receive our VIP promotion codes via email. We also push flash sales and holiday promo pieces.
My three children are my biggest accomplishments.
Where is your business based?
My business is Chicago based, currently we only sell online at www.lolaandtheboys.com!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Consistency and growing it with love. Having a company is similar to having a child – watching it grow, learning from mistakes, feeling so proud of its accomplishments… All of the hard work you put into something will always show in the end.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media and PR. Also sending signature pieces to fashion/mommy bloggers who I have now began to build close relationships with.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I believe not having a brick and mortar location is a challenge as my brand lacks physical presence. Customers want things now and not have to wait for items to ship.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Extreme social media presence. Past, present and future customers then visibly see who we truly are, trust us and keep coming back for more.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
First and foremost, my main priority are always my kids and I always need to be there for them. I am very hands on so I try to turn the business side of my brain off when I’m with them. I need to be there for pickup, drop off and all their activities. They grow so fast and I want to cherish every single moment with them. Family is always first, but being able to grow a business that was inspired by my kids has been so fun and extremely rewarding.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I always think, “Would I wear this? Would my kids wear this?” The designs and styles have to represent our style. I have so many moms asking me to make things in their sizes, so this means that the style is easily translated from kids to adults. I always test the items on my kids as well – if it’s comfortable for them, I know it’s a go!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Lola + the Boys is only a year old as of March 2017 – therefore I would say, as a mom of 3, it is never too late to follow your dreams.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Always trust in yourself and everything else will fall into place. If you believe in something, natural passion and success will follow.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I love fashion so naturally, following and being on top of new trends. Not only for kids but us mommies too!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I just finished reading “Tools of Titans” by Timothy Ferriss. It’s a New York Times best seller, which makes perfect sense because I could not put it down!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Every day I am striving grow my brand to its best ability. My ultimate goal is to make every child on the playground feel confident and unique in their own way.