READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JHOANNA MARISSA OF @LILYANDJASPER & @WILLACREATIVE AND LOOK OUT FOR 'THE ENTREPRENEUR'S PLAYLIST' TO SEE WHAT TUNES SHE'S CURRENTLY LISTENING TO!
Photography: Alex Mak Photography
WORDS: Jhoanna Marissa & Nazz Ebrahimi
What motivated you to start a business and how did you choose the name of your company?
I love being able to create something I could call my own. The freedom and challenge of building a brand is something that always excited me. The name Lily+Jasper was created by bringing two names that I felt had a balance of sophistication and child-like sensibilities. Having a background in branding and marketing, I knew how important it was to find a name that I wouldn’t grow tired of and that also wouldn’t conflict with too much in online searches and social.
Who are your ideal customers?
Our customers are 'girl's girls' and feminine. They believe in the balance of life, work, and love, and could wear a dress pretty much any day of the week.
What was your process like finding a manufacturer for your line?
Word of mouth and asking a lot of questions. It took a while to find the right team I trusted and that cared as much as I did about attention to detail and timelines. Get references before you commit to any manufacturer.
Favorite piece from Lily + Jasper?
The Simone slip dress. I have been able to wear it so many ways. It's classic and can be dressed up and dressed down.
What is your ideal work outfit like?Something flowy, while professional and one that I can switch from heels to flats throughout the day when needed. Like our current kate dress.
You are the epitome of an entrepreneur. With your Creative Branding & Digital Agency, fashion line, and travel app on its way, how do you manage it all and find down time for yourself as well?
Its not always easy, but I started to understand the importance of saying no. There is a book I read this year called "The Essentialist" and it's really helped me to feel ok with saying no and to focus on making time for stuff that is important to me - personally and professionally. My fiance and I are really good at taking weekend getaways that are either a quick flight away or drive. We know the importance to turning off and just enjoy being and connecting with nature. It's the only way you could be your best self for your clients, customers and teams.
Your 3 keys tips for negotiating a deal:
Confidently know the value of your time. If it doesn’t feel right, don't do it just for the money. Read all the fine print thoroughly - take your time and don't rush the negotiation process.
What is your advice for fashion designers/ people who want to start a fashion brand?
Have someone work with you on your financial projections. It takes time and some investment to make money in fashion. Then know your brand voice , your audience and the way you plan to reach them. Last, try and find vendors who will work with your minimums and that will do a small test right for you first. You don't want to sit on tons of inventory.
How important do you think customer reviews are, such as the ones posted on Yelp and Facebook?
We haven't seen too much of that for our line. But we do get follow up emails from clients in regards to fit. Which I LOVE. We have an email go out a little after they received their item to ask how the fit and quality was. We think customer feedback is so important. It helps us grow as a brand. We also always ask questions when we get a return.
If you are not a "people person", but have great ideas, can you still run a business?
I think communication is so powerful in business. But as far as needing to be a people person, I think that depends on the type of business you want to start. For l+j I get to let the brand imagery and tone speak for the brand and with my vendors it's strictly business. For Willa, I need to be a people person because I handle all new business and am the one in the room selling our services.
Even if your not a people person - In every situation just try to be a good listener, be true to your word, be kind and be fair.
Best lesson you've learned in business:
A few things: Company culture is so important - so treat your teams well. Enjoy the process and remember to compliment yourself for all the good things you've accomplished and not only focus on what you still haven’t. Know when to say no. Collaboration over competition.
DETAILS & DECOR
VISIT THE OFFICIAL LILY + JASPER WEBSITE AT WWW.LILYANDJASPER.COM