A gorgeous Queensland brand that is run by one of my absolute Instagram FAVES; Jesse. I am completely and utterly obsessed with all of her gorgeous custom artwork & designs. So much so that I have a tattoo of my girls' names designed by Jesse on my arm! Make sure you keep an eye on this brand it is expanding rapidly and she is creating so many great new goodies all the time!
I was lucky enough to sit down with the gorgeous Mumma & owner of this gorgeous brand and chat all things mum life, business, hubbies, food, hopes & dreams and the chaos that is being a stay home mum & hustler!
Take us back to where and when it all began. When & how did the concept for Louie Luxe come from?
As cliche as it sounds, I never set out to create a business. Back in 2011-13 I was working a hectic job in events, stressed to the max, trying to juggle it with motherhood, commuting crazy hours and just quite lost in life if I'm honest.
My health was deteriorating, which didn't help the fact my husband and I were trying to conceive and give our son Jayce (six years old at the time) a brother or sister. Three years into working for the corporate job I was in, I resigned in dramatic fashion, with nothing else lined up. I just knew I couldn't keep going on the trajectory I was on and decided the best thing for me to do at that time, was to just simplify and trust the pull I felt for change.
I didn’t care if I had to wash dishes and waitress to pay the bills until I found my feet (in fact, I did at my local Italian Restaurant) I just wanted the space to find myself and what made me light up. I took the time to really strip things back and do the things that simply made me still and happy.
These things included everything from sewing to baking, to painting, writing poetry and hand lettering my thoughts, I was obsessed with hand lettering from the day I could hold a pencil but had lost touch with it somewhere along the way... I created an Instagram page on the down-low and called it ‘Finding Louie’ (Louie, my middle name and nickname as a little girl) - I would post pics of my findings, recipes, clothing I had handmade and inky pieces of paper I had brushed out.
Before too long I had a bevy of sweet followers and the occasional follower who would ask ‘Can I buy this piece you just wrote?’ - I was pretty chuffed that what I was creating was resonating with others. I felt truly happy for the first time in a long time, like an awakening of sorts. Like I may have just stumbled across my purpose.To create words and art that inspires and brings hope.
By 2014 I thought I best create a website to house my creations and I felt that I had found Louie and she wasn’t a little girl sitting at her desk in her bedroom anymore brushing out letters, she was a grown woman and her name was Louie Luxe.... so louieluxe.com was born. PS. after slowing down and following that pull to simplify... we were able to conceive (through IVF) and give Jayce a little brother in our Rafferty!
What was you background/what did you do before you ran Louie Luxe?
It's been a mixed bag of lollies really.... I've always had a pretty intense work ethic so I found myself working as a full-time dancer straight out of high school but always having another job on the go, whether it be in admin, retail or waitressing! I was still dancing right up to 5 months pregnant with Jayce. When I became a Mama we were living in Japan for my husbo’s rugby career. I took up kindergarten teaching at an International School there when Jayce was just 4 months old.
Upon returning to Australia and settling here on the Gold Coast, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do... I just knew I wanted to use my creativity. I dabbled in my own wedding stationery business for a bit there (I never want to tie another bow, ever again) and from there I found myself taking up the full-time events job in Brisbane for something more stable. I was still able to use my creativity but as mentioned above it still was not the right fit for me.
It was from there I took the path to becoming Louie Luxe, at first just keeping it simple and playing with my creativity and then once the idea of actually turning it into a business came about, I threw myself into it, self teaching myself how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, self teaching myself how to build websites, turn my illustrations into vectors and just doing a lot of self development to help me grow.
It is amazing what you can achieve when you really excited about something! I was working for Fitness giant ‘Alphafit’ as a contractor when I first started Louie Luxe designing their fitness apparel and also doing a lot of branding work for other businesses. I was a major ‘yes’ girl back in the day that would say yes to every job sent my way but in the end, I had to let go of all of that, learn to say no and commit myself to the LL brand in order for it to be what it is today.
What do you love most about running your own business?
The sense of freedom that comes with running your own business is exhilarating. I love working on the strategy side of things - it excites me! When a concept, idea or product you’ve created from scratch takes off there is a grand sense of achievement. I also love being a boss purely for having the opportunity to be able to hire other Mama’s who need flexibility in their work-life while they navigate this new world of having to do it all.
Can you tell us about a challenge you have faced in business?
Definitely, trying to convince others that whilst I did not have a conventional job working 9-5 that I still ‘worked’.They would see me posting on Instagram and were convinced that my efforts were a ‘hobby’ or me just being cute and crafty.
Very frustrating. This includes demanding the respect of my other half (this is very hard to talk about but I know I’m not alone in this). Working from home means that you are home all day and you can’t help but feel the expectation is that you are the one having to do the chores, be the main parent, doing school runs and weekly sporting events, manage the house and grocery shops and make sure everyone has clean undies! You are expected to do this AND try and build an empire in between the crevices of it all. It’s bloody tough and it’s so easy to feel that whilst you are doing everything, you aren’t really nailing anything at all... it’s exhausting.
A huge challenge was respecting myself enough and backing myself enough to change that way of thinking in our family. You need to have the respect and support of those close to you otherwise it will get you down and play with your self-confidence and it is really hard to try and run/build a business when you think you aren’t enough.
Working through this challenge and having the courage to have those difficult conversations working through it all, has been hard - but I’ve definitely come to learn in this life, from hard comes good.
With social media comes negative and positive; how do you overcome these obstacles?
I’m super lucky that my experience with social media has been very positive. I have such an amazing community of magical life lovers who love food, art, and life... and they especially love love - who totally get what I am about.
And for that, I am so grateful. What I do struggle with, being quite the introvert actually, I do find the attention sometimes daunting - and will find myself taking mini breaks for a day or four here and there to recalibrate and just focussing on my mental health, my family and making sure my business is running smoothly away from social media. I pretty much break every Instabiz engagement/growth rule - but it’s my way of self-preservation and what I find works for me.
What is your favorite piece from the range that you offer?
I’m proud of my poetry. I still get customers asking who ‘wrote’ the poem I ‘write’ in pretty ink... and I have to answer - me! I figure, I can’t sing.... so pretty hand lettering is my voice so my lyrics and message can be heard. So yeah, all the prints that feature my original poetry make me super proud.
What is your favorite thing to do for some down-time for yourself?
You are going to think I’m very boring and one dimensional, but... just sit and play with my pen and paper. I don’t think I will ever tire of putting pen to paper and writing words that look good and make sense together.
I also love to shop. Haha.
From following you it is evident you have a love for cooking- where did this come from?! Do you think you would ever release a cookbook (I know I would buy one)?
Growing up I was always in the kitchen, sitting on the kitchen bench of our humble home in Logan watching my Mum make traditional Thai and Indonesian food. It’s something good that came from a troublesome time and I’m pleased I’ve been able to bring something good forward with me from that time, into my life as a Mama now and leave the rest behind.
I would TOTALLY be open to releasing a recipe book. I actually have gone as far as going through my camera roll and writing down all the meals I’ve created on the fly over the past couple of years, whether I have shared them on Insta or not and there are HUNDREDS. Someone, please get in touch if you have any clue how I turn that into a recipe book while I juggle everything else going on right now. Haha.
Favorite pages on the gram?
Oh. So. Many. But off the top of my head...
@reviejane of course - my baby sissy who I’m super proud of and I love stalking my nieces
@ellicedegiovanni honestly teaches me something new every day about overall body health - she is a wealth of knowledge and blows my mind.
@gemma_peanut is a total inspo - with her grace, her talent and soothing, melty voice.
@rubytuesdaymatthews cracks me UP and makes me want to move to Byron...
What is your go-to guilty pleasure food and/or meal?
Easily, Vietnamese PHO soup! Vietnamese cuisine is fresh and zesty and gives me LYFE. But seriously, I could eat all types of soup, breakfast-lunch-and-dinner every day for the rest of my life.
1What does Woman Supporting Woman in business mean to you? Have you experienced much of this being in business?
Far out, the more I delve into life as a Biz Mama - the more I love WOMEN. This feminine energy is so crazy powerful in the world right now and I like to think we use that power for the greater good. The more we can support and encourage each other the more that is going to benefit the world.
I feel so supported by women in my business! From the shares on Insta, the conversations I have with other girl biz bosses from all over the world, from the support I receive from my tribe of women whether it be follower, family members, BFFs and colleagues who support my brand, wear my product and cheer for my wins. I’m very lucky.
What is your advice for any Mumma’s out there that are thinking about starting up their own business?
Honestly, if it lights you up and you can’t stop working on it or thinking about it - go for it. The earth needs passionate people who are doing the things that the universe has set out for them.
Lucky last... What is next for you and your brand?
Poetry Book, my poetry and artwork on textiles, more LL apparel, new website, new products, new warehouse, and showroom are all currently on the go. Like, right now, all happening, as I type. So watch this space!