How I Started: Annie & Lori
There are a lot of shoe designs that are popping from left to right, but leather shoes will always be a shoe staple that will last you a lifetime. Annie & Lori is a shoe brand that gives you fashionable footwear with a story and a heart. Read on to find out how Faith started the biz, and where she draws her inspiration for the brand.
How it started. "The brand started out as a personal project. When my grandparents passed away, I knew I had to channel my sentiments to something productive and creative. I have ventured into other types of business in the past but this time I followed my passion and started something I really love. I named the brand after my grandparents Annie and Lori, two special people in my life who inspired me to start the business."
Why Annie & Lori? "I am a huge shoe lover, but I always had a preference for flats. In terms of design, I'm not a fan of too glittery or full of ornaments. I prefer simple, minimalist flats which I can wear with anything. Shopping for shoes will take me about two to three hours just to find the perfect pair! Until I realized, why not create my own line of footwear? Although Annie & Lori did not start with leather sandals, I always had an appreciation for leather for its sophistication and durability. At the back of my mind, I wanted to offer genuine leather for my customers at an affordable price. When I tried on the leather collection for the brand, both the sales result and market feedback, to say the least, totally swept us away. It was really a positive surprise for me and I took it as a sign to focus on the leather shoes."
Young entrepreneur. "It's definitely heard being a young entrepreneur. I believe that no entrepreneur was able to sail smoothly on his/her business especially during the initial stage, and most especially when you're young. However, every young entrepreneur shouldn't just focus on his/her limitations especially since being young has its own pros, which one can maximize."
Drawing inspiration. "I personally draw inspiration from Annie & Lori themselves. Annie & Lori isn't just a brand name that pops out my mind. They are two very special people in my life who coincidentally embodies what the brand is all about - simple yet beautiful and timeless."
Flying solo. "I am a sole proprietor, but I'm very lucky to have supportive people around me all the time. Annie & Lori wouldn't be able to make it this far without my support team, people who believes in the brand and definitely are awe with product that the brand is offering."
Little challenges. "There are a lot of challenges that I had to face while running Annie & Lori, but one major challenge was trying to transition the business from online to offline. After seeing the potential of the brand I have thought of transitioning to traditional way of selling and that is putting up a store. It felt like it was the biggest move that I ever had to make for the brand. It wasn't easy as there had been a lot of sacrifices I have to make. I was scared, excited, but positive about it all at the same time. I guess that believing in our brand helped us make the transition."
Staying original. "I always make sure to deliver what is expected of the brand, if not more than that. It is very important that there is consistency in service, quality of products, and overall experience with Annie & Lori. Annie & Lori is not just your typical leather footwear brand. Coming from customers themselves, Annie & Lori is a lifestyle and I make sure to keep up with that."
What’s next? "There are a lot of exciting future plans for the brand which I am sure Annie & Lori customers will be happy about. Stay tuned!"
To budding young entrepreneurs. "As cliché as it may sound, follow the voice within you and follow your passion. There might be a lot of hurdles along the way, but if you are really determined, no wave is too big or small. Bend if you must. Sprint if you must, or take break if you really must. Being an entrepreneur is not all about analysis, data and facts, sometimes, intuition works. Having a business is like having your own child. It wouldn't grow well without right nurture and care."
Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!