Fashion

How I Started: Lily and Jones

From online store to a brick-and-mortar brand!
IMAGE Instagram ART Clare Magno

These days, anyone can become an online seller. But Nicole of Lily and Jones takes online selling to the next level with her excellent business strategies on top of her already trendy sunglasses. Read on to find out how Lily + Jones expanded from being an online store to becoming brick-and-mortar brand.

How it started. "I started Lily + Jones because of my huge interest in the fashion industry. I have always been into apparel, shoes, bags, sunglasses, etc.. About a year ago, I was hooked with the current trend of reflective sunglasses, and I thought of opening my own brand."

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Why Lily and Jones? "I actually started out wanting to sell swimwear at first. However, I noticed that many local start-up brands were already focusing on swimwear at that time. I thought that entering a perfect competition market would not be the best way to succeed. So, I decided to follow my instincts and move forward with selling sunglasses."

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Young entrepreneur. "Being a young entrepreneur is a tough,yet fulfilling job. I juggle an 8-5 regular desk job, and my start-up business without having to sacrifice my personal life. It's a bit hard to balance everything all at once, but at the end of the day, it really is satisfying."

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Drawing inspiration. "I draw my inspiration from all the young entrepreneurs I know and see on social media. Being surrounded with these people made me realize my desire to be self-sufficient, and to be successful at a young age."

Flying solo. "There are times when I wished I had team, or even just a partner to help me with the work I have to do with Lily + Jones—from advertising, digital marketing, customer service, and the like, but being a sole proprietor pushes me more, and continuously challenges me to do all these things on my own even if I have to learn the ABCs of Photoshop."

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Little challenges. "One of the biggest challenges I had to face was a smooth flowing logistics. I rely on second party couriers in delivering my products safely and on-time. However, sometimes they fail, which definitely affects my brand and my clients especially those who make last-minute purchases. We have been improving our logistics, and so far everything is going pretty well."

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Staying original. "I believe staying on trend, and trusting my own instincts when it comes to style, and that's my way of keeping my brand different from the rest of my competitors. I always keep myself up to date with the latest trend in the market, and what would be the most sellable based on the wants of the market."

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Entrepreneurial philosophy.

"Be passionate about what you do. Passion gives you a reason to get up in the morning and the energy to burn the midnight oil.”

What's next? "As of today, Lily + Jones is available on two online platforms asides from our own, namely Zalora and The Gorgeous Mess, and three physical stores being in To The Nines in Maginhawa, POP By Retail Lab in Powerplant Mall, and Fifth Rack in BF Paranaque. Also, we will soon have our 4th branch by December in Mercer St. in Uptown Mall. We plan to expand more by tapping provincial areas as well. Hopefully, we can make that happen by 2017!"

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To young budding entrepreneurs. "The best advice I would give to budding entrepreneurs is to be brave enough to take risks. Great things never came from comfort zones so do not be afraid to fail as it will only make you wiser." 

Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!

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About the author
Janelle Yau
Fashion and Beauty Assistant
The Rebecca Bloomwood of Manila. I spend half of my time obsessing about the latest fashion craze, and the other half overthinking and over-analyzing just about anything under the sun. When I’m not busy as a bee playing with fifty shades of pink lippies, you can probably catch me swiping my plastic for yet another pair of shiny, pointed gold flats.
VIEW OTHER ARTICLES FROM Janelle

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Elaine Dela Cruz 6 hours ago

When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.

You'll make a home out of the darkness that when a ray of light suddenly hits you, you'll try to avoid it. You'll try to cover your eyes. You'll try to cover your ears from the voices trying to help you get out of it. You'll try to hide because your mind and body will go against your will to come out and live. Because the darkness that used to scare you, now comforts you in a way you thought has helped you survived life. And you'll try to live. Day by day. In the darkness. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to start. Not knowing who is with you. You will try to live until the darkness that once surrounds you is now within you. And everyday, it's gonna be a cycle of subtle torture. But let me tell you a secret. The darkness won't make you whole.

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You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?

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