An Interview With: Lili Denim
|Location:||Cardiff (UK) / Bordeaux (France)|
What made you want to start ‘Lily Denim’? E.g. How did you get the idea, did a family member or friend inspire you, do you have a natural talent for design etc.
I've actually always been quite a crafty person! Anything that requires using your hands and letting your creativity run wild, I’m all for! I came up with the design idea of abstract line art faces back in November 2017, but I would only doodle it in my journal. It is back in January 2020 that I first had the idea of putting that design on a pair of jeans I had laying around in my closet, to spice it up. I ended up loving the result!
How did you come up with your brand name?
My name is Louise, but my nickname has been Lili (or Lilly) since I was a small child. And although I’ve experienced with other supports (like cotton or linen) which I did like painting on, the first fabric I painted on was denim. So I simply decided to mix the two words and came up with Lili Denim!
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
My first designs were actually inspired by the last scene of 2017 Luca Guadagnino’s film Call me by your name. In that sequence, main character Elio wears the most gorgeous printed shirt. It inspired me to just mess around with a pencil and a piece of paper and draw some squiggly line art of my own! I really love those designs now, and it’s just become my kind of signature. Now for each order that’s basically how it works : I let my imagination run wild.
What are the biggest challenges of running a small business?
Running a small business can get a bit overwhelming since it is only me, one person, making sure everything goes smoothly, from taking orders, to finding sustainable options that satisfy my customers wishes, to creating the design, to packaging, to shipping and even social media managing and advertising! You also always have to think of ways of highlighting how special and unique your business is, and not get discouraged by competition. But at the end of the day all these challenges only drive you to be more creative, more productive and more efficient! Sometimes it’s all about channeling the frustration into something positive.
What are the best things about running a small business?
Without a doubt, the absolute best thing about running a small business like mine is seeing photos and videos of my customers wearing the creations I spent hours working on! Nothing compares to seeing someone enjoying and appreciating something you’ve created with your own two hands. It really is such a special feeling.
If you could have one influencer/celebrity wear your jeans, which one would you choose and why?
I like to think that artists like Gus Dapperton, or Beabadoobee, who are both amazing musicians, would look absolutely sick wearing my designs on stage (that sounds so crazy to say ahah) because both their styles are very distinctive and unique, which are things I would quite like to think you could say about my creations.
What are your future goals for the brand?
I am currently working on a lot for my brand to grow in the future : I notably would love to see my designs on other forms of clothing, like buckets hats, dresses or Converse for example! I am actually working on several collabs to make that happen and at the same time help other female-owned small creative businesses grow! In the end, I would love to make my business my main activity, when i’m done with uni.
What advice do you have for other aspiring business owners?
I know that may sound really cheesy but honestly, get out there, take a leap of faith and just get started. It doesn’t matter how many orders you get your first few weeks or even first few months, keep believing in your creativity and talent, post often on social media to show customers you’re still there, motivated and happy to listen to their wishes, and surround yourself with kind and supporting people. The important isn’t the amount of money you make, or the number of orders you get, it’s that you love creating, and that you don’t stop doing so as long as you enjoy doing it.
What can people do to support you and your business?
If you cannot order from me, there is so many ways of helping out my small business, even without spending any money. Following my work on Instagram, engaging with my content by saving, liking, commenting or sharing helps tremendously, and allow more people to see my work, therefore expanding my potential customers base. It also shows me that you enjoy seeing what I do, and that my hours of experimenting, creating, failing and succeeding do not go unnoticed. And it really warms my heart.
Follow Louise on Instagram: @lili.denim