This year we celebrate 10 years of LILYA.
In celebration of the brand’s milestone we sat down with owner and designer Lisa Robertson to chat about how her small side project has now turned into a internationally recognised brand and what she has learnt along the way…
What made you want to start your own label?
I have always worked in the fashion industry… I started in retail straight after school, and then I was a buyer and did some styling. It was after working in wholesale for a big agency that I then started my own wholesale agency, selling brands like Maurie and Eve, Oscar the Third, Mogil and Grain. I knew a lot of buyers and felt like I had good knowledge to start the process of having my own label. It was a natural progression.
What three words do you think best describe the LILYA aesthetic?
Natural, chic and nonchalant.
What have been your most memorable moments since starting the brand?
I have a retail background, so for me it’s being stocked by my beautiful retailers, so many of them are loyal and have bought my brand since day 1. I also love seeing LILYA on beautiful women, with social media now, its so amazing to see people from all over the world of all different ages and walks of life wearing and sharing their love for the brand.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?
The biggest lessons I have learnt are to allow for a little drama, roll with the punches of having your own business and at the end of the day not let it affect you too much. I have also learnt the power of a good team, especially after becoming a mother, I needed to learn how to empower and trust my staff and now I have the best team ever!
Lilya was born and raised in Bondi and now are based Sunshine Coast, how has the brand changed in the past 10 years? What has stayed the same?
The brand has grown and expanded. We have always stocked Australia, but in the past few years we have grown in New Zealand and more recently the US. We have had such an amazing response to LILYA in the US and Hawaii and are in some amazing retailers.
Also, social media has changed so much in the past 10 years and how we communicate and interact with our stores and customers. So much is happening online, in real time and fast! I think personal customer service has always been our focus and although technology has changed the way we communicate, we still offer that same personal customer service. Although it is more and more through social media and emails, we still have a landline phone and chat to customers and stores regularly!
Lilya is stocked in over 100 stores Australia wide and has branched out globally from NZ, the U.S.A to even Kiev in the Ukraine! Why do you think the brand resonates with so many women?
It’s easy to wear, practical, transcends through age groups and has a global style. LILYA is a lifestyle fashion brand, which we have always designed to be ‘lived in’ wherever you may be. Design wise, we are really influenced by where we live but also our travels. I think we have put our own casual LILYA ‘twist’ on everywhere we’ve travelled from NYC, Brazil back to East Coast Australia! I like to think that Lilya is accessible and has pieces that many women feel comfortable wearing wherever they may be.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own label?
Get experience in the business side of fashion!!!! Fashion is fun and exciting but to run a business requires more than just good fashion sense. Listen and learn and be brave and don’t ever stop learning.
Who is the quintessential LILYA woman?
The LILYA woman is warm, natural and caring. She has a sense of fun and adventure and feels comfortable in her own skin.
What’s next for LILYA?
We are now more than ever travelling to source inspiration, fabrics and shoot locations…so we hope to develop more exciting product, explore new idea and put a whole lot more time into perfecting the ranges. We hope to grow in the US and travel a lot. Creatively too, as our team is growing we hope this gives us more opportunity to grow and explore and make more amazing collections.
To say a big thank you for all the love and support from our lovely LILYA customers over the past decade we are giving subscribers a special 15% off code to use on all Spring styles.
Simply enter the code ‘HAPPY10’ at the checkout to apply.
*Valid until Monday 7th November 2016 and includes full priced Spring stock only.