Wear, rent, repeat
Article from the Sun daily by Marion Fernando (posted on 29 Jan 2019)
NA NA LAW began blogging about her life eight years ago, and eventually moved on to include topics like fashion and lifestyle after the platform posed a commercial possibility.
“At the time, it was when blogging first started. We didn’t really get paid. We just wrote for fun,” said the 27-year-old entrepreneur who still has an active travel and lifestyle blog.
From there, Sarawak-born Law went on to co-found the now-defunct swimwear label Mermaid Dreams but pressed on with her foray into fashion after leaving the first business.
Her penchant for beautiful dresses coupled with a realisation that most women typically wear an ensemble for a special occasion only once, prompted her to go into a dress rental service called Lola Gown with business partner Isabelle Lee in 2017.
How did the opportunity to start Lola Gown present itself?
I quit my full-time job [working as a] digital marketer in an e-commerce company. That was the time that I really decided I wanted to own something by myself.
So this business idea was shared with my partner. She’s into gowns as well, into fashion, beautiful stuff.
She’s also one of my best friends. We share the same vision and style that’s why we actually started this company.
The gowns are created with who in mind, and do you design the dresses yourself?
I’m on the creative marketing side, so the designer is my partner. She usually sources for materials and designs.
We are actually struggling between gowns that we like and gowns that customers would like, so you need to find a balance actually. Sometimes, something that is too fashionable might not be applicable to our customers.
So we get inspired from the red carpet, from Instagram, [and] dresses worn by celebrities. Then we sort of curate and customise and design our own gowns, as well.
How is your personal style represented in Lola Gown?
[My business partner] is married, so she’s a little bit more classy, more elegant, more feminine. For me, I’m a bit more rugged and sexy.
[Lola Gown] is not so feminine like those bridal house kind of gowns. We are slightly more fashionable, in a way.
How did you decide on the rental approach with Lola Gown?
It’s mainly for rental, but we also sell. Our core is rent because we believe you don’t need to keep a gown. Most people buy a gown just for one-time use, then they just keep it there [in the closet].
So we believe in rental, we believe in recycling dresses, we believe in sharing the same beautiful dress with more people. It’s actually a lot more cost effective as well [to rent a dress].
Do you have any plans on growing Lola Gown?
Now we don’t really source dresses from different countries any more. We tend to design our own dresses, so it takes a little bit longer than just buying off from other people.
That’s our plan for now, and then we are also planning to have everyday wear for rental, but still more for special occasions, like let’s say dinner or a date.
We’re also opening a shop very soon. We used to be based in KL for a while, then after that, we moved to Klang, which is a little out of the way. It’s not really convenient for the customers, so we recently found a shop that is within the Klang Valley area.
That’s the short term that we want to achieve. So not just gowns, maybe something more casual – once we have the shop and bigger space.
Does travel blogging help you with Lola Gown?
When you travel, you see different people. You see how they dress, you see how what they like, and you tend to be more open-minded in terms of creating a new design.
Sometimes you get so stuck because you just want to create what your customers want, but then when you step out, you realise that this was not your initial motivation for starting the business.
You always have to find the balance, pull yourself back and do what you really want.
What do you think someone should do at least once in her life?
There are so many things to do [but] to see how far you can go, I guess. To just take a step, even a small step. Just try, because you will realise what you can actually do, yes or no.
Even though you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, and it might not be the thing you dreamed about, it will lead you somewhere.
Don’t find excuses, just try. Always try first before saying, maybe this might not work.