My Women at Work series is where I share my space with inspiring women who make work, work, for them!
Today I’m thrilled to interview Lou Harvey. This well-known name is not only the brand of beautiful bags printed in an array of pretty patterns and bright colours, but a real-life mom of 2!
Read on to find out more about Lou and her amazing brand…
Tell me more about yourself and what you currently do?
I am 43 and mom to Izzy (14) and Alec (2), I am a proudly KZN girl and live in Mt Edgecombe near Umhlanga and my business, Lou Harvey, started 10 years ago
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I have always loved textiles and patterns and creating designs and when I fell pregnant with my daughter Izzy, I saw there was a desperate need for beautiful mummy-friendly bags and accessories that were fashionable and practical.
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I studied Fashion and Interior Design
What was your first job in the industry? and what path has your career taken since?
I began my career designing cushions for Wetherlys and Home Fabrics where I learnt many tricks of the trade. Shortly after Izzy was born, I had an opportunity to buy a business that made bags and slowly moulded and developed the business into what I envisioned it could be. I started selling at open days and flea markets but my big break happened at the St Ledger Christmas Fair in Jozi. Today, the business has really grown and boasts an entirely local production from the fabrics to the employees and production process. We have stores in KZN and Jozi, as well as an online store that delivers anywhere in the country. Our current distribution sees product going as far as Singapore, Australia, United States, Israel and Mexico.
What have been the highlights?
I love what I do, from the creative process and working on the new designs, to the people I work with – we have some incredible staff who have been here since the beginning of the business. I also love our clients and we have got such fabulous people selling the brand all over the world, I really have made lovely friends through my business.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love the fact that I am my own boss as I get to be flexible with my family, and having just relocated our factory to be closer to home I can pop in and out and run errands on the way, which has honestly changed my life. I am very lucky to now be in a position that I can also be at home much more than when I was starting my business
What is the most challenging part?
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different?
I go to gym really early so that’s out of the way and it’s not cutting into family time.
I then have breakfast with my son (Izzy is a boarder) and then drop him at school.
I then dash to work until about 11.30 then go and fetch him and drop him home for lunch and a nap. This is when I do things for myself and then when he wakes up we play or do fun things.
I’m a real early bird and love to be in my pj’s by 6. Not terribly glam but its perfect for me and works for our little family
What are the “secrets” to your success?
I have the most phenomenal team, some of whom have been with me from the beginning of the business. I believe you need to surround yourself with a positive and hardworking team and I’m a big believer in nurturing people who have potential but don’t have the opportunity to express that talent. I also keep in constant communication with my customers, in order to find out what they want and how we can continuously service their wants and needs.
I also love Pinterest and following international and global trends, so that I remain current with my designs and believe in research, everything from location, to demand for your product to costing – know what you’re getting in to before taking the plunge!
As a mom how do you get the balance between your family and career life right? Your tips and tricks? (if applicable)
I am very in touch with the needs of my family and they obviously come first and with cell phones etc you can run your business remotely. I don’t sleep well so I respond to emails at night.
What do you do for fun in your down time?
I always make time to meet a girlfriend for a lunch and catch up at least once a week, and I’m also addicted to the Oyster Box Spa, for a real spoil and me time!
What do you still want to achieve?
So so much!
I want LH to be positioned as a lifestyle brand which I’m working on now.
Ultimately I would love to see an explosion in the USA and Asia.
Thanks Lou for taking the time to share some insights into your life. Appreciate it so much as I love sharing stories about inspiring women at work!
The great news is that I’ve got one gorgeous Lou Harvey overnight bag to give away worth R957!!
To enter and win a Lou Harvey bag in the pattern and colour of your choice, all you need to do is pop over to her website (via this link) to choose your favourite and then complete the form below…
Ps. You can get extra entries for sharing on social media 😉
Please note that by entering your details into this form you will receive the weekly highlights newsletter from Becoming you.
Competition closes on Monday 27 June and winners will be announced on Tues 26 June.