One thing we love about female entrepreneurs is that they have a drive and passion to create. To create a community, a solution, or a product, something that will leave a legacy beyond their times. That is why we are so drawn to Anna Lecat, founder of Les Lunes, a french fashion line that is uniquely crafted to embrace the individuality of women.
As this week’s Balanced Babe influencer, Anna shares with us what inspires her, the challenges she overcame, and of course a peak inside how she lives as a total Balanced Babe.
Anna Lecat, CEO of Les Lunes
BB: What inspired you to work for yourself?
I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, I am always thinking about a way to help people, to support them and make them feel happy and confident. When I see a need, I want to create a business that will fulfill it, it is what I love to do!
BB: How long is the process of creating your designs to selling them? What does that process look like?
First, we start by getting to know our customer. We invite them to our showroom, to events and we get out and meet them. And then we listen. We listen to their stories, their rants, how their day went, what they are excited about and what they are frustrated with. This is what inspires our designs, people sharing their lives. In fact, we are so amazed by our customers lives that we started LL.Faces where we have them model the collections, and we tell their story, which prompted LL.Stories a quarterly collective of LL.Faces.
Second, our French design team draws the first sketches, and a construction of the design is made, a pattern is made from the construction, and we are soon off and running with samples to beta test.
Third, we galavant around with our samples and wrangle savvy customers to try the new designs. And then we wait to hear their feedback. Did it fit perfectly? If not, why? And back to the design table, because for a perfect fit, “every millimeter matters.”
And finally off to production! Which means I fly with the head of my French design team to meet with our team of seamstresses in Shanghai. Together, we work out the final design. It is a fun collaborative effort between artisans.
This process can take 6 to 12 months from start to finish. This is slow fashion, it is built to last the decades, and it is made with integrity. Our seamstresses are skilled and take pride in their work. We refuse to go the fast fashion way that exploits workers in sweatshops. It is why we maintain full vertical integration of the company. Woman founded, woman run, with integrity.
BB: What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome while creating your business?
Our biggest challenge is just emerging, there are big companies that are starting to be fearful of the slow fashion movement, it is like a small dog biting at their ankles. They want to ignore us, but consumers are being more thoughtful about their fashion purchases, they are looking for products that are made with quality and integrity; they are looking for garments that fit their bodies, their lifestyle and their soul. This is threatening to large companies that are seeing a profit shift away from what has always worked for them in the past. Instead of changing the way they do business they are trying to kick the annoying little dog away.
BB: What marketing strategies work the best for you and your business?
Meeting influential people in person and styling their wardrobe. Once you put Les Lunes on, you never want to take it off. The transformation we see when people first put on a Les Lunes garment is very heartwarming; a smile spreads across their face, their shoulders straighten and their posture becomes one of easy confidence. It is an amazing thing to witness.
People who wear Les Lunes are our best ambassadors.
BB: What are some lessons you’ve learned that they don’t teach in college about starting your own business?
Your business can only be as good as you are to your customers and your team. You will have failures, but how you react on a human level will make all the difference. Throw out the ‘book’ and remember that at the end of every conversation you are working with a human being, connecting with that human being can make the difference between creating an ambassador or an enemy.
BB: How do you unwind when you are feeling burnt out?
I love what I do and it energizes me most of the time, but when I need to take a step away I enjoy time with my husband and my boys… and one day soon my daughter. We love to play in the water and out in nature, there are always many smiles, the laughter of family is very invigorating!
And… I love to Tango, it is such an expressive dance, very sensual and full of body language, it is a beautiful story that unfolds between two people on the dance floor. You can’t help but feel renewed and alive after dancing the Tango.
BB: How do you maintain a Balanced Babe lifestyle?
I am very determined to have balance in my life and I work very hard to insure it. It is a conscious decision that I make everyday. If I am home I take my dog for a hike in the woods. Every weekend we are at the beach, or in the mountains with the kids, and I go out to dance Tango at least once a week. AND work is so wonderful and exciting, it never feels like “work”.
BB: What are your quick tips for staying fit?
I love to dance the Tango and get out in nature, it is part of how I balance my life, recharge and come up with new ideas.
BB: How do you stay healthy while on the go?
I always sit down for a nice meal no matter how busy I get. Good food nourishes mind, body and soul, especially when it is combined with good company. And I listen to my body and what it wants and needs.
BB: What is your diet like?
I love Asian food! I eat lots of vegetables, tofu, and veggie soups. Plus, tons of fruit, I always keep fresh apples and nuts in my car for a healthy easy snack on the go.
BB: What is your ideal morning routine?
I wake before the kids and indulge in a leisurely shower, it is a very important part of my day, this slow awakening to the world. Then I go and get the kids up and ready for school, drive them to school, and come back home for a big quiet breakfast (I love my breakfast!). Only then am I completely ready to start a crazy busy active day.
BB: What big lesson could someone learn from your life?
If you dream big, work hard, take care of the people around you, and persevere… amazing things will happen.
BB: What’s next?
Les Lunes customers are asking for retail locations so that they are not limited to seeing us online or at our private events. They want more flexibility in how, and where they shop with Les Lunes. Brick and mortar retail is complex, and a very big important step for us, it is like building a home for Les Lunes, where everyone is welcome. We are diligently working out the details and very excited about building the house of Les Lunes! Coming Soon.
(photo credit: Les Lunes)