If you've seen one of the candles in the gorgeous European-inspired packaging that we've been touting on our social media, you'll be hard-pressed to find out that the entire line comes from a one-woman team - and one who doesn't even do this full time...yet. The woman in question is none other than half Filipino and half French Lulu of L'Abondance.
As with many people in the past two years, Lulu found herself starting L'Abondance in the confinement of the pandemic. She started the business out of her love for European scents, and found herself trying to recreate them into her own scented line. As of posting, L'Abondance has four collections with seven scents in each, as well as a limited edition scent. The brand also offers linen and room sprays, as well as reed diffusers.
As for Lulu's goal, her aim is to provide niche products, with quality scents and packaging, at a much more affordable price.
Get to know Ladypreneur Lulu and have a glimpse into her entrepreneurial life.
Tell us a bit about your entrepreneurship journey.
It starts with my fascination and adoration for scents. I’ve always been into them, from perfumes, to diffusers, and to candles. My space smelling good has always been a thing for me. Over the pandemic, my fascination with candles grew as we were home all day. I started purchasing more and more from local brands but I really wanted candles with more of my personal preference in terms of scent, which is European. I couldn’t find any local brands that would offer this and the only other option was to purchase from international brands but they’re just too expensive. So my husband looked at me and asked “why don’t you make yourself”? And the journey began. It started as a hobby and passion project, to make myself candles. Turns out, I absolutely adored the process and the experimental phase and then decided this could become a business too.
Have you always been entrepreneurial? How did you grow into your entrepreneurial role?
I think that I always had it in me but I never took the plunge. Both my parents were entrepreneurs so I learned a lot from them growing up. I think it’s all about finding the “thing” for you to take the plunge, and for me it was definitely candles.
It’s funny because I recently had a realization. My father was a chemist and my mother was an interior designer. I believe that I’ve blended their two careers into one.
How do you balance your entrep journey while juggling a 9-5 job?
Sometimes, I don’t know how I do it myself haha. I spend the time on L’Abondance when I can, which is during breaks, before and after work and over the weekends. I think that when someone is passionate and determined, they find the time no matter what. My ultimate goal is to be able to turn this passion into full-time so sacrificing personal free time into this business is well worth it.
Lulu shares a bit of her entrepreneurial journey in the Marana Tha Caiano Dress
Favorite book/s that inspired or motivated you in your journey?
Make Your Bed by by William H. McRaven, Choose Yourself by James Altucher and The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson.
What’s your caffeinated beverage of choice?
Espresso! During summers, iced with coconut milk and French vanilla syrup. On cooler days, a strong shot of espresso with Muscovado sugar.
Share one instant when you felt like giving up and how you got over it.
During the beginning stages, I didn’t expect the demand I was getting. I was overwhelmed, extremely happy and nervous all at the same time. I’ve also encountered some mean customers. I don’t think I ever had an instance where I felt like giving up but I did get moments of high emotions. But I’m not a quitter and I always keep my chin high and keep going.
Virtual meetings: yay or nay?
YAY! I think the pandemic has taught us that we are able to do a lot of things remotely, depending on the line of work. All the unnecessary time spent in traffic can be converted into time well spent. Remember, time is precious!
Lulu shows a glimpse of her work day in the Juanita The Label Belle of the Ball Dress
What does your typical work day look like?
I start my days early. I give myself thirty minutes to one hour once I wake up for myself, I feed my dogs, make myself my coffee, take my vitamins, defrost what I’m planning to cook that day and just take the remaining time with myself and planning for the day. Then my day job starts. Over lunch, I eat and start my wax melter and wick my jars. Then I finish the remaining of my day job and then L’Abondance work starts. After I pour my candles, I pack the orders for the following day.
What does rest look like for you? What do you love doing outside of work?
I do work a lot, from Monday to Saturday. I’ve dedicated Sundays as family day. My husband and I meet with my dad every Sunday, alternating homes. We spend the day together with great food, a nice bottle of wine and sometimes some card games. Otherwise, I do like to read my Kindle, watch TV shows, cook, listen to some music with a nice glass of wine, and of course, spending time with my husband and our two dogs.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
I haven’t mastered this yet. Baby steps. I spend majority of my time juggling my day job and L’Abondance but there is a point where I tell myself to stop. If I’m working too late or if my body is just telling me it needs a break, I move my production schedule a bit to give myself 1-2 evenings resting.
What started out as a passion project is now Lulu's growing business which she aims to do full-time
Were there any challenges you faced along the way as a woman in business?
In this day and age, women are getting a lot more respect in business. Over the course of my career, I’ve had sexist encounters that I handled well, I always speak up for myself. In the candle community, majority of chandlers are women so it’s always a safe space.
Name three women you look up to that inspire you in business.
Sophia Amoruso, Melanie Perkins, and Erica Morris - the chandler that took the step to build a YouTube channel dedicated to helping chandlers in all aspects in the business (how to make candles, how to run the business, and everything in between).
Three favorite Instagram accounts you follow.
Humand of NY (@humansofny), Architecture Mania (@architecturalmania) & Jazy Goh (@jazy_g)
What’s on your playlist?
I’ve really been into watching DJs play their sets live on Youtube. Right now it’s Kirollus, Folamour and anything Boiler Room.
What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this?
If you find your passion in life, take the plunge and never give up. We all aspire to do what we love, if you’re lucky enough to have found it, pursue it.
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