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Lulu And Levi

Q1. Tell us where it all began

It honestly feels like I’ve been making jewellery my whole life. As a child I loved making jewellery and I went straight from school into my Goldsmithing training with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. After graduating I opened my first business where I designed custom pieces of Swarovski jewellery for clients, including the Mayor of Waterford Mary O’ Halloran at the time and (Bwitched) Edel Lynch’s wedding jewellery.

From there I went on the create an iconic collection of Button themed charm bracelets that was really the foundation of my identity in the jewellery industry, especially when I went on Dragons Den in 2009 and received my first investment to bring the collection to life and to the rest of the world. Fifteen years later I still have a tiny button featured in one of our collections today as a little sentimental nod to my past and where it all began. 

“It honestly feels like I’ve been making jewellery my whole life.”

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Q2. What differentiates you from similar businesses in this area?

LULU & LEVI, names after my two children, creates beautifully simple & classic designs that have a great meaning to those who wear them. Each piece of jewellery tells the unique story of the individual wearer. People pick a design that they identify with and then customise it to tell their own story and celebrate their own life’s journey.

Celebrating life’s precious moments big and small is what matters most to us, because we as a family have experienced some very tough times that make us truly understand how precious those little moments actually are. 

Because of this we also donate 10% of all sales to Ronald McDonald House Charities Ireland. We are a family that experienced first hand, what this charity does for families and the profound long term effects RMHC has on the lives of the families they help.

Q3. What would you say are the biggest challenges your business is currently facing?

Aside from the usual rising costs of precious metals and the ever changing landscape of social media the biggest challenge for us is more on the personal side of things. In the last two years I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on the business or be in the workshop because we spent the better part of that time in Crumlin hospital with our daughter. On top of that I have a life long chronic illness myself that I battle with daily so finding time to actually work both on and in the business is tough.

However, the flip side to that is working for myself and working from home is really my only option so that I have the flexibility to get into the workshop in those moments in between. I find that making jewellery is so therapeutic and especially when times get very stressful there’s nothing I love more than hiding away in my little workshop and designing and making something new. It’s very soothing and gives me a sense of control when I have very little else I can control.            

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Q4. What are your top ‘moments of joy’ over the past 4-5 years?

To be honest all of my BIG successes, Awards, significant investments and achievements seem so so long ago and not one of them came without their own complications! I know this sounds a bit cringey, but nowadays every time I hear that little ding on my phone with an order notification is a huge moment of joy for me. It’s like a little ping of motivation to keep going, it’s a reminder that something I’ve created is bringing others joy and in turn that fills me with pride. Knowing that out of all the jewellers to choose from someone chose to buy my jewellery and that brings me joy. More than that my biggest moment of joy is when I see the same names on the orders because it means my customers loved what they got enough to return time and time again. I’ve learned over my journey that it’s the small daily wins that add up to so much more in the long term than the big flashy wins.

“I’ve learned over my journey that it’s the small daily wins that add up to so much more in the long term than the big flashy wins.”

Q5. What does the future hold for your business?

I have loads of plans for the future because one of my favourite things to do when I’m not in the workshop is to write down action plans and strategies for what I want to achieve and how I want to drive the business forward. I have loads of new designs and collections that I have been working on behind the scenes that I will be launching this year which I’m excited about.

I’m also putting a lot of work into really understanding my customers and their needs better alongside building my email list so that I can stay much more personally in contact with them. I’m one of those people who absolutely hates social media but I’m in the middle of creating a system to make that much easier for myself too. I’m also the type who likes to keep busy so over the past year I’ve set up a social enterprise and created a program for people living with Chronic Illness within their family, you’ll find that at www.chronichealthadvocate.com and I’m working on a book to help people attain that elusive work life balance while self-employed. So there’s lots more to come!

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