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Exploring Life & Business with Irene Wei of la Lovie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Irene Wei .

Hi Irene, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My background is in fashion design. I was a fashion designer in Taiwan for many years. I immigrated to USA in 2003 and could not land a designer job, so I started working as a technical designer for sweaters. During those years working as a technical designer, I felt like I was “missing something” because I could not express the creative thoughts in my head. Then, I began la Lovie. I started designing luxurious cashmere knit blankets and (of course) sweaters the year my daughter was born. Along the way, I made many mistakes and learned new lessons about myself and what I could offer to the world.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been smooth. The first seven years of my business, I designed knit blankets, sweaters, and leggings along with a small line of handmade dolls. Money was a big issue, and I didn’t feel comfortable getting a bank loan. Also, I was always searching for my unique look — as well as figuring out what kind of company I wanted la Lovie to be. Inventory control was difficult, and I never knew which style was going to sell. I ended up with whole houses of inventory. LOL.

In 2016, I decided to change the direction of my company. I started a shift towards sustainable living, slow crafted artistry dolls, and functional aesthetics. Now my struggles are with time and with pricing.

Today, I hand make everything inside of my studio. I naturally hand-dye some of my fabrics with locally found sources; I even screen print product bags and hang tags. I pour my heart and soul into each of my creations. Each piece takes time to make and I cannot speed up the process.

Right now, I struggle with what to charge for my products. I feel sorry that many of my handmade products are expensive. Some customers tell me that they love what I am trying to do but that they cannot support my work by buying my products. I tell them that it is OK — that their encouragement helps keep me going because I know that someone else values what I am trying to do.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about la Lovie LLC?
Each and every item found on la Lovie is individually hand-sewn, handcrafted and hand-finished in my studio in Claremont, CA. Every stitch, every print, and every design has my personal, creative, je ne sais quoi touch to it that can not be replicated. Each product is designed and hand-made with the goal of creating wonder and whimsical imagination in its receiver. No matter the age, all who receive a la Lovie product make a special connection with it. Shop online or at our little shop inside of historic Packing House in Claremont, CA.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I have been very fortunate to have the support of my family. When I was growing up, my family believed in my talent and supported my decision to go to fashion school. When I started la Lovie, they gave me some seed money to help with start-up costs.

Luck, or fortune, is all around us. It is a matter of making the most of opportunities that arise. I think that through it all, staying true to myself has helped me take advantage of the luck (good fortune) that has come my way.

Pricing:

  • Doll-$88~$180
  • Light-Up pillows-$50~$65
  • Music Boxes-$50~60

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Courtnay Robbins, Kayla P (@this.little.wandering), Irene Wei

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