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Rising Stars: Meet Lulah Balde

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lulah Balde.

Hi Lulah, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
To begin, like any other designer or creator, I have always had a passion to just create. Whether that was bad art or an absolute masterpiece, I enjoyed the process of just being able to see my work in the making. However, because for a long time I felt like designing had to be this amazingly curated masterpiece, I felt a lack of motivation to continue creating. It wasn’t until high school again where I decided to take a couple of art and photography classes that I had wished I started sooner. I began creating terrible art and beautiful masterpieces, it felt like a tug of war when it came to the entire art process, but it was something I loved doing. Time and time again, before applying to college I had wished I had spent more of my focus on those specific passions of editing photos and films, creating art pieces, and designing digital pieces for social media. Then lockdown came. It was a blessing in disguise.

In the summer of 2020, right after graduation, I spent hours on end on my iPad just learning about ProCreate, photoshop, and finding ways to just create digitally. I then began creating more and more pieces and challenging myself to just focusing on the designing process rather than the outcome. Around June 2020, I had decided I wanted this passion project of mine to expand to something legitimately. So I set a goal to curate an outcome of all my time spent designing. I had absolutely no idea what that outcome would be, the opportunities it would give, or where it would take me. After a three-month process of just researching, planning, and designing, I launched LULITA on September 31st, 2020. I remember crying tears of fear and joy and feeling immensely overwhelmed with this new chapter in my life.

The research, designing process, and overwhelming feeling didn’t stop there after the launch date. Since LULITA has launched, I am constantly working, planning, and getting artist block as I have to learn the different aspects of the business beyond our products themselves. It’s a matter of researching your audience and finding the best ways of social media engagement tactics. I can’t leave the story about Lulita’s creation without mentioning the support of my family and all the people that have bought from lulita and enjoy the work that I put out there.

Since Lulita’s launch, we have made more than 450 sales including an abundance of tote bags and wall decor. Lulita is still small as it’s just me in my room, cutting away and packaging each individual order. But in my heart, Lulita is my love and it’s an immense pleasure to be able to see my vision come to life. As Lulita expands, we hope to include more essentials and different ways to bring a smile to people’s face.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nothing you create is a smooth road. There would be no fun in any creative process without the difficulties of wanting to stop or do more. The struggle with starting my small business was not knowing what it meant to start a small business. Although I am an ambitious person that enjoys learning about entrepreneurship and how that can be combined with one’s passion, I had no idea what it actually meant to see results. Since launch day, I have been constantly researching all aspects of what it means to have a business based on your passion. These struggles focus mainly on understanding making your product aesthetic and lovable from a variety of audiences. Also researching social media tactics to increase your reach online. A common struggle at the beginning that I felt I overlooked was the importance of aesthetics. Meaning, how does your product appears to others. So I had to make sure to understand the importance of product photos and being able to make people enjoy their stay as they scroll through our social media feed. I still have a lot to learn as I continue to grow as a small business owner and a designer. Even with the common struggles of business and creating, it is still something that is necessary and allows you to see the beauty of the results of your work. These struggles pay off as I get to see the reviews and photos of our beautiful Lulita customers.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am currently a first-year student at UCLA, majoring in political science with a pursuit to switch to public affairs. I wouldn’t say I specialize in anything particular as I am a full-time student with a small business on the side. I am most proud of my ambition and my love for all forms of art. Beyond the business aspects and creating physical products, I appreciate my passion for art. By staring at Pinterest boards, watching small aesthetic clips, and putting pen on paper, at the end of the day my love for art goes beyond anything else.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
My biggest cheerleader would have to be my sister, Aissatou Balde. Lulita would not exist without her. When we started Lulita, there were no funds set aside to completely launch a curated and “perfect” business into action. With the help of her investments and her belief in my work, she helped me make Lulita become what it has become today.

My sister is someone that has always been my soundboard and the person I felt understands my soul entirely. Without a support system or someone that believes in you, it’s hard to stay motivated and avoid burnout. She reminds me time and time again how proud she is of me and my work and how appreciative she is of our bond. Aissatou is more than just a team member of Lulita, she is someone that is my constant cheerleader.

Pricing:

  • Tote Bags – $16.50
  • Wall Decor – $6.00

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Lulah Balde Lillian Hassan Sara Suleiman Mastura Mowla Astaan J

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