Does resortwear ever go out of style? Trick question – ha. It’s the perfect blend of style, comfort and price – whether at home or out and about – and as busy mamas, we can’t get enough...
Enter LOWLA. We chatted with Sydney-based Iwona Lau, the gorgeous mama, model and half of the duo behind this dreamy brand about all things fashion, business and raising three boys. Holding image: Julie Adams | Go to www.lowla.co
What has motherhood taught you so far?
Patience, selflessness and unconditional love. Motherhood has taught me not to sweat the small stuff however, I am still working on mastering that. At the end of the day as long as my family is healthy and happy nothing else really matters.
How has going from 2-3 kids changed your family dynamic?
We were talking about having a third for quite some time but never brave enough to go for it so we both said if it happened great otherwise we were already blessed with our two gorgeous boys (ten and seven) and life would be beautiful regardless. Lo and behold it happened, I was fearful the first four months as I was concerned certain anxiety issues would resurface that I worked so hard to heal. To help me get through it I saw my brilliant chiropractor regularly, acupuncturist/Chinese medicine doctor and found myself a beautiful doula, Jacki Barker, who helped me emotionally and also taught me the hypnobirthing method. She helped me find my inner goddess and the strength that I thought I had lost due to a traumatic birthing experience with my second. She really was amazing and I recommend every woman having a doula. Arki has brought so much joy and light into the family. He has filled us with so much love and the other two boys really get to enjoy all the good stuff that comes with having a baby around as they are old enough to understand and know whats going on and really enjoy the funny things Arki does. The family dynamic has changed for the better, he has brought us all closer.
How did your career change when you became a mother?
Motherhood made me rethink my path, I no longer wanted to pursue modelling and because my husband travels a lot for work I wanted at least one of us to be a constant for them and to be the full-time carer. Starting my own business ticked all the boxes for us.
Talk us through how you came to launch LOWLA? Why is it unique in the market?
Moving back to Australia from New York I really wanted to find a creative outlet and so I asked my stylist friend Sami Simper who had a background in graphic design if she wanted to start a label together. At first, it was meant to be a home wares brand but naturally evolved into a resort wear brand with a fashion edge. We had this idea of pyjama style dressing three years ago (it has taken us this long). Our loungewear is unique as it really is the perfect travel companion because of its versatility. It comes in a gorgeous drawstring bag easy to pack in your suitcase. You can wear it to sleep or lounge by the pool in, wear it out to lunch or dinner with a gorgeous heel, particularly the St Tropez print. Never compromising style over comfort. We focus on using luxurious fabrics such a silk and pricing them at an affordable price.
What are three tips for women looking to set up their own business?
- Perseverance, having a vision and sticking with it. Everything else will come. There are a lot of setbacks particularly with the production side of things, issues will arise but you just have to keep going and don’t let the mistakes get you down just learn from them.
- Passion, it’s not easy running your own business and the creative part is only a fraction of it. During the early stages, you find yourself wearing a lot of different hats. One minute you’re working on the production, the next marketing strategy and budgets etc. You need to love what you do otherwise all the other stuff may really make you question why and if it is really worth it.
- Know your target market inside out, have a strong brand identity that keeps in-line with everything that you do.
What are some of the challenges you face running your own business?
Having your own business means that you’re never off work, there is always something that needs to be done and I find it challenging to switch off and be present for the kids. Working with overseas manufacturers, language barriers and expectations being met. Hoping your suppliers have the same standards as you isn’t enough. You have to be on top of them ALL the time and it is frustrating and hard when they get it wrong or don’t see it the way you do.
Where does the inspiration for the prints come from?
Travel. I travelled a lot particularly when I was modelling and when the kids were younger. The prints are inspired by some of my fondest memories of a few of my favourite places. Whether it be the architecture, colours of the city or the landscape, the prints resemble all those places for us. The “Meet Me In Miami’ print has that vintage feel to it as does the art deco district in Miami. ‘I’ll Be In Palm Springs’ is reminiscent of the time spent in Palm Springs and our visit to Joshua Tree National Park. With that in mind, we wanted to create prints that gave a holiday vibe without having to leave home.
Have you always loved fashion?
Yes, I guess I have, whether you shop at thrift stores or purchase the top brands. It’s a form of expression and it really can change your mood for the day which is what I love about fashion. I don’t particularly follow trends though, I tend to buy pieces that I love and will wear forever.
What are your go-to summer fashion essentials?
Our Alfonso shirts are my wardrobe essentials this summer as I just put them on with my denim shorts and go to the beach, the shirt also works as the perfect cover-up over my swimmers. We have designed the shirt so it has a longer curved hem to cover up your bottom if you’re feeling a little self-conscious. Also, I have been living in our lounge pants and have been wearing them with my favourite tees, again also the perfect cover up for when you want to grab some lunch after your swim. We are in the works of designing the perfect tee so keep a look out for them in the near future.
Favourite way to style LOWLA?
You can wear our pieces as a set for a bold statement or mix and match with your wardrobe staples. Your fave t-shirt tucked into the pant for a clean classic look or an oversized tee over the shorts for a cool relaxed vibe, still looking stylish but not contrived. I love wearing the shirts with my favourite denim. I just bought these beautiful flat Gucci sandals that look gorgeous with both the pant and the shorts. I also love wearing my cute pink cap with the ‘Meet Me In Miami’ print. I am really into colour blocking when styling my outfits lately. Our prints, when worn as separates, really lift your outfit bringing some personality into it. Our loungewear has a fashion edge to it, so you will feel super stylish wearing it.
Favourite look from your new collection?
The ‘Meet Me In Miami’ pant set with my pink cap.
How do you juggle it all? What about your time management tips?
It’s difficult, Arki isn’t a great sleeper so I have blocks of an hour throughout the day and just have to make it work. It’s not great for productivity but when my husband isn’t travelling he helps out with Arki and the older boys so that I can get things done. While we are in production issues arise daily so I find myself on the computer and phone a lot while Arki is by my side playing with his toys, I feel guilty but make it up to him (or is it me?) and make sure I take him out later in the day or for the entire morning the next day. My husband urges me to write down a priority list for the next day and ticks each task off as they’re done but I’m yet to practice that. It’s all in my head which can get overwhelming.
You’re off the beach - what do you pack?
Natural sunscreen, sunglasses, water, towels, snacks, kids rashies and caps.