Lavulous is a company that allows children and adults of all ages to design their own custom flip flops either in a group workshop setting, or in the comfort of your own home, using the website feature. We spoke to Dyana Nagrani, founder of Lavulous, about her experience of running a business in Hong Kong.
What made you start Lavulous and how did you come up with the idea?
After having kids of my own I started thinking about the different birthday parties that I would have to encounter, having done a bit of research I realised there were not many creative workshops on the market. I decided to venture out on my own and create a unique business idea which ended up turning into my company, Lavulous.
Where did your biggest inspiration come from?
My biggest inspiration came through my research on the market on customisable products. I came across crocs; they had developed an idea where you could choose the accessories to place in the holes of the croc, although I loved the idea I wanted something more individualised. I then discovered Build a Bear and how personally customisable the bears can be, the experience was much more detailed hence why I decided to come up with the concept of Lavulous, which is to design your own flip flops. Our accessories are all flat back pins similar to crocs and you are able to choose the colour of sole as well as the strap.
Why name it Lavulous?
The name of the company came to me when I was thinking about the product itself. The word ‘Lavulous’ is a fusion of two words; luxurious and fabulous. Luxurious because of the quality, comfort and durability of the flip-flop and fabulous because every pair is unique in its own way.
How tough was it getting the business up and running?
Hong Kong’s scene with small businesses is very competitive; however I was determined to see if my idea could be a success. After a year, I realised that although it is competitive to keep a business running, it is very important to follow your passion and be driven in what you do. There were many obstacles initially, predominantly because every pair of flip flops is handmade on the spot, but the joy in seeing the kids and adults enjoying the experience of making their very own flip flop does put a smile on my face.
Where do you source your products and what makes you different from high street brands?
Lavulous flip flops are known for their ultra-comfort and perfect cushion. Our soles and straps are made from the highest quality of rubber from Brazil and are renowned for their comfort, durability and style. Rubber is known for its non-slippery qualities, making our flip flops safe to use in wet areas, such as in spas, showers, on rainy days and around the swimming pool. In addition to quality, another factor that sets Lavulous apart from high street brands is that the flip flops are customisable from the colours to the design and every client gains a memorable, creative experience from the workshop.
Who are your target audience?
I’d like to think that anyone is welcomed at Lavulous workshop; you can’t put an age limit on creativity! We have done kids birthday parties, corporate events, bridal and baby showers, as well as school fairs.
What has been your most challenging experience?
The most challenging experience was to make the website work in a way where the customer could design the flip flop in the comfort of their own home and have the same experience of that in the workshop, with perseverance we managed to get the ‘design your own’ feature up and running.
Do you have any advice for people starting their own businesses?
A piece of advice that I would give an aspiring entrepreneur is to first find a gap in the market, and knowing how to talk about your business is very important as well as being super passionate about what you are doing. Balance the passion and wisdom so that the outcome will not only make you feel content but will make you satisfied with the outcome of your work.
What are your future plans for Lavulous?
Early next year we plan to open up a pop up store at the pulse in Repulse bay. Our workshop area will allow groups of children to come and design their own flip flops. Our long term vision is to also open pop up stores globally.
A bit about Dyana
Dyana was born in Hong Kong and then went to boarding school in Scotland from the age of seven. After graduating in London with a degree in Computer Science, she moved back to Hong Kong and started a family. She is now a proud mother of two!
Being passionate about being true to oneself and expressing ones unique personality to the world is what inspires Dyana to work with kids and adults to unleash their creative side within them.