Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your LPRD business.
Hello, I’m Anneloes Ouwehand and I am the co-founder of LPRD, an activewear label. All items have a touch of the leopard; ranging from subtle leopard details to full-on leopard print from head-to-toe.
Our fashionable, high-performance activewear is designed for all kinds of sports such as cycling, running, spinning, pilates or yoga, without compromising on functionality.
We source our materials in western Europe, with a strong focus on premium quality and sustainability.
In finding a solution to the current overproduction in the fashion industry, LPRD decided to create and make all of their clothes in their own studio in Amsterdam. We have a ‘minimal stock policy’ which means that only when you purchase an item, that piece gets made especially for you.
This allows them to also make custom clothes, made-to-measure to your specific needs and wishes.
Since we design quite a niche product our monthly revenues differ a lot, in the season it can be around €25000,- and off-season from €0,00 to €400,00.
What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?
The idea for LPRD has incubated five years ago in Amsterdam when I realized that sport (especially cycling) outfits for women were often in pink with flowers or full of logos.
Coming from a fashion background I noticed that there’s room for improvement in the design and fit of sportswear. There was a gap in the market for a brand that’s specifically focussed on women who, besides wanting to perform, also want to have fun while doing it. I decided this could be done best whilst being dressed in my favorite print: leopard!
Sport and exercising are about feeling good and being empowered, therefore creating outfits that make women feel strong and feminine was a natural choice. I started LPRD with Adrian Cooke, who’s my cycling partner and life partner. He has cycled his whole life in all parts of the world and has excellent technical and programming skills.
What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?
Lots of trial and error, obviously. We started with finding the right suppliers, for the fabrics, trims, and padding of the cycling shorts. We also needed a place to get our fabrics printed, all of the prints are also designed by us or in collaboration with other fashion labels.
Creating the perfect cycling shorts takes time, and every part needs to be tested for quality and comfort on the bike.
To make sure that the fabrics and chamois/padding that we use in our products is truly premium quality, we tested them on a big cycling trip in 2018. We covered over 5,000km through South America in matching leopard print leggings.
Talk us through the process of the launch of your business
After spending time developing our product and talking to potential customers (we’ve organized a couple of events where cycling ladies could give their input) we set up our webshop through Shopify. After that is comes down to marketing and PR.
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?
The leopard print is usually something people love or hate, but when you love it you’ll love it for life. This fact is helpful for us to have clients returning to the shop. Also, we try to keep them engaged with newsletters, and we’ve organized a couple of cycling events in The Netherlands.
But it mostly comes down to having a good quality product that people are excited about, which makes them tell their friends and come back to purchase again.
What is the current situation? How do you see yourself in the next 12 months?
Our goal has always been to grow slowly, in 12 months it would be good to get an extra hands-on board for the marketing and social media aspect of the business. We are working towards opening a commercial location in Amsterdam, a shop and sewing studio space combined, where people can see how the clothes are made and place their orders.
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or otherwise too? If yes, then how?
I don’t see it as only financially uplifting, it is building your brand with all its facets that make it exciting, not just the financial aspect but being in charge of all those elements, working through tough bits and celebrating the success that makes it exciting to run your own business.
What tools or services did you use?
I did not use any financial tools or services. I have used my own savings and income from doing freelance work on the side. Now that things are moving we can use some of the profit from LPRD to put back into the business.
What are your key challenges today? How are you planning to tackle those?
Marketing and PR. Having the right product is important, but finding the right channels for promotion even more so.
Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
I don’t really have one book or article I can recommend. I would mostly just talk to people in your network, read about brands and people that inspire you, and try to get a mentor who can give you feedback.
Many times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?
Both men and women can run successful businesses, and the business might even be more successful if men and women work together.
Please share some info about your co-founders
Adrian Cooke was born and raised in South Africa, cycling competitively in his teens allowed him to develop a love for cycling of all kinds that has never subsided. This lead to some incredible journeys on his bicycle across the Himalayas and most of Africa. He also managed to study to become an engineer, dabbled in bicycle stability research and now is a software engineering expert.
Adrian has spent much of his life on his bicycle or in the outdoors, thus he knows what makes clothing and outdoor gear great to work with and is obsessive on continually improving the comfort that one gets out of this gear when out in the field. Adrian also drives the technical design of the e-Commerce website and production processes.
Looking to kick start your own venture?
Hi! This is Misha?
I interview women founders in building profitable businesses??
My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.
I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackers, StarterStory by Pat Walls, Failory, SpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to get started.