WORK|LIFE|ME: Luxury Handbag Founder Mireia Llusia-Lindh
Our new WORK|LIFE|ME series looks at the work, life and home context of some of the most inspiring female entrepreneurs and women in business. In the first of our new series, we interview luxury handbag entrepreneur Mireia Llusia-Lindh, who started her company six years ago and now counts Beyonce, Nicole Scherzinger, Kim Sears and Pippa Middleton as fans…
You launched Milli Millu in 2010 – what inspired you to start your own business?
Before launching Milli Millu my background was in business. I did an MBA at Harvard Business School and worked as a Management Consultant in London, advising large corporations (from energy to luxury and private equity) on strategy issues. I had thought about launching Milli Millu for a while, as I could never find the perfect bag to go to work, but it wasn’t until I had my first daughter and wanted to take a break from work that I decided to take the plunge.
How has the industry changed since you started out?
The biggest change has probably been the growth of online. When we launched online 6 years ago most of the luxury brands dismissed the possibility of selling online and brands like Zara didn’t have an online store, now we can’t really conceive not buying online. Given we launched exclusively online this is a trend that has certainly helped us.
Do you have any advice for women today who are looking to launch their own venture?
1) Test the idea with people who are not close to you to get an honest opinion, 2) Make sure you have the financial set up that will allow you to launch and sustain the venture and 3) Determination, determination and more determination!
How do you balance running the business with the creative design side of the company?
It’s hard! I always feel my brain is in 20 places.
How hands-on are you with the design of each collection (new ss16 pictured here)?
Very! It’s one of the parts of the business I enjoy the most. It’s exciting to create something from scratch that wonderful women will then wear.
Where do you go for creative inspiration?
I get my ideas everywhere. From customers to new materials I find in leather fairs, to architecture and interior design. I’m constantly creating whether it’s a new bag, a new marketing campaign or new imagery for our online store. My brain never stops and I often struggle to fall asleep with so many ideas coming through my head… so many ideas and so little time!
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day is non-stop, I wake up at 7-7.30 am and it’s all kids and work until I go to bed at 12.30-1am. I am a night owl, so my brain is at its best at night.
How do you balance a demanding work life with home life?
With 3 kids and a business to run, it’s a juggling act! For me it’s very important to spend time with my children though, I wouldn’t be happy otherwise, so I make it work by working from home a couple of days a week and when I go to the office I go at 10 am to see them in the morning and leave at 4-5 pm to spend the rest of the afternoon with them. And as soon as they are asleep I’m back on my laptop until midnight. I guess you just become the most efficient you will ever be!
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Hug my kids, it fills me with energy for the rest of the day.
What do you do to relax?
Since proper “relax time” doesn’t exist anymore for me, I just try to enjoy those short simple quiet moments that happen every now and then, like when I am at the hairdresser or on a plane on my own with no access to internet.