Lovette Appleton knows what it means to chase dreams and make use of opportunities. She did exactly that when she went from being an accounting executive in a manufacturing company to owning her own brand.
Lovette used her experiences in travelling across continents to create patent bags that are versatile and savvy. She believes that an entrepreneur should be able to adapt to situations and have the courage to embrace failure as a blessing in disguise.
Lovette wants to develop the passion for skills and empower Liberian women and the less fortunate by opening a factory and a training school that focuses on making accessories with an African twist, to empower women and young people who are less fortunate.
What inspired you to start your line of patent bags that make the ideal travelling companion?
I worked as a wholesale account executive at a company that designed and manufactured slippers shoes that had interchangeable straps and snaps. I thought it was a brilliant idea and I guess it just inspired me. Having lived on 3 continents and am always traveling to new countries so the need for functionality for the modern day jet setter came naturally to me.
The modern woman is so versatile, why not give her fashion accessories that can match her lifestyle!
What three words, can fully describe you and why?
Beatnik, Determined and Industrious!
Beatnik because I march to the beat of my own drum! I never follow or want to be like anyone else. I love being me and that’s ok!
Determined because I will never give up on myself! My faith depends on no one else but God and myself so no matter the circumstance, I keep pushing.
I am industrious because to come this far in life, you have to be! I remember when I graduated from university, I moved to New Jersey with less than $2000 in my account and we all know that’s not enough for one month in the New York metro area but I stayed with relatives, got a part time job and freelanced in addition to a full-time job, the hustle was real but I was able to pay the legal fees to get my patent this way. There is always a way.The hustle is real but there's always a way, one lesson learnt from the inspiring Lovette Appleton Click To Tweet
What life-changing principles do you think every budding entrepreneur must cultivate?
To want to open one’s own business takes guts and defiance! Those qualities are admirable however; the most important principles that an entrepreneur should have are adaptability and the courage to embrace failure as a blessing in disguise.
I say this because one feels accomplished after setting up a business, doing the business plan, balancing the books etc. You feel like an adult, you are on your way and you hope that if you put in the work, the rewards will come. Unfortunately, I have been around the block for long enough time to know that we can’t control everything and whatever can go wrong, will!
The question isn’t will anything go wrong, it is what will you do to ensure it has little impact on your business and how will you learn and grow from the experience.
How do you intend to use your patent brand to inspire growth and development in Africa?
As a Liberian and most importantly, an African woman, my thoughts never stray from home. I constantly think about how my life abroad will translate and contribute to others back home.
Although my company is currently based in the US, I hope to use the opportunity it presents to open a factory as well as a training school in Liberia, to empower women and young people who are less fortunate.
Does your business do the production in Africa, If so how do you manage your team abstractly?
Since the business is still in start-up phase and the products so novel, It is necessary for me to keep production close to where I am. It’s like a baby, You have to carry it and keep it close until it starts to take its first steps then you step back and give it some free room.
Once the brand gets more established, I plan to start working with artisans back home to bring that African touch to my collections.
What advice would you give women who are about to launch their own start-ups?
Believe in yourself and never let any challenge keep you down.
The only person responsible for your success is yourself and you must be prepared to do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality.
If you were given the chance to re-launch your start-up, what would you do better and why?
I would focus more on my marketing plan. Having a great product and believing it will work is great but one always needs an extraordinary marketing strategy because today’s business environment is so full of options for consumers that an average marketing plan doesn’t do justice to a great product or message.
If I could go back in time I would have concentrated on my marketing plan as much as I concentrated on the product. I am not saying I would have had a bigger marketing budget but I think concentrating on free yet creative ways to let people know about the product and also giving them enough time to actually absorb the message of the brand before even driving the sales pitch.
The collection will launch in about a month so I am slowly building up the social media following through my Instagram and Facebook, cross promoting through Linkedin articles as well as my lifestyle website. To reach more people I will launch online ads but in general, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive but it takes time and creativity!If I could go back in time I would have concentrated on my marketing plan - Lovette Appleton Click To Tweet
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