In Conversation with Hannah Todd & Ainsley Rose of Londre
Describe Londre in a few words?
We are a Vancouver based sustainable swimwear company that celebrates all women and our planet.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
We saw a gap in the market and we believed we could create something of value to fill it!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Ainsley Rose – Photographer (she does all our current photos), Hannah Todd – Yoga Instructor
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, we both always knew we wanted to work for ourselves and shape our own lives.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Our original strategy was through word of mouth and connecting with our local Vancouver community. We wanted to create authentic excitement around our product and it worked!
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Originally we wanted to manufacture in Bali and create a dream life there, it quickly came crashing down however, as we both took separate work trips, which were both epic fails. Ainsley arrived to Bali first to meet with a manufacturer there who was making our samples, the completion date kept being pushed back until the date of her departure and then never showed up! I then went down to follow and had similar issues with inconsistent time management. This debacle however lead us back to manufacturing in Vancouver and we are forever grateful for that.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
The amount of women who have reached out due to feeling so confident and beautiful in our suits, is inspiring in a way that cannot be put into words.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
- What are your 5 best qualities and what are 5 negative qualities or things you need to work on?
- Date before you marry. We often bring our new hires on for a few trial months before hiring them onto the team in more of a permanent way, this has served us very well in the past.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Due to our business being direct to consumer, we were still able to serve our customers however, the restrictions on travel definitely tempered the market for us a little bit.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We recently launched our Essential Lounge Wear collection, which was well received by our customers as well as press. In the next few years, we are looking to grow into new verticals on a global scale and push the envelope when it comes to new innovative textiles.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Learning to pivot as well as connecting with other businesses in our same space. Not only did we launch a new vertical during the wild ride that was 2020, but we also did an online pop up with a few select local companies, to build each other up during those uncertain times.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Your first year may feel like a lot of energy output which is met without being reciprocated. Email outreach, trial and error, connections that fall through, they’re all part of the process. Take these in stride and stick to it, it will be worth it in the end! Make sure you take the time to recharge in between.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Ainsley and I both meditate each day and make sure to take a walk in nature when things are feeling a bit overwhelming. We also often go outside and sit by the ocean to brainstorm. It allows us to feel more connected with the planet and our purpose.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
We definitely believe in balance. In work, sometimes it may feel like you’re climbing Everest with no oxygen and no end in sight. This may be manageable for a period of time, however if everyday feels like this, then something needs to be adjusted. For us, our work is our life and vice versa, so it’s incredibly important that we feel inspired and motivated to keep pushing and continue to get excited about our own offerings. We find the best way to do this is by building in time to brainstorm, to do the exciting big picture things we like to do, and by hiring out the tasks we don’t love as much. We’ve also learned through the pandemic that it’s ok to take an “off day” if you just aren’t feeling it, so that you can come back fully powered and refreshed the next. Tuning in and slowing down can sometimes be your biggest power move.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
We founded Londre to celebrate all bodies, in part to heal our own body image issues. Although we recognize that even though we already fit more or less into a narrow standard of beauty and are benefactors of both white and thin privilege, we also are still major works in progress and can be hugely critical of our own appearances.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Having a morning routine, writing down your to do’s by order of importance and remembering to drink water and eat throughout the day!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
We feel incredibly grateful to be part of a powerful community of women and that our intuition and empathy have served us well throughout our journey.