Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lisa Husberg, founder and CEO of LOKA.HAUS, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
LOKA.HAUS is a sustainable luxury lifestyle brand that designs & produces apparel, jewelry, beauty, & art. Our focus is sustainable, versatile luxury. The idea behind the brand is that our products are created to meet multiple needs, whether working out, going to work, or going out (work/lounge/play), and encourage consumers to purchase fewer products that last longer to meet a greater number of consumer needs. We utilize ethical production and sourcing, & are working toward full traceability. We strive to end fast fashion not only through our products but through our community - educating consumers on how their purchasing behaviors can positively impact the economy & environment (through blog & community efforts), being part of the greater change. What makes us different: empowering incremental change through products/purchasing less with transparency, traceability, & educational community.
A core component of my business is community - through educating consumers on creating positive change through their purchasing behaviors & also enlightening consumers on sustainability, diversity, & equitable representation in fashion, beauty, & luxury products. We also give back to non-profits in these areas, which allows us to connect with the community on a greater level. Our customers are diverse, modern, and forward-thinking, and they do not define themselves by traditional or generic stereotypes - they are individuals across all walks of life.
Tell us about yourself
My entire business idea revolves around creating social impact through existing consumer behaviors. By educating consumers on ethical purchasing, we can drive incremental impact in areas like diverse & inclusive representation, equitable pay, and sustainability. I am passionate about giving back to the community & changing people's perspectives on purchasing with equitable brands & uplifting consumer voices. The only way to change the industry & economy is to teach people that they have the power of incremental change both through their existing consumer behaviors and through their local communities. LOKA.HAUS is the culmination of my graduating project from UT Austin - a sustainable fashion line that I dreamed up over ten years ago. Ten years ago, I wasn't sure how to start my own brand, and during the pandemic, I was given the opportunity of time to focus on what I truly wanted to do. I utilized my furlough from work to start LOKA.HAUS and haven't stopped since.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My greatest accomplishment thus far is being awarded an Alibaba Manifest Grant as one of fifty businesses awarded out of 10,000+ entries. I was also a finalist in multiple pitch competitions in 2022. I was one of four finalists in the Austin Fast Start Pitch Competition in July 2022 hosted by Capital Factory in downtown Austin. I was also a finalist in the Beacon Grant competition, hosted by the Governor of Texas (Women's Commission), in September 2022, a finalist in the Austin Woman Community Grant in August 2022, and a semi-finalist in the Create & Cultivate Mastercard Pitch in October 2022.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner, especially if a minority, is funding. Most business funding goes to (primarily white) males, with very little going to females, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, or otherwise. To get your business off the ground, you need money and, most likely, another full-time job. As an entrepreneur, you are the singular person your business depends on - whether or not you have other employees. You are the biggest advocate for your business, and no one will care more than you. This can be difficult to manage, especially when you won't be able to pay yourself out of business for quite a while and will be working double-time to ensure your success. Even on the days, you feel like giving up, you know you're the only one who can push the business forward - it truly hinges on you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top three tips that I can give would be to focus on education, marketing, and resources.
Education doesn't have to be formal - there are many free educational opportunities for businesses through small business, city, and state organizations + online. Every business owner needs a well-rounded acumen in finances, competition, operations, marketing, and more.
Outside of financial education, marketing is key. Even if you are not a marketing expert, you should understand the market you are in, best practices, and consistency. You don't need to dump money into marketing necessarily, especially in the beginning, but find creative ways to market, whether it's online, in-person, or with other brands.
And finally, resources. Knowing your resources will be key to your success. There are many resources for business owners, including communities and networking, that are available for free. HelloAlice & iFundWomen were a great help to my business, and I continue to use them. There are also many grants and competitions connected to these organizations, and business owners should apply when possible.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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