Most of my family and friends know I am running a small business of online retailing named L'adorn. I haven't actually told the real story of L'adorn yet but it is actually a fulltime proper running business with staffs, an office and an online web store. The other day Hijabi Stailista from TV9 Malaysia came to London to interview designers and bloggers in Europe including the UK. And one of them was me. Although I am not a designer but I had the honoured of being interviewed by them.
When they asked what is the history of L'adorn, I actually paused for a while.
L'adorn has long been a plan of mine since 2009 when I started selling Tie rack scarves to my friends and readers in Malaysia. With a love and passion for beautiful fabrics and scarves I wanted to bring together scarves from different types and different corner of the world and sell them. So I have been saving some extra money from my scholarship that I received for my capital. Naturally my audience was Malaysian. But then to actually sell something from London and to have orders and to post them to Malaysia was actually ridiculous because of the expensive shipping cost. My margin was peanuts. So I hold on to the idea until I could find the right time and resources.
3 years later on 2012 luck has it that this girl name Ayu, who was then my blog reader chatted with me about her business has stopped because her UK supplier increased the prices of the scarves sold to her. she lost her only supplier at that time. Ayu was such a nice girl. The first time I met her was when she went for a holiday in London with her family and she was kind enough to offered to bring my skincare routine from Malaysia to me. Although I didn't know her that well I was interested to know about her business in Malaysia. She sold scarves right after she went back to Malaysia from the holiday. I told her I could probably be her supplier if she wanted to but she wanted something more. She wanted me to be her partner. Obviously I didn't think it was feasible at that time as I was in UK and she was in Msia. And to be honest I'm not the type who simply do something so serious like this with a stranger or someone I don't know well enough but she was such a sweetheart about it I decided why not.
I suggested to her the name L'adorn and to use her old platform (which already had fans) and to rebrand everything. Surprisingly She was OK with it and went along the plan. So there you go, L'adorn was realised. Until today L'adorn is co-owned and run with a small number staffs of 6. Today, L'adorn has a whole new business model.
Of course there were lots ups and downs when you are doing a business. Naturally with 2 different personality and taste, Ayu and I had many many different opinions and miscommunications. Especially when both of us do not live in the same continent. I learn a lot during the past 2 years I did business with her. In fact I learn a lot more the past 2 years compare to what I learn throughout my studies (well PhD is exceptional. That is a whole new story on what I learn. Haha!).
One most important lesson I learn was to really really really think about who you choose to be your partner in doing business. You either worked it out or you loose someone. It's like marriage really Except in business it is much more easier to get out from when there are troubles. Like the saying goes, you will not know a person until you either live with them or do business with them. I was so so lucky that mine is Ayu. I could not thank God enough for destined me to work with her. And I pray to Allah s.w.t that L'adorn and the relationship that has been build stays forever.
This proved that it is not impossible to do anything even when you live in another country and wanted to start a business in another country. Lots of people do so. It's harder but it is not impossible. I shall tell the stories of L'adorn bits by bits in this blog so that maybe one day my kids can benefit from it. Or probably someone out there can too.
Ayu and I circa 2011 in Harrods London