20 May 2021|Brand Story, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Luca and Rosa London is a new premium nightwear and loungewear brand for children, babies and women. The clothing is proudly designed in England using organic, ethically sourced, sustainable fabrics with a healthy dose of Italian style and bright bold prints running through the brand. We recently caught up with the company to discover more about their brand story.
Who are the founders and what is their background?
Sabrina Burns, a mother of two, founded Luca and Rosa in 2020. She left her career as a Business Development Director within the homeware and property sector in London to move to Warwickshire 5 years ago, just before her first child was born. She decided to take a career break when her children arrived to focus on her young family, with her second child arriving three years later.
She knew that she always wanted to return to work at some point, and decided that setting up her own business was the ideal scenario for her as she could manage working around her family and be her own boss.
Sabrina had attended many trade shows in her previous role and she really felt a buzz going to these and would always admire all the stands and the entrepreneurs behind them, seeing all the different brands out there and what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. at the back of her mind she always thought, one day, I want to be coming to these shows as a business rather than selling a media service and going to all of these shows gave me the inspiration and motivation to do something myself.
Having worked in sales role previously, Sabrina really loves the people side to the business and also growing the wholesale side of the business herself. She also has a marketing and business studies degree, and all of the knowledge and skills that she learned through this and also throughout her career have been invaluable to take forward to her own business.
Can you tell us why was it created? What is its mission?
Luca and Rosa was created after Sabrina saw a real gap in the market whilst carrying her second child. She was looking for matching sets for a beautiful co-ordinated look for her hospital bag for her new baby and struggled to find anything she liked. This was her real lightbulb moment, along with her love for being cosy at home so she decided to create her own ranges and began working on this when her daughter was just 6 weeks old.
The mission for the brand is to see so many happy faces of their customers and to provide them with such different products to what you see everyday and fill the gaps that were previously in the market for them also.
What are its USPs?
Luca and Rosa have really focused on attention to detail in all of the products and are designed with love. This, as well as being non-seasonal, of a premium quality and made in organic cotton has made the products so desirable.
The eye-catching Italian influence is so unusual to anything in the marketplace. It has really appealed to the children who find the brand fun to the usual same dinosaur, car and football or princess and fairly prints that you see time and time again and bring a real sophistication for children.
The matching set element is the main USP for the brand. There was a real gap in the market for complete matching bed sets for children, with pyjamas and dressing gowns for a co-ordinated finish and then to introduce bedding for the absolute complete finish makes the brand really different to make bed time more fun for children and a much cleaner, classy look for the children.
Can you share the story of the brand’s journey – from concept to where it is now?
The founder of Luca and Rosa saw a real gap in the market for quality sleepwear for children that all matched, to give a beautiful finished look. This became apparent when getting ready for my hospital bag to give birth to my second child. I wanted my new baby to have everything matching for those first photos from the baby grow to the vest, hat and blanket and dribble bid and really struggled to find any ranges that sold this full set. I also saw this gap with pyjamas, dressing gowns and bedding for older children like my son. It was then that I was on a mission to start my own ranges to close this gap for other parents looking for the same items.
I found a very talented designer who had worked with some big brands previously and had so much industry knowledge and a fabulous reputable factory to help me bring my plans to life.
We all worked together throughout the manufacturing process, which halfway through the pandemic hit. This really slowed things down and presented such uncertain times. So many huge businesses were cancelling their manufacturing processes, yet I decided to continue with mine as it felt right and I was so passionate about what I was creating and wanted to bring some joy during the difficult times.
Since launching the first ranges, I then introduced the loungewear and am now in the manufacturing process again for some exciting new products and prints.
We have parented with some big brands and are continuing to do so, and are also in discussions with some exciting, well known stores to carry the brand.
Things have taken off so well so far and we are so happy with the success to date.
What’s the secret to the brand’s success?
The real key to success for Luca and Rosa was that we dared to be different. We didn’t play it safe with the same old standard prints or plain, boring colours. We took a risk and it really paid off. The great thing with our business is that the children have really bought into the brand too and really love the products as much as the parents. We noticed this during our first photo shoot before we even launched and none of the children wanted to take the garments off and they all wanted to take them home! This was so wonderful to see and has having the children on board has really been the key to our success.
Who are the key personnel and can you tell us a little about their contribution to the brand?
At present, Luca and Rosa is operating as a one woman band, and I am doing everything from the sales, social media, admin, orders and day to day running.
It is an awful lot of work but I am able to set the foundations to start as I mean to go on and can be sure that I am happy with the way things are being managed. I am learning so much and every day brings a new skill or challenge to overcome, it has been an incredible journey so far and I can’t wait to see what is in store for Luca and Rosa over the coming months.
starting with a sales and marketing assistant and a personal assistant also to help take some of the day to day tasks away so I can focus on growing the business. Exciting times ahead for the brand indeed!
What are its most successful innovations?
Our bold prints that really stand out from the crowd, as well as the high end quality and attention to detail for a really premium product.
Our products are so soft against the skin and we have used really plush materials that feel so nice to wear, so the user experience is a great one.
Although launching the business throughout the pandemic was difficult, it did also bring an opportunity. I saw it as a great time to bring in the loungewear ranges, so we began working on these as the pandemic hit, following my gut instinct that these products would be in demand. I am so glad I decided to introduce these, as they have been so popular and really lifted the brand into new markets, with loungewear set to be trending for the foreseeable future.
How has the brand been promoted over the years?
The brand has only been operating for just under six months and in this time we have already secured great press coverage and worked with some fabulous influencers. We have also been working on digital marketing and SEO to really drive traffic and sales as well as really using the power of social media and building a strong presence on Instagram and Facebook.
We have also secured two very trusted sales agents to drive the wholesale market and grow this side of the business, getting really strong feedback and interest so far.
I will also be attending the relevant trade shows as events are allowed to go ahead, with my first one in September and also attending networking events to grow my network.
What are the biggest challenges and how have they been overcome?
Launching a business in the middle of a pandemic has been the biggest challenge by far and one that on one would ever expect or plan for. This hit as I was half way through my manufacturing process and really slowed the production and bought so much uncertainty as to if I should continue with my business with so many brands folding overnight, a global recession and production being on hold for major retailers.
The pandemic really delayed my initial launch date of the end of July last year to Mid-November. Whilst there was nothing I could do about it, this was so damaging for my business as I totally missed my first Christmas sales because of this – the busiest time for business and no time to get prepared and market myself or wholesale ahead with such a late launch. This really hit my sales forecast and I had to come up with new ways to capture the sales back.
With retail also closed, I overcame some of the predicted revenue loss by really pushing the online sales rather than the wholesale side which was my original plan. I invested in social media ads and took a course to learn how to do them, as well as SEO and selling heavily on Joules and Not On The High Street. All of these methods did really help to pull in a lot of online sales, and now I have them in place, I will continue to really drive these as well as push on the wholesale side now that retail has reopened,
The other major challenge I have as a busy Mum of two is time. It was especially challenging during the two lockdowns with both children at home, caring for them, home schooling and trying to launch and then grow my business.
Working on my business became a real juggling act. With the help of my very supportive husband, I would end up having to do all my work in the evenings and end up catching up on everything until the early hours most nights. It was exhausting but it was the only way to work around the children and still get everything done. Thankfully though, the brand has been a real success to date so it has made all my efforts so worth it.
What are the brand’s biggest successes?
Since the brand launched late last year, we have been overwhelmed with how quickly things started to take off, despite being in the middle of a pandemic.
We partnered with Joules and Not On The High Street, who loved our samples and felt our positioning was the same as theirs which was such an achievement only a month after going live.
I also secured two of the best sales agents in the country who work with some huge brands and are very selective in who they work with, carrying only 5 – 6 brands and getting bombarded with requests. The fact that they both loved my brand and wanted to take me on was a dream come true, especially so soon after I started the business. Working with them will really open doors as they have such wonderful connections and are already getting great feedback and response from some very exciting opportunities.
Luca also won the Gold award for 2021 with Bizzie Baby for our sleepwear, organic for baby and organic for toddler. We are so proud that our reviewers all voted for us ahead of some very well known and reputable brands and has given us such drive and positivity.
What are the founders most proud of about the brand?
I am most proud that the brand is named after my children and this gives me the drive every day to succeed as with them behind me I know I can’t fail.
I also started working on the brand and bringing it to life when my second child was just six weeks old. Most new parents are still struggling with a new baby and finding their feet at this stage, so bringing this to life with two young children in tow was extremely challenging but I got there and followed my dreams.
Can you tell us about any eco/sustainability initiatives the brand has?
All of our products are made from the highest quality organic cottons and by and ethical manufacturing process.
The brand is all about sustainability and being able to pass down to future generations. This was especially the thinking behind our baby range being our beautiful signature print which is gender neutral and was carried through to our busy bee print.
We will be working on more exciting gender neutral prints in our next phase of designs as these are proving to be so popular and allow parents to pass them on to all new family members.
Can you tell us about any key charity/philanthropic initiatives/efforts the brand has?
As the brand is so new, we have not been able to focus a great deal on the charity side of things as much as we would like to as the budgets to grow the business are so tight starting out.
However, once we hit our first target by the end of our first year which is all looking on track, we will be donating a percentage of our sales profits to The Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is the charity of choice as they saved my life as a child when I was very sick so it will be great to give something back and we will continue to do that each year.
Does the brand use and brand ambassadors/ celebrity partners/influencers?
We have been working with a fantastic and very reputable PR agency in London who have partnered Luca and Rosa with some really strong influencers in the parenting space as well as some great feedback from celebrities who have loved the products too which is so encouraging given the huge amount of products they are receiving on a daily basis.
It was so wonderful after only a month of launching the business that a well known public figure fed back to us to say that the quality of the pyjamas on her son was excellent and that there was nothing as good that she had found in the market and gave the business such confidence and belief in what we are doing as seeing happy customers is what we are all about.
What’s next for the brand?
We are working on some really exciting plans on the wholesale side of the business at the moment, and really growing this side of the business and are in discussion with some very exciting customers at the moment which we will be really pushing forward and growing now the retail sector has opened up again.
The brand are also expanding internationally, having received strong interest across Europe and the USA in such a short time since launching, the interest has been phenomenal and we are very excited to take Luca and Rosa into these new markets.
Can the founders or senior personnel share 5-10 key pieces of advice for success?
The main lessons that I have learned on my journey so far that I would be:
1. Avoid any negativity from others – there will always be someone trying to out you down or talk you out of something but I learned to just ignore this and to follow my gut instincts. No one will have the same passion or drive in your business o want you to succeed as much as you do, so try to shut out any negativity.
2. You must be prepared to work hard and really put the work in – running your own business is not for the faint hearted and is hard work. The more work you put in, the more you will get back, so you have to put the work in to reap the rewards.
3. Don’t take rejection personally – this is a lesson that I learned really early in to launching my business and I have had to develop a really thick skin as ultimately not everyone is going to like the same things, our tastes are all different and no one will have the same passion for what you do as you will.
4. Don’t feel bad for having to ask for help and make sure you build a good network of people and contacts around you. I found that working with local business really helps so if you need to get something quickly or see them urgently you can do, and building a local network has been so important and bought a community feel to the business.
5. Think of your long term plans and goals and always have these in mind in every decision that you make and how this will impact where you want to get to in the bigger picture. I found that taking short cuts or trying to skimp on certain things just for now in terms of my bigger picture doing this doesn’t work.
6. Always believe in yourself – to set up your own business is an amazing thing and takes real guts. To get that far proves that you believe in yourself and what you are doing, but never lose sight of that or the passion that you have for what you are doing. Follow your heart and your instincts and you wont go far wrong.
What are their favourite inspirational/motivational/leadership type quotes?
“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” –Michelle Obama
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan
What are the brand’s website and social handles?
Website – https://lucaandrosa.com
Facebook – Lucaandrosa
Instagram – Lucaandrosalondon