Welcome to EW‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with the founder of L’Couture, Lyndsay Doran, who has garnered a large following worldwide and has now combined fitness and fashion through her home-grown athleisure brand which offers functionality, quality and is made with attention to detail. The overall goal of the brand is to make women feel the best version of themselves while living an active and confident lifestyle.
EW sat down with Lyndsay to find out more about the brand, her career and what made her want to enter the realm of clothing.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Art – As I always had a passion for design and an eye for detail. I believe the eye of an artist allows one to view the world through a different lens. Fast forward and I integrated that early seeded passion into each product and design.
What was your first job?
My first job as a 14 year old, was at a tea salon in Dundee. I must say I was only 14 and at an impressionable age. It gave me insight into how people find their identity through hair and fashion. Over the course of my three years there, I appreciated how one could develop client loyalty through delivering a product. I learned at that early age that being transactional does not work for long term business success.
Can you talk us through the inspiration behind L’Couture?
I have always been extremely passionate about fashion and a consciously athletic, and active person. I was in search of a unique product which delivered both fabric and fit, which was unavailable in the market. So, I decided to innovate and design it myself.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I moved to Dubai when I was 21. At the time I had no idea what it was to be an entrepreneur or how a vision could be transformed into commercial reality. I quickly came to believe that this city is a place of opportunity and energizing innovation. Whereas in other cities there are so many roadblocks which may lead to entrepreneurial visions failing. Due to the nature of things, here you are inspired to launch and propel ideas toward success.
What did you believe was missing in the fitness space in Dubai and the UAE that inspired you to launch L’Couture?
There was no quality feminine fashionable activewear available regionally. I was determined to be the first in the market. Today, I am so proud to see how our brand has been over the past 18 months. It is clear our products fill a gap in the market and empower women with the ability to be proud of their diversity, and inner and outer beauty.
What are the key elements of your role?
My role has rapidly transformed to one that is focused on product quality, design and commercial strategy and vision. I have a strength for attention to detail which I integrate on an organizational level through mentorship of each team member. Given our steady success, the next focus of my role is to propel the brand internationally starting with the opening of our UK offices in 2021.
Talk us through your daily routine.
I start each morning with not one, but two coffees. I am lucky, this is a daily gift from my husband without exceptions for the last 7 years.
As an extremely disciplined individual, I believe scheduling exercise early morning is mandatory. It is my sacred time to switch off and be present with myself before my day begins.
Breakfast is key not to be missed before heading to a day at the office. I have become very structured in how I run my day at the office which encompasses series of meetings related to operations, design and finance.
My evening window is when I cook dinner which is very much a clean diet. I end the day by making tea for my husband and myself. I realize thanks to all that practice I had making tea when I was 14, has developed a perfectionist nature within me. I am very particular in measuring ratios and making the perfect cup of tea. This symbolizes my love for attention to detail that carries over into L’Couture.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Take action. Don’t allow any mental roadblocks to affect your passion. Fuel your passion and execute.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
I heavily rely on my gut and intuition. However, the best advice I have received was from my husband; set yourself goals and once you reach that goal, set another goal. Never be satisfied, strive for more.
And what is the worst?
To be honest, I have not had much advice along the way. I have been fortunate to not have been misguided.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The biggest challenge was running a business during COVID, without the real-life connections. Despite the fact that it was the busiest time for us as an organization, trying to run a company without the usual human energy sources and building strong working relationships, was tough.
What are the future plans for your brand?
We are opening our first retail location in Al Wasl, as well as our UK offices in early 2021. Down the line we have a number of exciting developments which will be unveiled in the new year.