- What is the name of your business and how long has it been around?
Anna-Louise Sleepwear. We launched in May of 2012. (8 years already)
- How did the idea for your business come about?
While gaining experience with big retail companies, and media houses I saw how people’s lives were becoming faster, more demanding and leaving less time for luxury and relaxing. Anna-Louise was born out of love for sleepwear and the frustration over the lack of sophisticated products available in the market.
- Can you provide us with a description of your business?
Anna-Louise Sleepwear is the epitome of style, perfect for early morning school drop off’s, a stylish Sunday breakfast with house guests, a comfy and classic look for new mum’s in hospital and a cute gift for bridesmaids or brides to be.
We’ve also launched a loungewear and linen collection which can be worn throughout the day. Grocery run’s, yoga in the living room, baking bread.. whatever you doing you can do it in our lounge and linen collections.
- Who is the person(s) behind your business and what is your background (ie education, work experience, life experience)?
I am the founder and owner of Anna-Louise. ( Hi, I'm Anna ). I studied fashion design at Elizabeth Galloway Fashion Academy in Stellenbosch, my dream was to become a designer. So I gained experience in retail, media and styling before focusing on my designer dream.
Anna-Louise started off as a ladies sleepwear collection with a few styles, and as my life has changed, so has my little business. I got engaged – we launched our bridal collection where we do custom made orders for brides and their bridesmaids. I also added our small men’s sleepwear collection. Fell pregnant with my first born, Anna-Louise added our maternity sleepwear collection. A perfect piece for a mum and her growing bump. Had my older son, and launched our little sleepwear collection. Matching little sets for kids and their mum’s and dads.
- Do you have a team behind the scenes or are you a one woman show? If you have a team, please share a little with us about them?
Juggling being a mum, wife and running our home I wouldn’t manage without my right hand lady, Renay. Renay does all the behind the scenes work for AL. Packaging up and sending off all our online orders.
We also have our wonderful factory of women who make up our collections.
- How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? How do you balance work and family?
The balance is real. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I started Anna-Louise all those 8 years ago. The biggest reason I wanted to work for myself was so I could have the flexibility to be an on the go mum as well as work. And being a mum and working for myself works hand in hand. There’s been the advantages and disadvantages of it. I have a very hardworking husband so its thank to him, we do work hard together. The hard part of being an entrepreneur is you can never switch off from work. I worked throughout both my pregnancy’s – never took a maternity leave – but in saying that, I am able to drop and fetch my boy’s at school, be with them in the afternoon’s and have the flexibility. My boys come with me on the fabric hunt’s and factory run’s. Its all part of the juggle. I’m also lucky to have my very involved mum, without her Anna-Louise wouldn’t have started.
- What motivates you?
I have always been motivated by the desire to meet goals or dreams I have set. During lockdown it gave me some time to work towards new goals. Setting and achieving new goals gives me a sense of accomplishment. I love working towards new collections, and achieving them on time. Achieving each goal motivates me to work harder towards our next collection, or gives me the drive to try something new.
- How do you define success?
I define success in different ways. Success for me personally would be the happiness my work brings to me, how I am able to juggle work and being a mom. Seeing a bride and her bridesmaids wearing custom made Anna-Louise Sleepwear on the morning of their wedding – and the joy and happiness of that feeling seeing someone wearing your brand on their biggest day. Hearing people speak positively about your brand, and how much they love your product.
- What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Before becoming a mom, we were wholesaling. There was a stage we were stocked worldwide. Available in stores in Germany, Australia, England and South Africa. This was a proud moment for me. When having my boy’s I decided to downscale, to be exclusively available online only. In July this year we launched a retro floral print which sold out in our long set style in a couple of hours of launching online, moments like these are truly satisfying.
- What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The thrill I get every time we launch a new collection. The excitement when each online order comes in. Seeing images of brides and their friends and family in one of our sets.
- What are your future aspirations for this business?
My dream is to slowly add to our brand, by one day adding bedroom accessory’s.
- If you had a magic wand, which are the three things you would change in the world?
People without work, Load shedding & Available Education.