Love LOKALOKA & win…
We all know the local tote bag collection LOKALOKA (meaning crazy in Filipino). Saffron Souk has been watching this brand without a label grow, and with a recent surge in online sales, we decided it was time we all got to find out a little more about Monique, the lovely lady behind LOKALOKA (see snap below). We managed to get her to spill the beans on some trade secrets, as well as give you the chance to win a LOKALOKA bag!
LOKALOKA produces and sells, predominantly vegan leather tote bags that are perfect for everyday use. What we love about them is their combination of practical style mixed with quirky colours (it’s the crazy lining contrast that has us hooked!) Monique tells us that people may see the LOKALOKA online store as a business but what they will never see is the passion behind this business. The attention to detail, the constant evolution of colours and keeping up with trends, as well as the risk of experimentation.
As with all start ups (we know this too well!) there are challenges. It’s part of the process and to be honest, any bump helps you build your business so it’s better and stronger – as long as you pay attention and adapt.
Like most small businesses LOKALOKA faced financial constraints. Monique mentions that “the financial incapacity to do bulk orders or mass production has in turn been advantageous in keeping the quantity per colour very limited and constantly changing”. She has also dealt with a bogus investor, who presented themselves as a serious investor only to then back out via text message after signing the contract (oh the joys of being a small business owner!).
Monique recommends that any one starting out on their entrepreneurial journey gets to know their supply and demand. She suggests you “Do your study of your market. Work on your projections”. LOKALOKA has “run out of stock a few times since we have not worked on our numbers based on previous monthly sales”.
She also finds “being a part of an exclusive community of start-ups in UAE” one of the benefits of being part of theSaffron Souk community of online sellers. It is “a venue for cross-selling; Saffron Souk has helped resolve the e-commerce issue in our website”.
Monique has burned the midnight oil reading the 48 Laws of Power and a few other motivating books but what keeps her inspired daily are a few accounts on instagram that she follows, including sheconquers, bossbabe,soulightmovement, dailymondo, patrickbetdavid, and richardbranson.
In moments of doubt she watches the video message of the Alibaba president (We love Jack Ma too Monique!)
Monique took the plunge and quit her day job not that long ago to work full time on LOKALOKA. She says “it had reached a point where it was impossible to juggle my work and this business. And I chose to be my own boss. Of course I have my full faith in the brand”. She is loving the shift, telling us “I am self-driven. Change excites me”.
We wanted to know what Monique’s favourite social media tool for her business was… not surprisingly it is the visual platform Instagram. She mentions her love of Instagram is because she can communicate with her customers in realtime. It also serves as a window into LOKALOKA’s character.
The hash tags she feels work best for her brand include #mydubai #dubaifashion #dubaibrand #veganbag #crueltyfree #dubaistyle #whatveganswear #thecolorofsimple
We have recently noticed the LOKALOKA online sales had increased quite dramatically and we had to find out Monique’s secret (apart from obvious hard work) and share it with you…
Monique mentions that LOKALOKA’s “sales overall have indeed increased substantially”. In anticipation of the slowdown in this region, LOKALOKA saw this as the perfect time to start expanding their reach to other countries where they believe their brand will thrive. They saw big potential in the US market, as vegan products are very popular on their side of the world. We also understand that Monique added a link from her own website www.lokalokaboutique.com through to her Saffron Souk online store to capture this new audience that are on the hunt for her bags. And with her most common product feedback being “they’re beautiful” it would be ‘LOKALOKA‘ not too.
Monique is looking forward to seeing her bags on Rodeo Drive one day in the very near future. And we don’t doubt that they’ll be show stoppers on this famous shopping strip within the next 5 years!
To celebrate LOKALOKA’s growth, we’re running a competition, in association with Monique, to give you the chance to win a LOKALOKA bag. The giveaway will run from 22nd May to 26th May, closing at mid night. The winner will be announced on Saffron Souk’ facebook page on 27th May. NOTE: COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
If you didn’t win in our #iloveLOKALOKA competition – never fear! You can shop the collection by visiting www.lokalokaboutique.saffronsouk.com