LIVLY is a celebrity-adored Swedish children’s apparel brand founded in 2011 by Lisa Carrol. Lisa is a mom of four and is wife of famous NHL Ranger’s star Darius Kasparaitis. One reason to lover her is that she is delightfully "real" even though she hobnobs with some great sports stars. It seems like this mama knows how to balance substance and style.
Her children's brand, LIVLY, gives discerning moms everything they want great fashions (everything is dream up by Lisa herself) that are sustainably made. LIVLY comes in sizes for newborns through 8 years old and I'm excited that they opened up right here in New York City (the Tribeca store is the sweetest thing!)
Ok, now about the name. Lisa started LIVLY after she gave birth to daughters, Liv and Lilly. Get it? Turns out the girls were allergic to just about everything. The result was her discovery of the benefits of designing in pima cotton, which is a staple of LIVLY.
Let’s get to know her a bit better.
These profiles are a celebration of the publication of my first book, Mom Boss, a mom’s guide to running a successful business. The book provide practical tips and sage advice and so do our profiles. Here we go..
What did you have to give up to get where you are?
I love what I do and I love my team, so its hard to say what I gave up. I do travel a lot for production and for the different stores, so time with my family would be the one thing that I would say I give up because of my work travel schedule. I hate not being able to be home when they are sick, or even to miss a dance show or a hockey game, so I try to travel as little as possible.
Do you ever feel like you get in your own way?
Absolutely. Sometimes I am so hung up on producing something when the reality is that it might not actually work. It's really just a dream or an illusion, and sometimes I spend way too much time on things before handing in the towel.
How do you prioritize what gets attention at any given moment?
Since I like to be involved in most things at LIVLY, it is hard to prioritize what gets my attention sometimes. However, by the end of the day, if we don’t have a great product to sell then what are we doing? Therefore, I have to say that production always has to come out on point. Anyone who has ever worked with production knows it’s a bit of a headache, and it never gets easy.
Have you ever had to turn down a business opportunity because it interfered with family time?
I´m so lucky to have the most amazing husband, so whatever opportunity LIVLY gets, he has pushed me to go for it. I travel a lot since our head office is in Stockholm and our production is mainly in Peru, but I try to do short trips, which works great for me and my family.
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What about disappointing your family for something you believed was critical for your business?
We just opened another store in Stockholm, and we had invited a bunch of press from all over Europe so it was crucial for me to be there for the opening. Not planning well enough, it was the same weekend as Liv and Lilly´s birthday. By the end of the day, as parents, that is our number 1 job and I hate to know that I disappointed my kids, so the girls birthday made us push the opening back another week, which was fine.
When the school nurse calls or you get that dreaded lice letter - who in your family handles that?
Oh yes, that lice letter did actually knock on our door. I usually handle all the communication with the school, but getting the kids when they are sick is something both my husband and I want to do. We do want it to be one of us who picks them up but most of the time its me.
If an investor gave you $50k to spend - how would you spend it?
Knowing what I know today, that I didn’t know it the beginning, is to focus on reach. Today I would spend the entire sum on SEO optimization and getting people to our website. There are so many great sites and brands out there, and the push of getting them your site can return in some serious ROI.
What's holding you back today from hitting your next goal or desire with your business?
We have grown pretty fast the last couple of years, which is exciting! However, with that also comes the need to hire the right people for the right positions, which is sometimes tricky. Having the right people in the business is crucial, and that becomes more true with every hire.
How do you recharge?
I turn to my greatest love (except for my hubby and my kids), which is basketball. I go to South Beach and play some pickup ball with the boys, and I love it! I used to play college ball and then professional ball, and I miss it so much. For sure the best way to recharge and get my endorphins going!
On social media, everything always looks so pretty - let's be honest - what are some epic messes that you've had to clean up?
That is so funny you mentioned that. The other day I was taking a picture while cooking in the kitchen with the 4 kids. Everyone was wearing their LIVLY robe and it all looked so white and perky (think Betsy from Mad Man perfect). Miles, who is 22 months and just stopped wearing a diaper, was sitting on the island and peed (pee everywhere, it was like he hadn’t gone to the bathroom for a week) and it got all over the scones and cinnamon buns. The twins who, are very sensitive, ended up puking (one of them didn’t make it to the toilet so yes, it all happened on the floor and on her crispy white robe). Needless to say, we won’t be doing that for a while
Do you work traditional hours. When do you log off for the day?
Since or main office is in Sweden and I live in Florida, I wake up around 3:30 am to work for an hour or two. Then I go back to bed for an hour and I get the kids ready for school. I go to the gym before I head in to work, so I´m usually not in the office until 11am, which is perfect for me. Then, when the kids are off to bed around 8pm, I´m back on the computer prepping Sweden for the following day. I'm one of them obsessive moms, and I hate to lose time away from my kids, so setting my own schedule works great for us as a family.
What recent work achievement are you most proud of?
From day one, LIVLY has always been about giving back and being able to help people might be the best feeling in the world. With the Syrian crisis in Greece, we had a day when all sales went to UNICEF, who needed it desperately. We donated close to 20K, and it made me proud of LIVLY. My team all worked for free that day, and they all showed up early and stayed late to help even more. I really have the best team!
(Big thanks to Clorox for sponsoring this book tour--)What’s the most terrifying mess you’ve ever come home to?
Oh wow- that is a good one. Once, I got on an earlier flight coming home from Peru. My husband had no idea I was coming home at 8am, so when I opened the door and found traces of chocolate stains all over the house I was less than thrilled. He had given them a chocolate bar so that he could snooze for an extra 10 min (he had told them that Santa had come just for that day- which they enthusiastically told me). My youngest son was only 20 months at the time, so there were traces of tiny chocolate finger all over our beige couch sheets and on the walls. Not a happy mama or wifey.
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Get more information about Mom Boss and the book tour and Meet more Mom Entrepreneurs in the series: Happi Olson