Name: Erica Bizon of Lookie Loo Loo
Who's in your family: My husband Steve and myself have two boys, Lennon age 4 and Theo age 3
Favorite way to spend your free time: Free time? I’m not even sure I know what that is anymore! Ha! I love spending any downtime we have from this business with our family and friends. But, I’m an avid fan of music and movies, and we try to do as much of that as possible.
Age when you started your business: We opened in 2014, and I was 34
Tell us about your business in 3 sentences: In our world, kids should be kids, and their wardrobe and environment should reflect that. There’s no reason you can’t do it stylishly and full of color. Lookie Loo Loo strives to bring the imagination and fun of childhood to everything we create.
What made you start your business, what did you leave behind: I spent 10 years as a marketing director prior to opening LLL. MY most recent job was as the first Community Manager for Yelp Memphis. I had aspirations of opening my own shop for many years, but feared I didn’t have anything to add to this already saturated handmade world. When our first son was born, I spent a lot of time on Etsy purchasing one of a kind tees and outfits for my little guy. I was so bored by what was on the shelves at my local shops, and couldn’t figure out why the big box brands couldn’t get out from under the sports and nautical themes for boys. In 2014, my husband got sick and we needed income coming in, and the rest is history. LLL was born.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers/expanding your audience: Instagram was the greatest platform for us in our beginning years. I spent many days networking, collabing with other brands, and seeking out giveaways and marketing opportunities via that medium. In fact, our first two years open I was hand driving all our customers solely from Instagram.
Single most important decision you've made for your business: Hiring employees! I have a really hard time asking for help. We reached that icky growth stage where we can’t afford to hire staff, but we need to hire staff to grow past this stage of 4 am work nights for myself as a one woman show. It was time for me to add some extra hands this year and pass off the things that keep me from creating. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and like to be in control of it all. It’s been very hard to pass off some of these tasks, but I know this is where solid growth starts.
Something about you not many people know, business or personal: I have a rather large collection of 1980s tin luncboxes.
If you could go back to the day your business started (whether it was intentional or by accident), and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you've acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself? I don’t know that there’s anything I would change, because with the mistakes came lessons I needed to learn. Lessons I think we all learn in our own way. But, I would have slapped that camera phone from my hands and taught myself the wonders of good photography!
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors? I don’t like to look at anyone else as our “competitors.” I think what we create is pretty much a window to my own life and soul, and that in and of itself sets us apart from other clothing shops. I like to put a little piece of myself in everything we create. I sew and screen print everything that goes out with my own two hands, I have upwards of 45 screens I’ve made to create our alphabet and number tees, and this year I took on 10 color tees. I don’t know anyone else out there yet that’s been crazy enough to take that on in a screen printing medium. A good friend put it best, “it’s either a true sign of passion for what you do, Erica, or insanity.” And, most days I lean towards insanity.
Best piece of advice you've gotten that you still follow?
A wise woman once told me, “Don’t compare someone else’s middle to your beginning.” Basically, learning not to hate where I started. We all have our journey, and it is SO hard in this virtual world to not get caught up in comparisons. Once I made the conscious decision to not worry about what everyone else was doing, I took back my own joy.
My favorite quotes is... “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
The biggest lesson I have ever learned is… never say never
My favorite business tool or resource is… Coffee. Copious amounts of coffee. Truck loads of coffee. If I could go back in time 10 years ago I would tell myself… some day very soon you’re going to have two tiny dictators who rule your world. Buy ALL the shoes now.