Dear Friends and Family,
As some of you may know, we've been quite busy these past few years building a women’s denim line called Lotus Premium Denim. In honor of Women’s History Month, starting this week, the Lotus founding team would like to share our own journey and the story of how and why the Lotus brand was created.
Through struggle, failure, and personal growth, a group of 5 women crossed paths and discovered their purpose in developing a new denim line with a strong message of inspiration and a fit so flattering and perfect! We've come so far, but we know we've got a long way to go.
With help from YOU, our family and friends, we are hopeful that our brand message and value will be shared across their networks so that women everywhere can connect to the Lotus journey. Please enjoy our stories, and we thank you for your continued support.
In November 2007, less than a month after I had gotten married and discovered that I was pregnant with my first child, I learned that I had lost all my real estate investments, and the majority of my family’s personal assets due to the economic crash.
I knew my life would never be the same again... I was in shock and felt utterly hopeless.
As I was looking for some kind of understanding in this situation, a moment of truth exposed itself, and a voice whispered, “Everything is going to be OK”.
I didn't know where it came from, but for that moment, I felt protected. It is very true that in the middle of any difficulty, lies opportunity. It takes a certain amount of trust, love, and forgiveness to see the silver lining in any hardship. It took me a long time to understand this, but I vowed to myself that I will learn from this and build a better a future from it. And then, in 2008, I got bit by a bug – the entrepreneurial bug.
Between 2007 and 2008, the technology landscape was changing, especially in social and e-commerce. I was obsessed with stories of start-ups and the Founders behind them. There was a certain passion behind these Founders that resonated within me. Ideas of marrying social and retail started to fill my head, and on some kind of unexplainable whim, I believed that I could do the same thing.
Pregnant and unemployed, I spent most of 2008 reading as much as I could on the market and slowly began to network.
Through common circles of friends, I met Ria Mae Marquez a few years back. Ria is a Graphic Artist and creative genius. To this very day, I thank my lucky stars... because as fate would have it, we learned that we shared a deep rooted passion for creativity, fashion, and technology during a Christmas party in 2008. After a few cocktails, discussions got a bit fuzzy, but we left that party with excitement and a hunger to create our first start-up idea!
We aimed to build a platform where users could share and read all of their social feeds, purchases, and brand affinity all in one place. I shared this idea with my cousin-in-law from Orange County, Lenn Chao, who is Director of Operations for a stationary and luggage company. I trusted this woman with my soul, so I basically asked her advice on everything. Sharp, witty, and always up for an adventure, I knew I wanted her on my team.Lenn saw potential in our vision, and was on board. I thought, "Great! I've got the best brains in operations and creativity behind me!" But the idea was just too massive. Without technical backgrounds, the three of us weren't able to execute it properly.
A year and a few pivots later, we wanted to hone in our passion for fashion. Again, we thought that this was it! The business of democratizing the fashion industry had been at the forefront of our minds. We started recruiting talent again. At this point, I met Elaine Reyes, during a meeting for a side non-profit project that Ria was building, SJFAM. Elaine is a Marketing & Events Manager at an upscale hotel. We shared the same entrepreneurial spirit, so our friendship naturally flourished. I admired her world class taste and appreciation for the finer things in life. Spurred by our interaction and can-do attitudes, Elaine wanted to build this vision with us too!
I invited my sister-in-law, Marie Coronado, a Retail Store Manager for Cache, to an SJFAM Charity benefit, and there she met Ria and Elaine. Marie’s vast knowledge and experience in retail sales, steadfast faith, uncanny intuition, and undying love for Johnny Depp left lasting impressions with her new-found friends, unbeknownst they would all soon become business partners.
The stars were aligning. Ria, Lenn, Elaine, Marie, and I formed a team and started working together, even before Lotus existed...
In 2009, we flew to Las Vegas to attend the MAGIC convention, the largest fashion convention in the country. Our goal was to build our network with the fashion brands out there and introduce our start-up concept to them. I remember I had just lost some weight from my first pregnancy, and was slowly feeling good about myself again.
Lenn at the time, was adamant about premium jeans and reasons why they felt and looked so good! I of course lamented on price and brand overkill! I was never a premium jeans girl, I wasn't any kind of girl, I shopped at Ross... I had never experienced owning a great fitting pair of jeans.
Lenn and I went shopping one evening, and she decided to take me to a high end denim boutique at the Venetian Hotel. I was open to trying it out, not expecting to buy anything. Boy, was I in for a treat!
It was at that moment in that boutique, that I experienced what customer service should be like, EVERYWHERE, and what denim should feel like, ALL the time.
I was in a boutique filled with just jeans!! I saw all kinds of washes, styles, and in it’s own ingenious simplicity, just jeans. The presentation was amazing; the service even better.
In my personal experience, finding a good pair of fitting jeans that not only looked great, but felt amazing, was a challenge! Despite the vast amounts of jeans available at this boutique, nothing seemed to perfectly fit my rather average 5’2” petite frame. Although the denim felt great, most of them were too long. And then, I did the half twirl and tilted my head back to see the mirror. This $198 pair of premium jeans did nothing for my derriere!
I ended up buying just one pair of jeans that day, happy that it was the best pair of jeans I owned then, but not fully satisfied with the fit. In the dressing room of that high end boutique, I experienced my first denim epiphany – “What if there was a denim line created to truly fit and flatter a woman’s body?”
Tune in next week to read how Lenn became a Lotus woman...