GAMEFACE Game Changers: Karen & Tanya of LEZÉ The Label
Not long after I relocated to Vancouver, I stumbled across a local brand that blew me away. Not only were their products EXACTLY what I’d been searching for my entire self-employed life, but the brand was founded by two inspirational women who have been making waves since they launched their first crowd-funding campaign in 2017.
Aside from being obsessed with their pants which feel like pyjamas, look like stylish dress pants and are made from mostly recycled materials (plastic bottles and coffee grinds — whaaat?) I’m also seriously girl crushing on the women behind the brand. Creative, driven, resourceful and genuinely lovely people — can you blame me for wanting to have a chat with them?
What were you doing before you started creating LEZÉ?
Both Tanya & I dabbled in the wedding industry. Tanya had a wedding decor company, I launched a proposal planning business, and we both co-founded a wedding planning stationery company as well.
How did the idea come about in the first place?
Tanya called me one day and excitedly told me that she was inspired by my homeless style. At first, I was like, “Well, that’s rude. But go on.” Because it was true. I was known amongst my friends to wear pajamas in public – and it wasn’t the fashionable, silky kind. It would be a full set of cotton Superman jammies.
We thought to ourselves: what if we could create a clothing line that caters to the ten million hats we wore in our start-up journey? What if it could feel like pajamas and look good, while adopting a consciously sustainable foundation?
There, LEZÉ was born.
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Did you ever have moments when it all felt too hard or you questioned whether you were doing the right thing?
200%. After we experienced the highest of highs of clocking out $255K USD in our Kickstarter, we were hit with a wave of unfamiliar nuances. First, it was our background in design – or shall I say – the lack of. Neither of us had a fashion degree, so it was an intense learning curve to master a great fit. In fact, we talked about inseams so much that we had nightmares about it. During fulfilment, we experienced a factory fire, quality control issues, typhoons and fulfilment hiccups. I mean, all we’re missing is a tornado, right? During the 100 emails we received daily, we definitely battled self-limiting thoughts of worth and thought, “Seriously. Who are we to try and start a clothing line?”.
How have your lives changed since the company launched?
We never knew that so many women identified with wanting to wear pyjamas in public! Prior to this, we both launched start-up selling a trendy product that honestly did not align with who we are. LEZÉ has allowed us to find extreme clarity in how we want our brand to be presented – complete honesty and with a little humour. When the concept was born, it made all other projects insignificant. This is the feeling that we want every women on this planet to feel: freedom in who they are and what they put forth on this earth.
You guys keep killing it with crowdfunding. What’s the secret to your success — and were you surprised by it?
Half and half. Although we set the goal to be $5,000, our real goal was $100,000. (Tip: Set the funding goal low so that you can reach funding fast. It sounds better when you pitch to press.) In our minds, we were going to do EVERYTHING to make sure we hit our goal. This includes categorizing our contacts into avatars, then shamelessly reaching out to everyone and their dog that fit that criteria. However, the real key to our success was partnering with an affiliate marketing agency with a great track record in raising funds for your product category.
How do you stay motivated & disciplined when you’re the boss?
For me, I am an intense scheduler. I LOVE colour coding my week. The part I struggle with is remembering to execute from my purpose and not from my head. Tanya & I can get easily caught up in conventional trends that other big brands are doing in a nasty game of Comparison. To stay connected to our ‘WHY’s, we schedule in quiet time with ourselves without our phone.
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Do you guys have a “work uniform” and/or beauty routine that helps you feel ready for the day?
We don’t have any LOL. Whatever feels most comfortable for us to do cartwheels in (don’t ask).
How about any other morning rituals?
Both of us keep our phones on airplane mode through the night and keep it off for 1 hour after we wake up. For me, my ideal morning would include a walk outside to clear out any anxieties I might be harbouring. For Tanya, she drinks a glass of hot water and sits in silence to meditate to prepare for the day.
How do you think the way we look and feel in our clothes affects our mindset – particularly at work?
How we dress impacts our self-esteem. This was a prime example of our own experience – we had to step into jobs previously that we didn’t feel qualified for. To make up for our own insecurities, we bought expensive workwear to dress the part. Clothing can be used as an incredible tool for you to step into owning a personality or identity that you want to embody. That’s why we’re so dedicated in creating something that feels and looks good.
What’s your number 1 styling or beauty tip for feeling like a boss?
For us, comfort trumps everything. We believe that in wearing something that makes you feel good rather than simply just looking good.
And most importantly — where can the readers find you?
Exclusive discount for GAMEFACE readers
The girls have generously set up a discount code that will get you 15% off your order at LEZÉ the Label. Use “KAT15” at checkout to claim it.
Image credit: Allison Kuhl
Kat Elizabeth is a personal branding coach and copywriter who helps entrepreneurs and creative freelancers become the go-to experts in their niche. She started her professional career in musical theatre before writing and producing her own cabaret show which led her to uncover her love of branding and marketing. For 4 years she worked as a freelance copywriter before moving into course creation, building her own personal brand on YouTube and starting to coach others do the same. Nothing makes her happier than helping other purpose-driven humans get paid to do what they love (and change the world while they do it!)