Lois McGruer-Fraser is turning scraps into style with her ethically inclined fashion brand, Lois Hazel.
Thanks to interning in both New York and Amsterdam, Lois already had a super impressive CV before starting her business. Lois is ethically driven in her approach to Lois Hazel, and it is because of this that her voice is relied on in panel discussions centred around ethical and sustainable practices. Talk about girl power or what?
What made you start Lois Hazel?
After returning back from overseas, I knew I wanted to start my own brand. I wanted to bring something new to Melbourne, and with my love of texture, detail and creating an honest label I decided to launch Lois Hazel. In launching I wanted to create a brand that not only offered beautiful clothing but that gave other people opportunities here in Melbourne.
What has been the most challenging thing you have uncovered since beginning?
Honestly, I would say it is having faith in my own decisions and giving myself a break. Running a small business can be so exhausting and sometimes you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and I can be very good at giving myself a hard time when things get tough and not allowing myself to have a break. Sometimes you just have to let go, take a breather, and come back the next day.
Is there something you wish you had known before you started?
So many things! I wish someone was there to help me spend my money better, guide me in how to run a small business from the get-go, introduce me to the wholesale market earlier and so on. I have made a lot of mistakes, but in a way, those mistakes have really helped build my business and have shaped it into what it is today.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
Harry Millward told me the other day: “don’t take yourself too seriously, and have fun!” Don’t let stress ruin your daily adventures.
One book everyone should read? Why?
The Kindness of Strangers. It is a book from Lonely Planet containing a series of short stories that celebrate the small, kind moments between strangers around the world. It makes you smile, and sometimes when all you hear is doom and gloom on the news it makes you feel happy again about the wonderful world we live in.
Where do you envision Lois Hazel in the future?
I hope to see Lois Hazel as a known Australia brand that has moved even further into ethical practices, with my supply chains being as honest as possible. Having my own physical retail space is also on the cards, and also building more relationships with Australian manufacturers and suppliers.
What inspires you to do what you do on a daily basis?
My family. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am, and their support is what keeps me going every day. Also, the little wins when you see a stranger wearing your pieces, meeting new customers and seeing the joy they get when wearing Lois Hazel. You really can’t beat that!
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
It’s funny; when I wake up I kind of go into autopilot mode. I have some morning cuddles with my greyhound Sara, head to the kitchen, make some coffee, put toast in the toaster, get Sara’s food ready while I wait for the toast and then sit down and eat my breakfast. I’ll check my emails, Facebook & Instagram along the way then finally brush my teeth, get dressed and head off to the studio, which is a lovely 30 minutes walk with Sara up the road.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
There are so many! I love that Melbourne is filled with so many creatives, and not only that creatives that want to see change in the world! Definitely, check out:
– A.BCH World , Theo the Label , Pulka , Ohme Footwear , Sunshine Symbol, Amy & Eliav, Nico Underwear, Post Sole Studio, Scott Benedictine, Vincent Li , Lott Studios, Citizen Wolf
And so many more!
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