Tuesday, 9 September 2014

"What I do doesn't feel like work" - Sonia White, director of Amarya and LoveLula.com

Sonia White - a true woman to inspire
What's it like being a natural beauty retail pioneer? 
Inner-Soul Organics founder Emma recently met Sonia White, director of Amarya and www.lovelula.com to find out more.

In a marketplace which can sometimes be confusing, Sonia has made shopping for truly natural beauty products an easy and simple task through her online and high street stores. Read on to find out about Sonia's motivations, passions and what a typical day is like for this inspiring lady.

Connect @Love_Lula and Facebook.com/LoveLula for news 

Emma: Amarya was founded in 2008 and this eventually led you to take over the helm at LoveLula.com in 2013 - was there anything in particular which led you down this path?

Sonia: My son was born with severe eczema and not wanting to put prescribed steroids onto his skin I went in search of a more natural alternative. It quickly became clear that the term ‘natural’ was being widely mis-used; finding a source of truly natural and organic products was a real struggle – so I set to establish my own. I had already run a company selling beauty products online but Nicholas was the impetus to change.
I launched my retail business Amarya Ltd in 2008 selling natural products from our high street store in Cheshire. Then last year I acquired LoveLula.com and re-launched the two businesses as one.
LoveLula was already an established natural beauty website but I invested a huge amount of time re-branding and re-structuring it to make it bigger and better. I simply wanted shopping for natural products to be a positive and easy experience and seeing how we have grown has been testament that we are doing something right!

lovelula.com seeks out the finest natural and organic beauty brands
AND offers free worldwide shipping

 Emma: In a competitive marketplace how has LoveLula succeeded and what activities do you plan which sets you apart from other online retailers?
Sonia: I hope that what makes us work is that no matter how much we grow we still provide the same personal service as when we had our shop. We are a small, passionate team who care about the choices our customers make. We are always available to answer questions and have trained beauty therapists on live chat. We encourage honest feedback and like to keep customers up to date with the natural world through our blog. Our loyalty scheme, free worldwide deliveries and free-phone service are all part of this ethos.

Emma: Describe a typical work day in the life of Sonia White
Sonia: Nicholas is now in school and I am fortunate in that my husband has joined me in the business so we can alternate when it comes to childcare. From the outside I might appear to be a work-aholic but to me it’s not work! Weekdays, weekends and evenings are all equal – but that’s what happens when you have a passion for what you do.

Lovelula.com also offers a monthly Beauty Box subscription
oozing with natural goodies to try

Emma: What aspect do you most love about your work?
Sonia: What I do doesn’t feel like work – it is my passion and an integral part of my life now. I never have the Monday morning blues or feel I have to struggle through a working day. It has enormous up-sides because I genuinely love the products we sell and I am continually surprised and delighted by new brands and product developments. Meeting the people behind the brands and hearing their individual stories and sharing their passions is a great source of inspiration. It’s also hugely rewarding to be in touch with customers on a daily basis and feel that we are helping them in making informed choices.

Emma: What piece of advice would you give someone about the daily running of a business?
Sonia: Running your own business is nothing like working 9-5. The pressure is relentless and there is really no let-up. But then the rewards are proportionately great so don’t give up. I am fortunate now, after 5 years of solid work, to have a great team around me and feel for the first time that I can take a day – or even a week – off! The key is to be organised as multi-tasking is a prerequisite.

The LoveLula.com team includes
qualified beauty therapists available on live chat

Emma: What's next for LoveLula.com? 
Sonia: We recently launched a Boutique section of our website, where small and growing brands can bring their products to market. This has hugely increased the range of products and choice available to customers and is a positive step in encouraging and supporting the natural and organic community.
The next step is to launch a men’s version of LoveLula – not quite so pink! And also we are in the final stages of developing our own natural brand – so watch this space.

Emma: If you could arrange to meet anyone you chose who would it be and why?
Sonia: Absolutely anyone who has been successful in their field, regardless of industry, income or power, as everyone has their story.

Emma: Which people have most inspired you in your life?
Sonia: My own family – for always thinking big and giving me their unending support.

Emma: What is your favourite way to relax?
Sonia: Playing Minecraft with my son.

Sonia loves spending quality time with her son to relax
and is able to navigate her way around Minecraft too! 

Emma: What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self?

Sonia: Enjoy the freedom!

For more Women to Inspire and natural beauty tips follow @EmmaInnersoul