Lovengold is an e-commerce store where you can get stylish outfits in the modern day OL look.
With clean-cut, gorgeous designs, their products are the perfect solution for those who don’t want to worry about their daily ensemble.
But behind Lovengold designs is a history that isn’t quite so simple.
It is a story of 2 sisters, and of sacrifice and passion.
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A 5 Year Sacrifice
Lovengold took shape 12 years ago during the early days of e-commerce, as a passion project for sisters Ivy and Lynn Thean.
“We began as a pre-order LiveJournal store, and we took orders for Korean designs from Korean and Chinese suppliers we were close to,” Ivy revealed.
Although profits were “minimal”, they were good enough as pocket money for students.
And as more LiveJournal stores started blooming, the sisters also advanced into in-stocking items and modelling them.
They also tried building their own website in a time where Shopify and Wix weren’t available, but found themselves stumped with no coding knowledge and and no budget.
“It seemed the most natural step was to join the corporate world after graduation. Even though we enjoyed what we were doing, it was viewed more as a hobby than a business,” Lynn says.
And so, Lynn and Ivy spent the next 5 years in corporate, a decision they thought was ‘right’, but they were never completely satisfied.
We were envious when we saw live-journal stores who had started the same time as us turn into e-commerce stores. We thought we could have done the same, if we had [just] persevered instead of giving up and blindly joining the rat race.
Finding Their Second Wind
Today Lynn and Ivy are giving Lovengold a second go, and they’re dogged in their determination to make it work.
Giving it up all those years ago was something they regret, but their 5 years in the corporate world was not a total waste either.
“What we got was valuable experience we could bring into the business,” Lynn shares.
“Skills like priority setting, time management, public relations, and finance management” are all crucial. Stable incomes also meant more capital, so this time they could kickstart the brand with $20,000.
In Lovengold today, older sister Ivy handles accounting and liaising with suppliers, while Lynn handles customer service and logistics.
“Marketing and design are in both our portfolios,” says Lynn, such as our “By Lovengold series, which are exclusively designed and manufactured by us.”
“They are a good mix of our styles as we would research and discuss with each other before deciding whether or not to proceed.”
“Our favourite outfits are also the ones from By Lovengold. Ivy’s is the Regal Shoulder Jumpsuit for its clean design and work and dinner fit. Mine is the Vera Pleated Hem Dress, as it’s comfortable and work chic.”
E-commerce 10 Years Ago And Now
In the past, people relied on forums such as CozyCot for reviews and OOTDs, but now shops “fight for a square on a famous influencer’s Instagram”.
Meanwhile, the number of online retailers has bloomed, and quality of clothing and photoshoots has “improved by folds”.
There is more emphasis on visuals and aesthetics [especially] since customers are more exposed to advertisements, be it on Facebook or Instagram. Without substantial marketing budget, it is very difficult to gain significant exposure.
“Customers also focus on a wholesome shopping experience,” Ivy adds, so it’s not just marketing they need to do well. It’s also customer service, apparel quality and shopping experience.
But there are always 2 sides to a coin, her sister adds.
“Social media increases our exposure, but we have to understand that consumers are well aware of their options, and may have brands they are loyal to.”
It is easier to engage customers now, but difficult to gain brand loyalty. There is a constant need for innovation. We must also have good control on quality so customers will return.
Lovengold For Tomorrow
“Our main task right now is to gain more exposure to build a strong customer base.”
In the future, these enterprising sisters hope to have By Lovengold designs in every collection, and a pop-up store is also in their sights.
“It’ll be a great way for customers to experience the quality of our apparel, and it’ll also give us a chance to interact with our customers.”
Featured Image Credit: Lynn Thean