You know ALALA for their trendy workout clothes that are designed to be functional at the gym, yet cool and sophisticated to wear in your everyday life. Taking inspiration from the downtown streets and culture of New York City, the clothes blend function with sleek urban design. Now meet the brains behind the brand, Denise Lee, the founder and CEO of ALALA.
Q. Since launching luxury activewear brand ALALA in 2014, your company has rocketed in growth with a very successful direct to consumer business and over a hundred wholesale outlets. Looking back over the last four years, what are some of the highs you encountered growing your company? Could you describe one of the challenges and how you overcame it?
A. For me, I love hearing from our customers and how much they love Alala. It's the ultimate high for me. As for challenges, I think what's most important is being nimble and flexible with problem solving.
Q. Did you have any mentors when you launched Alala? What advice did you get from them and did you learn anything from your past work experiences that helped you grow the brand? Your company is privately funded - what advice would you give to other founders launching their own company and deciding if they need to raise capital or stay privately funded?
A. My old boss, Chris has been a mentor of mine since the beginning. I worked for him for 3 years before starting Alala and I learnt so much from him about thinking outside the box and challenging the norm of how to do things. With regards to fundraising, I was fortunate that I didn't need outside capital to start the business. However, not everyone can be in that same position - so I think my advice is just to know the pros and cons of each financing option the best you can and make an informed decision that way.
Q. What is your vision for the future of Alala? Any exciting collaborations coming up that you can announce?
A. We are partnering with Barry's Bootcamp on an exclusive co-branded capsule at the end of November. We are so excited about that. I see Alala becoming a brand that empowers women through fashion and wellness and becoming a voice for good and change in society as well. Alala is the name of a Greek goddess and her name stands for a battle cry - its our promise to ourselves and our customers that we will always fight for what we believe is right.
Q. You often tell the story that your inspiration to launch Alala occurred when you couldn't find cool contemporary clothes when training for your first triathlon. Are you still training for triathlons and if not, what kind of physical activities / workouts are you into now?
A. I don't have time to train for a triathlon now sadly, but hopefully one day I will get to do another one. I love going to high intensity workout classes like Rumble Boxing - it's the best way to get the most out of 45 minutes of a workout I think. I also see a trainer and that is really efficient as well.
Q. As a busy founder and entrepreneur growing a global activewear brand, tell us #whatsinyourbag?
A. I also bring my dog to work everyday so I keep my bag assortment pretty lean or else it gets to be a lot to lug around! A bright card wallet makes it easy to find in my bag, Airpods to listen to podcasts on the train (for fun, I like My Favorite Murder, for work, Tim Ferriss podcast is still the best IMO). And of course a change of clothes + sneakers for the gym on the days where I decide not to wear activewear to work (a rare occurrence)! I've also been obsessed with Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee and I have a few packs that I stash in my bag for I can get my fix wherever I am.
For more details on Denise's Transience bag, see our Swing Bag in Black Impulse Mesh with Iridescent Drawstring.