LOR: Christina and Paul
Names: Christina Farrugia, Paul Micallef
Company Name: LOR
Date Launched: 15/05/2019
Number of employees: 2
Which university did you attend? University of Malta & University of Bath (Christina); University of Malta and Cass Business School (Paul)
A business bubbling with entrepreneurial spirit and guided by a strong moral compass: LOR is “changing the world one lather at a time” with its sustainable, 100% single-use plastic free and vegan beauty products – great for the planet and your body. Read the full Q&A to find out more…
Tell us what your business does:
LOR is a beauty brand with a clear purpose. We support zero waste and low impact living with 100% single-use plastic free, 100% natural and vegan skin and hair care products that are kind to the environment, kind to animals and kind to our customers.
We are a circular economy business; simply put this means that we encourage our customers to send us their empty bottles once the product runs out so we can reuse the bottles. This circular economy philosophy is also mirrored in our packaging. Where possible we reuse all our boxes and packaging from suppliers and customers – its all about reusing, reducing, refilling and recycling at LOR.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea behind LOR came about after a trip to Borneo where we witnessed the devastating effects of the palm oil industry on the rainforest and how the plantations have eaten away at the surrounding area.
We came back from holiday determined to become a reduced plastic and palm oil free household but soon realised it was not an easy task. So after many failed shopping attempts we decided to take matters into our own hands by creating LOR.
How did you know there was a market for it?
It was a mix of our own research looking at other brands, consumer trend reports, current news and online conversations. We spent some time on this portion of the business planning to ensure that there was a market for LOR. We also spoke with family and friends, bouncing our ideas off them and seeing if they personally would be interested in buying any of the products.
What were you doing before starting up?
We’re currently balancing work and business; Paul is a clean energy consultant and Christina a technology comms professional.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Simply put, yes! We have always talked about running our own business however it's taken us a while to pluck up the courage and start LOR.
How did you raise the money?
We don’t have any outside investment; we started LOR using our own savings.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
We’re an online retailer: our customers can purchase our products directly via our site www.lorlondon.com
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Our main hurdle was deciding on LOR’s business model – were we going to offer refills and if so how will this work? What bottles will we use? Can we find other alternatives to plastic?
Before we could even think about pulling a launch plan together we needed to make concrete decisions about our offering and our values. This took time and many late night conversations but we finally came to a few fundamental decisions. We are a zero waste beauty brand that is built upon a circular economy mindset. Everything else fell into place and is continuing to take shape as we move forward with the business.
What was your first big breakthrough?
We’ve had many ups (and downs) but nothing compares to the high of receiving an order. We still run to the phone with amazement when we receive an order; its such a fulfilling feeling knowing the there are people out there that believe in our brand and products enough to purchase them.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Believe in your idea. It isn’t easy to start a business, you will come across many hurdles and people telling you that it won’t work but if you believe in what you are doing and your business you’ll make it work. Don’t let the hurdles stop you from doing what you want to do.
Also, it's OK to make mistakes (this is something we need to remind ourselves everyday)! It’s a huge learning curve and you’re bound to make a mistake or five along the way and that’s OK as long as you take these as learning moments and move on.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
We’d love to see the business blooming and not only becoming a go to brand for zero waste products but also an educational platform that supports low-impact living.
Ultimately we want LOR to grow beyond a retail brand and to become a community of like-minded people that want to protect our planet by changing our habits.