Your Name and Age:
Adina Belloli, 30Tell us about your family:
My husband’s name is Giorgio Belloli and we have a 19 month old daughter named Luna. We live in North West London.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
To be honest, it was never planned that I would end up working in the children’s fashion industry. It just happened. My passion has always been working with disadvantaged children. I’d been a volunteer since the age of 12 and it’s just part of who I am. The other thing I’ve always enjoyed is fashion and, although they’re polar opposites, I’ve found a way to combine them both through Little Lunalu.
After completing my Masters, I began working in the Non Profit Sector. My last position was Program Manager for Cure2Children Foundation where I developed and implemented family support programs for our treatment facilities in Pakistan (5 hospitals). We provided free life saving treatments for children with blood disorders and cancers.
Once I became pregnant with Luna, my daughter, I had to re-evaluate my career choice. I didn’t want to travel to conflict-zone countries frequently any longer. It was a tough decision to make as I loved my job. But I knew it was the right thing to do.
Once Luna arrived, I began scouring the internet for more unique products and had a hard time finding them. The first thing I wanted was a footmuff for my Bugaboo Cameleon stroller that was fun and different. After realising there was nothing out there that met the quality and design standard I wanted. I decided to go that extra step further and make one myself with a matching canopy and seatliner too. I chose the fabric and had someone make it for me. The minute I put it on the pram I had people stopping me on the street asking to make them one as well. I realised I was on to something. My husband happens to be an expert in the luxury fashion industry and has extensive experience with brands so he was able to point me in the right direction in terms of getting a manufacturer set up so that I could produce these stroller sets. I realised that there were other moms out there who, like me, wanted to have more urban products for their children but just didn’t know where to find them. I decided to solve that problem by creating the online shop. But staying true to my real passion for helping disadvantaged children, I also opened The Lunalu Foundation and I give 5% of all our sales from the Little Lunalu shop to this entity. The goal of The Lunalu Foundation is to bring a better quality of life to children across the globe through providing support to charitable organisations.
What research did you do before launching?
Lots of research to see what is available in the market and who my competitors are etc.
How have you funded the business?
I’m very fortunate that my wonderful husband has been the financial backer of Little Lunalu.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
Both social media and word of mouth have done wonders.
How do you fit in work with the family?
Good question. It’s challenging and so rewarding at the same time. I love each of my roles (wife, mother, business woman) and my goal is always to make sure I keep the balance between them. I’m lucky to have a great support system which helps keep everything running smoothly – a nanny (four days per week) who loves Luna as if she were her own and the best husband in the world. Plus I have a super fabulous assistant Laura.
I’m nowhere near perfect and time to time I slack in one role. Usually, the first to slip is my role as a wife but my husband understands and, as soon as I realise I’ve had a crazy week, we grab a dinner date and have some quality time together. I appreciate how important it is to make time for each other. Similarly, as a mother, I make sure I spend my time off work really enjoying her company and, since I work from home, I still see her periodically throughout the work day.
As a businesswoman, I find running Little Lunalu hugely rewarding – I’ve created something genuinely different, making exciting fashion brands accessible whilst raising money to help children all around the world. It’s hugely rewarding to run what has become such a popular global business, especially as it’s given me the opportunity to be close to my daughter as she rows, whilst remaining true to my charitable interests.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Make sure to do market research before starting. Put a good business plan together and then go for it!