Our First BOSS BLOG!!!!

The concept of Luxury Labour started because we are passionate about supporting women, and wanted to help pregnant women with setting there mind at ease and picking everything they need in their hospital bag, so they are ready for their labour and delivery!  We mindfully chose quality products that fit with our values, and Malvados is one of the companies we work with.  We include their super comfortable and stylish sandals in every one of our Mama Bags!!!!  (The Essentials Mama Bag, The Classic Mama Bag, and our LUX Mama Bag)

We are SO excited to start our series of BOSS BLOGS.  We will be featuring other female entrepreneurs, since we want to share what these amazing business bosses are up to!  We are interviewing them, and sharing their secrets and business views with you!

We are honoured to showcase our first Boss, Jennifer Rainnie, the co-founder of Malvados. I met with her in her home last Fall, and she was incredibly welcoming, humble and even stayed calm when my cup of tea went flying across her ridiculously beautiful couch, thanks to her adorable (and lively) little dog, Stella :)

She had some great insight, and wonderful tips, and we are so grateful she took the time to share them with us!  See what Jennifer shared with us below!

Can you tell us a little bit about Malvados?  Sure, so Malvados started, we started it 3 years ago, and I started it with my business partner, and we wanted to create a footwear brand that was, we felt like there was a hole in market, in the flip flop/sandal market, where there wasn’t really a fashion flip flop out there that was at an affordable price and that was sort of catering to this demographic that we felt was looking for something.  There are a lot of brands out there, but they all sort of seem to market to the same surfer/beach lifestyle clientele, and we felt like the girl that is in that demographic, she is more than someone who is just going to look up to a surfer, she is more or less someone who loves to travel, loves to go to music festivals, to go away on the weekends, so we felt that the companies out there weren’t really marketing to that demographic. 

 

Can you tell me a little bit about the names of your flip flops?  Yeah, so we really wanted the brand to be inspired by music, travel and fashion.  So, for myself, music has always been a really big part of my life, so we decided to have all the styles named after cocktails and rockstars.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?  I think, you know I have been in this business for a long time, repping other brands in the fashion/wholesale business, and I had always wanted to do my own brand.  So over the years I have done a few other little projects, little businesses, but I didn’t want to get out of the fashion industry, so I really was looking over the last ten years, I was looking for that missing link, that hole where I could try and develop something.  

Can you describe an experience you have had in your entrepreneurial journey so far that has been particularly meaningful?  I would say there is two that I can think of with Malvados.  One was going to China and we had just finished our production run for our first season, and even though I knew how many sandals we were buying, it didn’t really hit home until I went to China and I went into the factory, and I saw them being made, and I saw them all in their boxes, and ready to be shipped on a container.  That was a really amazing moment, just seeing all of these sandals.  Probably the second one was months and months later, I was in a hair salon in north van and I saw someone wearing a pair, so that was kind of cool.

Can you tell us a little bit about your family? Yes, I have three children.  I have two daughters and a son, a 12 year old daughter, a 14 year old son and a 16 year old daughter, and Stella (dog).

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out as a mother?  I guess to be more mindful, that is something I am working on right now.  To try to not be reactionary with your kids.  That is something I didn’t really realize until recently, until I had teenagers, and that has been really helpful.

How has being a mother impacted your work?  It’s definitely very challenging, you really have to manage your time differently.  I find myself working crazy hours because I cant get it all in during the day, because I have responsibilities as a mother,.  Midday I sometimes run off and do things, so I work and have to manage my time  and give up doing things in the evening s with my friends so I can work.  Same with the mornings, I get up really early in the morning and I work sometimes or most times.  So, yes, it is a lot of juggling.  

What is your biggest motivator?  It has kind of changed over the years.  I would say now, m y biggest motivator, is….I mean I am motivated by success, and success of the brand so I am motivated to see the product in a lot of markets.  I am motivated to see it grow, I am motivated to open more countries.  

What would you say your biggest challenge was when you first began building your business?  Cash flow is always a big one, just coming top with the cash flow and trying to forecast and budget.  It is really difficult to forecast with a new business.  You have no idea how the product is going to sell and what kind of a reaction you are going to get.  So forecasting growth and hiring the right sales people.

Can you describe a typical day for you?  Is there such a thing?  I get up at 5:15 am, I work out every day usually from 6-7 am.  So, I will either do yoga or I do the grouse grind quite a bit, because I live here.  Or I will do some kind of outdoor activity, like hiking or something.  I get top really early and I do that. Then I will come home, and I will usually get on my computer really quickly for maybe an hour, half an hour and I’ll get the kids out the door.  Then I will work, then depending on what happens during the day, because like I said there is always something that comes up that takes me away formwork during the day, then I Will usually work until dinner, then get the kids to wherever they are going, because my kids are into hockey and dance, and a bunch of different things. Then I will typically have another hour of work.  That will be a typical day.  

What is the best part of owning your own business?  I love my flexibility and my freedom.  I love not being in a corporate office environment and it really isn’t me.  I really like the odd hours.  I like being able to work at night and on the weekend to get things done.  So, I guess freedom would be the biggest thing I like about working for myself. 

What do you like to do on your day off?  I love being outside, I love the outdoors, so I hike every weekend.  I like doing physical stuff, I do a lot of hiking and biking.  The kids are really active as well, which is awesome.  In the winter we ski a lot.  It is mostly being outside.

What does the future hold for you and your business?  I think, we have short term and long term plans.  We are building the business so that it might be an attractive business s for somebody to buy at some point, so that is an option.  We might sell it, maybe ten years down the road, but not before that.  I think we really want to be global, eight now we are in 7 countries and that is a lot of work opening all of those distributors, you cant just do that all at once.  We have a strategic plan of opening 2-3 countries a year, so hopefully we will be truly global, meaning we will be in a lot of countries in the next 5 years. 

Who is another female entrepreneur that you admire?  Sarah Blakely is my idol, I love her.  She is the creator of Spanx.  I love her, I love her whole demeanour, her marriage is amazing, and she just has a great attitude.  She is very motivational.

We are passionate about supporting other women, what is one of your passions that you focus on through your business?  I love supporting other women too, and I love supporting entrepreneurs and young people who are interested in starting their own business or interested in the fashion industry.  I am a guest teacher at Kwantlan University every year their fashion/marketing program.  Through them, I have had a number of their students work, volunteer or intern for me.  I love that, I love helping those people, actually Alyssa came from that program, she was actually an intern, and before her I had another long term employee I got through the same channel.  I love being around that young energy and helping when I can. 

What are your top three entrepreneur tips?  The number one would be to surround yourself with positive people. I heard a really great quote a long time a go and it is, “Good luck is a return on positive energy”, and I truly believe that. If you are surrounding yourself with negative people, it brings you down, and you have to be positive when you are an entrepreneur because you need a lot of energy and a lot of positivity.  I would say that sleep is under-rated.  I do not sleep a lot, I know it is probably not healthy, but you have to expect to long hours if you want to be successful.  The third one would be to just be a great employer and to really respect and treat your employees with respect and kindness and good leadership.

How did you get your idea/concept for your business?  I was working with Havaianas and at the time, I had a distribution company for swimwear and sandals and Havaianas was the number one flip flop. I was always amazed at how well that product did and how much that product sold without them being very proactive as a company.  They re not proactive in their marketing, they have been doing the same style for 50 years, they don’t really do anything new and unique.  Their marketing was very basic, their customer service wasn’t very good, their shipping was always late, so it was one thing after another, compounded.  Yet, they sold hundreds of thousand s of product in Canada and the USA.  So, when I was working with them that is when I thought, okay, there needs to be a better flip flop, a better company, a better system, better customer service.  It wasn’t just a better design, it was better service, better quality , better everything.

What is unique about your company?  I would say what is unique is that we are very authentic, I know I already mentions music, travel and fashion, and so all of our models are either musicians, DJ’s or travel bloggers.  Same as in our catalog, we don’t go through modelling agencies to hire models, they are just people who have that same lifestyle that we love and we are inspired by.  So, thats I mean, other brands do that too, but mostly it is all surfers, and ours is true to what we believe in and what our lifestyle is.

What is your favourite vacation spot?  I love Europe, I love Brazil.  I went to Brazil a few years ago and I really want to go back.  Columbia is one of my favourite places, Medine and Cartagena is amazing.  I have been there a couple of times.  I love Italy, I have been there a few times and I would like to go back there.  

Any quotes or phrases that you live by?  Good luck is a return on positive energy, for sure.  That would be my favourite quote.