Lüks products are sourced from the two most renowned cotton growing regions in Turkey; Denizli in the South West and Hatay in the South. As a brand who advocates for and insists on ethical production they are proud to partner with local family run ateliers who use locally grown cotton which is spun, dyed and woven in the area in which it was cultivated, cutting down on transportation and the carbon footprint.
Here at House of Coco we love the ethos behind this brand so we went along to find out more. We spoke to founder Rachel about her journey with the brand and what her plans are for the future…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
After 12 months of planning and procrastination about whether to leave the safety net of full time employment to go it alone, I finally made the leap in June 2015. Lüks officially launched in September of the same year.
The idea behind Lüks was a sun-bed epiphany, you know the ones you have when you are hundreds of miles from home daydreaming about what you want your life to look like?
Whilst travelling in Southern Turkey I saw many of the locals using peshtemals (traditional, handwoven Turkish cotton towels) on the beaches, both as towels, sarongs and wraps and thought that they were a beautiful and unique product whose versatility and heritage would appeal to a mobile, conscientious and discerning Western audience. After asking around and having some interesting conversations in broken Turkish and English I made contact with a couple of ateliers and procured my first range of samples. I came back to the UK full of bravado and a child like naivety that I could make it work.
Whats your background?
I walked into this with very little retail experience having spent the last 20 years in design and advertising working in TV, print and online for entertainment brands such as Universal, Sony and Warner Music amongst others. In 2003 I set up my own business with my then partner focusing on product placement in video games and latterly in 2014 qualified as an interior designer – I’m a bit of a creative mongrel really.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
Besides my amazing ateliers who are small and family run there’s me, a UK tailor and a raft of freelance designers, copywriters and marketers. Being a small business I need to be mindful of overheads so have focussed more on creating an agile community I can rely on as and when I need them.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would have been more commercially aware from the offset. I’m not ashamed to admit that when I first started with Lüks the aesthetic was more exciting to me than cost. And whilst design, quality and production values are still very much at the top of my list so are my margins. I have, often painfully had to let go of products that just won’t work financially.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the companyFocussing on one thing and doing it well. Coming from a creative background I always have a raft of ideas in my head and can easily go off on a tangent. I’ve had to learn some hard lessons in self-discipline.
That and getting my head around importing and the Turkish way of doing business. It’s all been a learning curve!
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I used to be a backing singer!
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
This year is about retail and partnering with select concept stores who understand and agree with the ethical principles of my business.
I am also launching in San Francisco in March and will, for the first time be doing the festival circuit- the last 12 months have been ridiculously busy and I’ve missed my music.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The editorial has been great and is, of course a key component of running any successful business, having your brand validated by your peers is an amazing feeling, however, honestly? The feedback I get from customers, our products have been sold around the world from the US to South Africa and Australia and have been used as presents for bridesmaids, as baby blankets and as sun protectors for a gentleman who regulars treks in the hills of Singapore!
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
Mmm – that’s tricky, I had a long term romance with London for over 15 years and she was difficult to leave and, whilst Paris has a faded glory to it that is quite intoxicating I’d have to say New York. I worked there on and off for 3 years and remember quite clearly my first trip – it was love at first sight, there’s such an energy and can do attitude to it. I love that you can walk the city and grab a meal at 2am!
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Caudelie Lip Conditioner – a proper lip moisturiser that you don’t need to apply every 5 minutes
Benefit They’re Real Mascara – length, curl and volume that doesn’t end up half way down your cheeks by lunchtime
Miller Harris – Feuilles de Tabac – I’ve never liked sweet perfumes and this is anything but, smoky, heady tones of tobacco leaf, bergamot and patchouli. It stays with you all day.
Quality over quantity, much as I adore Iris Apfel I’m more gaelic in my approach. Simple clean lines, good tailoring with a few statements thrown in. I’d rather invest in lifetime pieces that are ethically produced and sustainable.
Best thing about London to you?
Soho before the property developers moved in and ripped the heart out of it. Failing that – Jerk chicken from the Walworth Road or driving past the Albert Bridge at night.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Bag – every time.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
My much loved Moncler trench coat.
Favourite love song?
Purple Rain – Prince
Best place for a coffee?
Small Batch in Brighton. I don’t do caffeine and their decaf tastes like coffee as opposed to the brown milk you get in a lot of the larger chains of coffee shops.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
‘If it smells fishy, it’s probably a fish’ – imparted to me at the tender age of 21 by my former boss Adrian Miles who is sadly no longer with us. He taught me to trust my gut and go with my intuition.
He wasn’t wrong.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hoi An in Vietnam – The people, the night markets, cookery classes, tailoring and shoes, this place is magical and puts US customer service in the shade!
In the future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
I’m looking at opportunities for partnerships with boutique hotels and spas.
Working with up and coming artists to translate their work from canvas to limited edition textiles.
Find out more…
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