Check out the original story from VoyageAustin here or read on below!
Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Husberg.
Hi Lisa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I am a native Texan and a University of Texas graduate with a BS in Textiles & Apparel. I’ve always loved fashion, from wanting to be a fashion designer as a child, to following Vogue & Harper’s Bazaar religiously through middle and high school. Environmentalism is also something that I’ve always been passionate about, and I even started and led the Energy & Environment Committee throughout high school. My business idea originally started with my university graduate project (2011 – almost ten years ago!)- a fashion collection based on sustainability. “Sustainability” at the time was very new in fashion and wasn’t quite as approachable or accepted as it is now. I focused on fabrics made of natural fibers, hand-dyeing with sustainable dye made of extracted teas, fruit, or vegetable juice, and convertible designs. I loved this concept and it has always stuck with me. I wasn’t sure, however, how to start my own business after graduating and put off the idea.
A few years later, I thought of combining my sustainable fashion idea with small-batch sustainable skincare and began working on that idea. At the time, I was running my own coffee kiosk and ended up landing a job opening a new hotel in Austin (2016-2017). With all of the changes and the lack of time and resources, I put my idea on the backburner once again. Forward to 2020: we are in the middle of a pandemic and all hospitality shuts down. I suddenly had unlimited time to research and focus on building this business I had always dreamed of! It was quite the jarring transition, but I was excited at the prospect of following my passion. I poured all of my time into taking online courses in design, digital tools, web design, and social media & marketing. For the new few months, I researched vendors, sustainable methods, trends, and the overall market. I am also a certified yoga instructor and wanted to bring a dose of spirituality and practicality to my brand. In June 2020, I decided on my business name, and registered LOKA.HAUS to open for business. “Loka” is a Sanskrit term defining the different planes or realities that constitute our universe.
Our products are created to suit all of your needs, no matter what loka you exist in right now. LOKA.HAUS designs and produces high-quality, sustainable products with a small-batch, luxury feel. Materials utilized are ethically sourced, naturally derived, or recycled. I believe quality goods should be affordable: women deserve to look & feel good while spending less. We strive to create multi-purpose, sustainable, accessible options in apparel, jewelry, skincare, & art. Our mission is to end fast fashion, provide luxury goods at an accessible level, and address + educate consumers on economic gender inequities, specifically in retail and business. It has been an interesting path to get to this point, and LOKA is growing slowly! I am proud of the business that I have built and am excited to see where this journey takes me and my business. I truly hope to scale my concept into a brand that can empower people across the world and bring the powerful element of social good to the fashion landscape.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Is opening a business ever smooth? I would be shocked if I met anyone that said yes! The easiest way to describe my journey, as cliche as it is, is like a rollercoaster. My average trajectory is continuously moving up with an increasing speed, but there have been serious slow-moving parts and dips. The beginning felt as if I were getting on a vintage wooden rollercoaster that looked destined to fall apart before even getting to the first drop. I had very little confidence, felt like I was scrambling to piece various parts together, and did not think I was moving in a clear direction. It was a slow, painstaking, rattling process. Building a solid foundation is anxiety-inducing and a constant realization of all the things you don’t know. Every day I would have an epiphany and would feel like it was something I should have realized months before. I always felt behind, no matter how many hours I put in. I still knew that it was an uncertain path, and the only way to succeed was to bear down and get through the discomfort. I would say that lasted about three months. I was really struggling to define my vision and form the identity of my business. I had so many ideas and didn’t know how or what to execute first. I didn’t know what was more cost-effective and what would bring me more direct success without getting off track. There are so many business resources out there and I really struggled with knowing what to spend money on to help grow my business.
I forced myself to really grit my teeth and take risks. I put together a brand guide, landing page, social media, marketing materials, and a pitch deck. I submitted my business relentlessly to anything from small business grants, to relief packages, pitch contests, accelerators, and VC funding. This allowed me to work through many entrepreneurs’ biggest fear: rejection. After I had at least a somewhat consistent brand vision, I put all of my energy into forming my first collection. While this was less painful, there was still a constant battle of impostor syndrome and wondering if my brand would be well-received, if people would buy, or would it be completely torn down? Why would they believe that I was the voice of authority? To overcome this, I set a deadline to launch my online store. I decided on the products to launch first, put away my perfection-seeking mentality, and opened for business by November 2020. These thinking patterns really led me to form a strategy based on consistency, hardcore grit, and determination. I knew that no matter how low I felt, that LOKA.HAUS was something I truly believed in, and that would lead to my brand’s success. I lost count of the applications, the silent or verbal “nos” I received. For every no I received, I would submit ten more applications or pitches. If I didn’t receive feedback, I would follow-up. When I did receive feedback, good or bad, I would ask the uncomfortable questions.
These are not unique struggles. Impostor syndrome, rejection, lack of funding are things that most entrepreneurs deal with. You are tired, frustrated, confused, and broke a lot of the time. There were even some tearful moments, which my friends and family know is highly unusual for me. But what made it worth it was the small successes along the way. My business was picked for a pitch competition, I received encouraging feedback from a local angel investment firm, people were buying products. Traction was growing. As I continue to do these things, I can feel my brand moving upwards and gaining momentum. Being rejected sucks, but for each batch of rejections, I would receive a yes. This month, I formed three local partnerships and will be participating in two local events featuring my products. VoyageAustin reaching out to me was also a great surprise and a great win! Building a business is not meant to be easy; the difficulties make the success truly worthwhile.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
LOKA.HAUS designs and produces high-quality, sustainable products with a small-batch, luxury feel. “Loka” is a Sanskrit term defining the different planes or realities that constitute our universe. LOKA.HAUS products are created to suit all of your needs, no matter what loka you exist in right now. Exercise, lounge, work, or play, LOKA.HAUS is made for you. Our mission is to end “fast fashion”, provide luxury goods at an accessible level, and address economic gender inequities, specifically in retail and business. Apparel, jewelry, skincare, fragrance, and art are handmade with ethical or sustainable products. LOKA.HAUS is built to be a platform and community for others to learn more about equity & sustainability, and motivate consumers to take action. We also donate back 10% of sales back to non-profit organizations in women’s rights, equity, diversity & inclusion, & sustainability. OUR MISSION 1 Build a lifestyle brand that empowers customers by simplifying their lives through unique, sustainable goods two Produce apparel, skincare, jewelry, and art that inspire customers in their daily life, comparable to existing “luxury” products at a more accessible price three Educate consumers on the negative environmental & economic impacts of “fast fashion” and current major fashion brands/trends four Build community around sustainability & diversity; promote change & inclusion through blog + community impact. Loka.Haus creates & manufactures: • small-batch apparel using sustainable fabric & practices • simplified skincare & fragrances utilizing sustainable ingredients • jewelry utilizing non-toxic materials, precious metals, and gemstones • original art pieces with sustainable material. Materials utilized are ethically sourced, naturally derived, or recycled.
Our clothing is sophisticated, versatile, luxury at an affordable price. Designs are intended to be convertible, for working, working out, or going out. We utilize silk, linen, cotton, jersey, bamboo, technical performance, and recycled performance fabrics. LOKA.HAUS: minimalist & sophisticated meets functional luxury. The intention of my brand is for women to look & feel great, spend less on higher quality, and maintain fewer items in their closet while gaining more use. My vision is to empower women to create a larger impact on the female economy, to encourage others to buy into female-owned or female-led organizations, and to push all organizations to change the old orders of business. By educating on gender & diversity disparities in the workplace, we can cultivate stronger female entrepreneurs, smarter consumers, and positively alter the economic landscape. Our products are live via our ecommerce store + social media (IG/FB shops) and our community is building via our blog. Our apparel will launch this month. I am most proud of the fact that my brand is open & selling products! Our products have received positive feedback and customers seem genuinely excited to support my business. I am extremely happy to have a brand that provides sustainable luxury products and also gives back to the community.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Something surprising about me, I think, is my struggle with impostor syndrome. Again, I do not think this is unique, and I believe that most females struggle with this in any professional capacity. I am outspoken, ambitious, and great at putting on the “strong”, unbreakable front. But, almost every day, I am questioning myself and my brand. This has become less and less severe, but it is always still there.
Jewelry starting at $14
Skincare starting at $26
Fragrance starting at $26
Apparel starting at $36
Art starting at $250