We sat down and asked Ofelia and Kathya, founders of Leena and Lu, some questions about their business.
1. The two of you have such a special relationship. Can you tell us a bit about starting a business as sisters?
We like each other so that makes things easy! After Kathya left her job to stay home with the girls, I was ready to start something because both my kids were going to have the same schedule at school. For years we were trying to come up with ideas as to what we could do together that would make sense for us while living in 2 different countries.
2. Where did you grow up?
We grew up in Lima near the Pacific Ocean, so we would spend most of the summers going to the beach. We went to an all-girls Catholic school, and we shared the same bedroom until we graduated from college and I moved to Atlanta. I know, strange!
Most of my memories growing up in Peru are spending all summers at the beach with our cousins and extended family. Birthday celebrations or holidays were the best because everyone gathered at an aunt or uncle's house to celebrate, always around food. Ceviche was a must during those celebrations. The celebrations wre a lot like the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" movie.
3. Why were you both interested in design?
I guess, after staying home primarily taking care of the kids we both figured out that oversized shirts and sweatpants/leggings needed an upgrade. We realized we were still sleeping in pajamas that were years old or wearing a combo of an old t-shirt and random pants grabbed at Target. We thought that needed to change.
We really don't have a background in the fashion industry but we researched and talked to friends and other women and realized that there was a need for good-looking loungewear and pajamas that don't look like regular sleepwear. Being from Peru we always knew we wanted to use Peruvian cotton, and we worked with small manufactures and growers of this precious material to accomplish that.
4. What's your favorite part of working together?
The best part of working together is that I get to be Kathya's boss ;) Honestly, I think the best part is not only that we are on this journey together, but we know what strengths each other has, and when we combine them, we can accomplish a lot.
Kathya is good at numbers and budgets, and keeps us organized. I prefer the creative part and the relationship aspect of the business. Most importantly, not only do we get to worry and lose sleep over the future of the business together, we are also having fun together. We are in different countries, but we are on the phone and text a lot - sometimes too much. But Kathya can't go a day without wanting to talk to me, so there's that!