With the second anniversary for LuvLoops not too far away now, it’s about time we come to you with a little story-time all about the founder of the sustainable jewellery brand, Essa Chen, where we will get to know who she is and how she came to start her brand!
Shall we get started?
TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU’RE FROM!
Hi, I’m Essa! I’m from mainland China in a small city called Huzhou, which is in the region of the old Silk Road. I grew up in China and went to university in Switzerland after high school to study hospitality.
After three years of university, I came to London on a one-year placement where I ended up meeting my current husband (then boyfriend)! We started a long-distance relationship when I went back to China after I completed my placement in London for two and a half years and we registered our marriage in 2018, and we've been happily married ever since : )
HOW DID YOU FIRST COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF LUVLOOPS?
My initial business idea was to start a BIKINI Line! But for many reasons I didn't follow through with that idea - and maybe that was for the best!
In 2018, my husband wanted to celebrate my birthday in Sicily because it’s my dream location, so he booked a holiday there as a surprise! Naturally, I wanted to look nice and take pictures so I packed all the jewellery I had back then, like a thread of pearl earrings and a necklace from high fashion shops.
In Sicily, we went to the beach but when I came back to the hotel room later on, I realised that the necklace had left a lot of stains on my neck. As I have sensitive skin, I had a bad reaction and I scratched my entire neck and chest and it looked awful, so I had to run to the local pharmacy to buy some cream for it.
That’s when I started wondering how I can find jewellery that isn’t expensive but also won’t damage my skin.
I actually happened to love jewellery and I had experience making handmade jewellery like beading and threading during 2016, where I made jewellery for fun and modified my mum’s old pearl necklaces because she didn’t like them anymore; otherwise would have been thrown away or go unworn.
I basically assembled the old pearl jewellery into necklaces and rings and I gifted them to my friends for free. They all gave me feedback saying they really liked them and how I had a talent, but I didn’t really follow through with that until my time in London later on after my holiday.
And that’s the story of how I came up with the initial idea for LuvLoops!
SO HOW DID YOU ACTUALLY GET LUVLOOPS UP AND RUNNING?
I started by buying wires and beads on Etsy and making them!
They soon started to sell and I was pleasantly surprised that people would buy the things that I made.
I then created my Instagram account in 2019 to reach out to more audience, where I began taking pictures and posting them.
TELL US HOW YOU FELT AS LUVLOOPS STARTED TO GROW!
When I first moved to the UK I didn't have many friends apart from my husband, to creating a side business and suddenly having an audience and customers…everything just felt so surreal and magical.
I still remember the first time we reached 1000 followers! I just couldn’t sleep and I repeatedly asked my husband the same thing: "Can you believe it?"
But then we suddenly reached 2000, then 5000, 10k and now we’re at 27k followers! I just wanted to say a massive thank you to those of you who sticked with us throughout the journey. You are absolutely the most valuable thing to LuvLoops and to me!
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE TO PURSUE LUVLOOPS FULL-TIME?
Right before the Coronavirus pandemic I applied for a new higher-paid job as a Software Sale Representive and I was so happy when I got the offer, but they told me the day before I was about to start that I couldn’t due to the pandemic, and that really crushed my mental health.
I didn’t know what I should do or what I could do as that was my only source of income. It made me feel so confused and lost about life because I was taught that it’s very important to have a consistent career and that was sadly just cut off.
At first, the stress caused me to have many mental breakdowns. I couldn’t eat properly, I couldn’t sleep. My husband then suggested I should probably do LuvLoops full-time and give it a shot because there are at least 500 people who love what I’m creating on this platform( thank you so much to my first 500 followers, I gained my strength from you!).
It was then that I started thinking, okay, yes, I’m done crying and now I need to get back onto my feet. Let's make LuvLoops a better place for both myself and my followers.
WHERE IS LUVLOOPS CURRENTLY AT RIGHT NOW? WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
LuvLoops is still in the early stage I think. There are still so many things we want to try and show to our lovely customers!
This time next year, I hope I can do some pop-up stores so I can meet my customers face to face and have someone who can work with me! I want to make it my lifetime career and I never want to give it up because I enjoy the part in my job that makes someone smile or happy when she/he receives a parcel from us!
I am so excited even just thinking about it!
TALKING OF GOALS, WHAT IS YOUR MAIN MISSION WITH LUVLOOPS?
My ultimate goal for LuvLoops is to deliver this slow fashion idea where people choose jewellery carefully and according to sustainability. We want to deliver not only sustainable jewellery but also a sustainable lifestyle to our customers.
LuvLoops jewellery is an ethical and sustainable. We are doing our best to be friendly to both the earth and people.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS THEMSELVES?
I think the one tip that I have on the top of my head is not to be afraid of chasing your dream!
If I can do it, you can do it.
You've got this!
AND FINALLY, LET’S DO A QUICK FIRE-ROUND OF YOUR FAVOURITES!
TELL US WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR IS.
Green because I love plants! I have so many plants and it’s my goal to make my home look like a forest hehe.
OKAY, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLANT THEN?
I have a Prayer Plant here called Freddo!
AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG RIGHT NOW?
The Other Side of Paradise by Glass Animal.
DO YOU HAVE A SINGER YOU LOVE?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
Fried rice! (I make excellent fried rice, by the way.)
TELL US YOUR PERSONAL FAVOURITE JEWELLERY PIECE HERE AT LUVLOOPS!
Definitely my Sophia Necklace. She is so versatile and yet classic and elegant!
AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO AT HOME?
Stroking my pet rabbit, who is called Bunny, haha!
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS YOUR MOST LOVED PLACE?
I really love Sicily and Amalfi Coast but if I have to choose one, then I’d probably choose Amalfi Coast.
AND LAST BUT NOT AT ALL LEAST, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FILM OR SERIES?
Probably the X-Men Series! I love Wolverine!