Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Lauren and Lani Levy, who filled a void in the Canadian market for fashionable expectant moms through their contemporary maternity line, ANI+WREN. We caught up with the duo to find out what advice they would share with other young professionals and where they like to wine and dine in Toronto…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
We cater to expectant moms with a carefully curated selection of stylish contemporary maternity clothes that are designed to be worn before, during and after pregnancy.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
Lauren: I was expecting my first and had nothing to wear! I felt nowhere in the city catered to what I was looking for – a cool store that carried pieces that were an extension of my existing wardrobe.
Lani: I was in the fashion industry and always had that entrepreneurial drive to start my own business. It seemed like the perfect opportunity; there was a big need in the market and we wanted to fill that void.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Turning a profit within our first year of business. Our goal had been to break even, so it was amazing to exceed our expectations. In a saturated retail market we are proud to be offering something unique to customers, which has allowed us to stand apart and achieve our goals.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In 20 years, who knows… In a few years, we would love to be blowing up in the e-commerce space on an international level.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
‘Know what you don’t know’ and don’t try to do it all yourself – because you can’t. Hone in on your strengths and give it 110%, know your weaknesses, and hire people who can do what you can’t.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
We are very proud to support a number of local charities who are in the community doing great work helping moms and kids (Moms for Sinai, The Dialogue Project, Dress for Success, and The Mom Project).
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Lauren: Not feeling guilty. Balancing work-life and motherhood is always challenging. My motto is when I’m at work I am 100% there and when I’m at home I’m 100% with the kids.
Lani: Learning to give up some of the control. In a business you get pulled in a thousand directions and sometimes you can’t do it all yourself. Know what to take on, and know what to pass off.
What does the word notable mean to you?
Doing something worthwhile that makes you happy and makes others around you happy.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Lauren: Harbord Room – that burger!
Lani: Byblos. Nothing beats those lamb skewers.
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Lauren: Houzz, Gmail, Facebook and blogTO. Music from the soundtrack Annie and Tangled are on heavy rotation (for the kids, I swear!)
Lani: Notable.ca, duhhh. And Toronto Life. Currently my most played song is Sunset Jesus by Avicii.
What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Lani: Italy. I went to the Amalfi Coast on my honeymoon, fell in love with the food and vino. Future travel plans include the United Arab Emirates. I’m heading to Dubai in March for a bachelorette.
Lauren: Thailand. Can’t beat the food and amazing culture with the nicest people. South America is top of the list.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Lani: Missing out on a big sale.
Lauren: Missing out on a fun trip.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Lani: Midnight snacks.
Lauren: Online shopping and Netflix.
What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Lauren: I have no regrets; I am decisive shopper.
Lani: Designer bags from a season ago that I already hate.
And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Lauren: Waking up happy and fulfilled but always being challenged by new opportunities. Having an amazing network of family and friends who love and support me no matter what happens. And going to work to a job that I love!
Lani: Ditto, what Wren said. Seriously, how am I supposed to compete with that?