Lisa Carrol is founder and designer at Livly, a baby and children’s clothing company founded when she was in search of a gentle fabric to calm her premature daughters’ sensitive skin. After several years in Europe, Livly just launched its U.S. storefront full of crazy cute outfits for little ones. We caught up with Lisa for our #MotherlyMakers series, featuring the women remaking our world.
Motherly: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Lisa Carrol: I’m a mother of four who grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. My aunty worked as chief of design at the royal theatre in Stockholm, and that’s where I spend most of my free time growing up.
Motherly: Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to start LIVLY? What clicked for you?
Lisa Carrol:When my twin girls, Liv and Lilly, were born premature and they were allergic to everything (!), My doctor told be about this specific type of Peruvian pima cotton that is great for sensitive skin, so I ended up buying 10kgs of Peruvian hand-picked pima cotton and did my own layette line, I realized how incredible the pima cotton was, and how hard it was to find in Europe. And then I thought: “score! I’m going to put my women’s line on hold and focus on the little ones first!”
Motherly: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Lisa Carrol: Roberto Cavalli was a good friend and a mentor when I lived in New York and played basketball for Fordham. He always told me to make sure to have a plan, and to make sure that I had the tools to execute it, because what is a plan without execution? I owe him til this day!
Motherly: What’s your secret to integrating work and family?
Lisa Carrol: If you know the secret, please tell me! Before I started LIVLY I played professional basketball, and working hours would only be a couple of hours a day. LIVLY was “born” after I had Liv and Lilly, but I do think that I manage my time much better now. When I’m with the kids, I try to be 100% present and when I am at work I try to squeeze out as much as possible of the hours I’m there. I love what I do, and the mix of both is something I need.
Motherly: What makes motherhood unique in Sweden?
Lisa Carrol: Great question! Sweden is amazing in so many ways, and especially for us mamas: We get maternity leave for 18 months and all schools, hospitals and day care are practically free! I love the fact that everyone is taken care of, no matter of social status or income. Growing up our house was always open to everyone. If there is something my mom taught my siblings and me, it was there is always room (and love) for everyone. That is something I try to talk to my children about everyday. Be kind. Be generous.
Motherly: What keeps you inspired and excited every day?
Lisa Carrol: My four energy bunnies, my amazing husband, my friends that are nothing short of amazing (especially when you need a margarita on that gloomy Thursday night) and my hardworking and loyal colleagues.
Motherly: What are your words of wisdom for other mothers wanting to turn their passion into a business?
Lisa Carrol: Make sure this is your passion and that you believe in it 150%, because you will need that extra tank of energy on days when everything seems impossible. Before I started LIVLY, I made sure to do my home work about other companies in the same business that had succeeded and failed, and I tried to see why they were successful or not. Make sure you have as much information as possible before you throw yourself in to it. In the fashion industry, you do need starting capital and you need to project a couple of years ahead to know that you will survive. I was lucky enough to have a small starting capital and without that my plan or my execution would not have had a purpose.
Motherly: What are your big dreams for LIVLY?
Lisa Carrol: I’m so happy for what we have accomplished these past four years, but I am super excited to enter the U.S. market! Our flagship store that is opening in Tribeca by then end of the year is a dream come true, and we have more stores in the US on the map for next year. I also have a dream for our “A LIVLY WORLD FOUNDATION” to start a school in Africa.
Motherly: Who is your #momcrush?
Lisa Carrol: I love me some Sarah Jessica Parker! I think she is a great businesswoman who spends a lot of time with her family. I also love the fact that she is involved with her community and tried to make the world a better place. When I first started LIVLY, my dream was for her children to wear LIVLY. And yes, it happened! She is such a sweet woman!
Motherly: What does “Motherly” mean to you?
Lisa Carrol: I love that word. To me, a person who is Motherly is someone who shows love, warmth, selflessness, and commitment to others. All the things that are characteristics of a mother, and that I hope my children see in me.