Introduction! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, I’m Zu, the creator of LEKKO life goods, a brand of functional linen and cotton products which encourage a low waste lifestyle. Personally, I’m also a wife, mom, sister and daughter. I started my company less than a year ago with a busted up machine and idea for a multi-functional bread bag that opens “from the top”, and now have a line sheet that doesn’t fit on one page anymore and amazing retailers across the country. I also like to dabble in “domestic” hobbies like cooking, baking, knitting, and crocheting, however I consider myself seriously urban and appreciate a modern and clean aesthetic.
How did you find the world of entrepreneurship?
I definitely didn’t grow up thinking that I would be a small business owner. Ideas were always exciting to me, but following through wasn’t really my strong suit. Through a strange turn of events which included a degree in Urban Planning, a stint overseas, a job in content writing and then starting a family, I adopted a more flexible mindset and a “why not” attitude. And while I would never consider myself fearless in this endeavour, there’s a confidence that comes from somewhere unexpected and it’s firmly supported by my husband, family, and friends. I think that there are a lot of different types of entrepreneurs, and that one person’s experience and expectations vary greatly from another’s. That being said, the business community in Hamilton is very tight knit in the best of ways and extremely supportive.
Why did you start LEKKO Life Goods?
I’m a very selfish business- I literally create items that fill in the gaps in my sustainable lifestyle. I started baking my own bread as a way of building on my low waste practice, however I was struggling with keeping my baked goods fresh. Linen has pretty magical natural properties that allow for items inside to breathe, be that bread or your skin when you wear linen clothes. From there, more and more products continued to evolve, ones that supported a low-waste lifestyle, from napkins, cutlery rolls, and reusable straw sleeves.
There’s something very gratifying about creating and manufacturing products that end up in people’s hands. I had a service-based business before, but definitely like the satisfaction of creating something from a bolt of fabric and having these items add value in the day to day of my customers.
What advice would you like to give to today’s women?
Don’t be afraid to build your life to be what you want it to be. Women have so many options now, but shouldn’t see it as pressure to be all of these things. Expectations are what you decide to make them and no one should limit or tell you what you can or should do. I’ve been growing my business while having my son at home full-time (he’s not yet 2), and that’s really dictated the rate of growth, however that’s something that I consciously decided on. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and as you continue, variables will change. August will start part time daycare next week as I gear up for the spring, and that’s something that we are both ready for. You can have your cake and eat it too, but it’s up to you to decide what these “cakes” are, and forget about the rest.
How would define the word success?
Success is not really a destination, it’s more of the journey. I think goal setting is really important, and strategic planning helps accomplish them, however I don’t think I could ever settle on a specific point in which I would consider myself “successful”. It’s about standing where you are right now, looking back and seeing all the amazing milestones you have hit, and then facing forward with excitement and joy. If you have found something in life that allows you to experience this, that’s success. You’re working on the project you were meant to be a part of in this point of your life.
What do you love most about being apart of the Hamilton Community?
I have only been living in Hamilton for about three years, yet I completely self-identify as a Hamiltonian, and that’s something that the community doesn’t hold against me. I love that as soon as you decide to embrace the city, it embraces you back. It’s also an incredibly comfortable size, and I find often that I am only one or two degrees removed from a lot of people that I meet, meaning that we have a friend in common, or a friend of a friend. However, it’s still a large urban area, and with that come interesting businesses, changing urban landscapes, and places of interest.
Favourite Place in Hamilton?
This isn’t an easy answer, but if I had to decide on one place, I love the Durand neighbourhood as we used to live there. I have great memories of admiring the beautiful homes first while seriously pregnant, and then with my son in his stroller for the first year and a half of his life. We had awesome play dates in Durand Park, and the first market I ever sold my goods at was actually the Durand Market at the corner of Caroline and Charlton. It is the backdrop to some very sweet memories.
One sustainable tip everybody could do?
Oohhh, so many good ones to choose from. But if I’m going to choose one, it would be to always carry a reusable bag in my purse or pocket. My favourites are the market net bag I got from The Pale Blue Dot shop and my original linen bento bag. This way you are never have to resort to using plastic shopping bags, even in serendipitous shopping situations.
Let us know if you follow LEKKO Life Goods on Instagram! You’ll want all of the sustainable items!
Peace & Love,