Lily's House of Sofella is our new favorite house on the block.
The FlipperSplash team often has the unique opportunity of connecting with fellow Mom Entrepreneurs that truly inspire. Lily Bekmezian is one of these amazing moms that has found the time and energy to create a Brand that focuses on family and fashion; two of our favorite topics! Not only is her website filled with some of the cutest models we've seen, but it also shows us that designer fashions don't have to break the bank. Lily has carefully and thoughtfully curated European Fashion houses and put the very best in one place. Now moms everywhere can save time shopping for fashionable frocks, because Lily's got your back! If you're looking to escape the cookie-cutter kid clothes and want classic pieces that match your little one's personalities, look no further.
We got to ask Lily a few questions and her candid answers will both motivate and enlighten.
When did you start House of Sofella?
I first came up with the concept in 2015 and officially launched in 2017.
It's such a unique name, can you tell us how you came up with it?
House of Sofella was created with my daughters in mind and therefore only fitting for their names to be a part of our brand as well. Sofia (9) and Stella (7) create the “Sofella”. This way, they can feel connected to the business.
Do your girls like to help with choosing new products?
My girls absolutely love fashion. They have very different styles and I love that about them; they are individuals at a very young age. They most definitely have a say in the styles we choose per season. Both also have different body types therefore allowing me to keep certain components in mind when finalizing our selections. We go through catalogues and they come with me to the showrooms. I need them to feel important and needed and that is why their involvement is vital to the growth of HOS.
What do you hope they learn from you about starting a business?
Because I am a single mother, I really need them to see how hard I work for them, for us. Kids learn what they see and they often mimic their parents behavior. My main objective is to show them how significant it is to be financially independent. To show them women are amazing, powerful and equally important to the financial and social growth of any community. I want them to understand working hard is the most ethical away to make your mark in this world. And finally, the most valuable lesson I want my girls to learn is their self worth and only they can stand in their way of their own success.
We know that you're based in California. What made you want to start a European Fashion Brand?
When my girls were born and all throughout the years I would find it increasingly difficult to find quality clothes that outlast multiple washes. Fabrics and quality materials along with longevity were the main factors I searched for when shopping for them. There were a few neighborhood boutiques that introduced some of these European brands to the community and I absolutely fell in love. Fast forward many years, I knew these were the brands I wanted to introduce back into the community. I can vouch for them because I know them, they grew up with my girls and I trust these brands, for my kids and yours.
What was your most significant obstacle in starting House of Sofella?
Well, I started this business completely alone with little to no guidance. It was built on hopes and dreams (which makes me smile). But, then reality knocked on my door and I quickly realized how I underestimated the financial portion of my new dream. I launched with a single season, new and raw, and prematurely assumed sales would automatic and the earnings would carry over to the new season. Well, that was and still is an obstacle I work at daily.
How did you overcome it?
Lot’s of patience. I also couldn’t just sit around waiting for some sort of miracle to happen. It is constant work especially being an online store you need internet exposure, constantly and routinely. Finding new and innovative ways to be discovered by the masses through google and social media. That struggle is real. And, finally, realizing that it’s ok to be the new kid on the block. Not comparing your growth to others and staying small has it’s advantages as well. We will all make it, there is more than enough room, I am still learning and applying.
Can you tell us about someone that you look up to, a mentor or advisor that has helped you with your Brand?
My mother, hands down. She is the epitome of strength. She moved to the U.S. with two kids at the age of 26 from Armenian. Almost immedietaly enrolled in school to learn the language. She didn’t have time for self pity, she had kids to feed. She’s worked for the county for 30 years and has reached unbelievable success and positions throughout her career, now directly managing 300 staff members. She beat breast cancer like a champ and not one day did I ever hear her complain, not even when she was losing her hair. She would tell me growing up, “Lily, always have your own money set aside. You never know what life has in store for you”. She always emphasized the importance of financial independence, she said it was freedom. Her strength got me through divorce, raising my two girls and well, basically life. I am my mother’s daughter, an absolute fighter.
We always like to ask the amazing entrepreneurs that we meet a few personal questions, so here we go....
Can you let us know 3 things that are on your 2020 bucket list that you plan to accomplish?
Open my own office/showroom. To buy my own home. Travel the world with my girls.
What is your favorite restaurant, anywhere in the world and what is "the" dish?
Oh this is a hard one! I’m such a foodie and I love to cook myself. Even though I haven’t been able to eat everywhere in the world, yet, I would have to say my last memorable meal was is Italy, Positano to be exact. The dish was a tagliatelle pasta in a porcini cream sauce. It was HEAVEN. Made my hand, daily at our hotel. I still dream about it…I’m drooling as we speak.
Coffee, tea, smoothie, water or juice in the morning? (mimosa ;-) More importantly, what's your evening go-to, when time allows!! Cocktails, wine, beer, etc...what's your favorite?
Mornings are meant for coffee. I look forward to it. I wake up knowing I’m going to have it and it makes me so happy. It’s my time, my happy time. Evenings are for wine and tequila. I have to say, I have always enjoyed a cocktail or a glass of wine with my dinner. It’s the experience, somehow it completes and compliments my meal and makes me super relaxed. If it’s ladies night out, tequila wins. If it’s dinner at home with the kids, a nice glass of wine wins.
So many entrepreneurs, especially busy moms don't find time for a hobby, exercise or even a girls-night-out with friends. Do you have something that you enjoy in your "me-time," that you won't give up?
Oh yes! I love my pilates. It keeps me grounded and sane for the most part. I think self care is one of the most important practices for moms in general. Although we want to do everything for everybody at all times, we forget about ourselves. Without a happy and healthy mommy everything kind of falls apart. Sometimes, even my morning coffee on the weekends. Before the girls want their breakfast I make it a point to sit in absolute silence for about 20 minutes while I sip and think and reflect.
Last but certainly not least, we would love to hear a piece of advice that you give to women that are thinking of starting their own business.
Believe in yourself. Set your fears aside and TRY. Be ready to work, hard. Research your topic or your industry. Try and create lists. I’m a true believer in lists, they keep me organized and structured. Ask for help and seek it whenever possible. Network, get out there and meet people like yourself! Study their success an study their mistakes. But at the end of day have a fall back plan. Dreams are great but life sometimes has different plans. With all this in mind, go for it mama! You got this!
Be sure to follow Lily's adventures at House of Sofella on Instagram and get ready to fall in love with the highest quality, designer European fashions for your girls and boys.
We have to give credit to the HeyMama community for making this amazing connection and thank them for providing this incredible network of moms that truly want to help other moms!
A big thanks to the FlipperSplash team for this amazing opportunity and blog feature. You are helping spread fearlessness, one woman at a time!