I had the pleasure of interviewing Louise van Drumpt, who is the CEO of Krea Group Limited. She started as an environmentalist / marketing expert, which lead her to lay the foundations of her own sustainable womenswear brand, LOU BLACK.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Well, where do we start? ;-) I have always been a bit of a strange one. Being the middle child in a family of 5, I had the choice of choosing to either go with the flow or to make my own plan and take advantage out of the fact that not all expectations are on me, I chose the latter.
I went to the Rudolf Steiner school, and lived alone in different countries during high school ‘because of work’, I convinced the right people that this was a good decision for my personal development. During university, I started my first business in Holland and when I moved to London there was no way that I was going to work forced office hours. So, I started a business there.
Why did you found your company?
While working as a fashion model for many years, I discovered how beautiful yet ugly and polluting the fashion industry is. I decided to do it my way and started working on the first concepts for Lou Black; timeless and classic pieces made in an ethical way.
But, it was only when I met Andra Sandru last year that I really got the brand off the ground and running. Andra had her brand Acurrator and we then decided to join forces and to manage both brands under one umbrella. I had been looking for a business partner for ages and I feel so lucky that I have found her (they say it’s harder than marriage!;-) Combining our forces makes us 10 times as strong and that’s what we need to be in this world!
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
As a model you’re not quite supposed to have an opinion. So hiya! Here we are trying to get the whole industry to change.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
My dad. I know that it can’t sound more corny but he has been like a rock for me every time I needed business advice. After my dad comes my brother, and it turns out that we are quite similar after all.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I can’t give too much away but we are going to smash it in the next year. Now that we have such a great team around us, we will definitely not sit still!
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?
- You are going to lose a lot of money on big lessons. Fact. If you haven’t done it before you will need to learn it the hard way. (I talk about websites, factories, designers, fabrics, import, collaborations, publications, EVERYTHING!;-)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help but know that in the end you can only count on yourself. Everyone will prioritise their own programme, can you blame them? I won’t really give examples of people who left me hanging when I thought I could count on them, but they’re there.
- Good things take time. This is hard to accept for an impatient person like me! But, I have been trying to rush things and ended up redoing them again later. (Re-read nr. 1)
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
I wish I had a few killer titles lined up for you! But the only talk I can think of is a great TED talk I had seen during university titled: “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” by Creativity Expert Sir Ken Robinson. Watch it, it really is a great TED talk and makes you embrace your inner lust to creativity.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
David Attenborough are you reading this??? ;-) He could teach me endlessly about our beautiful planet. I can’t praise this man enough!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Personal Instagram account: @louisevd1