- Rachel Barac
Founder of Lalu
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Adja Ljung. Born in Senegal, raised in France and lived 9 years in China.
I am the founder of Lalu which is a natural skin and hair care line crafted with botanical, plant- based ingredients and is inspired by a safer, cleaner and better way of living.
Lalu harnesses the synergy of nature and science to deliver technologically advanced and natural lush formulas for glowing skin and hair.
Each of our products is crafted with carefully picked earth-friendly ingredients to deliver premium, tangible results and real benefits to consumers seeking affordable options. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and bringing out the inner and outer beauty of women.
So many people have great business ideas but never act upon them. What was it that made you act upon your idea to create Lalu natural skincare products?
I always felt a bit like an outsider, a weirdo in most of my previous work experience, I just never fit to start with.
Five years ago, I was not happy at all with my career path. I was going through depression, just left a toxic relationship and had health issues. I felt lost and just could not live with that feeling of unworthiness and not knowing what I wanted and loved in life. But I met wonderful friends and had the right support to feel better and care for myself. That is when I decided to take my life back, to be in charge again, and draw my own path. Lalu was born out of frustration, it was accidental but meant to be. It saved me and at that time, it seemed like I had no choice other than to act upon my idea and dream, to save myself.
I also come from a very entrepreneurial family. I had this itch to do my own thing. I discovered a great niche and I wanted to see where it could take me. I wasn’t scared of the lack of money or anything else, I just saw an opportunity when I hit bottom. From the moment I took that leap of faith, I started to live, love and literally laugh. I cry too because of it but it's worth it (haha).
Is Lalu your first and only business?
Lalu is my first but certainly not my last business. I am already working on new things between Sweden and Africa but I can’t say too much for now but it is still related to what I currently do. I have been obsessing about this idea for a long time now and I know it is time, my guts and head agree. Wish me luck!
How do you know when to trust your gut and when to trust your head?
When my gut hurts or feels funny I know it is important and it needs my attention. When it is important, I learn to take time to reflect on it, and weigh the pros and cons of my decisions. I usually sleep on it for awhile. I am much more patient than before, I take time now and do not act upon my spontaneity which sometimes is great but not when you start to be serious in your business. I talk about it and ask for advise. In the end if I dream of it over and over and it becomes an obsession, and I can’t think of anything but that, that is when I know I can trust my gut and head and go for it. Funnily, less important things might take up more of my time than big deals.
What are some of the barriers you’ve faced when starting your own business?
2. My lack of knowledge about running a business and of the beauty industry. I had to learn new tools, chemistry, read a lot and spend a lot of time researching, trying formulas, staying connected to the trends, new ingredients, new tech in beauty, everything to improve, get things done, deliver products that I was proud of and efficient and healthy ones.
3. Dealing with factories at first was a nightmare. I had so many setbacks. I did not understand the Chinese way to do business, nor the language. I can’t even count my failures but I could not let that stop me. When you love something you will do anything for it and I did not give up no matter the issues, I just got stronger.
4. Human resources and management, finding the right fit. By the way, I am still looking for a Chinese marketing intern or new graduate so if you read this, help! 😊
What are your top three skincare hacks?
1. Never go to sleep without taking off your make up!
2. Use a SERUM before your cream. Those elixirs are magical and will make a big difference on your skin. It will look more plump, young and will soften your skin!
3. Use a mud mask to deep cleanse skin, to clear skin in order to avoid breakouts and dry skin! Use 2 to 3 times a week according to your skin. It is one of the most effective ways to get rid of the dead cells since it gently exfoliates skin and gets rid of toxins accumulated with pollution, dust, make up etc.
You are now based in Sweden. How do you manage your business from afar?
I moved to Sweden with my very supportive husband Oscar, and I have to say, it is another world for me but I'm glad we moved. It does mean having to be better organized for Lalu to work on China time. I handle everything online thanks to WeChat. There are more and more people working remotely and doing great things. I am still finding the balance. I have an assistant dealing with orders and distributors. I come every two months to China to look after the production, make sure things are going smoothly and maintain my network. I definitely need more help with the China market but we will get there.
At this point, I am busy rebranding Lalu with new colours, attitude, launch new products and rework on our first collection so I am quite busy. It takes a lot of time, sweat, and love to build a brand you've created, and constant second guessing to improve and keep up with our beloved users’ demands and industry trends. We are very excited by what we are doing NOW and even more excited with what the future has to offer us.
If you would like to find out more about Lalu you can find them at: