Lisa Carrol had the best reason to launch her children’s line LIVLY when her twin girls were born premature eight years ago – they were unfortunately allergic to everything. With this news, Carrol set out to find the most delicate fabric for her girls to wear and found it in Peru. The Swedish-based brand opened a flagship in Stockholm and recently expanded to the U.S. market last year with a Tribeca shop and plans for another uptown. Carrol comes from a family of designers and seamstresses, this paired with her motivation to create the softest collection of baby clothes has made LIVLY a great success.
When did you launch the brand?
I started when Liv and Lilly (LIVLY) were born premature eight years ago and needed the highest quality clothing for their delicate skin. The brand officially launched in 2011.
Why a children’s line?
The plan was to do a women’s line, but after having my twin girls, it became a very organic direction for me. It was so exciting to create for little ones and to make products that are kind to their skin and soft and beautiful for everyday life.
You credit the Royal Theatre in Stockholm as an inspiration for the brand – can you elaborate on this?
I grew up in a family of seamstresses and designers. My Aunty, who I adored, was working as head of design at the costume department at the Royal Theatre. I spent much of my youth there and I loved being backstage. I often watched the shows from behind the curtains, and I credit a lot of my vision and aesthetic from my Aunty and the theatre.
So far, what are the differences between the retail landscapes of the US and Sweden?
Sweden is very price sensitive and consumers plan what they buy. In the US, it’s a different ball game and we have found shopping is something that’s done more sporadically. It is very fulfilling when moms stop by our store to buy their baby’s first outfit.
Has it been tough introducing the brand to a new audience? What has been that hardest part?
It’s always tricky in the beginning, but it’s also what makes it interesting and challenging.
I’m happy we started in Sweden first because its a smaller market.
Why did you choose Tribeca for the first location of LIVLY?
I love how family oriented the neighborhood is so we fit right in.
Will you open more stores in NYC? Other places?
We are planning to open a store in Aventura, but also another store uptown.
LIVLY is made from the highest quality Pima cotton. Can you tell us about how you sourced your fabric?
When my twin girls were born and allergic to everything, I was recommended to dress them in extra long staple Pima cotton. It is so beautiful, and handpicked in Peru. It’s so natural since it doesn’t go through all the cleaning and processing that you find in regular cotton. I ended up buying 10kgs from a mill in Peru, and made my own layettes. I quickly realized how superior the quality is, it’s so durable and actually gets better with time, so I decided to go for it and start LIVLY. I travel to Peru over a dozen times a year, and I visit the mills and cotton fields to make sure the process is pure and meets our standards.
Where is the collection produced?
Just like LIVLY is passionate about the tiniest people in life, we are also very passionate about preserving the natural world.
We don’t like to send fabric overseas where the labor might be cheaper, so we produce locally in Peru.
With twin girls, you have built in muses for the brand – do they love having access to unlimited clothes?
It’s funny because I have two very (very!) different little girls. One is obsessed with fabrics and illustrating, while the other one is a complete tomboy and has no care in the world about clothes (she’d rather go naked!). They are complete opposites and the best of friends!
Will you expand into other categories?
Our next project is to do a HOME collection, and I cannot wait for it to hit stores!
Do you get to spend much time in New York?
Yes! I love the city, and I lived there for almost eight years. I played basketball for Fordham University and stayed after I graduated. With our third child we decided Miami was a better option for our family, but I miss the city a lot.