Interview with Velantina Mengoni, founder of Loony Legs
Velantina Mengoni is the founder of Loony Legs. Loony Legs are sustainable and funky yoga leggings, and was launched in 2020 by Valentina and a small team of female creatives.
What’s your career background?
I’ve been working as an accountant for more than 15 years. So numbers, numbers, numbers. Any kind of accountancy, really. From account payable to account receivable to credit control. And I love numbers, don’t get me wrong. But I also have a creative side that needed to be unleashed.
How did your career change after having children?
I’m still on maternity leave. So difficult to judge. I started Loony Legs with my husband while I was pregnant and was still working. Then, after having my son the brand started growing a lot. My mat leave ends this summer and I will have to understand how to make things work. But I’m not too worried honestly. One way or the other I’m sure we will strike the right balance.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It was a combination of things. I started doing yoga during my pregnancy, to take care of my body and wellbeing.
It was right in the middle of covid, so it was definitely not an easy time. I started looking for some funky leggings to cheer up my day and everything looked the same. Same patterns, same styles. It was not very inspiring. So as a joke I thought about starting my own brand.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
With the help of my husband, who works as a creative director, we created the first designs, built the website and set up the marketing machine (email flows etc etc). Then we started reaching out to yoga lovers on Instagram offering them our leggings with a big discount in exchange for tags and posts.
We’re not talking influencers, but simple yoga teachers and practitioners, so very small numbers. But it was a great way to test the product fit. After a few months, we realized that people liked our little brand, so we started properly investing in the company.
What’s your USP?
Our leggings are so eye-catching and unique that everyone will ask you “where did you get them”?
Who’s your target audience?
Definitely yoga lovers. Giving the funky designs, initially we thought a younger audience would be more interested. Then we discovered that our core audience is actually made of women, often mums, in their 30s and 40s. Not surprising, given that basically that’s my profile.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Mainly social networks. Instagram and Facebook. Now we are starting to push Google ads a bit more.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
We slowly created a small, but very loyal follower base on Instagram. That allowed us to target lookalikes on social networks who had the same profile. At the moment it’s what’s giving the best results.
Then, there is the word of mouth. Since our leggings are very attention grabbing we see high numbers or customers arriving directly to the store because maybe their yoga teacher was wearing one of our pairs. So they asked them about it.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Time. Handling at the same time a newborn baby and a new born company is definitely not easy. Luckily now Loony Legs is a family business and my husband is as involved as me. So that makes things easier.
And your proudest moment so far?
Our first 1K day. That made us understand our side hustle was becoming a real thing.
Why is work so important to you?
Both my husband and I always worked as employees. This is the first time that we actually run a business and it’s so exciting. Every mistake we make, every success teaches us something. It’s an amazing new chapter in our lives and we’re really looking forward to seeing where it will take us.
Who inspires you?
My son. We’re doing this for our family.
How do you balance your work with your family?
As I said, so far I’ve been on maternity leave. Soon I will go back to work, but as I said, now that my husband is much more involved we divide and conquer. I crunch the numbers and follow the customer care. He takes care of marketing and anything creative.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Don’t cheat and don’t take shortcuts, because it will backfire: I know people who bought thousands of followers for their social channels and then when they had to make some facebook ads they couldn’t use one of Facebook’s most interesting tools, the lookalike audiences. Because their followers were fake.
- You need to love the process: If you are only interested in the result but you hate the work that gets you there maybe you have to change direction.
- Building something that lasts needs time: These things don’t happen overnight. And if they do, they will also disappear overnight.
Find out more about Loony Legs.