Loo Fletcher is a budding entrepreneur who loves all things Scandinavian and runs regular self-care socials whose aim is to create a wholesome community, all in the name of self-care.
This community nourishes one’s social life, creativity, relaxation and physical health. She also has an online shop that allows you to build your own self-care bag; your go personalised self-care toolkit. Loo would like to develop her workshops and continue to shine light on the reality of burnout and anxiety. Whilst she is at the early stages of developing her brand, she been involved with the legendary Vegan Nights, Brick Lane London and Pennywell Market, Bristol.
Tell us a bit about The Vegan Mellanhand – what is it and what does it mean?
Hi/ Hej, my name is Loo and I am the Vegan Middle Woman. My mission is to promote the Scandinavian way of life, notably lagom that can enhance people’s overall wellbeing. Lagom is the Swedish translation of ‘not too little, not too much, but just right’. The community shall:
Shine light on the reality of anxiety
Encourage a lagom lifestyle through self-care socials, workshops and plant based self-care products products
Donate to charities and small enterprises who prioritise mental health
What inspired you to start The Vegan Mellanhand?
In 2018 I decided to use my experience of burnout to help others with their self-care, the lagom way. I had always been interested in Buddhism and Scandinavian living, after visiting Copenhagen and Malmo in 2016 I fell in love with peoples’ attitudes that cannot be explained with language but merely experienced. After lots of reading and numerous Facetime conversations with my Swedish friends I reflected on my road to burnout.
For those who have not heard of this phrase, it is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. I discovered as a millennial studying law at University of Bristol this busy world of comparison, scrolling and being constantly contactable did not sell well with my inner desire and need to live a more balanced life. I looked at the type of material goods I was using and felt using animal products was not the conscious, ethical person my inner self was telling me to be. Living in Bristol meant a plant based and more ethical way of life was readily available. I tried numerous foods and lifestyle items, supported local businesses and my inner self started to feel content at feeling part of a wider community that had a cause larger than itself. I started to build a deeper and richer connection with myself and with others around me via the activities I chose to take partake in. Up until this stage of reflection, I had not realised the sheer importance of creativity to my overall wellbeing. The majority of the time I put ‘fun’ ‘creative’ ‘relaxing’ me time on the backburner when in fact I needed it most, being a high achieving person really does have it downsides! I knew I wanted to share what I had learnt, so I took the plunge in the summer of 2018 and Vegan Mellanhand was born!
What skills did you come to the business with already and how has this helped grow your business?
I love developing my skill set in any shape or form, because you really do not know when they will become useful. Notably, I was the Social Media Marketing Manager for 50:50 Parliament in 2015-2016, here I learnt the importance of clear communication, engaging content, and really knowing your audience. Whilst the focus was on twitter and this platform does not suit The Vegan Mellanhand, such experience was foundational to launching my Instagram and has been fabulous in growing the community. I am also a ‘people person’ with good listening skills; this has been really useful in rapport building both online and offline at workshops and self-care socials. It has helped me form business relationships with people I would never have thought possible; being a kind person does go a long way!
How have bloggers and online influencers helped you grow your brand?
I am yet to work with any bloggers and online influencers on a regular basis. Anyone who is passionate about my brand please do reach out and say hello!
What’s the most challenging thing about setting up your own wellness business?
Time and working alone! There is a real irony in setting up and running your own business that also promotes balanced living. There have been times where I have had to recheck balance in my own life because there are SO many things one has to contemplate when running your own business. Co-working is a fantastic concept and there are lots of spaces up and down the country that bring creative minds together.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started?
A brand really has phases to its development; you cannot and will not do everything at once to a high standard. I have learnt it is important to concentrate on one thing at a time, but always be mindful of the next stage and the future of your business.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
Spending time learning from others who have been in a similar position to myself; networking events, co-working spaces and instagram are great tools. Knowledge really is power!
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
I really do not like the word failure, but… I attended lots of events and fairs at the start, whilst some made money others really did not. I have learnt the importance of really knowing your locations before you apply and whilst you may not make money on the day, orders and connections come later when you least expect it sometimes.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Create a mind-map that addresses: why you are thinking of setting up a business, what makes you nuanced to others out there if your market is a busy one, what values will your business embody and what tangible goals do you hope to achieve in the near future. Only when you can answers these questions clearly are you in a position to take the plunge!
What are you most excited by?
Seeing positive changes in more people’s lives. Creating new collaborations with likeminded people. Developing my self-care toolkit bag.
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