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Meet the Liverpool woman who has built an activewear empire

2 weeks ago

By Jay Hynd

Meet the Liverpool woman who has built an activewear empire
Credit: Love Allura

At 28, Chelsea Kelly’s world fell apart when her beloved dad passed away from cancer in 2018.

Having always wanted someone in his family to own their own business, Chelsea’s dad would be so proud to see how far she’s taken her brand Love Allura, whilst also becoming the Head of UK Operations for luxury Australian activewear brand Lilybod.

Creating her label in 2018, just months before she lost her dad to give her a distraction whilst caring for him at home, the now 32-year-old from a Stockbridge Village council estate, began selling occasionwear but soon changed the concept of Love Allura when she decided she wanted to sell something that sold every day rather than just for occasions.

Love Allura
Credit: Love Allura

Looking at what everyone was doing and wearing at the time, Chelsea found that many people were regularly at the gym, or spending time in gymwear whilst running errands. 

Chelsea explained: “Back then, our options were few and far between and it was mostly Nike and Adidas so I set out to find gymwear brands around the globe that were offering something different to our limited options. I found Lilybod on American website Revolve and instantly fell in love with the unique styling. Love Allura now sells more than that Revolve which is a renowned world-wide website.”

The entrepreneur’s first wholesale Lilybod order was £400 for a few items, but now she’s developed the brand so that it’s so successful, her orders are now for thousands of units worth five and six figures.

Chelsea continued: “Lilybod were amazed at what I’d created in such a short time and the engaged and loyal community I’d built. My customers return time and time again. They called me the UK powerhouse and said that I was one of their biggest customers globally.

‘From there I built an amazing relationship with the owner of the brand and the Lilybod team who I speak to every day. We discussed growing Lilybod and the potential of the UK market but how demanding that can be when customers want everything now, and shipping from Australia was becoming more difficult for them with the delays that brought.

“One day last summer, when I was in the shower – where all the best ideas come from! – I had a lightbulb moment. I thought I’ll run Lilybod UK alongside Love Allura sharing resources, expenses, providing local knowledge and contacts. The owner loved the idea and we got the ball rolling instantly. By October 2021, the operation was fully set up.”

Love Allura now exclusively stocks Lilybod in the UK, meaning no other UK brand can sell it. Chelsea sells both its classic pieces as well as creating exclusive collections which she says are “a dream come true”.

Her second exclusive collection, where she worked directly with Lilybod’s designer who is from Melbourne, launched on Thursday 10th November at 7pm and is sold directly from LoveAllura.com

Chelsea added: “The response to our first exclusive collection was insane. I took a risk as I’d never committed to that kind of order before and the Minimum Order Quantity was huge to me. The risk paid off as we took five figures in the first hour of launching. It was an amazing experience working alongside the Lilybod team, especially as I had no experience in design, buying and merchandising. I was involved in every step of the process, even down to the names of the garments, which I named after special people in my life.”

Love Allura
Credit: Love Allura

Creating Love Allura, in the depths of her heartbreak whilst her dad was battling cancer, Chelsea explains that the brand is very close to her heart: “It’s like my baby. Love Allura gave me focus, distraction, goals, something to work for and towards whilst my dad was losing his battle with cancer. He always wanted a business in the family and I’m so glad he got to see me start Love Allura and he was always my biggest supporter so I’m honouring him with this. I’m from a council estate but my goal is to change the generational wealth of my family.”

With the activewear industry valued at 353.5 billion in 2020, Chelsea’s future plans are to become a major global player in the space with a huge focus on growing the UK market in the New Year.

Chelsea added: “I have no experience in owning a business but I’m loving every minute of it. It’s just me and my cousin Lennon who do everything from our headquarters in Speke. We should probably have more staff but we like to work hard and thrive under pressure. 

“In future, I want to create a workplace where people actually look forward to work and their needs and wants are valued as an individual. Before now, I’ve felt like just a number in previous employment so I really want to create the opposite of that.”

Shop with Love Allura here.

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