IFAB Disruptors: Lustr
It was fantastic hearing from Lustr CEO and co-founder Angela Liang about how the business got started, where she looks for inspiration and those she admires in business.
Hey, I'm Angela, and I am the CEO and co-founder of fashion-tech startup Lustr. My educational background is Commerce (Finance) / Law at the University of Sydney. I interned in Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong and started as a graduate in their Mergers.
What was the catalyst for starting your adventure or business in fashion?
Burnout in the investment banking industry, the re-focus in my life of what was truly important (happiness, creativity and the ability to actually foster meaningful relationships with the people I care about), and then frustration.
Coming from outside of the "traditional fashion" path (ie. no fashion school, no assisting of established stylists), I was frustrated by the fact that many designers were held back due to a lack of access/resources and the clique-based nature of fashion.
The real catalyst however was attending a hackathon held by Angelhack, the world's largest hackathon organiser in the world. I met my team through total serendipity that night, and 24 hours later, we had built a prototype that won first prize: a place in Angelhack's global startup pre-accelerator program. We were the only Australian team out of 52 teams globally. Three months later, we were in the top 14 teams and chosen to finish off the program in Silicon Valley.
"I was frustrated by the fact that many designers were held back due to a lack of access/resources and the clique-based nature of fashion."
Where do you look for inspiration in such a hyper-connected world?
In my teammates/co-founders, in my family, in the amazing creative talents of the designers with whom we work. Outside of that, in startup founders who have been down this path before us, and also those walking down the path at the same time.
What are your go-to resources for keeping up to date with industry news and trends?
My Google news feed - it has learnt what I like and feeds me the latest tech
Who in business do you admire and why?
Glamcorner - Dean and Audrey are friends from uni. I remember Dean about to quit his job in investment banking as I returned from Hong Kong, and I have loved watching them grow. They remain two of the most down to earth people I know.
Flaunter - as a stylist, I recall first coming across their technology as an inventory-management method in the PR agencies from whom I would source clothing for shoots. Since then, they have grown into something else entirely, and Gaby is a huge inspiration to me.
Personally, Rania is an inspiration. She is the CEO of Smart Asset, and former CEO / founder of Pharmacy 4 Less. She came to Australia as a poor migrant fleeing from war in Lebanon, living in housing commission; then built herself up out of nothing and was one of the first to create a thriving business in the e-commerce space back when hardly anyone was doing so. She's incredibly strong, smart and has an amazing "why the fuck not" approach to life and business.