I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask Linda Hipp, the Founder, President, and Designer of LIJA a few questions. LIJA is one of our new favorite brands. More than just providing tennis, active, and golf clothing, LIJA is truly a lifestyle brand.
Q. You started with golf apparel and I know you were a serious golfer. What made you decide to extend into tennis?
A. After being in business for 10 years, we felt like it was time to offer more to our loyal & supportive followers. Our customer is an active, strong, independent woman who appreciates style & wants a unique fashionable edge when playing sports that goes far beyond golf. Tennis was such a natural segue for the business!
Q. How has your sports and competition background helped you with starting/running a company?
A. There are a number of factors that helped me take the leap to start this business. I truly feel that being active and involved in sports does help build character and determination (among many other things). I’ve always been a competitive person and love the thrill of a challenge! Whether it was an individual or team sport, I was always passionate about achieving the best result possible. This characteristic is particularly important as a business moves through ebbs and flows. You need to be inspired by challenges even when the chips are down.
The other factor that helped shape my career was that my Dad is an entrepreneur so I grew up watching him build a successful career and I think it really rubbed off on me.
Q. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
A. It’s important for us to watch the runway shows each season to ensure we are on trend and offering the most current details. There are many talented designers and their work can be inspiring. But I do find inspiration in everyday life. It could come from my daughter, music I’m listening to, art, architecture, a time in history or even a beautiful destination. It changes all the time!
Q. I love your color palettes. Where does your color inspiration come from?
A. We strive to create color stories that are unique and unexpected in the market. Similar to design, color inspiration can come from anywhere. The hard part is being able to spot something unique that catches your eye, and be able to apply it to our Collections each season.
Q. What makes Lija different, both as a provider of tennis wear and as a company?
A. From the very start of our business, our goal has been to be the best we can be to our customers through every touch point including the unique designs we create, our product offering, sales and customer service. We appreciate our relationships and work hard to build strong connections for a successful future.
Q. What need does Lija fulfill? What do you believe is missing from the tennis wear industry?
A. LIJA designs for tennis, golf, run and studio now. In all of our categories we have remained true to our focus of offering unique active apparel that fuses fashion with sport & functionality. Our unique design aesthetics, color stories & fabric offering separates us from the competition.
Q. Why do you think women respond so well to Lija?
A. Our mission is to inspire women to play beautifully and I think the women who buy LIJA really understand that. The LIJA woman wants to stand out in a crowd, look unique and feel confident in their active pursuits and our product offers that.
Q. Who would you most like to see wearing Lija clothing?
A. It’s difficult to pick just one person. The greatest compliment and the most satisfaction I receive is when I see women playing tennis or out for a run wearing LIJA. I love to see that we’re making a difference; that women are enjoying our product and playing beautifully! But… it would be amazing to see Jennifer Lawrence or Gwyneth Paltrow wearing LIJA!
Q. Tell me a bit about your Influencers Program.
A. Our Influencers Program is a wonderful opportunity that we’ve created with industry professionals. We have developed relationships with instructors, experts, and professional athletes in all of our sport categories that interact with other like-minded active women on a daily basis. It’s a way to help spread the LIJA word as well as acquire important product feedback as we continuously strive to improve our product offering.
Q. You’ve had tremendous success so far. What do you think makes Lija so successful?
A. I think most importantly women are looking for something different in the marketplace that reflects their personal style in their active pursuits. Something that is flattering, gives them a unique look/style and is functional to wear. We are able to fill that need with our designs and we’ll continue to improve every season!
We also appreciate the strong relationships we’ve developed with our customers who believe in LIJA and support us at the retail level. Together we’re building a successful brand.
Q. If you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
A. That’s a really tough question because as you get older there are so many “tidbits” of advice that resonate with you along the way. I do feel very strongly about the importance of living a healthy & active lifestyle. It’s the foundation for balance and happiness in your life. I know it sounds cliché but life is so beautiful and goes by too quickly. Make sure you stop and smell the “roses”, whatever your roses may be!
Q. We’re excited about your new Run collection. What can we look forward to?
A. We’re very excited about our Run collection as well! We’ve been dabbling in run for a couple of seasons but Spring ’14 will be the official launch of LIJA Run. We have focused our efforts on the functionality required for run apparel and infused the dynamic style that LIJA is known for.
Q. What’s next for Lija? Can you give us a hint?
A. Well there’s never a lack of ideas in our office but we have to ensure that its right for LIJA and our customers. If any of your customers have ideas of what they’d like to see next, we’d love to hear from them!
Do you have an idea for Lija? Tell us about it!
Shop LIJA STYLE.
Interview by Cara Bruce