Lisa Carrol had one goal: Make the softest baby line out there. With that in mind, Carrol, the founder of Swedish brand LIVLY, packed up and headed out to Peru for 100% pure Pima cotton, intent on this mission, as soon as she finished breastfeeding her twins, Liv and Lilly. “I had no idea where I was going or how I was doing it, but I lucky enough I mastered the language, [so I thought] how hard could it be? It ended up being more complicated and difficult than I could have ever imagined and took over 2 years for our first collection of 24 pieces to hit the market in 2011,” Carrol shares.
So what was it about Pima cotton that enticed Carrol so much? She says was first drawn to it because it’s hypoallergenic, and its extra-long fibers make the cotton extremely soft and durable. “Another advantage that I am very proud of is that the Pima cotton is harvested by hand, which makes it environmentally friendly, something that is very important to us as a brand,” she adds.
Carrol grew up in Stockholm, one of a family of 6. Her childhood memories revolve around endless play bouncing balls at the gym and accompanying her aunt, a seamstress, to her job at the royal theater. It was there where Carrol’s imagination went wild.
“It was a world of fabric, illusions and pure magic. I loved spending one on one time with her and looked forward to entering this dreamy world where anything was possible.”
Carrol started sewing at an early age, but studied business instead of going into the arts. She came to the US for college on a basketball scholarship, earned a business degree and later was recruited to Fiera di Roma, Rome’s women’s basketball team. “After my first year in Italy, I got pregnant with Liv and Lilly, and soon the idea of LIVLY was born.” Her basketball days stay close though: Carrol’s dream of being the next Michael Jordan finds its way into the AW17 collection, with the signature bunny gets a sporty flair. “The LIVLY touch is kept in the hand printed sketches and our patterns are as usual dreamy and fairytale like.”
Carrol keeps perspective as her brand has grown from a one-man band (“[me] as the designer, the accountant, the logistics manager”) to a global brand with both wholesale and retail business and 25-30 creative women in Stockholm and Miami. “Since I started LIVLY it has always been important to think long term in design and durability. We want to create pieces that will last and be passed down to a sibling, a cousin or a friend.”
The market has changed over those years, where a cute design isn’t enough, she says. “You need to have a conscious through process in everything you do. Questions such as how our production effects the environment, people in third world countries and animals are so important not only to our customer but also to us as a brand.”
This upcoming season, expect to see an expanded HOME collection with dinner wear, sheets and more, as well as a line of outerwear. The line, as always, is inspired by the arts and a child’s imagination.
To tap into that imagination, Carrol often finds herself at a park or a playground to watch the kids play. “When you breathe in the same air as children and you see things through their eyes, everything becomes uncomplicated and delightful.”
Livly will be at Playtime New-York from 6 to 8 of August at the Metropolitan Pavillon & Altman building.
Follow the brand on Instagram @livly_stockholm