I’m often asked how Luella Loves started and what the origins were for the brand, and I usually find myself replying that it is not a quick one to answer!
That’s because the story begins when I was just 21 and it has been a long (and incredible) journey to get to where we are today. Now that we have launched our new website and the brand is becoming more established, I was inspired to finally put 'pen to paper' and tell the story.
I’m going to take you on a voyage from the very beginning foundations of Luella Loves because including the backstory is what makes our brand so individual, and so special.
Let’s go right back to the very beginning - finding Vietnam . . .
Like many young adults at 21 I set off for my very first oversea adventure - my trip of a life-time. Not only was it my very first oversea trip, but I was going alone!
A girl who grew up in a small country town was setting off alone to discover the world with no fear…well maybe a little. If I’m being honest, I spent half the flight in tears, questioning what was I even doing! And actually realizing that I was really very scared.
We all know the saying that the biggest growth lies outside of our comfort zone, well I was well outside mine and I was hoping the saying was true. I looked forward to the personal growth phase taking over the personal fear I was experiencing! Part of me wished I was at home where everything was familiar and safe, but here I was mid-air about to land in Vietnam.
As it turned out, Vietnam turned out to be one of the biggest eye-opening and life-changing experiences of my young life. And still has an impact today.
Stepping outside the Airport at Hanoi I was completely overcome with culture shock. The noise, chaos and unfamiliar smells were so confronting and I really felt out of my depth and quite lost for a few moments. But then as I looked around and started to take in the chaos and hustle and bustle I realized this is part of what I had travelled all this way for, the excitement and adventure of a place different from home. Then I started to actually realized I was finally here on my trip of a lifetime and I was ready to go for it.
Apart from the obvious hustle and bustle, I noticed nearly right away how friendly and happy the Vietnamese were. Their culture and morals within society are impenetrable and we could learn a lot through the way the Vietnamese people live and operate. I still feel that way even today.
Next stop, my Hotel. Sounds simple enough, but as I quickly discovered, my taxi had actually dropped me off on the opposite side of the road to my Hotel. Crossing the road at home in country Victoria wasn’t ever an issue, but here in this bustling city with so much chaotic traffic? A very different story.
Crossing the road - how hard can it be?
Standing there, backpack on and an absolute look of terror on my face, I froze. How the hell I was going to manage getting across the road? After what seemed like a very long time, out of nowhere appeared a local woman with the kindest face. She took pity on this young western traveller and helped me across to my Hotel. I will never forget her face, or that memory.
After spending a few days settling in and getting aquainted with my new surroundings, I decided to travel to the City of Hue to explore. It was one of the places I wanted to see on this trip as it was known for it's amazing food and beautiful historic temples and natural areas.
Meeting Mother Dieu
The main memory I have of this particular day was of meeting a beautiful fortune teller on the ancient bridge in Than Toan. There was something quite mystical about her, and she introduced herself to me. She was small and obviously very kind and full of wisdom. When she took my hand to tell me my fortune she looked up at me and told me very definitely that I this wouldn't be my last trip to Vietnam. She went on to tell me that she would see me several times in the future, with one of those trips being where I would bring my lifelong partner to meet her. At this point, being so young and no partner in my life at that time, I didn't think much about it. But it turned out to be a really important moment that would continue to have an impact for many years to come. I just didn't know it yet.
to be continued . . .