April 14, 2022

My Ah-ha Moment; My Mom's Belief in Me

I am often asked what inspired me to start Lusomé and how I found the nerve to start my own business. As with many businesses, it did not come easy but that made the journey filled with trials and tribulations even more worth it. My younger sister's breast cancer diagnosis was the catalyst for my wanting to do something purposeful and effective to help her battle night sweats brought on by her treatment. After searching far and wide for effective pyjamas that were also comfortable and beautiful, I had no luck. As far as the internet could take me, I couldn’t find anything with technology that didn't look like granny jammies, and my lovely brave sister was only 39 years old.

While still working at my demanding full-time job, I constantly researched the night-sweat pyjama market. Being a textile geek, following years of sourcing experience at some of the best fabric mills in the world, I was very hyper-aware of brands making claims around comfort. This being my realm of interest, I had a grand vision of engineering a technical fabric that outperformed all moisture-wicking brands, styled in timeless and elegant designs.

It was 2012, and smart textiles were gaining traction beyond wrinkle-free chino pants. The apparel industry was still reeling from the Canadian Competition Bureau slapping Lululemon with charges of misleading customers with their seaweed-infused products making health claims. Later in Lusomé’s life performance that could actually be substantiated in independent labs would prove to be fundamental to our success. Exceeding the performance of all the competitive brands was our silver bullet.

As I quietly shared my dreams of magic pyjamas with a few trusted colleagues, mentors and friends, I was met with some skepticism. I was discouraged but persevered, a little more cautiously, with my business plan.

I will never forget the Saturday morning at my kitchen island, sipping coffee with my Mom. I was nervous about sharing my plans, having received lukewarm feedback thus far. As I confided in my Mom about what I wanted to build, without hesitation, my Mom said, "You have to do this, Lara, and you can do this; your dad and I believe in you."  I recall being teary as I received her message of encouragement, and it was all I needed.

In honour of my Mom, I named the first set we designed the "Donna," and to this day, it is our best-selling product by far. The "Donna" has been featured in Oprah magazine and on the Today show. This special set has received the Good Housekeeping "Best Cooling PJ" award, and Prevention Magazine named the Donna set the "Best for Healthy Sleep.” What a wonderful tribute to my Mom!

Mothers have such a wonderfully glorious and challenging job that is thankless yet rewarding. My Mom raised three strong women who were all very different and presented her with different challenges, yet my Mom always took it all in stride and parented us with strength and grace.

I have been so lucky to have such supportive parents who cultivated a family dynamic where my sisters and I felt we could accomplish anything. Even when we acted like idiots, we felt loved, and knew that we would always have a soft place to land. So taking risks with sports, school, boys, hobbies, and careers was not so scary.

Without my Mom's belief in me, I may not have been brave enough to start my company. Lusomé was born in the kitchen over coffee with my Mom that Saturday morning ten years ago. 

Lara Smith

Founder of Lusomé Sleepwear & Co-Founder of SheWorth

After a 20 year career as a senior exec with one of Canada's largest retailers, Lara left to start Lusomé. After seeing first hand her younger sister battle breast cancer, Lara founded Lusomé to help the millions of women suffering with night sweats in a beautiful way. Social purpose guides Lara's mission and in 2017 launched Sweet Dreams program to gift women in emergency shelters a care package of sleepwear and other treats to give comfort through a tough time.

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