Did you meet our Dog of this Month, little Rubi? Rubi is the in-house model of the successful knitting brand Lana-Royals, a mother-daughter start-up in Coimbra. We are in love with their cozy sweaters and scarfs. Give them a visit on their ETSY shop at LanaRoyals.
Hello Yelyzaveta, we are big fans of your knitting company called LANAROYALS. But first, may we ask, your name is rather different, where are you from?
We have been living in Portugal for almost 15 years but we’re originally from the Ukraine.
And LanaRoyals. Where did the inspiration for that name come from?
Lana comes from the name “Svitlana”. And Royals was an idea generated by a logo creator. It sounded good to us so we named our business Lana Royals! After all, our items aim to be royal.
How and when did this idea for this business started?
Initially my mom created an Instagram account to share her knitting. Eventually she shared the sweaters she made for our little Rubi, and people liked it so much that started asking if they could get a sweater just like Rubi’s. We liked the idea of knitting for other pups – why not? So we started working on it deeper, and ended up opening a shop on etsy to make it easier for people to get their pooch a personalized sweater made to order.
We heard that this is a mom-daughter partnership. Who does the knitting? And who does the design?
It indeed is a mom-daughter partnership. My mom does the designs and the knitting, since she has more than 20 years’ experience, while me as her daughter am still learning from her; run the social media, am in charge of customer service and photography – connect my mom’s creations with the world, so to speak.
At the moment there are mainly sweaters for dogs, are you planning on more lines in the future?
Besides the dog sweaters available, we are working on new collections as well, yes.
What kind of wool do you use for knitting and is it a natural fibre?
For the wool sweaters, we use 65% wool & 35% alpaca. And we also have 100% cotton sweaters. Both are natural fibres.
Rubi, the heart-breakingly cute in-house model seems to be a real pro in front of the camera. Did you have to teach her how to pose, or she just ‘got it’?
We had to teach her. There actually is a lot of training behind all the cute photos! I enjoyed working with dogs since I remember myself, so when we got Rubi, she got to learn basic commands and tricks since puppyhood. And you know what – she loooves to work!
Does she have any favourite sweater styles?
“There is no bad weather. Only inappropriate clothing” is our motto. I guess her favourite sweater style is the one that is appropriate for the current weather.
What would you say are the challenges of running a small start-up?
To find your audience has been one of the challenges.
And what is the most satisfying part of it?
All the positive feedback and cute looking pups wearing our handknitted sweaters!
Your shop on Etsy has many positive client reviews, are those happy dogs mostly from Portugal or also from abroad?
Our clients are mostly from abroad.
We got many costumers from Europe and from the USA, as well as from Australia and even from Singapore. You (as in your dog Moca) are actually the first costumer from Portugal.
Do you have dreams of expanding this business one day?
Of course. At the moment we can only take a step at a time but dreams are big!