Raise your hand if your cold brew habit sets you back $5-10 a day. (Yes, even in winter, some of us are just committed to the cause.) If so, allow LOMLI—brand that bravely launched during the pandemic—to solve your bank account’s woes while keeping your productivity levels satisfied. The concept is simple but genius: convenient sachets of cold brew which you can steep, just like you would a tea bag. It helps that the packaging and branding is pretty too. Founder Donna Kim tells us how the idea came to her and how she made it a reality.
Tell us about your background in media and how it led you to where you are now?
I went to NYU for undergrad and studied media, culture, and communications. While I was there, I interned at so many places such as magazines, TV stations, PR and event agencies. I started building my rolodex and gained a ton of experience from those places at a really young age. Then I went to get my master’s degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism to sharpen my skills as a storyteller and content creator. While I was in grad school, I had a blog, worked as a freelance trend reporter, and traveled all over the U.S. as an on-air lifestyle expert. After that, I had full-time roles as a social media editor, digital projects manager, creative director, and owned my own consulting business. I inadvertently became an entrepreneur, and as I got older and started consulting more, I knew I wanted to start my own brand but knew how competitive all of these industries were. I wanted to do something I knew I could manage, self-fund, and enjoy doing.
We bet your experience in media is still a great asset as you begin this adventure
Yes, definitely. My experience working in magazines, social media, and TV helped me understand the competitive markets, what consumers are interested in, and what makes a brand really stand out. I learned how important it is to tell compelling stories, and to be open, nimble, and flexible with your ideas. Also, when you work in media, your relationships with others are so important—I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have my strong network of friends and industry professionals.
Was there one particular moment that inspired you to create LOMLI?
It’s always been a dream of mine to have a lifestyle brand and coffee shop. So, about a year and a half ago, I was in a good place where I felt confident in investing in myself and my ideas.
Tell us about the name!
Yes! LOMLI is an acronym for Love Of My Life Is. It’s quite literal, haha. I wanted the name to be unique, slightly mysterious, and fun. To me, coffee is the most dependable, exciting, and joy-inducing drink. There’s really no other beverage that makes me feel that way, and I think a lot of people could share that same sentiment.
So coffee is the love of your life, but who’s your ideal person to enjoy it with and in what setting?
There’s nothing better than going to a cafe and having coffee and lattes with your friends. But, in the pandemic we’ve been spending so much time alone, I actually really enjoy the convenience of having LOMLI by myself. It’s almost become a personal ritual for me. The best part about LOMLI is that it’s so convenient to travel with and throw in your bag. You can have coffee anywhere and at any time!
What marks LOMLI apart from other coffee concepts and brands?
I really want to create a coffee lifestyle brand that speaks to hard-working, busy, and strong women and make sure that the coffee was really delicious and strong, as well. I personally feel that many popular coffee brands have a more masculine aesthetic and from a branding perspective, I was really craving to design and make a coffee brand that evoked a lot of romantic and feminine detailing, too.
The fact that there’s no need for fancy, expensive equipment sounds ideal. What else was important to you when conceptualizing the brand?
LOMLI Coffee is all about convenient and useful products that can help make your life easier. I am inspired by my customers and hearing why they love LOMLI and the various kinds of recipes they make. It’s important to me to understand the kinds of products they need and what I can find and curate for them.
You launched during COVID, how was that experience?
Launching and going live during COVID was not ideal because I initially wanted to throw a fun breakfast event and invite editors, influencers, and friends to try and taste coffee with beautiful pastries somewhere. I had a lot of ideas for getting the word out but luckily, because of social media, I was able to push it and promote it that way. I had to think and re-strategize quite quickly to figure out how to make the most out of the situation.
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You self-funded the venture and do everything yourself, sounds like a full plate! What does an average day look like for you right now?
Yes, definitely a full plate! I am so grateful for it… however, I’ve always been like this. I’m somehow able to juggle a million things, and having accessible coffee at all times is very helpful! Every day is very different and during the pandemic, I definitely had many moments of feeling lethargic and anxious…but I always know that I need to keep my mental and physical health in check and as a priority. Because if that’s not prioritized, my entire day flops. After many years of feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, there are a few key things that work really well for me to help manage my time better:
*Maintain a morning ritual: I always try to avoid looking at my phone right when I wake up. I stretch, do my skincare and makeup, have the news in the background, and have the water boiling. Then I make my LOMLI Coffee! Once I get my coffee, the day begins.
*Carve time for a workout or a walk every day. It doesn’t have to be super intense or long—but just move your body to help clear your head.
*I try my best to schedule Zoom calls and meetings on a select few days and pack them in that way instead of spreading them out every day. I find that it’s really distracting to get work done when I have a million calls every day.
*Write tons of tasks on what to tackle for both my consulting business and LOMLI.
The branding is so chic! What was on the mood board for the design?
Aww, thank you! My mom was a huge inspiration for the design. She has a very feminine and romantic style, and her favorite colors are all featured on the packaging. I am also inspired by romantic typefaces and graphics and wanted to embody that in the packaging. Also, the placement of the LOMLI Coffee logo reminds me of the way magazines place their logo, so I dedicated that part of the design to that as well.
What’s your ultimate goal for the brand, and what’s next?
I love having 100% ownership of my brand and am taking things one day at a time, trying to stay focused, think of new ways to create compelling content and work on building a strong customer base and curating new items for my online store. I am also working on a fun podcast/content series…stay tuned!