We met Lise Lyon on a cold and rainy morning, and what a ray of sunshine she was. A few months past her 30th birthday, this girl has already done what most people only dream about. Successful t-shirt brand, check. Coffee shop, check. And she’s not stopping. The sky is the limit for this dazzling woman, which is why we chose her as this week’s Women of Wonder.
We are happy to introduce you to Lise Lyon. Enjoy!
Name: Lise Lyon
Birthday: 25 August 1986
Coffee Corner – Big Mikes:
I am Lise, my name derived from my fabulous and fashionable late grandmother Lily Louisa. I am so passionate about fashion, coffee, and life, it’s not even funny.
I’m witty, silly with a wicked sense of humor. I laugh at myself a lot. I’m a creative adventure seeker who wants to make the world a better place one day at a time. I can do anything I put my mind to and this I proved to myself this year.
I don’t like losing and will work for what I want and to get to where I want.
I always knew that I wanted to be a fashion designer and therefore after school I went to study in Stellenbosch at Elizabeth Galloway. After that, I worked for high end woman’s retail boutiques where I quickly learnt the ins and outs of the business.
In 2011, I started my own label and opened up a beautiful retail space in Pretoria. L2 for Lise Lyon just grew stronger as the years past. I noticed that my hand drawn images, that I direcly print (dtg) onto my t-shirts, was where my money was at. I started doing markets on weekends and sold out at every one. Then and there I knew I had something special here. I started off with one table and 3 piles of t-shirts and am now at 2 x 1.8m tables. I love every part of the creative process of my job. All my t-shirts are proudly South African and that is something I strive for.
This year March, I closed my doors because there just wasn’t enough feet to cover rental costs and I decided to just focus on markets. Just my luck, as it has always been a dream of mine, a spot opened and I saw a gap in the area to open a café . With no experience and one month lead time, I built and established my coffee shop – Coffee Corner. I did my barista training at Illy and practice makes perfect. It was all trial and error, and one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Running two businesses at once, the shop in the week and doing night markets and events on weekends with L2.
I have found that the more you do, the more you are capable of. There is no school that can teach you the tricks of the trade. Its jump in and swim.
- What makes you happy? Making other people happy. Having customers returning for more and appreciating what I do.
- If there was only one thing you wanted the world to say about you, what would It be? That I don’t give up easily or at all. That I always have a smile on my face and am kind hearted.
- Who inspires you in life and why? My parents played a big role in my life and have inspired me. The way they love each other unconditionally. My dad for giving me the best business advice and being brutally honest and my mom for being my number 1 fan. If I can only be half the woman she is someday I would be happy. She was the one who taught me from a young age that if you like it wear it.
- What is your superpower? Do not underestimate my strength, dynamite comes in small packages.
- How do you handle criticism? Very well. I am my worst enemy so I always ask for feedback on everything I do. Good or bad.
- In one year from now, what will you be celebrating? Being with one of the most intelligent and big-hearted men I have ever met. And running my businesses with more ease.
- What has been the hardest business decision you have ever made? Moving out of my comfort zone retail space and diving into the unknown of opening and running a coffee shop with all my own funds.
- When did you know that THIS is what you wanted to do for a living? When working every day becomes a happy habit because each day comes with challenges that you never expect. Just when you think you’ve got this under control something/one pulls the ground out right from beneath you.
- Where is your happy place? At the end of a hard day in a tub of flower scented relaxing bubble bath.
- What is one quote that inspires you?