Founder Stories: Elva Li On Building ‘Elva Li Luxury Branding’
In today’s Founder Story we feature Elva Li, the Founder of Elva Li Luxury Branding!
Read on for lessons she’s learned from launching and marketing a luxury brand.
1) Please introduce your business and share your role.
I work with world-class female coaches and entrepreneurs to unleash their most iconic version. And then translate it into a luxury brand with a magnetic premium online presence, so that they can transform from the world’s best secret to the sought-after icon in their field, attract high-end clients, and elevate their authority, celebrity, income, and impact online.
I have 10 years of experience in business advisory, coaching, and luxury brand styling. And I combine my creative flair with my business savviness to help visionary female coaches and founders feel confident online, onboard high-end clients, and become the most iconic version of themselves.
My mission is to help female coaches and founders become the most iconic version of themselves, turn their dreams into reality and visions into visuals, one luxury brand at a time. I have been featured on The Australian Business Journal, LadyBoss Asia, This Women Can and has been seen on ABC, CBS, Fox and more.
2) What’s your backstory and what kind of challenges did you face?
I was that girl playing by everybody’s rules, playing small at the corporate world and not daring to stand up as who I truly am.
Maybe you can relate too. If you are also a female entrepreneur, you’re someone who has chosen to take the risk of building a business that expresses who you are and allows you to live in your genius zone and do the things you love …. then somewhere along the line you felt like you didn’t fit in the 9-5… somewhere along the line, you felt like you were different from everyone else around you. If you’re like me, you know deep inside that there’s something more, there’s something different, there’s something better.
I grew up being a “good girl” for my parents, playing the good “successful” daughter, studying at the top university and then living in the “successful” corporate world. But that life was never meant for me. Every morning from my office window I would look up at the blue sky, wishing I could grow wings and fly. Every morning I longed for something else. A different world. A beautiful world. One where there was freedom, inside and out.
Eventually, in 2010 I packed my bags, left my hometown, Shanghai, and moved to Australia by myself hoping the world would be different. It wasn’t … because I was the same. Every day in my office cubicle, I continued playing the good girl. I kept my head down and I worked hard. I played it safe, but deep down I still dreamt of something else.
3) How did you come up with your business idea?
My life was forever changed when I was introduced to the wonderful world of women entrepreneurs at a business networking event. I saw glimpses of confident beautiful women who were running their own business with a lifestyle to match. It was like getting a blue Tiffany box from the Universe. I saw the beauty I was looking for.
I started building my side hustles, immersing myself in personal development, working with business coaches and mentors, and connecting with inspiring people.
I’d be lying if I said building my business and brand was easy. The journey is “beautiful”, but it’s not always “pretty”. I have my doubts, fears and insecurities popping up from time to time. When that happens and things get rough, I always remind myself why I started in the first place.
I started my personal branding business because I adore designing beautiful things and nothing brings me more joy than creating a beautiful brand for other female entrepreneurs and helping them turn their dreams into reality, one brand at a time.
I quit my high-paying corporate job as a Chartered Accountant because I want to wake up every day with passion and excitement, do what lights me up and utilize my full potential and talents; have the flexibility and freedom to do it whenever and wherever I want; surround myself with like-minded talented and inspiring people.
I am so grateful that I was able to quit my full-time job and that my business gives me freedom and fulfilment, makes me feel passionate, and lights me up every day.
4) How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
Launching a side hustle is not a small project. So I broke it down into bite-sized projects with time frames. I also treat my side hustle as a “business”, not a “hobby”. I mapped out a proper business plan, including the finances and taxes part. As I was launching my side hustle while I was still at a 9-5, I specifically planned how to make my day job work for me.
Everyone’s situation is different. I was working full time as a Chartered Accountant while building my side hustle for several years before I finally left my full-time job. I decided to do it that way because I’d have a steady income to support myself while building my side hustle.
When I started stepping into my new entrepreneur identity and building my dream business, I realized how vital it is to stay in action. Doubt and fear are a normal part of the process. But I can’t let these emotions paralyze me; I need to take action anyway. I worked with mentors and coaches to follow proven success strategies to keep myself moving forward no matter what.
Some of the actions I took at my initial stages included:
- Working on my mindset and personal development
- Determined my business name and structure
- Registered for an Australian Business Number
- Identified my top 3 core values of my business
- Got crystal clear on who my my ideal client was
- Created my offers and pricing
- Determined my unique selling point (IPS) and created my elevator pitch
- Created a Moodboard for my visual brand identity
- Created a main logo, alternative logo and submark
- Chose my brand fonts and colors
- Created my own website using my visual brand identity
- Updated my existing social media profiles
- Set up a professional email with branded signature
- Defined my brand message
- Let people know I am in business
- Worked with mentors or coaches
- Created content to add value to my audience and connect with my community
After I identified my sweet spot business idea, I started the business with the offer of branding and website design. I offered some free sessions and low-price services in the beginning in order to build my portfolio. Then I got great testimonials from all my clients and gained more confidence in my side hustle. And I started to increase the price of my services and plan my corporate exit date. Once I decided to give myself 6 months before quitting my job, I was committed to it and spread the word among my friends to ask for support to make it happen. I get several clients and the business started to get more momentum and referrals coming, which helped me successfully quit my job 6 months later.
5) Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain clients?
I focused on creating a luxury customer experience from on-boarding to completion of the project, and even after the projects are ended (e.g sending launch gifts and birthday surprises, etc). And then creating and practicing an effective referral system. 80% of my clients come from client referrals and word of mouth. 20% of sales come from my website and social media, where potential clients are attracted by my branding and design style when they land on my online presence.
6) What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
Our growth is a result of our premium branding and position, partnership, SEO, and PR strategies. Our services are packaged at 5 figure premium pricing and targeted towards high-end clients. “Elva Li” is now ranked the top organic Google search for “luxury branding coach”. “Elva Li” is selected by The Australian Business Journal as one of the 20 Australian Personal Branding Experts to Watch in 2022.
7) Who or what inspires and motivates you?
My vision motivates me. My mission is to help female coaches and founders become the most iconic version of themselves, turn their dreams into reality and visions into visuals, one luxury brand at a time. As women are embodying their luxury icon and leaving their legacy, however large or small, the world is touched by our presence. It’s shaped by our light and the ripple effect we are creating.
8) What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with other entrepreneurs?
If you are reading this, I want to remind you that you are good enough. All the branding or business strategies in the world won’t work for your business if you feel unworthy of or don’t believe you can have the things you want.
All the things you think are between you and what you want aren’t actually the things stopping you. What really stops you are the limiting beliefs and stories in your mind.
I want to remind you that you are worthy. You are capable. You are deserving.
It’s time to show up with purpose and passion, be seen, known and paid… unapologetically.