Many successful products began as ideas — solutions to consumer problems. Founder Lara Smith was working with big fashion labels prior to launching her own niche apparel line, Lusomé. She kicked off her 20 year career at two of the world’s biggest fashion houses; Ralph Lauren and Gucci, and worked her way up as a senior executive at some of Canada’s largest retailers including Mark’s. Who knew that her role of sourcing innovative apparel solutions would someday lead to one of the most significant and life-changing findings ever?

It wasn’t until Smith saw her own sister’s battle with breast cancer and how she endured overheating and night sweats as a result of her treatments that Lara set out to create the most important and personal solution of all. When Lara saw first hand the discomforts that were associated with her sister’s treatments, she knew she wanted to create a line that fused beauty together with comfort and fabric technology.

Her vision came to life through Lusomé, a new pajama and loungewear brand that promoted the health and sleep of its wearers through first-of-its-kind technology — stopping night sweats before it starts. The line quickly garnered attention from more women who suffered from overheating at night.

The name Lusomé came to mind while researching an appropriate name for the line. Derived from an ancient Scottish term that meant desirable, it became the inspiration for her brand offering the perfect balance between functionality and beauty.

Functionally, the garments she created were aimed to empower women to manage night sweat issues. Traditional garments often made women feel less desirable, fundamentally affecting their femininity, often at times when they need it the most.

Inspired by French design aesthetic and beauty icons, Smith wanted Lusomé designs to be simple, timeless, and elegant, with a feminine twist. The fit of each piece in the collection has been engineered to complement women of nearly every shape and size, using masterful pattern-making techniques to enhance and flatter their bodies.

Sounds ideal? We tried them ourselves with a few purchases and was interested to learn about Smith’s journey to bring Lusomé to the marketplace.

Like any small business owner, Lara faced many obstacles. It’s not a secret that more than 20% of small businesses fail within the first year, but if you run a small business that introduces a new product to the market, your chances of failure are far greater. In fact, of the 30,000 new products introduced each year, an alarming 95% of them fail. But that didn’t deter her from keeping focused and believing what she was creating would help meet the needs of many.

However, the obstacles she faced went beyond the norm. At the height of the pandemic and on the heels of extracting herself from enduring domestic abuse, a once-trusted member of her inner circle planned an unsolicited, hostile takeover of her beloved company. In a true test of resilience, Lara fought for her company by fighting off those who tried to take her down, and instead, doubling down on the core purpose of Lusomé sleepwear to imagine a much bigger ($100M) opportunity — creating a technical luxury brand devoted to innovating the quality of sleep and improving overall wellness. She also did this while putting back the pieces of her personal life.

Ten years later, Lusomé’s luxury sleepwear with its proprietary moisture-management technology, Xirotex, is celebrated for delivering a solution to the 80% of women who always thought that night sweats and overheating were something they had to suffer with in silence. Just this year, textile scientists from the University of Alberta crowned Lusomé as the best cooling sleepwear brand on the market.

What keeps Smith motivated to push forward? She tells us that her motivation has changed over time. “The foundation of wanting to help women be comfortable and feel beautiful is very purposeful. Now, our much larger vision of helping people the world over get a better night sleep drives me and our team everyday,” said Smith.
If she could give one piece of advice to other women entrepreneurs? She tells us, “get an advisory board as soon as your business plan is complete.  Your advisors need to be businesspeople who have been in the trenches and learnt the hard lessons (not academics) and ensure these advisors have a track record of winning… and then listen to them.”
What has she learned about running her own business?
“Surround myself with people smarter than me.”