Expat Stories: Meet the founder of Lovely Sheep Boutique

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When I moved to Switzerland, I think one of the scariest things for me was the weather. (I know, right?) Living in Bangalore for about half my life I had forgotten the North Indian winters (which are nothing in comparison) and was very used to living life at an average of 22 degrees celsius. And to be honest, if I can pinpoint the worst part of my first year in Switzerland, I think winters and all the unpreparedness around it will top my chart. Since I feel much colder than the average population, I learned layering and the concept of thermals (while not alien) came to my rescue. Cutting the long story short, I recently tried the leggings and beanie from Ana’s shop – Lovely Sheep boutique and I can confidently say that I do have my winter fix for 2020. Well, at least we have a “fix” to something.

We regularly feature women entrepreneurs and business owners and today, I bring to you the story of Ana, who is the founder of Lovely Sheep Boutique. It’s always a plus to vouch for people who’s products/services have been tried/tested. 🙂

Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself

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Hi! My name is Ana Bartnykiene. I am a happy wife, a mother to two adorable children, and the founder of Lovely Sheep Boutique. I am 34 years old, I was born and raised in Vilnius, in Lithuania (EU), the heart of the Baltics. I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Management and over 10 years of work experience in Telecommunications (in customer service, sales support, B2B sales, and customer retention). My passion is my love for sewing with natural fabrics and producing sustainable fashion.

Three years ago, my husband got an opportunity to work in one of the biggest banks in Switzerland and we decided to try our luck here, hence, we moved with our two kids to a lovely small city near Zurich.

Tell us about your business

Lovely Sheep Boutique is a small family-owned business founded in 2018. We specialize in premium quality, natural clothing, made of merino wool, and merino with silk. All garments are hand-crafted and designed in a small family-owned factory in Lithuania (EU) with love, care, and attention.

In our collection you can find merino wool clothes for the entire family: newborn babies, toddlers, teens, women and men, and even a special collection for breastfeeding mothers. Breathable, comfortable, and warm – merino wool is the ideal fabric for thermal clothing for different outdoor activities and sports (skiing, hiking, sleeping in a tent). It will keep you warm in the cold, and release the warmth to cool you down when conditions heat up. Since it’s odor-resistant and sweat-absorbent, you can trust merino wool to keep you dry and comfortable in any weather. So it is a perfect choice for everyday wear.

Adding silk to merino wool makes the material exceptionally soft and perfectly suitable for those with sensitive, easily irritated skin. Our clothes and accessories are made from 100% natural fabrics (merino wool, merino wool with silk) – making them suitable even for people with allergies or particularly sensitive skin.

Merino wool clothes are also the best choice for newborn babies as they regulate body temperature. They keep babies warm, cozy, but not overheated, which is very important especially during the first year when babies are not able yet to regulate body temperature by themselves.

Tell us your story, how you started

The idea of business sparked for me after one year of living in Switzerland. I can say that our brand Lovely Sheep Boutique has been inspired by the Swiss way of life. We were totally amazed by swiss nature and it’s beauty. It was so exciting that people living here spent so much time outdoors.  That’s when I thought that merino wool can be a great product for people living in Switzerland because merino wool clothing was an essential garment for our family all year round and especially during the colder months.

Our first journey with natural clothing started 6 years ago before our first child was born. After that, I began learning to sew and discovered the incredible benefits of natural fabrics first-hand. In the beginning, the main intention was to give our first child the best we can but after experimenting with different materials, it was clear that we felt much better in clothing made from 100% natural materials. Merino wool, bamboo, organic cotton, and linen became the primary materials not only in my daughter’s wardrobe but also in mine and my husband’s wardrobe. Our passion for comfort wearing merino wool garments, quality and practicality became defining features for our business. So, we made it our mission to share premium quality, natural merino clothing with others – and Lovely Sheep Boutique was born.

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My Swiss Story: Expat Stories: Meet the founder of Lovely Sheep Boutique

The second reason for business was that I was on long maternity leave with a second child and I looking for newer challenges. I knew I wanted to try something new and sustainable fashion was my calling. With my passion for selling products and fostering relationships, I decided to take a step forward. However, running a business in Switzerland is not an easy feat: new culture, a new language, and newer obstacles awaited me. There were new things to learn every single day, and two kids at home; one toddler and another infant I can confidently say that I had my hands full.

But I enjoyed juggling between mom life and mumpreneur roles and my passion for fashion kept my motivation high! I can’t say there weren’t ups and downs, a lot of coffee coupled with sleepless nights had become a norm. But I was “happily tired”, my dream was coming true. And the biggest win for me, after so many years, is customer loyalty – my customers are regulars and when I see a new one return, it is absolutely heartwarming. It makes me feel, that I must be doing something right.

Of course, all this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my family, my husband in particular who has been a pillar of support and encouragement from the start of this journey.

For women entrepreneurs/leaders/content creators, what specific advice would you have

For all women entrepreneurs, I would advise never to give up and to go for your dreams, no matter how much time and effort it takes. Accept every failure as an opportunity to learn something new and also never forget to celebrate your success!

“There is no failure except in no longer trying” -E. Hubbard.

Are you a female entrepreneur whose story needs to be heard, we’re waiting to hear from you.

Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, our editorial panel is talking about – swiss travel, ex-pat living, mental health, nutrition, wellness, back to school, home & lifestyle and activities for children. Stay well and stay with us!

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