My week: Zu Rafalat of Zulu

The beauty entrepreneur on, protecting her stock from looters in Tottenham, her shiny new warehouse and merging two businesses.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
I have been working all of the hours God sends for the past few weeks. On the 4th of August we merged with LoveLula, after being introduced by our investors. As the company I founded, Zuneta, is an online luxury beauty retailer and LoveLula is an online natural beauty retailer, it made perfect sense for us to come together. To our customers, nothing has changed, the brands are still completely separate, but we get to share all of our resources behind the scenes to make running the company more efficient. And it won’t end there – we already have plans to create a mid-range beauty offering, as well as a men’s range next year.

LoveLula is based in Cheshire, so I've spent a lot of time up there meeting with the new team and figuring out how we're going to merge the two companies. Also, we have a brand new shiny 11,000 sq foot warehouse opening in Cheshire, and we need to make sure that’s all ready ahead of September, which is a very important time in the fashion business as it’s when all the new trends come out. LoveLula’s founder, Claire Braithwaite, and I will be co-CEOs and I'll continue to be based in London and focus on my buying and marketing, while Claire will continue to be based in Cheshire and take care of all the financial and operational stuff.

I'm also inheriting a couple of people from the marketing team at LoveLula, so they've been down here discussing our strategy positioning the brands going forward. We took one of them, Katie, out for dinner on Tuesday night to welcome her to the team and to London. Thank goodness it was this week rather than last - as if we didn't have enough excitement with the merger, we are based between Wood Green and Tottenham, so we were right in riot territory. We also share our warehouse with an electronics company (which we suspected could be a target of looters) so at the crack of dawn on the Sunday morning I was in the warehouse ready to protect our stock. Luckily we escaped unscathed, but the local area is an absolute mess. We couldn't so much as buy a pint of milk for days, and the Post Office was shut so we couldn't get our orders out without a considerable amount of hassle. So that was some extra fun added to an already busy few days.

It goes without saying that I'm not getting a lot of downtime at the moment. If I'm not talking with the team, I'm talking to our investors. I love it; I'm so excited right now. But I am making sure I manage to squeeze in a few quiet dinners with close friends every now and then – it keeps me sane.

Zu Rafalat is the founder of Zuneta and now co-CEO of Zulu and was on this year's 35 Women Under 35.

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