Lulla Hokholt, Founder of Boutique Event Creation Company Lulla Hokholt Ltd. in Hong Kong
Girl boss, entrepreneur, event manager, yoga bunny, health nut, keen runner and citizen of the world Lulla Hokholt (28) from Larvik, Norway, has created a company and a life for herself on the other side of the world. In Hong Kong, China, she runs her company Lulla Hokholt Limited with her business partner and partner-in-crime, Héktor Monroy – who also just happens to be her fiancé.
‘The name of the company is a bit vague but it allows for it to grow organically in whatever direction comes our way and keeps us open to new possibilities’,she explains. The company first started out as a small boutique event agency when it was founded in 2015, but expanded into specializing in beverage consulting and lifestyle-focused projects when her partner joined the company 2 years ago. ‘Growing up on a golf course and always being surrounded by events and tournaments largely affected my choice of profession, and the natural choice for me was to study Events, Sport and Entertainment Management at Glion in Switzerland’, she says.
After living in Paris, Bali and Svalbard, her studies in Switzerland was what led her to China and Shanghai, where she spent 3.5 years producing big scale events for brands such as Johnnie Walker, Vans and Architectural Digest. This is also where she decided to become an entrepreneur until endless pollution and traffic jams encouraged a relocation to Hong Kong, which is their current base and home.
First Of All, What Did You Have For Breakfast?
I love breakfast! I had chia pudding with lots of fresh fruits and blueberries sprinkled with cinnamon, coconut flakes and goji berries accompanied with a big glass of water and a huge cup of mint tea.
What Made You Take The Leap And Start Your Own Business?
I saw that there was an opportunity in the market. Shanghai was lacking small boutique event agencies that understood international/expat clients in addition to possessing strong local knowledge. But, all credit goes to my partner Héktor for making me take the leap – I had been planning it for a year, and after meeting him I launched the company within a few months.
What Were Your Biggest Insecurities When First Starting Out And How Did You Overcome Them?
The fear of failing. I think it’s a big issue that all female (and probably male) entrepreneurs and anyone in a high and demanding position face, but after some time when things went well and no one gave me negative feedback (constructive feedback, yes! Hehe), I realized the only one who would judge a “mistake” was ME! After that I stopped taking myself too seriously, which has really helped with my insecurities.
Where And Doing What Do You Feel Most Inspired?
Early in the morning (by early I mean 8am not 5am, like some people), this is when I get into the best “work flow”. There is something about mornings and the feeling of getting a fresh start that kick starts my thinking. I also love being outdoors and get most of my best ideas while running or hiking. That is one of the reasons why Shanghai became suffocating (literally); if you haven’t been there just imagine a thick layer of fog ALWAYS hanging above you. To make it even worse, it’s not fog; it’s smog and it is really bad for you. In Hong Kong, we live at the bottom of a mountain, and my mornings often start with running up ‘The Peak’.
What Is The Best And Worst Thing About Being Your Own Boss?
I’m a typical Virgo; I make lists, I organize, I schedule, and I stick to habits and routines, which makes it easy for me to stay focused during the day. But it also really frazzles me if I can’t stick to the schedule (yes, I’m one of those people). I find it challenging having to make really hard decisions without anyone else to confide in. Me and my partner make a lot of decision together, but he is mostly in charge of the creative part, and me the practical (ie. finance etc.) so many big decisions needs to be made by me.
How Do You Pick Yourself Up And Keep Going When You Feel Discouraged?
I can get sad, disappointed, exhausted and discouraged, but I know there will always be a day tomorrow, and that breaking down really doesn’t help. The better you tackle disappointment, the easier it will be to wake up the next day and do it all again. I always take a break to “re-set” and get rid of the negative thoughts and energy by either going for a walk, schedule in a yoga class, or meet a friend for coffee – someone that I know will say something to make me laugh and feel better.
Tell Us About Something You’re Really Proud Of In Your Business And/Or Your Greatest Achievement (Don’t Be Shy)
Being interviewed by two of Norway’s biggest newspapers, Dagens Næringsliv and Aftenposten. As vein as it sounds, that made me realize that I was doing something of interest on an international scale, not just on a personal level. We have also recently expended into Beijing, Taipei, Manila and Saigon, which is a really exciting new chapter and great for the growth of the company.
Name Any Scandinavian Woman (Past Or Present) Who You Admire And Look Up To And Please Tell Us Why:
Can I say my mom? I know it’s cheesy, but she’s a “power woman” that I have looked up to since I was little. She is open, warm, generous and inclusive, and yet she is brave, determined and never takes no for an answer. She has taught my brother and I how important passion is; to work for something that you believe in and to never give up even when the going gets tough!
What Do Scandinavian Women Need More Of? Less Of?
We need to stop hiding behind the “Jante Law”, stop competing with each other and start cheering each other on – stop judging and start embracing diversity. We need to dare to be individuals and believe in our own voices. We are Vikings, we are strong and brave – I hope more “Scandi women” will see the importance and impact of changing our mindset and becoming the Vikings that we are.
Name Three Qualities You Admire In Other Women
Fearlessness, inclusiveness and optimism.
If You Have One, What Is Your Personal Or Professional Motto?
Get shit done! (I guess this is more my personal motto) but I really strongly believe in it. We need to stop thinking that everything has to be perfect before getting it done. Perfection holds you back and “good enough” is sufficient. Just get it done.
When, Where And Doing What Do You Feel The Furthest Away From Your Comfort Zone?
That would be on a stage in front of a huge crowd! And weirdly, one of my biggest dreams is to talk at a TED talk/TEDx.
Tell Us One Thing That People Would Be Surprised To Know About You
I prefer using chopsticks to a knife and fork!
And Finally, Do You Have Any Advice, Big Or Small, To All The Ambitious Women Contemplating Starting Their Own Business Too?
Do it! Don’t wait until it’s perfect, just get the most important aspects done and the rest will sort itself out. I would, however, strongly recommend getting a “buddy”! It could be a business partner, a friend, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or a family member that can support you. It’s really hard to do everything on your own, and even though I strongly believe you can do it (because you can!), it is really helpful to have a support system in place to fall back on when it gets really tough. I’m vouching for you Girl Boss!!
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