Quarantine may have put several plans on hold, but it didn’t stop Lennkilla from launching her SHADY LENNS Spring/Summer 2020 Collection. Lennkilla formerly known as Lenis Rodriguez decided to shift her energy and use the time to relaunch SHADY LENNS. “I knew I really wanted to relaunch so I focused on rebranding the logo and how I wanted the brand to be looked at this time around,” the 25-year-old explained.
Working side by side with her partner, Emanuel Phillip, the dynamic duo released new shades in April. For their SS2020 collection, the pair released their “RICCH” sunglasses in the color green marble, black and gold and white. SHADY LENNS officially launched in June 2019 and included a cat eye style shade that was available in pink, black, yellow and purple. Although Summer 2020 is different from what most of us expected, Lenis and Emanuel wanted to make sure everyone was able to enjoy it in style, which is why they decided to launch a Summer Edition of the “RICCH” shades which features colors like, Aquamarine, Silver and Yellow.
After purchasing a pair of the “RICCH” shades in green marble, I knew I wanted to talk to Lenn about the inspiration behind SHADY LENNS. I got the opportunity to virtually chat with Lenn about the Spring/Summer 2020 collection, being a business owner and what motivated her to embark on this journey.
What was the inspiration for Shady Lenns?
The inspiration honestly came from me loving sunglasses. It all started when Kanye West had the Glow In The Dark Tour and he released Stronger. He had these glasses that everybody had to have. They were plastic shaded sunglasses that were statement pieces. I remember coming off the E train one day with my mom and around that area they had vendors selling different accessories and they had the sunglasses so I bought a pair. And ever since I started buying and collecting sunglasses.
When did you officially launch Shady Lenns?
I came up with the idea in April 2019 and then launched in June that same year. In the beginning I think we rushed and we were only 80% ready. We ended up selling out in August and we just weren’t ready for everything that came with that. So after that we discontinued Shady Lenns for a couple of months and it honestly took a toll on me because I felt like I put something so dope out there and I took it away from everyone. Fast forward to now and our relaunch in April in the middle of Covid was probably the best and realest launch we’ve ever had.
What was the process like for selecting the style of sunglasses you wanted to offer?
I started looking into what’s trending now. Louis Vuitton has the sunglasses “Millionaires” but for our brand we never wanted to copy the exact design of what they had, we wanted to have something similar that a lot of people could afford. I wanted to have a bunch of sunglasses that looked very similar to a lot of luxury brands so that people who can afford it will be able to shop with us. When it came to picking the color, I wanted something that was common and could be paired with a lot.
Did you always want to start a business? Is this something you always wanted to do?
Yes, it actually is. I studied buying and merchandising in college, but after a while I realized it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I always wanted to have my own clothing line and streetwear brand, but I felt like I wasn’t knowledgeable and financially stable at the time to start one because you need to invest when you start a business.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs that are thinking about launching a brand?
I would say be patient. It’s not easy. It seems so easy to just start a brand. It’s way more than just an idea and brand name. It is more than just an Instagram and the amount of followers you have. I think a lot of people downplay being a small business owner but there’s a lot that goes into it. But be patient and take your time. Educate yourself on what you don’t know about starting a business. Stay determined because anyone can do it, but you have to believe in yourself and you have to have the drive and determination to want to do it. It’s constant work. It’s 24/7.
What’s next for you and Shady Lenns? And what does the future look like for you?
Hopefully collaborating with an influencer. I would really like to design my own sunglasses and have something of my own. But for now, I really want to grow and I want Shady Lenns to become a well-known brand.