Tanya Lee & Karen Lee, 29 & 28
LEZE THE LABEL
Life Story: “Lezé is just like saying lazy but in a fancy way,” says Karen Lee. She and Tanya Lee, friends who share a last name as well as a business, co-founded Lezé the Label last year to produce comfortable women’s clothing that can go from the office to the gym. “We’re kind of in the workwear category but made with leisure characteristics,” Tanya explains. The pair were introduced by a mutual friend because both wanted to host a charity event. After raising funds for the Salvation Army through a food-tasting charity called Operation: Full Kettle in 2016, they began producing compact wedding planning agendas.
Karen immigrated to B.C. from Hong Kong when she was a year old and grew up in East Vancouver. Tanya moved here from Taiwan when she was nine. There her family still operates Tobimax Textiles, which oversees the production and export of Lezé garments. They were shipped from Hong Kong, but half the inventory recently started being dispatched from a warehouse in Richmond.
Lezé clothing is made from a blend of recycled plastic and used coffee beans, and has moisture-wicking, anti-odour and anti-wrinkle capabilities. The company’s goal is to recycle a million used water bottles in the next three years and eliminate all single-use plastics from its manufacturing processes.
Bottom Line: Since launching in 2018, Karen and Tanya Lee have collectively raised US$365,000 through crowdfunding platforms. Within three months of opening Lezé’s e-commerce store, sales grew by 300 percent, to US$30,000 in monthly revenue. The company, which has five part-time employees, has sold more than 6,000 pairs of pants.