Small Business Spotlight: Lulu

Output PDX had a great interview with Damon at TechFestNW.

This July, Res Nova Law is pleased to shine its Small Business Spotlight on Lulu, a fresh Portland startup with a focus on sustainability and community empowerment through cycling. Lulu is currently entering the manufacturing stage for its innovative first product, the Lululox. The Lululox offers bike commuters a cost-effective and simple-to-use solution for preventing even the most sophisticated bike thieves from stealing valuable bicycle components, such as wheels and seat posts. Unlike traditional bike locks (e.g., combination locks, U-locks, etc.)—which can be easily defeated using bolt cutters, hacksaws, and crowbars—the Lululox is only responsive to specially designed keys, thanks to the Lululox's inventive interior configuration. Cyclists who've installed the Lululox can rest assured that their bikes will stay in one piece when locked outdoors.

Community empowerment through Entrepreneurship:

To learn more about Lulu, we chatted with Lulu's founder, Damon Alley—a young entrepreneur with a social mission. Damon may be a 21-year-old college kid, but he has big ideas, as well as the long-term vision and resolve to fully carry out those ideas. Damon's entrepreneurial spirit was born when he was in high school and started getting interested in politics and economics. When reflecting on economic issues such as academic achievement, home ownership, financial growth, and wealth acquisition, Damon realized that he wanted to help his community through economics and entrepreneurship. And that's precisely why Damon created Lulu—to promote positive economic, social, and political growth; build sustainable communities through job growth; and build a support network for any other individuals and entrepreneurs who want to take part in the Lulu mission and vision.

When we asked why Damon chose "Lulu" as his business name, he told us the following:

Lulu's logo reflects its Hausa origin.

Lulu's logo reflects its Hausa origin.

Lulu (lu’u-lu’u) is the Hausa word for Diamond, and is an homage to my West African ancestors. In many parts of Africa, the diamond was a symbol of violence, exploitation, and hopelessness. Here in the U.S., all three of those run rampant in the African American community. But these are not just our problems, they are human problems. So with Lulu, I plan to change that. I want to turn the Lulu into a symbol of tranquility, prosperity, and hope. The bike is sustainable, inclusive, and is diversified in its use. Through our bike company Lulu, I want to create a community where people can come together as one people—humans—and tackle the various problems we face as a community to finally become the Lulu that this world deserves.
— Damon Alley, Founder of Lulu

Legal challenges for startups:

Even though Damon has a solid business plan for Lulu, as well as a trusted team to back him up, he knows all too well that running and growing a successful startup comes with a unique set of challenges. Damon's biggest source of stress, as a business owner, is figuring out how to best protect Lulu's valuable intellectual property. Despite the stress, Damon is certainly steering his business in the right direction.

Lastly, we'll leave you with some great advice from Damon:

Create a company that you’re passionate about, and make sure you have teammates who believe in your vision. At the end of the day, when times are hard and the money isn’t flowing in, it’ll be your passion that pulls you through.
— Damon Alley, Founder of Lulu

Thanks for chatting with us, Damon! We look forward to the official release of the Lululox, and to see what else is in Lulu's bright future.