This week’s guest is Jeannine Braden / Creative Director & Co-Founder / Le Superbe California. From long time Los Angeles fashion insider Jeannine Braden, stylist, consultant and former owner of the much-loved Santa Monica boutique, Fred Segal Flair, comes LE SUPERBE (or The Beautiful) “From the Southern California Side of Else-Wear."
Michelle & Jeannine jump right in to discuss everything from celebrity styling, the lost art of the customer relationship, lessons learned from many years in the retail industry and her love letter to LA skate & surf culture – her brand, Le Superbe California. Thank you Jeannine for taking time out of your busy schedule!
LE SUPERBE is a Los Angeles fashion brand that stays true to its California roots, while unleashing your personal flair. It's Ready-to-Wear sprinkled with subliminal seeds of the surf culture along the sandy beaches of Southern California. The must-have pieces change with the seasons but stay true to a stylistic freedom that embraces an effortless mix of new and vintage, high and low. Operating on instinct and impeccable taste, the Los Angeles designers draw inspiration from the streets of Hollywood, all the way from Venice to Malibu. The goal is always a fabulous stylist's rack of coveted pieces.
Jeannine Braden and well-known designer, William Beranek (William B), know what it takes to move fashion forward. Jeannine Braden serves as the Creative Director and named the line after the street where she grew up on in Venice, California. Jeannine and William have transitioned from living together to working together. The two have a wonderful son and when it was time to call it quits, they “consciously uncoupled…so very LA.
Jeannine Braden IG: http://www.instagram.com/jeanninebradenla
Le Superbe IG: http://www.instagram.com/lesuperbecalifornia/
Jeannine Braden FB: http://www.facebook.com/jeannine.braden/
Michelle: Hey there. I'm Michelle Sherrier and this is the Retail Whore Podcast, The Stories and Lessons from the life and retail. Hello. Hello.
Michelle: Welcome back. It is officially Daylight Savings Time. And if you are like me, you are probably feeling a little sleep deprived. I know 4:30 in the morning hurt before now. It kind of really hurts. But the payoff for this is longer days and sunsets around 7:45 p.m. and it means summer is on its way. So I am super excited for that. Today's episode is a good one. It is all things fashion, all things entrepreneur, and all things hustle. Janine Braden and I both had stores at Fred Segal at the same time. Her stores were Fred Segal Flair. She was a stylist. Prior to that, she still is a stylist. She actually dressed Belinda Carlisle for the Go-Go's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She started a line called Le Superbe that I am completely obsessed with that has nods to the California lifestyle. So we have a chance to go down memory lane, talk about our time at Fred Segal, talk about what drives her, what motivates her and where she gets inspiration. And we get to talk fashion. So without further ado, here is my very fabulous conversation with Janine. Hey, Jeanine, welcome to the retail whore podcast.
Jeannine: Thank you for having me, Michelle. Long time.
Michelle: I know. I'm so honored. I know. The back story which we'll get into a second is you and I have gone back years. We had both had stores at Fred Segal and Santa Monica. I made my exit prior to this.
Jeannine: Prior to yours.
Michelle: But tell everybody a little bit about yourself.
Jeannine: Okay. I'm I think I've always been in fashion since I stop school, so I've started more as a stylist. Then I was a stylist and then I opened a store and Fred Segal I opened one store and then I opened the second store. I forgot about the second. I mean, I have a kind of a few different lives. Currently I just launched a line called Le Superbe. About... It's been about three years, three and a half years. So we launched prior to when the pandemic started and we had a we went out with a bang and then all of a sudden we had to survive the past two years in a pandemic.
Michelle: I can't I can't even imagine. I mean.
Jeannine: I can say survive, survive and thrive because we're working hard and not letting it stop us.
Michelle: Yeah, it doesn't look like you guys really skipped a beat. I mean, it seemed like you literally, if you follow your Instagram, it continued on as if everyone was dressing fabulously at home in the pandemic.
Jeannine: No, I don't even think that we even spun it. Smoke and mirrors. So you'll go back down to that, my IG, and you'll see that all of a sudden we were making masks and making masks and like everybody was posting it. I know, but we were the first ones. And it was funny because William, my ex-husband, he was like, What? He's so reluctant. He's like, What are you doing? I'm like, I'm not going to sit still while we're being locked down. I got to keep going. And he was like, kind of like pooh poohing it. And then all of a sudden, like, we made thousands of masks. It's we made it all with leftover fabrics, which is cool.
Michelle: Which I it's crazy to me. I'll be so happy when those days are done. But I was on it was when I was following some thread and I got on it and it was too fashion. He's just talking about Gucci and what not and I was like, So do you think that they are going to be doing masks? And they were like, Oh, we're not even talking about that. It's like, Well, it's 3 hours. And that was like very, very beginning of the pandemic. And it's like it'll be interesting to see who does follow that route. And then now, two years later, I don't think Gucci made them, but I mean, certainly almost.
Jeannine: I'm sure they did somewhere. It's like.
Michelle: So, okay, you are a Southern California girl. You grew up Santa Monica or Venice.
Jeannine: I grew up in Venice, went to Venice High. In fact, Mark Twain, like all the Venice schools, but a lot of time in Santa monica.
Michelle: I love like skater girl Dogtown, like local. I mean I your back story is I love it as far as SoCal local. What did you do after high school? Did you go right into fashion?
Jeannine: No, actually, what I did is I was going to SC and working full time retail and.
Michelle: Oh where.
Jeannine: And that was UCLA extensions too because I was trying to get my I was trying to get my degree while working full time and and part in what store it was a store called Blondie's in the Marina. And then I worked for and this is probably how I have a shoe addiction because I worked for Ben Baker. Do you remember Vin Baker?
Michelle: You have quite the collection, too, let me tell you.
Jeannine: Yeah, he was in the Santa Monica mall. And when I worked there, he was like, he was there. It was Ben he worked for and he just trained you like. Yeah. So, I mean, I feel like I got, like my hardcore retail training probably from Vin Baker in the beginning.
Michelle: And then how did you end up what age were you when you ended up stores at Fred's? And how did you end up with stores for us? Because I'm I know all of us have a story about how we acquired our store and they're all.
Jeannine: I actually haven't heard yours.
Michelle: I'll tell you, mine.
Have you talked about it on this podcast?
Michelle: I did it about me solo. I, I came. It's hilarious because I started, I turned in a resume like four days before the Fred Segal sale to Michael Campbell. And I was like Manhattan Beach Girl like not. I mean, I've been in fashion but like wet seal fashion, like not fashion. And I turned to.
Jeannine: I did Photoshoots for Wet Seal by the way.
Michelle: I think everyone has some connection to freakin West Seal. It's it's very, it's like it's in everybody's blood. But I turned in my resume and Michael hired me and I got I still shudder at the thought. I showed up to the first day of sale because we had wore denim and our Fred Segal shirt. So I got off Daisy Duke shorts and my Fred Segal T-shirt and Michael Campbell because he built up the denim bar. He built it up.
Michelle: Cubes like the glass cubes. And because I was wearing that hideous outfit, because you were in that, I'm going to make you stand in the middle and get up on the. Get up on. Oh, my God.
Jeannine: Michael Campbell.
Michelle: Oh, my God. So. But I was only supposed to be temp, but I stayed there and then ended up being a manager. And then when they opened for Better Ecology. Fred, let me have a chance. Michael and Fred let me have a chance. But I still I just it's funny, I just found a card from Michael that said, Congratulations, partner. So weird. I just found that card. So how did you end up your store?
Jeannine: I ended up I was doing a shoe. I was working all the time with Belinda Carlisle. She had been solo and I've been traveling with her from her solo career, like all over Europe. I mean, super lucky.
Michelle: Like you're still her stylist.
Jeannine: Well, you know what? I hate to title myself a stylist. I'd rather be a collaborator. I think, you know, you don't want to take all the credit for somebody when they have their own vibe, too. I really believe in enhancing people's personal style. So, I mean, I'm completely capable of changing a style, but I think that's been my most successful times, is when I have really cool women that I work with and they're so open, you know, simpatico.
Michelle: Some pretty cool clients.
Jeannine: Yeah, but I was but with with Fred Segal, I was actually in there and I was pulling from Pascal and Couture and I was pulling all the Dolce for Belinda for one of her videos. And then I had simultaneously I've been looking for stores and I thought maybe I wanted to live. I loved the more East Side. So I was looking over on La Brea Melrose around there, and then Pascal said to me, Why don't you have a store here? And I said, I don't know. I didn't even think about that. And then she's like, Well, why don't you meet with. Fred or Michael. Like literally two days later I was in their office in the back, and about maybe six days later I had a lease. I was like, Oh, shit, now what do I do?
Jeannine: I just. It was just kind of really like. Organic. It wasn't so thought out, but I did. I was very thoughtful about what I wanted, what I wanted my image to be, how I wanted to approach it. Because as a stylist, you're in stores all the time. So you know what? There's not make sense.
Michelle: What? Tell everybody what lines you had, because I've kind of forgotten, but I just remember I adored shopping. I couldn't afford.
Jeannine: It. So yeah, when I first opened I had like I was visiting the UK a lot, so I had like Bella Freud who was she had worked under Vivienne Westwood at the time, so she was like a new designer. I had got, Oh God, I opened with William B, so who was my boyfriend? But he made clothes. But we didn't work together then. But so like nobody really had women's Williams women's wear. So that was kind of a cool thing. God, I don't even remember, Michel. And not so many, like. And I'm trying to think who else I might have had. I had UK designers a lot because I felt like there weren't U.K. designers in L.A. and what I wanted to bring was at those times I would like devour magazines and and mostly found style on pop stars. You found out it wasn't even celebrity yet. Michelle So that happened while I was there, but my focus was always music, but and models were kind of the celebrities for a while back then.
Michelle: Yeah, I was. I say what I was going to say. What year is this? The nineties.
Jeannine: Yeah. Nineties. I mean I opened flair in 92. I know. So scary, but it was great. It was just like everything just kept getting. More exciting. Fashion started being more important. The challenging thing that I that I found was because you are a store in L.A. and the whole epicenter was really New York East Coast. There was a little bit and I say this with the kindest words, was a little bit snobby towards the West Coast, like we didn't have any fashion cred. Nobody got LA, nobody got at that. Michelle the beach like nobody got that culture so much. And I don't know about you, but I feel like we had to, like, prod ahead. Even if you had an L.A. store and you were a multi line store, you just had to, like, say, like, this is my jam, this is what I see. And then you could start seeing how things started kind of shifting. Yeah, like, kind of like how they're shifting now. They are shifting them. But it was exciting because you could start seeing I could tell, sorry, I'm going on long sentence, but I could tell because the celebrity culture started ramping up. Yeah. And, and I was still styling. I remember I was working as a stylist still. So I get out of my store, not pay myself. I was just going to.
Michelle: Say you were doing.
Jeannine: Both. So I pay myself for stuff by styling so I could keep turning my inventory around and putting it back into my store. You know you have to do that.
Michelle: Yeah, I don't remember getting paid still. It's you know, it's funny because there's so much I don't remember there. I mean, it was such an amazing time. I mean, you and I talked about this like I ma I feel like my best traits as a retailer came out between or developed between Fred Segal and Anthropologie. Fred for the customer service aspect of of like that true hand-to-mouth spoon feeding customers and you know, I, you know, I still say it now because everyone's like Amazon is taking over the world. It's like, no, not if you have excellent customer service and you you are in touch with their customers and you're on the phone with them. Or back then it was like, you know, we had everyone in their brothers phone numbers and it was like, hi.
Jeannine: So my gosh, everybody's and if you didn't have their number, you'd have their assistants and there was not texting. No. So. Yeah. It was a lot of word of mouth to like, oh, my God, do you hear? The Chloe bag came in and then all of a sudden you'd have this herd of people like, yeah, it was super like. It was way more organic and way more connected. Yeah, way more into community. Which when I say a community, I know our community now via social media is so global, which is very cool to it is cool. And so I don't like hearken myself and go, Oh, I missed those days, but they were special days. That probably will never happen again. And that's what's cool. Like E.
Michelle: Really? I was like, you know, it's such we were so lucky to have such intimate relationships. I mean, like one of the guys that worked for me babysat for Tom Hanks. I mean, it was just like there's, you know, unfortunately, that was my demise, is as 27 year old, you get so wrapped up in like the celebrity and like, oh, my gosh, and you get all puffed up and ego for me, ego and like, oh, look at me. And I mean, I unfortunately went went down the deep road of, of ego, but it was just such an amazing.
Jeannine: Thank you did. But that's okay.
Michelle: I was so I said this in the solo cast like I was such an asshole. Like I will be the first person to admit like I and I'm really now when I step back and I look at it, I honest to God, I'm super grateful for that experience because, I mean, I went through bankruptcy. I didn't just close quietly. I mean, it was.
Michelle: It was a thing and and I'm glad that I had that because the humility of going through that, like, I'll never act like that again no matter what I come into. But it was I mean, I was 27. I mean, I.
Jeannine: I and everything you'll never do again. Like, I can't, I want to be diplomatic. I just there's a lot of things that I would not probably ever do again with Elise and.
Jeannine: Right. Yeah.
Michelle: Lessons, lesson. But it was I mean, I am so grateful for that whole experience. Like there's not, there's no other better education that I could have asked for.
Jeannine: As far as like it was such a small, like chosen group of people, even the Melrose store like John. And then Jackie came from Melrose and like, like the whole like it was like it can't happen again. Like that. Like, no, which is cool. Like because now there's a new Fred Segal, which I haven't been in.
Michelle: I haven't either. And I, I have to say, it just doesn't, it doesn't feel the same. I mean, from I've been at the airport one that's definitely why it.
Jeannine: Doesn't feel like jellybeans or something.
Michelle: It just I don't know. I mean, I think part of what made that store, what is because all the buyers and the owners of these story stores had such incredible.
Michelle: That these.
Jeannine: Personalities they really like were themselves. You know, it was like this group of people that just made it, like, special, you know what I mean? Like, maybe a band, your favorite band. But we were just like a big band. Yeah.
Michelle: That's a great analogy. Yeah. When did you what year did you close your stores? Did you were you there till the end when the building was sold?
Jeannine: I was I closed in oh nine.
Michelle: And then where did you go from there?
Jeannine: And then I was like, I had simultaneously I had opened a store in the Brentwood Country Mart.
Michelle: That's right.
Jeannine: I just store in the country Mart for a while and then soon it was my time to leave retail. Yeah.
Michelle: I you know, it's your career path though. I mean, what you've taken from having retail spaces, you've continued on with styling and then you created this insane line spur that I feel like is kind of a love letter to California and the skate culture and the surf, I mean.
Jeannine: Yeah, it is. Because and Michelle, what's funny is that it is a it is a love letter to LA and sometimes there's little, there's winks that are super obvious and sometimes the winks aren't as obvious. But what it always is is like, especially because I haven't been able to travel and usually like I start being inspired by something I saw in Tumblrs together. But everything has been about somewhere and I don't limit it to LA, but like when we like I had one season where I was in Joshua Tree, I have one season because I'd like to say Beach to the Boulevard because as I feel like my experience is, I grew up west side by the beach, like skate, not even skate, but I mean they were certainly all in our peripheral but growing up in that and then all of a sudden you get you want to run to Hollywood, you want to get away as far as you can from the beach and go into at least I did. I went like full on the other way. I moved east and when it had fun in the nightlife and you know, so but that's all in our city. It's all here. You can do that. So you can go from beach to Boulevard, beach to Boulevard. So I just try to have that ethos where you're like, you can be casual and down low, which has always been what we came from, from Fred Segal anyways. Yeah, we wore jeans to work a lot. You know, it was okay for us to wear flip flops, you know, it was, you know.
Michelle: What I live in. Maybe I just your style. One thing to go back to Fred Segal, I will say this your style. I still remember like you in these like torn up like 501's and these insane super pointy mules with these gorgeous, like cresting like like the rhinestones, but like really big chunky rhinestones. And so, like, it's some fabulous t shirt and it was so effortless and it was so chic. And it was I mean, you were just like you and pass to me were always just like.
Michelle: It was so casual and so easy and so just natural, like, just pulled together. I still but that that look is still what I see you as.
Jeannine: I think probably you see that in my collection or in my clothing collection. I mean, I try and convey that a lot. You know, like when I started, Le Superbe. It was a stylist closet or a stylist rack. So it didn't have to be like, I know you remember this. You go into collections and then they have everything in blue, everything in red, and then like 5 million ways to wear one print. Yeah. And we try and pick it out like the it piece. So like. This is what I kind of feel. And now that we're talking like even how I bought that for Flair or from my retail stores, I always bought as a stylist like I wanted. I mean, it probably drove the reps crazy.
Michelle: That's what made it so brilliant because it was it was.
Jeannine: I wasn't.
Michelle: Scared to.
Jeannine: Do that. Like, I'd say, your jacket's the star and the reps would hate it because it would be the whole collection. But then I would put that with the star pant and somehow these designers would start living together in the same room you did. I would have friends, comics.
Michelle: I mean, it was such a great mix, but it's also because you cherry picked it and it's very much still how I buy. Not so much for apparel because I live in the land of cash and carry now, but certainly for when I'm curating gift collections, I will cherry pick. And it does make the reps crazy because it's like.
Jeannine: It makes them crazy.
Michelle: They want the whole thing. It's like, No, I want these pieces because this is what I feel like are the strongest pieces for you.
Michelle: And you did that perfectly with and that's a really good analogy because it was so well curated and shared and it all, it all flowed together, much like you're saying as a stylist. I think that's literally like.
Jeannine: Yeah, like I remember I just wanted to be able to, I remember, you know, because styling is not always easy and it's hard and it's a schlep. And I remember just going at one time I had this like epiphany where I'm like, You know what? I just want to make a place where the stylist can go to me, like I'll work with the stylists. So, I mean, I just tried to find like the star pieces.
Michelle: I still.
Michelle: Still have one piece from you, and it's so dumb, but it's still like my favorite thing is the and.
Jeannine: Everybody has tells me a story.
Michelle: The Anna Henmark the on.
Jeannine: Anya Hindmark
Michelle: Anya Henmark, I'm not a
Jeannine: I'm not a plastic bag
Michelle: I have I I'm not kidding you. I'll pull that out of nowhere sometimes I don't even know where, but I'll pull it out.
Jeannine: On my door right now.
Michelle: Japanese come up to me every single flea market and every single farmer's market. Where did you get that bag? Can I buy that bag? I'm like.
Jeannine: Got to have, like, about six of them in a box.
Michelle: I need another one if you if you want to part with one. I'm so beat down, it's like it has stains on the bottom. I mean, it's, I mean, okay, this is like 20 years ago, more than 20 years ago. That's how old it is.
Jeannine: Remember the like that was the whole start of like the sustainable and all that. And do you remember I did the collab with Anya. I was her LA partner and we had lines. Do you remember that line that went out of our store? No. My God. People lined up forever for that.
Michelle: That, that I mean, that's that literally to me is the epitome of fashion during that time. It's like the nineties.
Jeannine: How much hype it was?
Michelle: Nothing. There's nothing like that. And it was so exciting. And people lined up for stuff and stuff sold out like in a day. I mean, those days are.
Michelle: But that your collection now I mean what I love is the mix that you're doing because you'll do did that sequence skirt last season and I was dying over it and but you pair it with like a t shirt one of your t shirts and.
Jeannine: I think you're funky.
Michelle: Sweater. So, so tell.
Jeannine: Me what I'm obsessed with.
Michelle: Tell me your if you have to explain. Well, first, like not to not to let me go back tell me about how Le Superbe came to be because you were one of the founders. You have a.
Jeannine: Couple of partners. Yeah, I was one of the one of the founders. I was. What was I mean? I had always spoken to Betsy Eisenberg. She has the show room 1011. We had always gone back and forth and she'd always said, Janine, if you ever want to do something, I was like, I don't want to do it. I don't want to do anything. You have to remember, I lived with William forever, who had a line. So you're just like, No, I'm going to stick with retail and styling. And then, you know, I'm obsessed. I'm always reading and everything. And I started seeing everybody, especially European designers, were doing. California and they weren't doing it. How it really could be done. Like it wasn't real. It was like an interpretation which fashion always is and nothing wrong with that. But I was like, I could totally do this. And so I was talking to her and she goes, Well, can you put something together? And like two months. And William and I went to William. Now, William's my ex husband now, and, and I asked him if he could do it, and he said, yeah. And so we just kind of rolled the dice, you know, almost like how you open a store and Fred Segal.
Michelle: Seems to work for us.
Jeannine: Yeah, I just. You just say yes. Yep. Yeah. You just say yes. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But it was pretty cool. What happened was that Betsey took it to New York, so we went straight out, like we started in November, and then it went to a fall market in February. So November, December, like three months, barely. You know how hard it is to do that. Yeah. And she she took it to New York quietly. And, you know, I had on my sequins and this. And then she said, everybody started going, What's this? What's this? It was funny because she would say, you know, Janine, William. And then they're like, are they back together? And we're like, no, that's we're they're consciously uncoupled. They're definitely not back together, which I love.
Michelle: That you guys are still so tight. That's so coming from being from being a divorced person. That is.
Jeannine: So. Yeah. So anyway, that that's really, it really is how it started. And then we just kept going, you know, I can and I can honestly say I could see sometimes when we're doing the collection like. Like I saw, I noticed like my collection last holiday, which is one of my favorites. I shot it at the iconic Bradbury Building, a shell I shot that I was able to get into the Bradbury Building, and nobody had been in the building for two years. It was boarded up. Wow. I did the shoot. That's where they did Blade Runner. Yeah. So when I did that shoot, I had the whole building to myself. Oh, my God. And it was like. And I had and I had casted these two twins, and my theme was all about Roaring Twenties. Like, I didn't know crime was going to be here, but but I was super hopeful and exciting and opulent, and it was cool and it wasn't necessarily so scary looking. But if you looked at it, I had lots of wings, another side of me, which was I love astrology, I love anything that's kind of mystical and the universe. And I just I packed it in with that. So at first. It, you would maybe look at it and go, that doesn't quite look like. Surf Beach Skate. But it was it wasn't. But it was most certainly like such a big element of what I love. It's out there. I styled it still.
Michelle: But even with those elements, it still has. Like you said that week and I don't know, was it last season that you did the pants where the pocket.
Jeannine: Was like.
Michelle: Total old op style like the square pocket with the was that.
Jeannine: We still do that actually that's one of our best sellers that we do all this army tool that we do, we make it all in LA, we wash it, do everything here. And those art. That's very that's funny that you say that because I wasn't really referencing ops, but you're right there. Cut off cargoes like we started with our cargo tunnels that are at ICOM Casbah, you know, and I named them after the Clash because the Clash always wear their rock, the cast bother wearing all the you know, I have a lot of references to music to.
Michelle: Which I love.
Jeannine: And they were wearing those and the Casbah. And then for spring we're like, let's just cut them off. So we just cut them off and like did really cool colors and like so we try to keep that as our foundation, you know what I mean? That kind of casual. It might be a special color. It might be, you know, we're not denim. Yeah, but I. I do have this denim that's just, I think going to go off right now. I just put up on Instagram. It's a vintage Jean that we put syrupy trim on it and.
Michelle: Oh, I did, I saw that. That is it.
Jeannine: Got it. I can't believe it. It's probably going to ship in a week and everybody's like on it. And I was like, For the first time in a long time, I was like, Oh my God. This feels like how it used to feel when you could start feeling something. Rumbling Yeah. That was and it will be limited edition. So get it now or don't.
Michelle: It's the sarape cuff, right?
Jeannine: Uh huh.
Michelle: So good. Yeah, I saw that this.
Jeannine: Morning and then. But I put it on it to this really cool Indian trim with mirrors on the bottom. So she's, you know, this it's fun. It's like, I don't think the world needs another pair of jeans from me. Yeah, you know, unless I collab with somebody. And it was like. Like I'd have to call out with, like, a Levi's or something for me to love it. Yeah, I think. But we made these, like, Williams, like at the wash house. Like, we're like. Doing wear and tear and a lot.
Michelle: So tell me about because you just wrapped up fall. Correct. What's fall feel like for you for this.
Jeannine: Fall for me? I did fall. I like first of all, you know, you're always looking like, what's my story? Where is my person going? What is she doing? And back in October, I actually had the opportunity to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I dressed Belinda. So Belinda came to me and she was like, I want would you dress me? And I'll lay superb. And then I'm like, Duh. Like, of course. Like, like, I'm so excited to. So we started meeting like a few months before and she was looking at my fall 21 and holiday collection and we found perfect pieces. So as they started coming in, of course, I tailored them more for her because she's performing. So you have to do some things to make them more comfortable. But so I got we just kept meeting every time she would fly in. And then we went to then we went to Rock Hall of Fame in Ohio. So that's the first time I've traveled in two years.
Michelle: Oh, my God.
Jeannine: Like, I mean, maybe I traveled once to the East Coast, but really not since. And you start, like, going, like what? Where is my girl going? And what was really cool is we got the opportunity to go into the Rock Hall of Fame Museum, and they had all, you know, everybody that's ever been in there that's gotten into the Rock Roll Hall of Fame. A lot of them have their own little like like their own little. What do I want to display? Which you would appreciate. So we're there. And like I was wandering around, I got lost in there for a while and I was just noticing, like I got into the Elvis section and Elvis always wore these cool jackets when he started. And some of them were like encrusted and some of them were leopard, some of them were pink. But as I went through there, like, you'd see all these classic American styles, like I was like rock and roll kind of has great American styles, meaning I did one jacket that looks like an Army jacket that Jimi Hendrix wore, but it was military and it's embellished. But then you go down the ways and you see the Beatles have they're embellished because they did Sgt Pepper's and. The leopard. No, it's it's all similar bodies. So I started being super inspired by that. And I told my story kind of through music. And then I. And then I interpreted it in my shoot. Like one of my friends. She works at a studio and she lent me tons of vintage amps. So we did the shoot with just amps. I wasn't always so literal with a guitar, although Nick Egan, my friend and a video director that I used to work with on music videos, he came and he shot it. So? So like a music video. Wow.
Jeannine: Yeah. I'll send it to you after her. I just got it yesterday. So it's a rough, but it. Oh, my God. He put it into the Velvet Underground and it's really cool. Like it. It made sense. And the pieces for me for Fall, I felt like people needed things that they might want to wear a couple of times. I wanted things that were wearable that you had. You could wear them a second time or a third, you know what I mean? Because sometimes something so special to super identifiable and then you're limited when you're going to wear it on repeat. Yeah, I just thought about that for now. It felt like how the times were like and in no way bad times. I'm saying like classics like that. You want to just put together for your personal style so you could take my jacket and shirt with your own jeans, or you can take my military jacket and wear it with your high waisted trousers, like and.
Michelle: I can't I love I love how you came with the inspiration because, you know, I always ask people like, where do you find inspiration? Because for me, it's like we go back to old school magazines like stacks and stacks of magazines and and for gift and home fashion, it starts at fashion and then it trickles down to gift and home a couple of years later, like the whole indigo thing that was so big years ago. And fashion is still popping up, but it's now it's in home and in tabletop and pillows.
Jeannine: And sometimes I think my favorite my other favorite thing is street fashion. I'm not saying street urban. I'm saying I love and I miss right now because I didn't go to New York. But I just love. Be seen on the street an individual, whereas I'm interested in personal style. Like I'm not too hung up on the designer. And that's what you'll notice that that's what you'll see. The chicist people, even on red carpet. Usually they have their own personal style. They'll take a risk. And it's I mean, although, you know, now it's so branded, now everything. Like when I was styling, I remember it was just starting. People were like kind of offering me like, if you dress so-and-so in this, we'll do this for you. And I started going, I started feeling quite rebellious, like, like I don't want somebody to kind of talk me into what I want to dress them for that. I mean, I know it was probably too integrity driven. I probably should have done it, but I did it.
Michelle: Now, that's what makes you kind of that little bit of rebel streak. And you I mean also it shows up in your bad.
Jeannine: I was like, you can't pay you me to put blah, blah, blah on her. You can't pay me. And if I loved it, I'm like, I'll put it on her and I'll make you guys shine like I like for nothing. Like I'll. I'll buy at retail. Yeah.
Jeannine: Where do you where else do you find inspiration. Because the street I know like when it's fashion week, I love seeing what everyone's wearing because some of it's so out. I mean I, I'm not fashion, you know, I wear leggings half the time because I have to schlep shit back.
Jeannine: And forth everybody else.
Michelle: But I love seeing in fashion, like after Fashion Week, seeing just the random people. And sometimes they're out there and sometimes it's like just so good. And it's, it's not. It's not off the runway right now.
Jeannine: It's different. It's funny, I just went to because we have Frieze this weekend and I went with a friend of mine to the Prada party that they had for Frieze that Genghis Cohen. And I went, I was like, honestly, like, I've not been in a crowd. I was like, Oh my God, this looks like there's so many people. Like, I was cool about it, but I'm just saying that everybody like it was interesting, everybody was a lot more casual, but with one blingy piece and their bling, this piece for usually they're Balenciaga tennis shoes, really like they all had tennis shoes. But I actually loved it. I took a lot of photos because I just thought a lot of it was youth culture. And there's I mean, a lot of the youth are spending a lot of money on designer clothes, but. I mean, I couldn't tell you what exact trend that I saw. More than anything was the tennis shoes, the bloated ones that are the things right now. But I did notice that everybody had a personal style, like everybody was in every direction.
Michelle: Like I just thought because I went to because I do magic and I'll do project. And one thing I was so fucking happy to see is like the departure or very little athleisure being shown and you know, the cash and carry level and the contemporary. It's like the tie dye thing. It was like, nice to see that kind of going away.
Jeannine: Not that tight, I think. But can I tell you, I took it to the next level. I did tie dye maybe for like. What? Like it was probably holiday and I ended up tie dye in cashmere. I put diamonds all over the cashmere, then I. I sent it to someone that does all the tie dye for Grateful Dead. And I have to, like, draw like I draw like I wanted a sun and I wanted a rainbow. And he'd be like, Yeah, I can do that. I'm like, okay, let's try and and like, I probably drove him nuts, but it took a couple of times and we got it and it turned out so cool. And, and then he actually came back to me and he goes, You know, Janine, you are one of the people that challenged me the most. Nobody's ever challenged me to do that. Nobody's ever told me to do it on cashmere. But it was really cool because Katy Perry saw it and contacted me and she wanted to do tie dye. And I thought, That's so cool. Like, I like you never know what happens. Like I, I didn't make a lot of them. They were all each had tie dyed. Whoever gets those.
Michelle: Sweaters, how many how many went on to production?
Jeannine: Maybe 100. Wow.
Michelle: That's like those are true collector pieces.
Jeannine: Yeah. I mean, I don't know if you could have handled any more anyways. You know.
Michelle: Something that detailed. No, I can't imagine.
Jeannine: I mean.
Michelle: How did you find the guy that does the the tie dye for the Grateful Dead?
Jeannine: Oh, because another friend of mine, he has a he works for and he's a creative director for a company that does house music and events. So he was having them do their t shirts but for raves. Oh, my God, that's great.
Michelle: It's I mean, it's it was so unfortunately at the cash and carry level, it was it was every which way from Sunday. And it was like, you know, the first couple of years it was like, oh, I love this. And then last I guess it was July Magic. It was like everywhere to the point where I'm like, Oh, my God. Like, I don't know if I can handle it. And it's like it's not like cashmere at that level. It's cashmere cash and care level. And when it's like everywhere, I mean, it is everywhere.
Jeannine: When you're saying you're referring to tie dye. Yes.
Michelle: It's it was nice because now that I just got back, it was nice to kind of see it somewhat take the back seat and have florals come back. And nice to see dresses come back and get out of everyone wearing sweats because at the cash and carry level, that's all. I mean, it's what everyone wore anyway.
Jeannine: Say cash and carry. Maybe your audience doesn't always know this. I know they're all retailers. Cash and carry. What is that now? I was never in the fashion business. I don't cash and carry. Hilarious. Hi. I'm not the Santa Monica airport or Rose Bowl.
Michelle: Cash and carry is a well, it's Korean.
Jeannine: For right they're.
Michelle: Free and fast fashion so you can go down to the showrooms and see the line and instead of writing out projected delivery Windows 5/1, 5/15. You're right. You're like, I'll just take six, six, six you can you.
Jeannine: Basically clothes or is it candles.
Michelle: And it's it's all apparel, all accessories. So there's there's a place downtown called Joya and it's like a three story basically department store of all fast fashion accessories. And it's like.
Jeannine: Will you take me?.
Michelle: Yes, you would love it. I mean, it is super inspiring because it's nuts, because it's every it's all knocked off. But it's like, you know, these crazy Gucci inspired headbands with beads or all the rhinestones for $4 for. I mean, it's insane, but it's all fast fashion and it's all I'm.
Jeannine: Just curious to see that I don't even think I've ever seen that. It sounds like Santee Alley.
Michelle: It's like Santee Alley is retail now. So it's Santee Alley like on steroids. But it's 90, I want to say, 80% Korean. So it's it's and it's all I mean, it's all fast fashion. It's all of the moment. It's all like.
Jeannine: Cash and carry wholesale. And you have a wholesale.
Michelle: It's all wholesale. They don't have retail. I think sometimes on Saturdays you can go down and buy, but it's all wholesale and it's like and it, it sits, to be honest, it sits really well with contemporary lines and better upper lines that you know, that you have a higher profit margin. It's just you've got to be really careful with fabrication. Some of the fabrics are fabulous. Some of them.
Jeannine: Feel super.
Michelle: Cheap and synthetic. But, you know, the drape and pending on the weight of the fat. But it's it's a whole 'nother world, but it's definitely like that's cash and carry.
Jeannine: Well, okay. Well, I didn't know because I know like you go a lot to the gift shows and cash and carry as I recall, because I have done gift buying. But it was.
Michelle: It was cash and carry section there as well.
Jeannine: Yeah. Or I'll say you pick it out and they give you the order code in like a day or two after the show's over.
Michelle: It's pretty much the same thing. It just it's a whole over the lot. I mean, it had a huge boom, I want to say ten years ago like that, that area, it's like town and Santee or town, San Pedro that it's like maybe Three Mile Square.
Jeannine: Our studios on Los Angeles between seventh and eighth.
Michelle: Okay. So it's right. It's like further over towards like maple. Maple. Yeah.
Jeannine: No, no, no. The opposite.
Michelle: Maples fashion district. So it's further past or flower district. So it's further past. But it was at one point it was such a big thing that the like it was crazy busy. You couldn't even find a parking spot. And it's pre-pandemic, it had already started falling off. And so you'd see people and but it's there's still it's still there, but it's just nice to see it from everything being joggers and t shirts and sweats to finally like dresses and patterns again and not tie dye pattern. Because at that level, at that level and that price point level, it starts it's like it's not just at one or two places. It's not like special. It's everywhere.
Jeannine: Like everywhere. Right, right.
Michelle: So what you have two, how many partners are in Le superb.
Jeannine: We there's four of us.
Michelle: And you and William are the two main design.
Jeannine: William and I are in the studio every day. Betsy, you know, she has her showroom and she's East Coast, West Coast, so she's pretty busy, but she works with us a lot. And then our other partner, his name is Russell and he was one of the he started Fabletics but he's yeah so everybody like our deck right now because we're going to start we're starting to look for investors in the company we on our deck it says for friends and 120 years worth of experience or something on it. And it's pretty funny because we've all known each other ins and outs of our career and so we each bring something different to it with our experience. Yeah. So it's quite actually unique.
Michelle: I don't I mean, I don't know. I don't know very many lines that.
Michelle: That that caliber of partners that have that many years experience in the industry.
Jeannine: Yeah. So definitely. And everybody, it's just been it's just definitely been where we have been like resilient going to keep going. But it's gotten pretty. I'm sure you've experienced like the whole supply chain. Like, like you make your fabric and your fabric, you're waiting for your fabric and then where your fabric and like everything's taken about two or three weeks longer than it should. Does that make sense? Has it?
Michelle: Has it I mean, it's way longer than that for us.
Jeannine: But I heard some people are out six months. If they they put it on a ship and on a boat or a.
Michelle: Ship, it's so like there's for gift. It's different because, you know, they it's all it's all produced out of China. So they we write it in July and then say, July, I'm writing for holiday. So for whatever, ten, 15 deliveries. And I think for one of my manufacturers, which is one of the biggest groups we buy from from tabletop to baby to I mean, they do every division. I think I got four items, a butter dish, I got dish towels, I got some sponges and some and a baby taco onee onesie.
Jeannine: That's all I got from your buy.
Michelle: From the from my po that had probably 40 items on it. Those are the four items I received.
Jeannine: So who are you buying for? Do you have a do you have a brick and mortar store?
Michelle: So I as a this is hilarious that now I'm answering questions. I, I, I'm a retail consultant, so I work with retailers in helping them open stores or they can't understand they're for traffic or they're too overbought and they can't figure out how to curate collections that are cohesive as opposed to going to the show. I like it all and they buy it all and they get to the store and it's like a garage sale. I work with people on opening, creating an opening store. So there's a store called Rock Paradise that they are a wholesale crystal people. You would freak out because you love.
Jeannine: Where's that.
Michelle: It's in Canoga Park. It's across from Follow Your Heart.
Jeannine: Like some of these times.
Michelle: I will go on a road trip because 5000 square feet and it is their wholesaler so they they can get anything in any volume. And I got the opportunity to design the store, create and design all the fixtures, merchandise, lay it all out so it's like my baby. But so I'll do that for people. I have a possible project in Panama, which is. So I actually tried to reach out to Pascal because I don't know if I can do it, but it's she's opening a multi luxury brand store. They she owns franchises like she owns Valencia's and other they have other stores. It's a family owned business. They brought me in to help floorplan because when you buy a franchise, they give you all the specs so that you don't need to know how to do it. So I do something like that. And then for the buying I work with like this, there's a five star pharmacy on there, buyers. So we do the shows and we sell apparel. Apparel is like the number one thing and a pharmacy.
Jeannine: in a pharmacy?
Michelle: It's crazy, but it's, you know, it's, it's they're not there. $40 is like the magic price point. It's like you're walking through the pharmacy and like, that's a cute t shirt and that's a cute skirt. I'll take both. And it's instant gratification. You don't really need to think about like, do I hide it from my husband in the trunk or I mean.
Jeannine: I'm like.
Michelle: There's, there's no fitting room. So it's really instant gratification. So and then my other part of my business is I do design and merchandising for wholesale showrooms, for gifts, not for apparel, but so I vacillate between both worlds. But because of that, like because the pharmacy do so much, does so much apparel and it's all in that inexpensive, fast fashion.
Jeannine: Cash is really fun.
Michelle: Probably it's what I love is that I have the chance because at Fred's when I had my store, so I had a women's store, and then I had the men's store that had all the skate lines like Stussy and Quick and spots bought. And then I took over that home store, so I had gift and home. And now I feel like honestly, I feel like I do. I have my hands in everything I had my hands in before. Yeah, it's nice because I'm I'm not in the same store every day. I mean, that's why I ended up leaving Anthropologie because I was in. Keep reinventing the same four walls and be more like I just couldn't creatively go in. I felt like I couldn't go any further where I was. So now I have a chance to create it for other people. Do bring to the table what I did at Fred Segal and bring to the table what I did Anthropology.
Jeannine: And that's kind of what I do now.
Michelle: It's it's like literally ADD job. I mean, it's, you know.
Michelle: OCD, A.D.D.. I mean, it's like thank God, but it's definitely it's helped. So I ask everybody, the last two questions I ask everybody are one is where do you see yourself and le superbe in ten years?
Jeannine: Ten years?
Michelle: It's a long time.
Jeannine: Ten years. That's a long time. Well, hopefully. Hopefully like there'll be a new guard that maybe takes it over and maybe by then I'll have shoes dying to do. Lingerie or bra and panties design to do. I've been dying to do, like, a candle, like. There's a sense at home. There's a couple of things I want to do and home, but they're very specific. Yeah, exactly what I want to do. And hopefully, like I'm in Bali or something. Yeah. I mean, I don't know. I mean, I'd like to be chilling at a gorgeous beach without a mask on. Thank you.
Michelle: Yeah, actually, I'm going to ask you one more question, because you.
Michelle: Because you are so busy and because you have a lot of balls in the air. How and where do you find balance?
Jeannine: My God, I'm looking for a look at my Instagram. And I was like, okay, how do I have balance? How? I often don't have balance, but I find like if you can find like some form of like and I don't want to sound woo woo, but some form of it's either like a meditation practice or a yoga, or if it's walking something that I stop for a second because I've literally been I feel like eating, breathing, living, fashion, and I love it. So I'm lucky. But. But definitely like. I. For me, just to get that, like, to travel would be probably the most. Would be my probably the best way for me to find balance. And I haven't been able to travel as I've discussed with you. So I'm probably a little unbalanced right now, but I think everybody is. But that's how I do. I just kind of have to shut off. I've been really trying to make more time socially. I love going to see concerts that feels balanced to me, you know? Live music. Yeah. Museums balance. Not just something that takes me away from what I do every day. How about you?
Michelle: You know, I like you. I feel extremely unbalanced, especially coming out of like I feel like, honestly, the last six months my business grew like 20%. And while I was prepared for it, I wasn't. I just and because there's no we were supposed to go to Costa Rica for our one year anniversary and then it goes.
Jeannine: So bad to.
Michelle: The pandemic happen. And then we were supposed to do it again this year they reopened. It was like, fine, or I'm buying our ticket or going. And then bristol farms decided they want to do their holiday starting actually on our anniversary. 10/19 it was like, I think they.
Jeannine: Put that in and.
Michelle: Really we're setting up Christmas. So so it got cancelled. We haven't we haven't done anything in because I've just the podcast has been now a big focus. Like now it's like really something before it was like, oh, we're going to record and you know, you can at least said when I signed on for this, it was like, Oh, sure, I'll do it. And never did I realize it was going to be actual job. And, you know.
Michelle: I mean, it's it's the reception has been insane. I'm I'm I'm constantly blown away from it. And I'm getting more and more daring about asking people. Like, I walked up to one of the speakers at Magic and I'm like, Hi, I'm Michelle. I'm Michelle Sherrier. I have The Retail Whore Podcast I'd love to interview. And she goes, I know who you are. And I was like, Whoa, like, that's awesome. But I, you know, in a past life, I wouldn't be so brazen, but I really want this and I can see the potential it has. But because of all that, I don't feel balanced like and I, I'm really bad about getting out. Like when you just said Get out and walk. I'm really trying to like, all right, I'm going to get. But I my day starts at like four in the morning. Four in the morning. I get up, I go, I'm on a job at six. And a lot of it is I spend so much time in a car driving.
Jeannine: So let's then have I have a question for you. How do you save your marriage? I'm just sorry.
Michelle: He think God is one. He works with me a lot. He's my contractor for a lot of my jobs. So he does my Atlanta jobs with me. He's in Vegas with me for. But he's the biggest balance for me because he'll go, okay, I'm going to be outside now. I'm going to start a fire. I know you need to do things. I'm not pushing you, but you know, I'll look out my window because I can see it and I can look out and see him out there, sitting out there reading. And I keep looking at my I'm putting it away. And I mean, he's really good about that. Like, he's definitely my balance. But it's I always ask people because I'm always want to know, like, how do you and more and more often people are like, I don't have balance. I don't. And that's like.
Jeannine: I think in our world you have to have this drive and you have to have this resiliency and you have to keep and sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. But if you. But you don't give up. Yeah. And that doesn't always. To give you balance, I think, because you're always like, okay, I could do this better. I can do this better.
Michelle: It's that hustle and that drive. I mean, it's, you know, I know from from my you know, from my failures. And I, I won't even say their failures. I would say failure is the best instructor. But from those things falling on my face and picking myself up again and like, all right, I'm going to just keep forging on. You learn. You take away the lessons that like don't do that again. Like note to self. Make sure you don't overextend.
Jeannine: It definitely feels like the wiggle room to make mistakes gets less and less that more. The more you hone in on your craft, it feels like there's less wiggle room to screw up. To me, at least right now.
Michelle: I think I feel like that, especially with my our age. I mean, like, I definitely feel like the wiggle room.
Jeannine: Of, like, okay. That's. Yeah.
Michelle: Here we go again. Like, let's do this. Like, this time.
Jeannine: Number four eight is a number. So it is like sometimes I'm so excited about something like a kid. I sometimes my staff is so young and I'm sometimes there are more fun than hanging out with my peers. Like it's more interesting to me sometimes. They're pop culture opposed to my pop culture.
Michelle: Well, you saw that you commented on that video of my on my personal Instagram. It's like I never get to have fun like that because I'm always by myself.
Jeannine: Oh, yeah, in the car. Yeah, I love that.
Michelle: So much fun to have fun. And I think for me, I guess where I need to find balance is like having fun, like laughing.
Jeannine: Finding fucking joy. Yeah, you're.
Michelle: Right. And I think being around younger, that energy is like, so much fun. And that's I mean, being around the two of them, like, they are like they're both like one's late twenties and one's thirties. It's like, I'm like 20 plus years old in them, but it was so much fun to be around that energy that and to laugh and to, like I.
Jeannine: Said, when my son told me it was for Christmas, you know, he's DJing. I've come home from work and like my walls are vibrating like that and I'm like, Oh my God, I love it. Like, like I'm like. I like it. If it's different because I come up when he goes to college, then everything's quiet. And I was like, I like the walls vibrating, like, it's okay.
Michelle: Well, I mean, so Fred, I still go by this and it's just what you said. Energy creates energy.
Jeannine: Totally. Yeah. So how bad day is Michelle? No bad days.
Michelle: Thank you so much for your time.
Jeannine: Asking me, Michelle, you're always so super supportive. You're definitely a girls girl.
Michelle: I know.
Jeannine: I recognize that. Thank you.
Michelle: I adore you. And it's like, I'm so proud of you. And it's like, I'm so honored to say you're my friend. And, like, the history that we have together is one of those things that I. I will never forget. So I'm super honored that you came on board, and it was, like, fun.
Jeannine: I guess so. I'll see you in ten years in Costa Rica or Bali.
Michelle: God, I hope so. Your lips to God's ears. I'll be wearing.
Jeannine: Underwear. Carrying a candle.
Michelle: Your lips to God's ears. And that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for joining me on today's episode. I really appreciate it. And be sure to tune in every Wednesday for more stories and lessons from a life in retail. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram at the retail whore podcast, and you can find us online at the retailwhorepodcast.com