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Hidden Gems: Meet Chris and Corrine Overend of eLAvate High Gear

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris and Corrine Overend. 

Chris and Corrine, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Our concept of the brand started over hiking and sushi. We used to run an Etsy shop where we shipped succulent wreaths all over the country- so this mother/daughter business was not a new idea to us. I (Corrine) had brought a few old sweatshirts along with me and asked my mom (Chris) to stitch an arrowhead on the sleeve. Kind of like- wear your heart on your sleeve, with the heart being an arrowhead. From the palm trees in Los Angeles to the pine trees in Lake Arrowhead, eLAvate was born over the love of being outside, enjoying fresh air at any eLAvation. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Has it been a smooth road? Let’s just say that the above-mentioned “arrowhead on the sleeve” was an immediate disaster and that same poor sleeve was our first and last. The idea was there, but it was time for the professionals. We sourced and met with an embroidery shop to make our vision come to life! As with any business you hit a bump or two initially- especially starting during a pandemic. Those “bumps” worked in our favor and just made us decide the direction we wanted to go. Just like HWY 18 has a lot of twists and turns- our first couple months did too. 

As you know, we’re big fans of eLAvate High Gear. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Everything you see in our shop is curated with a purpose. We partner with sisters, husband/wife teams and other small family businesses to design, mix and dream up mountain-inspired items. We look at them as friends helping us build this brand to bring you the best quality, unique and meaningful pieces. We have the Mena family that does all our embroidery/screen printing in LA- they’re first-generation Californians working hard to live the American Dream. The dad runs the shop, all the kids play a part- and they let me be involved in every step. I’ve spent hours at their shop learning the process of screen printing and picking out thread colors for our arrowhead. Our concrete match holders are hand mixed and poured by another family on their porch- and the money they make goes to their college fund. The “sisters” are the best- they do all our leatherwork and are always so willing to make our designs come to life! Then we’ve got a husband/wife team making our coasters, a great guy who mixes all our room sprays/home & bath provisions, and then a couple of different families who hand pour all of our candles. It’s important to us that we source vendors that become partners and friends. They’re an extension of us. 

What are we known for? Well, we would say our arrowhead logo is what people identify with most. Our designs are simple + classic. We want people to see our arrowhead and know it’s us without our name plastered all over it- kind of like Nike! It’s so fun to be shopping at Jensen’s or at the gas dock and see someone wearing one of our hats! We get text from friends all the time saying they ‘saw an arrowhead’ while running errands. We love that. 

What sets us apart? We are a community forward brand. The personal relationships with our customers, the new friendships we have made in our community, and our personal customer service we feel sets us apart. You will notice many of our products are named after local friends and customers. The first item we named was “the Marie hat”- a duck brown canvas hat with white arrowhead. It’s our #1 best-selling item! I (Corrine) am down in ‘the other LA’ most of the time- and the face behind the website/Instagram. My mom (Chris) gets the most face time with our customers. Sometimes she’ll go off the grid for a few hours making deliveries. When she surfaces, she tells me she was dropping off an order and next thing you know she’s helping them design their garden, has helped them source local tree/concrete/plumbing vendors, and has a walk lined up for next week. 

What are we most proud of brand-wise? The fact that we design all our own logos and pieces of art. My dad sketched the tower- which debuted on our 4th of July hoodies. It’s now on a keychain, notecards, and other clothing items- it’s been a huge hit. One of our customers, turned “mountain bestie” drew our rainbow tower. It launched as a fundraiser for Brain Aneurysm awareness and was so well received that we’ve kept it part of our permanent line. I (Corrine) designed our take on the arrowhead and designed the eLAvate logo. The LA is emphasized as a nod to each of our homebases- LA & LA. High Gear was my dad’s add-on- it refers to the famed section of the 18- ‘High Gear Road’ that made coming to the mountains more accessible for his family nearly a century ago. If you’ve got a design you want to see on a shirt, mug, or keychain… send it along. You never know- you may be part of the eLAvate family and have your design on our next mug or shirt! 

We offer local delivery on the mountain + ship any of the items on our website. Our welcome/thank you/congrats/bday baskets have become a huge hit. We get calls- sometimes day of, asking for a basket. We can create them for any occasion and any price point. We have a Website (www.eLAvateHighGear.com) and Instagram and offer shipping and personal delivery/meet-ups locally. We offer a personal touch and enjoy creating items for people to wear and share in the “Lake Arrowhead experience”. 

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck? This is hard…I don’t think it’s been “luck” but I think we are “lucky”…we had a dream, we’ve worked hard, made great friends, and had fun along the way. 

Pricing:

  • Embroidered arrowhead Hats $28
  • Hoodies $40-50
  • Leather Keychains $14-20
  • Candles $20
  • Mugs $15-20

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Chris and Corrine Overend

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