Today we’d like to introduce you to Lusine Mkrtchyan.
Lusine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I graduated from USC’s Marshall School of Business in 2000 and while in school, walking around campus, going to tailgates and games, I realized there was a lack of fashion forward, feminine and sporty pieces to wear and represent your school colors. Everything on campus was made boxy, fabric was not soft and the styles were very unflattering. I also noticed other girls on campus taking a men’s shirt and altering into a dress, a cute top or simply wearing their own clothing and adding a splash of color on game day. This is were the idea was born to start a licensed fashion forward apparel line and Simply Sporty was born in 2010. I first acquired the licensing rights from USC and soon after UCLA, Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Florida State and more. We also started retail partnerships with NBA and NHL teams and sold our clothing inside sports arenas. At the same time, we were approached by Gold’s Gym to develop a new line for their feminine selection and this is when we started Ayah, a private label fashion blanks line. We now help brands with product development, sourcing, manufacturing, design, sampling and patters, production management and more. Our clients range from young entrepreneurs to artists who have a creative passion and want to start their own clothing line to brands such as Gold’s Gym, Bodybuilding.com, Club Pilates and more who are looking for fashionable active wear.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Running your own business is never easy and there are always obstacles along the course. That’s actually what makes things exciting and fun because those struggles make you stronger. Most people are scared to do what they love because of fear of failure, competition, financials, etc. I think you should go after it no matter what. If you love something then, don’t let anything get in the way. Put everything you have into it and keep pushing.
Please tell us about Ayah.
I’m currently the owner of Ayah – www.shopayah.com as well as Simply Sporty. I oversee everything from design, creative, product development, domestic and overseas sourcing, samples and patterns, fitting, to manufacturing and production management. We specialize in private label fashion blanks, activewear, custom cut and sew, full package manufacturing, fashion consulting, production and more. We help you bring your creative genius to life. We are known for our soft touch fabrics, low minimums, fashionable silhouettes, all made in Los Angeles.
I’m proud of the fact that despite the economic challenges, we’ve created new opportunities, business partnerships and re-branded ourselves.
What sets me apart from others is me. My drive, passion, tenacity, resourcefulness, positive attitude and ability to create new products and make people happy wearing them.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
Instagram, Gary Vee’s blog/vlog, my friend’s in the industry, the MAGIC trade show and sourcing in particular
Activewear Collective trade show.
- Website: www.shopayah.com
- Phone: 818-381-6346
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @house_of_ayah
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ayahlosangeles/
Erik, Karsen, Amanda