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Meet Ami Hongo of L’Oeuf Poché in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ami Hongo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started my career in accounting, basically the polar opposite of the fashion world! I have always been fascinated by the fashion industry and was yearning for a creative outlet while working in the financial world. I knew breaking into the regular women’s wear market would be challenging as the market is so saturated, so I decided to target a niche market. Tennis is something I grew up with and enjoy, and saw an opportunity to introduce more stylish tennis wear. I believe tennis is the top sport where you can be sporty and feminine at the same time. I decided to combine my love of fashion and fitness and took a leap of faith and launched L’Oeuf Poché! From attending tradeshows to bringing samples to stores door to door, I really had to build customer by customer.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would like to meet an entrepreneur who has been on a smooth road from the get go! It definitely has not been for us either, and everything is trial and error in the beginning. This has cost us financially and has given me countless headaches. From finding reliable vendors to finding the right fabric, it all takes an exhausting amount of time and energy. Especially since I didn’t have much resource and connections in the fashion field, I had to learn all from my own research and experiences. Many buyers are reluctant to purchase from an unknown brand, so getting them to be open to us was difficult in the beginning as well. I’m still learning everyday and making mistakes along the way!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are mainly a women’s tennis wear brand with some general active wear. We have both a wholesale business and a retail business which is available through our website. We manufacture in L.A. and source many of our materials in the U.S. We also introduced a kids’ line last year which has been well received so we plan on expanding the kids’ collection.

I’m proud to see my products in stores that I oversaw entirely from the design process to the sales process. It’s an indescribable feeling to see a happy customer wearing your clothes! Since I’m mostly a one-woman show, I am completely hands on and can provide the best customer service possible. I am quick to respond to customers and can be very flexible unlike many larger businesses.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in Tokyo and moved to L.A. when I was 10. I grew up with core Japanese values including discipline and modesty (whether or not I practice it, you would have to ask my parents)! I remember being an easy going and curious child. I was not always assertive or the most confident, but I think I always had strong will. My appreciation for fashion was planted in me at a young age as my mother has always been stylish and introduced me to the joy of fashion.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Profile pic & kids’ images – Frankie Batista
All others – Mik Luxon

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