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Meet Jackie Robbins of Jackie Robbins Leather Waves in Malibu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Robbins.

Jackie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started Leather Waves in 1975 and was one of the founding businesses in the Malibu Country Mart, built by the famous Los Angeles fashion retailer Fred Segal.

I opened my custom leather boutique with one pair of suede bell-bottomed pants, a patchwork saddle-bag styled purse, a sewing machine and a lot of enthusiasm.

As a young designer and manufacturer, I was completely open-minded and began building wonderful relationships with interested clientele who wanted to wear my designs.

Almost immediately I began meeting amazing individuals of celebrity status in the Malibu community who hired me to work for them creating my beautiful handmade leather clothing and accessories.

Personal integrity and customer satisfaction propelled me into my own ‘kind 0f celebrity status’ in the community and way beyond my doors, causing people to seek me out for my brand of fashion and craftsmanship.

I enjoyed a stunning career at the Malibu Country Mart in the same location for 30 years, and was, and still am, the longest standing business that ever opened at that location.

I closed the retail store in 2005 and built a studio on my own property in Malibu about a 15-minute drive from the original location.

I still see clients today, still am employed designing and making my custom leather goods for my revered clientele of over 40+ years including new faces that continue to seek me out for my quality workmanship.

Has it been a smooth road?
Business is always a challenge.

I use patience with the customer and a longtime practice of continued effort until satisfaction with the product is achieved. I never let anyone leave my studio until they are completely happy…this method explains why my clientele has stayed with me for almost 5 decades.

Remaining in the same location ‘forever’ is almost an impossibility. If a landlord does not value your business you will be pushed out by someone who will pay more.

The popularity of your product may wain and soar, but if the quality is exceptional and the design meets the client’s specifications you will have that client for life.

Having a returning customer is more valuable than finding new ones.

One must love the work they do, because you will deal with it daily. People are attracted to business owners that love doing their job.

Finding a way to be constant and dependable in business regardless to your own personal life struggles does add to one’s success.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I love it when a person walks into my boutique and is transported into the craftsman’s studio. The awe and interest that awakens in seeing the process, raw material and completed pieces creates excitement over the product.

At Leather Waves, the clients’ interests and desires are supreme. I design each piece around what I can learn about the person. We explore possibilities until we discover the gem.

The client chooses the skins and designs supported by my expertise. They are measured and the order is taken.

Two weeks later the client comes back and is fitted, and then returns for the finished product. Old school tailoring and finishing to satisfaction, a 4-6-week process.

Because my design work is customized, and my craftsmanship is highly experienced I believe this sets me apart from all other businesses in my genre.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The key component to creating a successful business is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.

I chose Malibu because I wanted to live here and was very lucky that it unfolded so well.

Malibu was and is perfect for me and my business product, I reach my targeted clientele and it’s beautiful and inspiring.

Most people will travel to see me because my business is unique.

The most damaging thing to startup businesses is high rents.

It would be wonderful if cities set aside space for small businesses with manageable rents where art could thrive.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jackie Robbins Fine Art Photography
Jeff Herrera

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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