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Meet Jim Lee of L I V D in Montebello

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Lee.

Jim, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My family has always been in the apparel industry. In the 90’s, my father worked in one of the top apparel manufacturers in Korea and his work took us to New York when I was about one and a half years old.

He ended up managing factories in Guatemala and Honduras and was always on business trips.

His work took us to Illinois briefly and in 2001 landed us in California.

Growing up, I didn’t want to be a part of fashion. In college, I decided I was going to become a physical therapist and was doing voluntary work and shadowing doctors.

But, once I graduated I was in debt and I didn’t want to go back to school, so I took a job at a bank. I worked my way to the top and was scouted by recruiters but then I realized I disliked what I was doing. My pops found out and asked me to try and help him run the design studio.

A couple years in, and I started to grow a passion for it. It was exciting and I was excited to be in the industry.

It’s funny, coming out of college I said no more schooling and threw away my career plan of becoming a physical therapist, but after working with my pops I knew I had to get more education. I needed more knowledge if I were to build my own brand.

After a couple of choices, I decided to go to school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). I worked during the day and at night I went to classes and studied.

I graduated in June 2017 Cum Laude with a degree in Merchandise and Marketing. So now, here I am. Focused on building a store catering to fashion forward plus-sizes.

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?
Oh no, definitely not.

You know, I want to grow the store to really offer fashion forward items to plus-size women. But the problem is I’m so limited to what I can offer.

The fashion industry has yet to understand the plus-size market is dying for pieces to wear. They want to make purchases, but not on ugly clothes!

I read a Tim Gunn article in the Washington Post about how the fashion industry was turning their backs on a market that was dying for fashionable clothes to wear.

I thought it would be an easy fix! Simple, just find nice plus-size manufacturers and merchandise from them!

If only, it was so easy. I have roamed the Los Angeles fashion districts for hours upon hours, days upon days. There is a lack of offerings for plus sizes.

I was able to find a handful of plus-size manufacturers, but even then, the manufacturers only offer sizes 1X-3X.

I got a little backlash from customers saying that the store didn’t carry their sizes even though it was supposed to be a plus-size only store.

I’m trying, so since my manufacturing capabilities are very limited, I did make some leggings from 0X-5X, but that’s only a couple offerings.

I’m really hoping the business can take off and the manufacturers can start realizing the plus-size market should really be focused on. That they need more sizes than 1X-3X.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with L I V D – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
L I V D is an e-commerce focusing on fashion forward pieces for plus-sizes.

At FIDM, I learned that the plus size market was dying for fashionable pieces to wear, but retail buyers tended to merchandise frumpy, ugly, or shapeless pieces for their stores.

So, I wanted to change that, because style has no size. And growing up as a “husky” kid, I know any boost of confidence whether it be from a compliment or the clothes you wear, is very much needed when body insecurities take over your life.

A lot of fashion forward companies have no offerings for plus-sizes, so I’m really hoping that I can offer that to the masses.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The plan is to continuously grow the brand!

Hopefully, we can get enough traction to convince manufacturers to offer more sizes, or if we really get enough funding we can start designing and manufacturing some items in-house. That would be the dream.

Pricing:

  • If you use the code “take20” you can take 20% off your purchase

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