Today we’d like to introduce you to Leana Shayefar.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The Love Of Pilates Inspires A Sexy Phish Net Grip Sock design Sweeping The Nation Arebesk, a line of active wear socks where aesthetics meets functionality, has been a long journey in the making. A journey I never thought I would embark on once I got married and had kids. I was busy, I was exhausted and I felt I had lost a part of my identity because I no longer was able to afford the time to think, create and execute my plans and ideas. It’s a familiar trap many mothers fall into. I love being a mom, but I still held on to my dream of seeing my ideas and creations blossom into a successful business.
The inspiration for Arebesk came after I signed up for Pilates at Eden Sassoon Pilates. I had never worked out before and couldn’t even do two sit-ups. I made a deal with myself to commit to a week of Pilates. A week was enough. I was hooked. After a few more weeks, I noticed my mind and body felt stronger. I became more confident and gained a clearer perspective just by taking the time for self-care and reflection. One day during my work out, I looked down at my feet and thought how plain the grip socks looked and instantly had an idea for fish netting grip socks! I went home that night and cut up some fishnet pantyhose I owned and saw how sexy the material looked against cotton socks and right there Arebesk Phish Net grip socks was born.
Arebesk – originally spelled arabesque- is an homage to the first move I learned in Pilates, a sweeping of the leg backwards, a term used in dance. I was overwhelmed with excitement. I believed in the product instantly and knew what I had to do. With a lot of determination, hustling and hard work, Arebesk can now be found in almost 30 Pilates, Barre and Yoga studios across the USA and online retailers on multiple reorders. The best part of growing this brand is meeting so many amazing, supportive business owners and working mothers like myself who not only love the product but the story behind it.
Making it this far is a huge milestone for me. I moved to Los Angeles from a small town in upstate New York with just a few hand-made samples and big dreams of making it in the fashion industry. With no experience and no connections, I researched and worked for years in marketing, PR, event planning and retail and in between figured out how to start my own line of accessories. I pitched my line to many local stores and was told no many times before landing my first big purchase order from Charlotte Russe. But the fashion industry is a beast. The road to success was hard to navigate and the competition fierce. I had my fair share of rejections, disappointment and defeat but in hindsight, I learned a lot from those experiences.
It is really important to understand the market you are designing for. Because I understood the workout, I was able to create a sock that made sense. The silicone design under the sock has two large half circles on the ball and heel of the foot to help have better traction on the reformer or mat. I heard many women complaining that they lose their socks all the time and didn’t want to store dirty socks in their bag after a workout.
After a lot of research, I designed a carrying bag, included with each pair that can double as a wash bag to help resolve this problem. I got my first few orders from local studios like Eden Sassoon Pilates, owned by Eden Sassoon and Pilates Platinum owned by Heather Dorak. These two women gave me a chance and since then reorders have been coming in quick. This industry is tough and people can’t succeed without support from business owners so I am very grateful that they gave Arebesk a chance.
I feel that I’ve been given a great opportunity to give back to the community. Making sure homeless kids have the basic supplies they need to get the education they deserve is a charity close to my heart. Arebesk will donate a portion of proceeds to put together backpacks with school supplies for homeless kids in public schools.
The best feeling in the world for me is designing a product, seeing people wearing it and being able to give back.
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?
When I arrived in LA from upstate NY at the age of 19 I had big dreams and a few samples of some hair accessories in hand that I made. I taught myself how to navigate the fashion industry to get more samples done and where to get supplies for the next year. I had to learn the hard way by making a lot of mistakes. I walked the buildings day in and day out for a year until I figured out how to get things done.
I shopped my hair accessories around to local stores and sold to a few but my dreams were bigger. After a year of selling to small stores and hand making every order that came in I decided to call the headquarters of Charlotte Russe and by chance got a meeting with the buyer. It was then I got my first purchase order and went onto sell my designs and products to other big chains like Windsor who sold teen accessories as well. With my second line of tank tops, I also reached a certain level of success but doing everything myself and not having enough funds only limited my growth at the time.
I had to learn how to create quality products that were durable and affordable for the customer. I had to learn how to find manufacturers to create my designs then make sure the quality was good for my customer. I would say all the mistakes I made in the past was a stepping stone for what I have created today with Arebesk.
I was able to create a brand right from home while taking care of my kids and watch it grow in a few short months to over 40 studios across the USA with some good old hard work. I still had the drive to create after having my kids, so I knew I was not finished in this industry and now, my passion for designing is stronger than ever and I do this not for the money but for the love of seeing my designs on people and knowing that I can also give back to my community
Please tell us about Arebesk Inc…
Arebesk launched selling a unique fish netting grip sock called PHISH NET. We are the first to use a delicate fish netting material which gives our sock a sexy, universal design that pairs well all leggings and activewear people are wearing in studios today. Arebesk is known for our unique fish netting design, unique grippers and carrying bag which doubles as a wash bag (patent pending).
Arebesk has 2 half circle patches under the ball and heel of the foot to help with better traction and a lower case “a” adorned in rows on each side. Customers are raving that they are the best grippers they have ever seen and that is exactly what our goal was. We also include a patent pending carrying/wash bag with each pair which is exclusive to our company and really sets us apart from other companies. I personally take Pilates every day so I saw a need for people to store their dirty socks in a bag after their workout.
People also complained about losing socks in the wash so a lightbulb went off and the carrying/wash bag was born. I am most proud that I was able to take my past experiences and launch this line of grip socks while being an attentive mom and juggling the daily tasks that come along with being a mother and wife. I am even more proud that Arebesk was born from a true love of taking Pilates and that I was able to create a good quality, unique design and useful product for my customers. I want my customer to get the most for their money and that is exactly what I gave them.
I don’t like to think that Arebesk is competing with other companies because there is plenty of room in the market for many grip socks (people love to have variety) I just like to focus on doing my best for me and meeting my customer’s needs.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood was living in Albany, NY where my sisters and I were born and raised. The whole experience of being from a small town and just doing simple things are the best memories I have to date.
Running around out in the woods, playing in my tree house that I built myself with some wood from the lumber store and riding my bike would have to be the best memories I have.
- Retail: $18.00 each
Jose Landeros, Ethan Ingram, Lynn Millspaugh