Today we’d like to introduce you to Samirah Jenks.
Samirah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a native Angelino and self-proclaimed Valley Girl, I knew that I didn’t want to stray too far from home after graduating high school. Having always had an admiration for the college freshman that lived the dorm life, I decided to attend The University of Redlands. One of the most beautiful campus’ only 100 miles east of Los Angeles making it close to home yet miles away for me to try to find myself while getting my degree in Liberal Arts.
Midway into my freshman year I began to realize that I was craving something more creative than what the university was offering. I decided to move back to my roots and rent an apartment in Sherman Oaks. Here I could be close to my cherished family, work and take some time to self reflect and figure out the next big move in my life journey.
I rented the coolest apartment I could afford at the time. It was my first place nestled walking distance to Ventura Boulevard’s great restaurants and shopping. I had known that the girl who rented the place before me had just graduated from college and moved away for work. One day I went to get the mail and shuffled between my first grown up bills and your typical junk mail was a serendipitous sign. It was a mailed diploma from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Here I was holding the previous renters fashion degree and at that moment I knew I wanted my own!
With a passionate love of fashion and the hundreds of mall hours to prove it, I called FIDM immediately and scheduled a tour. I fell in love with everything about the campus. The inspirational staff and the creative students wheeling around their wardrobe racks of amazing garment samples created a buzz and an environment where I knew I belonged. I enrolled to attend that fall and soon thereafter I graduated with a degree in Merchandise Marketing and set out to conquer the world.
With my diploma in my pocket I secured a job at Nordstrom where I climbed the ladder quickly and became one of their youngest department managers and top sales producers. I had dreams of advancing into their corporate level as a buyer; and I was on the fast track!
But fate had another plan for me. My now husband had run into an old friend who knew somebody who was looking for someone to partner with on the ground floor of a fashion company. It was a luxury men’s custom suit company that catered to professional athletes.
This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Designing one of a kind pieces, made from scratch, with the finest fabrics from Italy’s best mills. It was a dream for me. Textiles was my favorite class at FIDM and now I was applying my knowledge and passion together! This new company in a niche industry was love at first sight.
However finding clients for such special garments wasn’t easy. I continued to hustle and make it happen knowing that once people experienced my process and product they would love it. Through referrals and networking I continued gaining traction as word quickly spread that we were successfully creating ultra-custom, one of a kind, high-end garments with the fastest turnaround time in the industry. Even offering a 24-hour rush service!
My business within the NFL and NBA was booming and it was now time to expand my portfolio to include the MLB. I set out to land our very first baseball player and oh how I hit a home run! Timing can be everything and on a spring day in downtown LA I had a fate encounter with none other than Barry Bonds. He was in town playing his rival Dodgers and I convinced him to let me design an outfit for him right on the spot. If he liked it he would give me a shot. No pressure right!? A World Series opportunity and I was up to bat with the game on the line . . . Grand Slam!
I continued to design and style Barry’s wardrobes for the remainder of his career. Barry became an excellent mentor and as he likes to boast “my best client…”
Two decades later, I pride myself as a top designer and stylist. The clothes I design are one of a kind and so are my clients. I’ve built lifelong relationships with my clients and their families over the years. I design garments for their most special moments. From the day my client is drafted to his first team, to the day he is inducted into the hall of fame. From the red carpet to the resort, it is these moments and working with my clients that I love most.
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?
My clients live all over the country and I travel consistently throughout the year to keep up with them. With this brings its own set of challenges as I am a wife and a mother of 2 amazing kids. Finding balance as a working parent paired with heavy travel can be a challenge but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Getting to instill in my children work ethic, perseverance and grit is priceless.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Elevee story. Tell us more about the business.
Elevee’s headquarters and manufacturing facility is located right here in Los Angeles. Manufacturing local ensures that we have complete control over our quality and craftsmanship that has proven to be the cornerstone of our longevity and unprecedented reputation in the industry.
Elevee has since grown to be one of the largest manufacturers and producers of luxury handmade bespoke garments in the United States. While most bespoke men’s suits are produced overseas we take pride in being American made. Yes it comes at a much higher cost of doing business, but for us it’s a compromise we are not willing to take.
We have represented clients on every professional sports team in every genre of sport and over the years have expanded to the corporate world, celebrities and everyone in between.
It’s a very personal thing to design and shape someone’s brand and image via their clothing. One example being the custom embroidered suit I recently made for the NBA’s Donovan Mitchell. He was doing a collaboration with Adidas for the latest Spiderman release and needed something for the red carpet and Hollywood premier. On this night fans would first see the newest Spiderman film, the first look at Donovan’s newest sneaker, and of course he needed a very special outfit to compliment the event. I designed a hand-embroidered suit that would have the jacket decorated with his Spida Mitchell logo. Donovan looked and felt amazing in the creation I designed for him and his shoes popped perfectly!
There is a confidence that comes with feeling great about how you look. And my clients have said this confidence will directly translate to their performance on the field or court. When you look good, you feel good! And there is no better feeling than knowing I play a roll in this.
- Website: elevee.com
- Phone: 818 266-2090
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @sami_jenks