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Meet Stephanie Kleinjan of SOCIALITE in DTLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Kleinjan.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
I graduated from the University of Southern California, and was set to attend law school.  After interning at the District Attorney’s office, my gut was telling me, law was not the right fit.

I grew up working at our local surf shop, and loved it.  So, I considered enrolling in design school.  A friend in Fashion PR suggested that I first try find a job in the industry.  She explained immersing myself in the industry, would help me decide if fashion was a career I wanted to pursue, while providing me hands on industry experience. Thanks to her wisdom, I sought a job in the industry, and soon learned how correct she was.  I started at the very bottom, gaining a truly immersive education. As my career evolved from piece goods assistant, to design assistant, to senior designer, so did the education.  I am beyond grateful for those early years, and to those who gave me the opportunity to grow in my design career.  As they provided me with invaluable experience and mentorship.

I always had the goal to be my own boss.  After years of designing for other companies, and with the support and encouragement of my now husband. I decided to embark on my own, and co-founded KASH Apparel LLC. in 2010. Designing and manufacturing for our own label and private labels.

Being a business owner in a fast paced, tough and competitive industry, has helped teach me a lot about myself, as well as shape the mission of SOCIALITE.  I now understand that what I really love about fashion is not even so much the clothes itself.  A natural born introvert, I grew up with a lot of insecurities.  Often times, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, and fearing I was not enough.   I realize now that my love of fashion comes from using it as a form of expression.  I use clothes as a way to dress myself in confidence, and that is our main goal today. We design clothes that dress you in confidence, and let YOU shine through

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It is like the saying “nothing worth having comes easy”, and the apparel business is no different.   There will always be challenges.  In manufacturing there are many moving parts, some we can control and some we cannot, so being strategic, flexible, and proactive is key.  We do our best to work with pliability, anticipate curve balls, and learn from each hurdle.

Fashion is demanding with constant deadlines, shifts in the retail landscape, and lightning pace of technology.  One big challenge as a privately owned company is the pressure to fund and build our D2C business and social media channels while nurturing, growing, and maintaining our B2B.  It is definitely a juggling act.

Luckily, I am grateful to work with an amazing team of people. Our tenacity, flexibility, collaboration, and strategic thinking help us to embrace every obstacle and learn from every mistake, so together we grow.  Even better we get to have a few laughs along the way.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
As I mentioned, our number one goal is to make women feel their best.  We want them to be able to get dressed with ease, so they can walk out the door feeling confident and ready to conquer their day.

People fall in love with our cozy soft knits, are yummy tees, and our gorgeous prints, but denim might be at the top of our list of proud achievements. We are all denim devotees and adding our premium denim division to the mix really completed her wardrobe.  She can go effortlessly from day time to date night, with just the switch of a heel.

We spent a year developing, crafting and perfecting fabric and fit. The result: premium denim with amazing washes, that fits great, and has all your days of the week covered.   I absolutely love our denim, I literally live in it!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I don’t think I can call it my success. It’s the success of the team. We work collaboratively and tirelessly because we believe in SOCIALITE and are passionate about delivering quality product and filling her day-to-day wardrobe needs. We love to create and we love to make women feel good. Fashion does not have to be complicated.  We want the customer to shine through.

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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.

1 Comment

  1. Peggy Lindquist

    February 6, 2019 at 20:53

    So impressed, Stephanie! I love your answers and how you give your team so much credit. I love the pictures as well. I will look for your brand in the future.
    Have a fantastically profitable year!
    Peggy

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