California Apparel News
NEW START: Sheila Smith Oliver, owner of LitStudio, opened her multi-line independent showroom in the 824 Building in October after operating showrooms in Los Angeles and Texas.
March 08, 2012
824 Building, Suite 202
After many years operating showrooms in Los Angeles and Texas, Sheila Smith Oliver decided it was time to open a showroom of her own. In October, Oliver opened Lit Studio in the 824 Building on Los Angeles Street, in the heart of the fashion district.
After starting off as an assistant in the West Bank Clothing showroom in The New Mart in Los Angeles 12 years ago, she moved on to become a sales manager for Studio West and then later branched out on her own as an independent sales rep for Blank NYC jeans, working out of the Fashion Industry Gallery building in Dallas. After moving back to L.A. with Blank NYC, she eventually expanded into other lines. As a sales rep, Oliver spent much of her time on the road, traveling to boutiques and trade shows to meet with her clients. “In the South, you have to hit the road and be one on one at their boutiques,” she said. “We wanted a home of our own,” she said. Oliver said she chose the 824 Building because of its art deco design, history of long-term tenants and convenient street access.
“With the iron gates and chandeliers, you get the vibe that you’re in New York,” she said. “A lot of the showrooms have a loft feel.”
While her room is not one of the lofts, at 1,000 square feet, it still has plenty of space. As an independent multi-line showroom that shows dresses by Jessica Simpson and Vince Camuto, leggings by Leggsington, and rock T-shirts by Trunk Ltd, it was important to have a versatile space that was clean and open and could go from rock to feminine, Oliver said.
The minimal white space is accented with chandeliers, an expandable white paper wall, and a blow-dryer chair from the 1950s.
“We’re going for a modern vintage look that’s clean and fresh,” she said. “It’s easier for the buyers to stay focused; if it’s too busy it takes away from the product.”
Oliver runs the showroom with director of sales Bridgette Tritz. Their neighbors include Akiko clothing, Fashion Forwards and designer Ryan Roberts.—Deidre Crawford