It’s hard to imagine striking fashion gold once, but Lisa Shaller-Goldberg has hit twice. Not only is she the creative mind behind the Juicy Couture tracksuit that’s now making a runway comeback, but she’s also creator of grown up and refined luxury cashmere line, Minnie Rose.
But, Lisa got her start like many of us, working in a string of sales jobs. Lisa decided the corporate world wasn’t for her. So, at only 28 years old, she founded Simply Chic, a sales and brand building agency that worked with celebrity designers including Sofia Coppola and Mandy Moore, and represented then-emerging brands like Earl Jeans, Ugg and True Religion. “Opening my business allowed me to capitalize on my entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. “I noticed that there were a lot of exciting designers in LA that were not being represented. My niche became developing emerging West Coast companies with a laid back, casual Cali lifestyle.”
It was Lisa who originally brought the Juicy Couture line from its West Coast roots to the East Coast. At the time the brand was a t-shirt line, but with Lisa’s contacts and hard work, Juicy t-shirts quickly made their way into stores. Shortly after, Lisa worked with the Juicy team to create the first terry cloth tracksuit, that later became available in velour.
Once Juicy Couture was sold to Liz Claiborne and Simply Chic was a top showroom in New York featuring the hottest brands, Lisa decided it was time to launch a line of luxury threads that she’d love to wear. And Minnie Rose was born. The brand has a cult following from some of the biggest tastemakers to grace our favorite fashion glossies, including the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, Eva Longoria, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Garner and Alessandra Ambrosio. The line is carried in more than 800 stores, including Neiman Marcus, Planet Blue, Shopbop and various specialty boutiques.
Taking a step back in your career, how did you start in the fashion industry?
Being the daughter of a textile converter, I was immersed in the fashion industry from a very young age. I would go to work with my dad as a kid and paint in the art and print department. One of my prints was actually sold to The Children’s Place! That print is still being used in children’s apparel today. As a teenager, I worked in retail sales at a local boutique, and in high school, I became a buyer for that boutique. I attended FIT, and worked part-time in sales in the garment center.
We are absolutely fascinated that you were the mind behind the Juicy tracksuit! (Yes, we all had one or two in our closets). Could you share highlights of your time with Juicy and how the suit came to be?
Juicy took the classic Hanes t-shirt and made it tight and sexy. The t-shirt became the quintessential item of the 90s. Another key brand of that decade, also made by HanesBrands, was Champion sweats. I had a vision: Let’s take the same concept of the sexy tight t-shirt and apply it to a sweatsuit. I knew it would be a home run.
What were your thoughts on the Juicy tracksuit coming back to the runway?
Fashion is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Every trend repeats after a period of years. What’s old is new to the next generation.
With such success at Juicy, when did you know it was time to transition into Minnie Rose?
Juicy was sold to Liz Claiborne, and it was time for a new challenge. I always loved knits and set out to create a brand that would appeal to a more mature, luxurious, casual lifestyle. I’m my own customer, and I always design things that I would want. I didn’t want to wear tracksuits anymore. I live in jeans and great cashmere sweaters. I sought out the best cashmere, the strongest technical designers, a killer sales force and a brilliant financial team.
What is your approach to business, and keeping ideas fresh and original?
I focus on creating clothing that women love to wear. We have a core collection that our fans covet. Each season we add exciting trend pieces that complement the line. I get inspiration from all the experiences I have each day living in NYC, my travels and my colleagues. We take that vision and interpret how we can transform it into clothes our customers would like to wear. That’s what keeps it fresh, original and uniquely Minnie Rose.
What is a typical day in your life like? How do you organize your day?
My day starts at 6 a.m., getting my two kids – Jake, 9, and Aylin, 4 – up, fed, dressed and off to school. Once I get to the office, I stop into my CFO’s office for a touch-base meeting. Then the day consists of web team meetings, social media plan reviews, a working lunch with the sales team and an afternoon with the design department. At the end of the day, I stop in my husband Scott’s office, who is my partner and a fashion photographer. We then uber home together and spend the evening with our children.
When you think about building your team, what qualities do you look for in those you hire?
I look for people who sparkle! Sharp, talented and high energy people are what I want on our team. We invest in people long-term, so they need to be a great fit for our company culture.
Do you feel that you have a good work/life balance, or do you have more of a work/life integration? Why?
When you own your own business, it’s 24/7, so I would have to say it’s more of a work/life integration. My children are very excited and supportive of my work and business. It’s an extension of who I am, and therefore, a large part of my personal life.
What key advice would you offer established professionals in the fashion industry who are looking to take their career to the next level? Those who are looking to launch their own line?
Networking with others in the industry and keeping up with the evolution in retailing are important for anyone in the fashion industry. Also, developing a business acumen when taking the leap to launching your own line is critical.
What is a book you would recommend to our readers? Why?
The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned it into a Global Brand by Pamela Skaist-Levy, Gela Nash-Taylor and Booth Moore. Because it’s a fun read about starting your own business in the fashion industry.
What is your favorite trend for Fall 2016?
Our new frayed fringe ruffle trim is a mashup of the ruffle and fringe trend. The pieces are feminine, yet boho, and are flying off the shelf.
I’d love to grab coffee with:
My favorite purse is:
My new Gucci crossbody
My go-to outfit is:
Jeans and a cashmere sweater
My favorite dinner spot is:
I can’t live without:
My iPad and a Swell water bottle
My favorite way to unwind is:
Putting on a pair of my cashmere pom-pom slippers
I feel my best when:
My family is happy and life feels harmonious
I look for people who sparkle! Sharp, talented and high energy people are what I want on our team.