THE HOLLY SHARP COMPANY - HISTORY/TIMELINE
The Holly Sharp Company designs, manufactures and markets California lifestyle apparel and related accessories for women under the direction of well-known designer Holly Sharp, her husband Michael Sharp and their daughters Amber Sharp Welch and Duran Sharp. The company’s flagship brand, Lucy Love, is best known for introducing ”California Beach Couture” to the world and can be found in 1600 specialty retail stores worldwide.
The birth of The Holly Sharp Company and the Sharp’s first contemporary label, HOLLY SHARP, was at a Hollywood nightclub in 1982 when an apparel representative spotted Holly’s singer-songwriter husband, Mike Sharp and his band groupies decked out in vintage inspired outfits designed by Holly. He begged them for a meeting. The next morning they received a $50,000 order to design a line of party dresses for the then high-end retailer I. Magnin. The twenty-something newlyweds entered the fashion industry with passion, and never looked back.
The Holly Sharp brand immediately resonated with the free-spirited 26ish year old “it” girl who loved to make an entrance and exit. The label quickly expanded to other iconic retailers such as Henri Bendel, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal. California fashion reigned throughout the 80’s and Holly was commissioned to design signature dresses for tastemakers such as: Absolut Vodka, Mattel/Barbie, Andie McDowell and Julia Louis Dreyfus. During this era the Sharps also dined with pop-artist, Andy Warhol, started a family, and Holly Sharp was nominated as California Designer of the Year.
In the early 90’s, a natural transition for the Sharps was to venture into the newly-evolving Action Sports industry since Michael was an avid soul surfer and Holly, a modern-day beach mom. Both Sharps had industry roots with Holly’s older brother Shawn Stüssy (creator of the Stüssy brand) and Michael’s younger brother Bill Sharp (then editor of Surfing Magazine) both trail blazing the industry. Family gatherings consisted of talking shop and sharing surf stories. During this time, the Sharps also opened their first retail store, The Holly Sharp Boutique, in Corona del Mar, California.
In the Mid 1990’s, Holly and Michael partnered with Gotcha International to create the woman’s label, GIRL STAR. It was an instant success that blended Holly’s fun and whimsical take on fashion with Gotcha’s 20-year old surf roots. The Gotcha project introduced the Sharps to the rapidly-emerging world of licensing and global action sports markets. The Sharps introduced Gotcha and the world to “fashion beach.”
In 2000, with new-found enthusiasm for world distribution and brand marketing, it was time to take their twenty years of design experience and channel it into their own Brand. The Sharp’s oldest daughter, Amber, joined the team, and they employed life-long colleagues and friends to share the journey. LucyLove was launched at the Action Sports Retail tradeshow with a 100+ piece line and was marketed to the buyers of boutiques, surf shops, specialty chains and major department stores worldwide. In Holly’s words, “Think J. Crew goes Boho Beach Babe.”
LUCYLOVE ESTABLISHED IN 2000 IN NEWPORT BEACH, CA
LucyLove is a unique collaboration of Holly’s whimsical style and years of design and retail experience along with Amber’s youthful Bohemian, beach-gypsy, influence and social media prowess. The young contemporary line continues to debut spot on trend, innovative silhouettes season-after-season and is largely influenced by the family’s beach travels across the world, art, music and culture. Sought out by both moms & daughters, LucyLove is best known for “Social Butterfly” dresses, feminine silhouettes that “turn heads,” and charming California prints from the Sharp’s 30-year old print library. Holly still sees the product transform throughout the entire creative process from a pen and paper sketch to model fittings, to production in American factories. “The mission from day one was to keep our product in the USA and support the local economy,” says designer Holly Sharp. “Mixing American-made product with a label that fits well and prospers at retail has been the goal since starting LucyLove,” she adds. Having Holly and the family involved in every aspect of the business maintains the Brand integrity from season to season.
Like all well-known designers, the Sharp family has spent many years developing contacts and experience in the California, New York, and International apparel markets, building solid relationships with retailers, suppliers, press, and consumers. The team stands behind their product with family-friendly customer service and believes in building long-term relationships with their dealers. “A perfect week begins and ends with the great people we work with,” says owner Michael Sharp. “We have built a family with our core dealers across the world and enjoy watching their businesses grow and prosper.”
LucyLove’s sales team mission is to deliver quick-turning, in-season product, and chase valuable reorder business. Amber who manages the sales team adds, “We look forward to Monday’s when we hear from our top 100 retailers on what sold best over the weekend. To have a product that blows out at retail is exciting. I’m thrilled to represent a brand that has the ability to meet the retailer’s supply and demand on a weekly basis. This kind of chase business is a hot commodity in an industry that makes almost everything overseas.”
Holly’s designs have been widely published and have appeared in VOGUE, VOGUE AUSTRALIA, ELLE, HARPER’S BAZAAR, W, GLAMOUR, MARIE CLAIRE, COSMOPOLITAN, MADEMOISELLE, SEVENTEEN, and SHAPE, as well as other key apparel trade publications.
Each day at the House of Love’s Costa Mesa beach studio, the Sharp family and their team are spreading their passion for the girls of the world who inspire them. Amber adds, “To see the girls of the world empowered and with a smile on their face while wearing our brand is everything to us!”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The Sharps are enjoying the success of rooting a California lifestyle brand and plan to expand global distribution of their domestic-made product. The family also looks forward to launching a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site this Summer 2018. On this channel, you will find additional product lines including swimwear, home and gift products, eye wear and more beach accessories. The LucyLove Kids girls collection, sized 2T - 12T launched in Summer 2017. It will broaden dealers and distribution across the nation. Last, look forward to regional POP UP shops on the Southern California coast this Summer 2018. Join our mailing list for dates and locations.