Angeleno is pleased to present a selection of extraordinary women who are dynamic leaders in their field. These women of distinction are truly accomplished and stand out as some of the best influencers and contributors of our community.
The Gift Whisperer
“The relationship between a buyer like me and a designer is special,” says Lisa Kline (shoplisakline.com). “I find pure joy in connecting and engaging with such talented people.”
Kline opened her first shop on Robertson in the ’90s, and before long, it was the go-to spot for unique and stylish apparel, decor, accessories and more. “We set the tone for what was hot or not in retail, and people from all over the U.S. and the world came to shop trends and take home a piece of L.A. style.” Kline closed the last of her six stores in 2012, and has since reinvented herself as a digital retailer—25 years after opening her first boutique. The eclectic mix of offerings defies categorization. “I don’t work in a box or by any rules,” she explains. “I use pure instinct and my eye and vision for seeking out exceptional talent.” Here, the master curator shares her holiday present picks.
BY LAURA ECKSTEIN JONES
Playing the Entrepreneurial Long Game with Lisa Kline
Local Stories: Meet Lisa Kline
Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Kline.
Lisa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up, even as a very young child, I knew I wanted to own a clothing store. Fast forward to 1995 when I opened one of the first contemporary women’s clothing stores in Los Angeles and in doing so, established Robertson Boulevard as a shopping destination. It eventually earned me the title “Queen of Robertson” by Vogue magazine and the street became a place to see and be seen. I worked really hard to bring my vision and business to life and became a trusted style source to many actors, recording artists and celebrities. In a time when my competitors were calling the paparazzi on their own famous clientele, I implemented the first ever paparazzi curtain to provide all my customers privacy while they shopped. It was always about them, they always came first.
I went on to open two Lisa Kline Men stores, two Lisa Kline Kid stores, an additional women’s store and my online store, Lisakline.com.
During my career I have been featured as an iconic retailer in magazines including Elle, In Style, Vogue, and Lucky, and on TV Networks including KTLA, E News Live, GMA, TV Guide, Hell’s Kitchen, Bravo and had a loungewear line on HSN.
Over the past several years I’ve worked as a retail consultant, using my experience to curate for clients like Shutters on the Beach, Westlake Village Inn, The Today Show, Bed Bath and Beyond and Shop LC.
Most recently though, I launched my e-commerce marketplace www.shoplisakline.com. I’m thrilled to be back in the game with a platform to introduce and promote cool brands. This time around I’m selling everything from beauty, home, gift, apothecary, apparel, men’s, women’s, kids and more. It’s super exciting!
Has it been a smooth road?
HA! Absolutely not. It was smooth-going though for many years, until the writer’s strike in November of 2007. That’s really when the bumpy road started because it was followed shortly after by the financial crash in 2008 and then things got really bad when my husband died in a freak accident in January of 2009. Overnight I became a widow with two kids under five years old in the middle of a recession with 6 clothing stores and 100 employees. My children became my top priority and I ended up having to close all my shops. It was heartbreaking, extremely difficult and took years to unravel.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
I’m honored to be revered in the fashion industry as an innovative retailer, merchandiser and designer. What sets me apart is I have been in this industry now for 25 years and have an established, trusted brand that people can count on.
As a curator I do everything from sourcing, branding, merchandising, design, business strategy, marketing and more. I also do a ton of brand placement so I still get to work with brands all day everyday. My love and passion is, and always has been, discovering creative talent and collaborating with them to promote their brands. That connection is pure magic. It’s what I am most proud of; building brands from infancy and giving them a platform to shine. It’s why I am so happy about re-launching my website!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Like most businesses the fashion industry is ever-changing. I have been keeping an eye on it, trying to figure out what it wants to be since I closed my last store in 2012. I haven’t missed a single trade show, I was never out of the game. So when the pandemic hit, it became very clear what I needed to do. The white space was wide open so I jumped back in without a second thought to help guide and direct the change this industry needs. It is interesting because the same model I used 25 years ago is holding true today in the way I marketed brands then and what I am organically doing now. I am a drop ship model which gives me the ability to merchandise and feature as much of a brand as I want to give it the presence I think it needs to sell and be promoted online. Back in the store days, I had several huge brands on consignment allowing me to give them 12 feet of real estate on prime Robertson Blvd and feature a brand’s entire collection like they had their own in store. That model was always successful. It is very important to work together, to collaborate and be partners in a sense so we can grow together. We need one another to make it work, there has to be a trust factor. What I am doing now is not very different to what I did back then.
One important change I’ve noticed is the way brands and companies hold inventory now. No one can afford to invest the same amount of money that they used to on stock for their wholesale partnerships. Even for their own stores, it is a fine line on how much stock to carry.
Also the focus of apparel isn’t as important as it was back in the day. The young kids are buying vintage and secondhand and the older crowd honestly doesn’t really care as much as they used to. With the pandemic people are working from home and their social lives are completely different now so the emphasis is on other categories like wellness and home decor.
The focus on direct-to-consumer is the future of retail. Especially since online shopping is going to be the main method for consumer spending for a very, long time. But the problem is that without having an expert to guide the consumer, how would they know what to even look for? That is where I come in with my marketplace, the trusted source for things people need and want, the best of the best. Unique products that are on trend and things the shopper didn’t even realize they needed that are very important in enhancing their lives and giving stylish, thoughtful gifts. There is literally nowhere to shop anymore online or brick and mortar due to a huge shift with all the big box stores filing bankruptcy and most of the mom and pop stores going out of business. The change is fierce and retail and the way people shop will never be the same. The key now is service, delivery and keeping things simple.
The Assemblist: Shining a light on the designers, stores, and labels to know.
Owning a retail store had been Lisa Kline’s goal since she was a child, and as a 25-year-old, she made it happen. Since then, she’s been helping the fashion industry to innovate and grow, recently taking her Roberston Boulevard shop online.
When Lisa picked out her location, the whole street was empty. In her eyes, this was great — it meant she would have her choice of merchandise, and her natural eye for buying helped to launch the success of hundreds of brands in the 90s and 2000s. Thanks to Lisa, Robertson Boulevard became a hub of commerce for LA’s celebrities and fashionistas. But in the late 2000s, she was met with hurdle after hurdle — the film industry’s writer’s strike, 2008, and the tragic death of her husband. Being the savvy business owner that she is, Lisa made it through to the other side, better for the experiences. Now, Lisa is using e-commerce to do what she’s best at: bringing high quality, trendy clothing, and lifestyle goods to ready consumers.
FOLLOW FOR FOLLOW: In Lisa Kline we trust.
FULL NAME: Lisa Kline
CITY: Beverly Hills, CA
ONE THING YOU CAN’T KEEP IN STOCK: Cosabella lace face masks.
FAVE RUNWAY DESIGNER: No favorites, but if I had to pick I would say Balmain.
AOL SCREEN NAME: Not sure what this is?!
Informa Markets Fashion Makes a Successful Move to Digital During Launch
Launching Sept. 1, Informa Markets Fashion allowed the show to go on with its digital trade event that saw its MAGIC anchor and sibling shows run online through the NuOrder platform. Following an announcement in July that the onsite apparel-and-fashion trade events, originally planned to be hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Centerin August and rescheduled for September, would be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Informa began working to build a digital event with the Los Angeles–headquartered business-to-business e-commerce platform NuOrder.
Lisa Kline relaunched her e-commerce site, ShopLisaKline.com, in June. She also talked about having to adapt to a different pace when working virtual trade shows.
“When you do [an in-person] trade show, you are immersed in the show, your whole day is about the show,” she said, while noting that virtual trade shows often don’t maintain the same focus.
There are a lot of distractions when working from a remote location. However, buying continues to be overwhelmingly influenced by the pandemic. “I’m looking for things to be comfortable at home—oversize sweaters and pullovers with hoods. I’m looking at activewear. People are really focused on working out at home.” Even her high-end consumers are being careful with money, which has caused her to be more careful with her ordering. “’I’m not ordering anything out. I’m just doing immediate things. I’m trying to test the temperature of things and see what’s going on,” she said.
An Inspiring Comeback Story
Interview with Stylish Entrepreneur Lisa Kline
We’ve all had our ups and downs in life… it’s inevitable. Whether you’re working towards your goals and dreams or if you’ve already met them, the trials and tribulations of life simply become part of your journey. The key is to not get discouraged, but find different ways to be a better version of yourself, create even bigger goals for yourself, maybe even re-invent an old idea you had and make it something even more compelling.
That’s exactly what entrepreneur and style expert Lisa Kline did.
Lisa Kline opened her flagship store in 1995 and was a trusted style source for many actors, recording artists, and celebrity clients selling the hottest trends and putting brands on the map for almost 2 decades. Due to some personal reasons, she closed the last of her 6 stores in 2012.
Influential Retailer Lisa Kline Back in Game
It’s been almost a decade since Lisa Kline, one of the giants of Los Angeles boutique retail, closed her influential bricks-and-mortar Lisa Kline stores, which did business on Robertson Boulevard, as well as in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Malibu, Calif.
Despite her shops’ defining an era of West Coast-casual styles, Kline bid farewell to bricks-and-mortar retail because competition coming from digital commerce, department stores, fast fashion and off-price retailers was too harsh. Consumer behavior had become too unpredictable.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to the way people shop in the bricks-and-mortar world,” she told California Apparel News in August 2011. “It is sporadic and unpredictable. You could predict in the old days.”
Guide to Having the Best Summer Yet
By Champagne Living
SheSez- Episode 13 with Lisa Kline
In her twenties, Lisa Kline was one of the most successful retailers in Los Angeles, with a store favored by the biggest celebrities of the day on swanky Robertson Boulevard. With each passing year, the business only grew—growth based on Lisa’s uncanny ability to discover little known brands with huge potential. She ultimately owned and operated five trendy boutiques and a budding on-line business. Beginning in 2007 though–everything started to spiral: the writer’s strike put a kibosh on spending, the recession hit and then something much worse. In 2009, Lisa’s husband died in an accident. Overnight, Lisa lost her identity. In this episode, the mother of two shares the story of how she climbed back…. personally and professionally. Hear how she took her skills as a brick and mortar-oriented entrepreneur and highly skilled curator of retail goods and blended them together… ultimately becoming a buyer for some of the most exclusive retail outlets in the world.
When the boutique pioneer who put Robertson Boulevard on the map closed shop, some wondered, Where did Lisa Kline go? Here’s the answer.
Ever since Lisa Kline was a fashion-obsessed nine-year-old living in Encino, she dreamed of opening her own clothing store. Diagnosed with scoliosis, she was confined by a back brace and a wardrobe of elastic waistbands, while classmates flaunted the latest designer jeans. “I lived for fashion and couldn’t wear any of it,” says Kline. “I was tortured.” At 25 she opened her first boutique on Robertson Boulevard. Celebrities and label hounds came in droves to the little-known street to snatch up soon-to-break brands. By 2006, she had five stores, all in Los Angeles. Then in 2009, at the height of the recession, her husband died in an accident at their Malibu home and her businesses began to fail. “It was an implosion,” says Kline, who closed all her stores except the men’s shop.