From as early as I can remember, I always had a dream of becoming a fashion designer. I spent hours doodling on my notebooks and played endlessly with my cutouts and Barbie dolls, dreaming of working in Paris for Dior one day. After finishing school in Zimbabwe, I landed up studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where I met Colin–my soul mate and love of my life.
With South Africa in political turmoil, both Colin and I felt that we needed to move. So in 1986, we packed our bags and made the long trip to Los Angeles, California. Even though we both were nervous to start a new life in a big city, we knew we were in it together –partners in crime. Colin soon worked in production and I landed up at Contempo Casuals, a large junior retailer where I started the product development department. Colin and I knew fashion was in our blood.
So shortly after getting married, I fell pregnant with my first child, Cydney. Two and a half years later, little Erin came along and we had our family of four. Needless to say, I was the happiest mom in the entire world!
I packed up my things at Contempo and left my job to join Colin, who had started his own company, Un Deux Trois. Our clothing line was quickly picked up by all retailers throughout the country, specializing in sophisticated looks for young girls; a very different look from the traditional, classic dresses and sportswear available at the time. Retailers and consumers loved our designs and Un Deux Trois grew really quickly.
It was so clear to me that moms all over the country had such a small selection to choose from, and Un Deux Trois was there to fill the void. Even today, the department stores and some specialty stores have such a limited selection of cute and appropriate clothes for girls.
We then opened our showroom in New York in 1990 and Dallas the following year. In 2003, our first store opened in the heart of Studio City, Los Angeles, specifically catering to the 7-16 “tween” market. With the wholesale business and retail store, it was my dream coming true! In the beginning, I would head to the factory in Downtown LA and by 10:30am, I would be open for business at the store, often times coming home after 8:00pm because I was having so much fun working with someone for a bat mitzvah, graduation, wedding, etc. Let’s just say my weekends were crazy busy and every week, more and more moms were hearing about this new boutique for girls. Entire families would head in! It got so busy that eventually Colin and the girls would have to help me especially on weekends.
We had a blast working all together at the store. Cyd and Erin’s love for being in front of the camera, led them to helping with photoshoots, and helping customers, ringing up sales and cleaning our dressing rooms. It really was a true family business with Colin controlling the growth. Our little studio city store expanded to another 4 locations in Los Angeles and two in Texas within 5 years and quickly grew to a staff of almost 50 people.
Our mission at Un Deux Trois is to help make shopping fun, easy and quick. One stop shopping, head to toe accessories and shoes complete all outfits.
Fast forward to 2018, where Un Deux Trois maybe not Dior in Paris, but our wholesale and retail team of 14 people set a standard of fashion for young girls. We still make all our clothing proudly in Los Angeles, California, and proudly have supported our core staff that have been with us for over 15 years. Making the clothes here, still allows us the flexibility of making fast fashion and color decisions.
Cydney and Erin are still involved in our business. Cydney has spent the last couple years since completing college learning all facets of our business and now controls all our stores, staffing, e-commerce and social media, while Erin, who is still studying, helps with the photoshoots and creative graphics.
Our store base is smaller now as our business is changing with the world of online shopping. My dream is still the same. Making beautiful, well made clothing for tweens and teens. Making moms and daughters happy and now making the unique shopping experience available to all, wherever you live.
Let’s enjoy and celebrate a period of life, which is all too short.