Wouldn’t It Be Lovlei?
Wouldn’t It Be Lovlei?
After almost a century in business, Hoffman California Fabrics launched its first brand, Lovlei, a resort- and activewear collection patterned on its own signature prints. | Photos courtesy of Lovlei
It only took about a century for Hoffman California Fabrics to launch a brand, but good things are worth waiting for. “We were always just so busy and just didn’t have the manpower,” said Robin Hoffman-Haack, a fourth-generation co-owner of the 98-year-old company. “But after watching so many brands be successful with our prints, over the years I simply realized we were missing the boat.” Now that boat has been built and sailed, thanks to the July launch of Lovlei, a resort- and activewear brand based on bold prints, and is ready to give those ubiquitous black leggings a kick in the pants.
Just when you thought daily dress couldn’t get more casual, COVID comes along to take things down another notch. That was Hoffman-Haack’s final motivation to launch an athleisure brand based on popping colors and audacious prints. “When I saw others doing well with prints,” she said, “I thought, ‘Who could do it better than us?’ Because we’ve been doing it for so long and our library is so vast. And everybody I know in the industry said you’ve got to do it.”
“People need happiness in their lives,” she added, “and prints make you happy when you put them on. We want women to feel beautiful inside and out and to step out of black leggings and into prints because they just make you feel so much better. And we want everyone in the family to come to this collection: twentysomethings, young moms, aunts and grandmas.”
The Lovlei collection debuted its e-commerce presence via the website lovlei.com with some three dozen items initially. New ones are added weekly, and fall will see new silhouettes as well as sweaters, wraps and joggers. In addition to prints and colors, the emphasis for the mid-market brand is luxurious fabrics and a super-comfortable fit. “There are enough black leggings in the universe,” said designer Anna Kenney. “We’re putting out some amazing exclusive prints, limited-edition drops that are one of a kind and that Robin has the ability to get her hands on.”
These include many batik prints hand-dyed in Bali, Indonesia. Fabrics include a high-quality rayon that feels like silk and also takes printing extremely well. “The quality of the printing is amazing, and women love the fabric because they feel amazing when they put it on,” said Kenney. As for fit, “With the Resort collection everything is constructed to pull on, pull up and feel comfortable on the body with beautiful silhouettes, and you can layer the whole collection from head to toe.”
Lovlei also seeks to do more than just make women look and feel beautiful by creating a revolutionary business model with a highly competitive reward plan that offers up to 40 percent commissions to those who partner with the brand.
Hoffman-Haack was inspired by her father, Walter Hoffman—known as Big Wally—who helped pioneer what is generally referred to as the SoCal surf culture. He began by supplying Hoffman fabrics to Hawaiian-shirt manufacturers and later became the go-to source that designed and supplied fabrics for surf brands Hang Ten, Ocean Pacific, Offshore, Quiksilver, Gotcha, Billabong, O’Neill, Roxy, Volcom and many more.
Hoffman-Haack, who has served for 25 years as CFO of Hoffman California Fabrics, partnered with Lovlei’s president and co-founder, Ben Woodward, a serial entrepreneur who has worked with every kind of company from startups to multibillion-dollar organizations. Anna Kenney, head of product and design, is a sought-after, behind-the-scenes designer of such brands as Ralph Lauren, Anne Cole, Anne Taylor Loft, Mossimo, Victoria’s Secret and more. The team plans to grow the brand through a highly rewarding partnership with influencers along with attractive weekly releases for consumers and those who represent the Lovlei brand.
“We may be a new brand,” said Hoffman-Haack, “but we have deep roots in the fabric industry starting in 1924 and over the years have evolved and helped cement the success of many global names in fashion. A profound love of others and loving everyone for who they are from the inside was taught to me by my grandfather, Rube P. Hoffman, who founded Hoffman California Fabrics. That’s our legacy.”