Malibu Local Apparel owner Janet Laird holds her plaque from the Chamber of Commerce while surrounded by Miss Malibu Erin White and Miss Malibu contestants. Credit Leigh Shane
Malibu Local Apparel had its official launch Wednesday with a party at the pier, with the help of the Miss Malibu team, the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Pro Tem Laura Zahn Rosenthal and an American Idol contestant.
Malibu Local owner Janet Laird began selling items from her clothing line for people and dogs in April. Wednesday's party marked the official launch. The T-shirts, hoodies and tank tops feature a logo created by students at Pepperdine University's Seaver College as part of a final project for an advertising class. The students' professor, Ginger Rosenkrans, attended the launch party, donning her Malibu Local T-shirt.
The event was hosted by one of Malibu Local's newest customers, Malibu Beach Supply Co. Miss Malibu Erin White participated in the ribbon cutting and Miss Malibu pageant contestants modeled the T-shirts.
Heidi Bernard, Chamber vice chair for membership and director of Pepperdine's Crest Associates, officiated over the event. Live music was provided by Malibu resident Terence Davis of Great Music Inc. The performers were singer/songwriter Craig Hasenbank and former American Idol contestant Hannah Mulholland, who is also a Malibu resident.
Guests enjoyed sandwiches from John's Garden and sipped drinks from Malibu Family Wines provided by Malibu and Vine, the recently renovated wine bar located at the Malibu Country Club.
In addition to Malibu Beach Supply Co., Malibu Local Apparel and merchandise is sold on its website and at Jamie Malibu, Pinnacle and Zuma Jay Surfboards.
With everything going on in the country and around the world, there's something to be said for items completely made here in the good ol' USA. Janet Laird is a firm believer in this concept, and a believer in Malibu. So she started Malibu Local Apparel, which offers made-in-America merchandise with a Malibu flavor.
American Apparel made a big splash on the market a few years back with its policy of keeping production in this country, specifically in downtown Los Angeles. I remember the first time I came across the American Apparel basic cotton tees in a store; I felt like had I won the t-shirt lottery!
So now, I can take my love for American Apparel tees, which Janet uses, and check out her Malibu signature pieces. Using the pier as her logo, Janet has a variety of tees and baby apparel proudly declaring "Malibu Local." She also uses her photos on bags and postcards.
Janet said Malibu Local means "someone who lives or works in Malibu or aspires to live the Malibu lifestyle."
"This really started as a local business," she said to me as we chatted. "I was on the board of directors for the Malibu Chamber [of Commerce], and in a meeting trying to figure out how to support Malibu businesses."
This got her to thinking, and led to her creating a Malibu business of her own.
"I have merchandise in different stores along PCH, and then that led to being commissioned to do postcards for the Adamson House," Janet said.
She told me a story of how at a recent Malibu Chamber function, local resident John Paul DeJoria talked about starting Paul Mitchell with nothing more than $700 in his pocket, community support and hard work. She recalled thinking, "he's talking to me!"
"It really is about helping each other out and working as a community," Janet said.
And it is really important to her to support the made-in-the-USA vision wherever and whenever she can.
"I was in a store, and saw a cute shirt; it was $108," she said as she noted she probably wasn't going to spend the money. "And then once I saw it was made in China, I definitely wasn't going to pay $108."
It's about awareness, she explained.
"If we're aware and look for it, then it helps to make that decision," Janet said. "We're not giving up our iPads or solving world hunger, but we can look for information to make decisions where we can."
She may not be solving world hunger, but Janet is trying to help with the thirst. A portion of the proceeds from her sales goes to Charity Water, a nonprofit that brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
And ironically, her postcards have made their way across the ocean to China via Malibu clients. But no need to travel to China, you can just go to Pinnacle and many other shops in Malibu to buy Malibu Local Apparel. Another option is the website, malibulocal.com.