Since her first appearance on Bravo TV’s Southern Charm, Naomie Olindo has been nothing if not a hard worker … or a busy bee, hence the name of her fashion business, L’ABEYE (abeille in French for honey bee). She has moved on from her time on the Bravo show, but she is still working hard on building her fashion empire out of her Charleston office.
If you aren’t familiar with the online clothing website, L’ABEYE, you can check out the trendy site on the web or scroll through the images on Instagram at Shop L’ABEYE, where you will see Olindo modeling many of the clothing, jewelry and other accent pieces and accessories for sale.
The French-born Naomie – who was born in Nice but moved to South Carolina with her family at the age of eight – took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about her business and its future.
“I launched L’ABEYE in June 2018 with my partner, Ginny Cox,” Olindo said. “She had retail/ fulfillment/ buying experience, is smart, hardworking, and we vibe very well together so I thought it would be a good fit. It was more of a hobby at that point and we had no real expectations.”
According to Olindo, she was already “selling other people’s clothes on platform like LikeToKnowIt from randomly wearing them, so I thought selling things from an extended version of my closet mixed with Ginny’s would be easy and organic.”
Olindo has more than a flair for fashion, though. She has business credentials – graduating with a Master’s degree in business administration (specifically finance).
“I got a Master’s degree in finance, thinking it was the more ‘respectable’ thing to do,” she said. “I definitely use my degree daily working at L’ABEYE, which I wouldn’t have expected. I really hadn’t ever planned to be in e-com selling clothing but now seeing what it can become if it’s done right – we plan to keep expanding L’ABEYE month by month.”
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(Via: Mary Peffer)
Olindo and Cox have hashed out a five (or six) year plan to get into textiles, factories, and other facets of their industry in order to have more control over the process from an ecological as well as a human rights standpoint.
“My biggest goal (we will say 5-6 years) is to almost completely vertically integrate L’ABEYE, from the real estate, to the factories, to the textiles, and everything in between,” Olindo said. “I want to integrate not only to ensure the lowest prices and highest quality, but also to have more control on the processes and things I truly care about like environmentally friendly production, safe working conditions, fair wages, green materials, etc. Unfortunately those are hard to come by in the fast fashion industry because they affect the bottom line. I plan to find solutions to change that one day.”
Naomie explained that they were planning to take another step in the growth of the business, but like many companies, the calendar is askew as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Click to view)
(Via: Mary Peffer)
Olindo explains that her business acumen was spurred by her father, Joel Olindo, a Mount Pleasant, S.C. restaurant owner and businessman originally from Paris who passed in December from esophageal cancer after battling the disease for a year.
“My entrepreneurial spirit definitely comes from my dad,” Olindo said. “He had his hands in a million different things so I grew up knowing I wanted to as well. I work on L’ABEYE the most but also work with my family’s restaurants in Mount Pleasant, help manage some commercial properties.”
Naomie is eager to develop her own empire, working on several products in the wellness industry with friend, Helen Hall, the founder of Blender Bombs. In addition to her fashion exploits, she has her eye on making a splash in the spirits industry soon.
“I hope to break into the alcohol industry in the next two years with a new product that isn’t common in the U.S. yet,” she said. “Without Covid it probably would have happened already but, ya know.”
We will keep a close eye on Naomie’s business interests in the months ahead as she continues building her empire from the ground up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Amy Feinstein is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has been writing professionally for 25 years. She has a degree in English literature and a degree in British history. Amy enjoys writing about entertainment, sports, lifestyle, television and movies. When not at the computer, Amy can be found in the garden or at yoga class.
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