A new clothing company opened its flagship store Tuesday in Corona del Mar, bringing to town a line of chic, ready-to-wear-meets-activewear items.
OUT Incorporated is located in the former Directors Financial Group space at 3242 E. Coast Hwy. The shop will sell workout clothes, bras, tops, jackets and other items aimed at active women who want the comfort and ease of workout clothes but with a heavy dose of elegance and attention to detail.
OUT Incorporated began in Singapore in 2013, when founders Lauren Gill and Leah Hundsness were working together at a Sephora regional hub. Gill is from Brisbane, Australia, and Hundsness San Francisco, but the two women had years of experience in the fashion and beauty industry and had worked, together and separately, in India, Paris, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia.
Hundsness said she was considering her next professional move and was ready to return to the states.
"I was done," she said. "I didn't want to work in a very corporate setting. I wanted to use everything I learned to start my own business."
Gill's sister gave them the idea of creating a line of activewear that could be worn when going out.
"It was innovative and something I could do," Hundsness said. "This is the kind of subcategory [of fashion] that if you're really ambitious, you can make a difference."
The women don't have a design background, but they worked with pattern makers to develop the items for the line.
"We just know what we like," Gill said.
"After all the countries where we've lived and worked, you do get to see what women want," Hundsness said. "Everyone wants to look thin. Everyone wants to be comfortable."
"So we take basics and add a twist," Gill said.
The twists include asymmetrical necklines and hemlines, details on the back of jackets to flatter the waistline, basic colors that will change from season to season, each new line working with the last. The women spent a year designing and manufacturing the first OUT Incorporated line, which was first available for sale in May 2014.
At first, pieces were sold in shops in Australia and to friends from an office space on 31st Street in Newport Beach.
Opening a flagship store was always part of the women's plan, but the Corona del Mar space seemed destined.
They had been at a spin class in Laguna Beach, they said, when they stopped at Zinc Cafe for coffee.
"We saw all these women in activewear," Gill said.
"As we drove out, we thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to have a store right next to Zinc?'" Hundsness said.
Three hours later, she said, an agent called to tell them a space was available on the same block as the cafe. The shop has a sleek, industrial look — a lot of white walls and exposed pipes. In the window they have a map of the world, with magnetic pins marking all the places they've lived. They also have a shop dog, Courage.
OUT Incorporated had a soft opening last weekend, and a grand-opening party is in the works.
The shop currently is selling a few summer items along with the fall/winter line. Each line will have 15 to 25 pieces, the women said, and the shop also will carry a few outside lines, including one for shoes and one for golf and tennis clothes.
The women said they are considering outside-the-box retail hours, perhaps opening by 7 a.m. to catch the early-morning workout crowd.
Some women, they said, will buy the clothes for working out and others for comfort and traveling.
"We know you're wearing this — why not make yourself look more put together?" she said.