20 Aug 2014
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CDM Designer Revamps the Everyday Rubber Band

Leezette Lopatic turns rubber bands into a fashion accessory from her Corona del Mar home.

Corona del Mar resident Leezette Lopatic has discovered a way to make women and little girls feel glamorous with a practical accessory most people disregard as just an elastic hairband.

Lopatic describes her Fashion FLEXY line, a division of her company Haute Things, Inc., as a silk elastic tie with a stylish charm slider. She designed it to dazzle in your hair and make an exceptional piece of wrist candy too. 

"It's a hair tie and a bracelet," Lopatic told Patch. "When you need to mop the floor and your hair is in your face its time to get your Flexy on."

Lopatic had the time to embark on her own business after being laid off from her job as a pharmaceutical representative. But it wasn't until she took her nephew to tour the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles that she was inspired to start designing and manufacturing.

She says she drew much of her inspiration for Fashion FLEXY from her nieces who wanted an elastic hair tie they could comfortably wear on their wrist without it leaving a mark on their skin. 

"We had those tight elastics on our wrists and my nieces, I listened to them because they are 19, said we need to have something better than this," said Lopatic.  "So I went to Joann's and got some fabric and sewed some buttons on." 

Fashion FLEXY launched in May after being in the works for three years and has since designed over 200 charm sliders. Lopatic tests every product making sure they are lead free, cadmium free, and rhodium free to prevent tarnish. 

And she hasn't stopped with elastic hair ties. Due to the high demand of Fashion FLEXY, Loptaic has also designed matching necklaces, earrings, bauble bobbys and headbands.

Fashion FLEXY is a family business made up of Lopatic and her niece, Cerise Lopatic, who manages marketing and says their hair ties are different than their competitors.

"We hand assemble it so it takes longer but it's worth it so when you are wearing it, it  doesn't stick out," Cerise Lopatic explained.

After launching Fashion FLEXY, Lopatic decided to audition for the popular show Shark Tank and made it to the second round of auditions as a way to spread the word about her company. 

"It would be great to get them to invest," Lopatic said. "They want to see where I sell it and how I develop it. They loved it, but I'm waiting to see what is going on."

In the meantime the Fashion FLEXY headquarters, which is based in Lopatic's CDM, is currently overflowing with orders and keeping Lopatic and Cerise busy.

"We need to get the FLEXY factory out of the house because it's invading my house. It's upstairs too," Lopatic said. "We are doing everything, its just the two of us."

If you are interested in Fashion Flexy, visit FashionFlexy.com or local boutiques including Sherman Library & Gardens, Red Balloon, Novecento Boutique, Mi Place and Along Came a Spider.

Lopatic's advice for budding business owners:

  • Practice the 3 P's: Patience, Practice and Perseverance
  • Believe your idea is going to work
  • Have a workable business plan and let others view it
  • Take advantage of mentors, utilize their experience
  • Have income or financial backing; if you don't you can't fulfill your business plan
  • If you have a viable business plan, audition for something like Shark Tank. Just the auditions alone get you a lot of exposure; the cast and crew give you advice. 
  • Do a YouTube video
  • Do research everyday and learn the competitive marketplace
  • Have your own USP, Unique Selling Proposition, that makes you different from your competitors 

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