True Religion Apparel Inc., is making big changes. At the start of November this clothing company announced that their board of directors has appointed Chelsea A. Grayson, as the interim chief executive officer.
Grayson expresses how she feels about taking on the new role and opportunity in a press release. "As a Los Angeles native, I am honored to have been chosen to lead an iconic brand like Los Angeles-based True Religion," she shares. “I look forward to continuing the momentum started with recent initiatives like adding Bella Hadid as a millennial face of the brand and our partnership with global sports juggernaut, Manchester United."
True Religion “emerged onto the Los Angeles denim scene," in 2002 transforming the art of clothing. Their most unique denim style is the classic five-pocket jean. The well-known clothing company offers an assortment of styles and jeans for men, women and kids.
John Ermatinger has been chief executive officer since 2015. In light of his retirement, Grayson will step down as chairman of the board's Audit Committee to take on this role while continuing to serve on the board of directors as well.
On November 1, it was announced that Chelsea Grayson was named interim CEO of True Religion. Photo Courtesy of Michele Marie PR.
"We are fortunate to have someone of Chelsea's caliber and experience step up to lead the company as we continue to innovate our products and customer experience," says Davis.
Prior to joining the board of directors at True Religion last year, Grayson previously held a position as CEO and board member of American Apparel. In addition to being interim chief executive officer she is also on the board of directors of Delta Dental of California, where she is a member of the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee, and an advisory member of Marca Global LLC.
Gene Davis, chair of the True Religion board highlights Grayson for her contributions at the company and honors Ermatinger for the years he's dedicated to the company. “As a board member for the past year, Chelsea has been instrumental in helping True Religion evolve the brand," says Davis. "We are fortunate to have someone of Chelsea's caliber and experience step up to lead the company as we continue to innovate our products and customer experience. In addition, we would also like to recognize and thank John for his incredible leadership and dedication to the brand."
Grayson will remain interim CEO until the board identifies someone to permanently take on the position.
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!