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Modern Fashion: Robin Hoffman Haack of LOVLEI On The 5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today

An Interview With Candice Georgiadice

BE PREPARED TO GO HEAVY with SALES, MARKETING and PUBLICITY. This is an area that most companies, even outside of fashion, make a big mistake. They create a great product, sometimes put hundreds of thousands into it, create a website and then wonder why nobody is coming to it.

Many in the fashion industry have been making huge pivots in their business models. Many have turned away from the fast fashion trend. Many have been focusing on fashion that also makes a social impact. Many have turned to sustainable and ethical sourcing. Many have turned to hi tech manufacturing. Many have turned to subscription models. What are the other trends that we will see in the fashion industry? What does it take to lead a successful fashion brand today?

In our series called, “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand Today” we are talking to successful leaders of fashion brands who can talk about the Future of Fashion and the 5 things it takes to lead a successful fashion brand in our “new normal.”

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Robin Hoffman Haack.

Robin Hoffman Haack is a Southern California native and comes from an elite family of textile entrepreneurs and world class surfers. Her Father, Walter Hoffman along with her uncle, Philip Hoffman, pioneered the world of big wave surfing. Robin’s sister, Joyce Hoffman was also the first Women’s World Champion Surfer from the USA in the 60’s, and one of the first females to conquer the swells of Pipeline.

The Hoffman family surf legacy has trickled down to the grandchildren and great grandchildren as her nephew’s Nathan and Christian Fletcher remain notable names in the surf industry, as well as her great niece Indie Hoffman, who is the current Junior National Champion Surfer today.

From the age of nine, Robin followed her own dreams of showing horses. She went on to become a World Champion and was inducted in the National Cutting Horse Association Non-Pro Hall of Fame. Her husband, Mike Haack was a world class Cutting Horse Trainer and has also been inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame. The two of them have gained experience showing and managing multi-million dollar cutting horse operations around the country.

In 1996, Robin proudly joined the well-known family business, Hoffman California Fabrics, that her grandfather had founded in 1924. My Father, Walter has run the company since I was born, designing, and selling textiles to leading surf brands, such as, Hang Ten, Ocean Pacific, Offshore, Quicksilver, Gotcha, Billabong, O’Neil, Roxy, Volcom, Ralph Lauren Polo and many more.

Hoffman Fabrics has been instrumental in forming what is now, the casual, relaxed style of the surf culture in Southern California and around the world.

Today, Robin is also the Founder of LOVLEI, a premium athletic and resort wear fashion brand. The mission of LOVLEI is to help women glow more confidently, inside, and out, by offering uniquely designed and ethically sourced resort and activewear, aligned with outstanding lifestyle opportunities and unique perks.

You can learn more at

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

Growing up on the beach in Southern California, I remember my dad, Walter Hoffman, second-generation co-owner of Hoffman Fabrics, took the train each day to go to his office in downtown Los Angeles. On the weekends he’d spent his time surfing and diving with friends. He is now 91 and I feel fortunate to have him around so long. He’s lived a full life, with family, his career, and travels. Most of his travels were for business, yet he seemed to base them around surf towns and surfing. It was a win-win for everyone involved, being most of his clients were in the surf apparel industries. If it wasn’t for business, he’d still travel to an exotic place to surf and go on diving exhibitions.

When I was 8 years old, I became really interested in horses, so my parents got me my own horse and I began showing them competitively by the age of 9. I wanted to compete right away, and not just ride for fun. Our entire family has that competitive spirit, hence why we have many world champion surfers and horsemen in our family. It was in my blood to compete since I was always there to watch my sister, Joy, at her surf contests, who later became world champion. We traveled to Hawaii every year for her to compete in the world surfing contest at Pipeline and frequented my brother’s sporting events.

I recall as a child whenever we would go shopping, my dad would always look at the clothing designs and see what was the latest and greatest. Whenever we saw someone wearing a print he liked, we’d all notice too. Many times, he’d quiz me on what kind of material it was, or where I think it was made. He’d even walk up to the person and ask if he could touch the material and look at the label. He was creative, inquisitive and a complete character. He was always learning about fabrics and brands and had a fascination that he passed down through generations. The world of textiles and fashion was truly woven into my DNA.

As I became a bit older, my dad and uncle had moved the business to Orange County. I recall so many people staying at our house as a kid. He’d invite them over, meet with my dad and work with him on designs, and he’d help them build their brands. His heart was huge, and so was his presence. People loved my dad and still do. The majority of my father’s friends were in the surf or apparel industries. So, I was always hearing the latest conversation about design, hot fabrics, sales and what was trending with customers. I’ve been well-educated.

Can you tell us the story about what led you to this particular career path?

We have always talked at Hoffman about starting a clothing brand since so many companies use our fabric and we were the ones behind-the-scenes, helping to make big brands find success. But we never seemed to do it. What really sparked the interest in me, is when I saw what was happening in our world during Covid, and seeing people work from home and living a more laid-back life wearing more casual clothing. I felt there couldn’t be a better time to bring happiness, joy and comfort incorporated into some vibrant prints and beautiful styles that make you feel amazing, both inside and out. I truly love empowering women to feel bold and strong, and to me, wearing prints is part of that. Our brand is print heavy, although we do offer solids as well. For me, I have been around prints all my life, so it is my personal preference. I have a deep appreciation for what goes into making them and just how one stands out when wearing a nice vibrant print, with good design.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I think what is most interesting is I’ve recently gathered an A-list team in all departments and I’m continually learning so much as we go. Our team is close-nit, and we bounce ideas and are open to communicating and sharing and hearing new ideas. Sometimes we roll with them and other times we don’t.

My Head of Product and Design, Anna Kenney and I work together very closely. It’s been fun collaborating with such an amazing designer. She’s a highly sought-after behind-the-scenes designer of well-known brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Anne Cole, Anne Taylor Loft, Mossimo, Victoria Secret and many more. It’s nice to trust the input from your whole team. That’s important to me, is to have people that bring things to the table. It’s been interesting for me to watch and continue to learn as I go.

You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?




I think coming from a competitive family and years of competing as an athlete; showing horses, has really helped with my drive and dedication for succeeding. It’s helped me develop a tenacious spirit and one of gratitude for all that is and all that I’ve accomplished. I think it’s important to have harmony between work and personal life. Having an “I can and will” mindset is the key to personal success, family, business, and athletic endeavors. Roadblocks are simply roadblocks, they are meant to be hurdled, plowed through, or create a detour to get to where you want to go.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

It really goes back to my grandfather who taught me to love people, and give people a chance, no matter what. From the start I wanted LOVLEI to be about empowering women to feel beautiful from the inside out, and to be able to boldly wear prints and live a life out loud. That is one thing that, I feel, makes us a standout brand, in addition to our Hoffman legacy: designing and selling prints for the apparel industry for many decades.

We have an endless library of prints that have been copyrighted and archived, as well as having our own facility in Bali to sustainably develop our hand dyed fabric. I continue to eat it all up. I love what we do, and I love being a part of something bigger than myself, something that helps women succeed. The whole thing is just beautiful to me.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite quote is and has always been, “What you believe, you can achieve.” I have learned over years and years of personal growth that you can achieve everything in life if you have faith and believe in what you can’t see with the eye — but with the mind!

I see things daily that happen that are nothing short of miracles. Things that were once just a vision, and in time have become reality.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

I do! I am seeing a lot more younger people coming into the industry with all the great fashion schools that have popped up over the years. It’s exciting to meet them and hear about what they are doing. I really love seeing the next generation of designers and brands flourish and I’m excited to have a chance to mentor the young women that join LOVLEI’s team along the way. Another thing I am seeing emerging with fashion is that consumers are opting for a lighter wardrobe, with quality apparel that are made well and have a story and purpose behind them. Less is definitely more these days.

Can you share how your brand is helping to bring goodness to the world?

LOVLEI is on a mission to help women glow more confidently, inside, and out. We are doing so by offering uniquely designed and ethically sourced resort and activewear that is aligned with outstanding lifestyle opportunities. We are creating a company culture that attracts those who uplift and embrace inclusivity and individuality.

I believe it’s more of a movement we are creating, with events and extensions of our brand to support women, and children’s organizations through donating a portion of our brand proceeds to the good of the world. It’s important that our focus is on giving. I believe that is what will make us successful, being a mindful philanthropic company.

Can you share with our readers about the ethical standards you use when you choose where to source materials?

All our production facilities are all approved and have certifications. We work with our factories very closely to develop and work on the best fabrication and dye processes possible. Our production efforts have the planet in mind. We hand design and digitally print our fabrics, so they do not cause excessive dyes that leak into the ecosystem. Our facility in Bali has an elaborate water treatment plant where the rinse water returns to Mother Nature at the correct PH levels.

We also work with highly knowledgeable pattern makers, who hand draw every pattern and design. We-work the prints, discuss the silhouettes with the pattern makers and design them to fit a broad range of sizes and shapes. It’s important our brand is inclusive and ethical in its operations. We use knowing but top-of-the-line machines and work with solid, ethical packaging companies. To have longevity, each detail matters.

Fast fashion has an advantage, that it is affordable for most people, but it also has the drawback that it does not last very long and is therefore not very sustainable. What are your thoughts about this? How does your company address this question?

What we are finding is that people are demanding quality materials that are long lasting and timeless in design. They are also taking interest in brands that are sustainably mindful and eco-friendly. Additionally, we are finding that people are staying away from fast fashion disposable apparel and are moving into unique brands and clothing that can be worn years down the road and still be in style.

The fashion industry is moving forward to exclusive, innovative, and diverse textiles and prints, with smaller cuts and better quality. We recently went to an international fashion show that showcased many new, up and coming designers and brands. There’s a competitive market out there and to be, and stay, ahead of the curve, one needs to have quality, sustainability, and timeless designs in mind.

More retailers and customers are looking behind the curtains to know the story, and the transparency of the person and the creation behind the brand.

One of the biggest takeaways around fast fashion is that most of those brands do not go through the typical design processes that the high-quality brands go through. Fashion and development take time and money. There is no time and proper funds with fast-fashion, speed to the market at a low price point is what fast fashion is about. When it comes to fashion, you typically get what you pay for, and people are shying away from this type of buy. It’s a time of quality over quantity.

Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion Brand”. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. KNOW who YOU ARE DESIGNING FOR. It’s most important when you are creating your brand, that you do some reverse engineering. Understand exactly who you are designing your products for. Know their lifestyle, age range, what they like to do — understand what is missing in the marketplace and hit a homerun to give them something they are looking for and would still find unique. Then once you have a theme that your ideal audience understands, stick with it. Confused buyers don’t buy. Stay in your lane.
  2. SHARE YOUR STORY. Understand where your passion lies, and why you are doing what you do and then share your unique story with your audience. Everyone loves a good story and to feel connected to a brand. When I first got the idea to create LOVLEI, I reached out to a friend that has literally grown up in the apparel industry and has worked for major brands. I shared my idea and vision, with him understanding my background and connection to design and fabric through my family. His first words were, “No one has a story like you and your family history in the textile industry. You need to take it and run with it.” It was that reassurance from someone who I deeply respected in the industry telling me that, that got me to take the leap forward, and I’m so grateful I did.
  3. CREATE DESIGN THAT IS LASTING. Having an innately creative and innovative eye for design, color and development is key. As anyone creative, it all starts with a vision until you turn that vision to life. I get inspiration with the colors from many forms of art, a beautiful sunset, the way the colors interact in a tropical sea, or even from a dress that I feel would have been even sweeter if they had done a few things differently. Inspiration sometimes comes as a random thought. Yet, regardless, it’s important that you make it lasting and as timeless as possible. You don’t want to create something that could be outdated within months of following a trend. I’d prefer to create the trend.
  4. DEVELOP SOLID COMPANY PROCEDURES and PLACE A STRONG TEAM BEHIND IT. When I created LOVLEI, I went all-out. I found the best designer, the best partner, the best marketing, tech and customer service team, and the best of the best in all areas. We are sophisticated with our company’s operations and our team is tight. They have the same vision as I do. They are mindful and all are good people that I can count on and trust. It’s important that your team has the same focus, passion, and vision that you do about the brand. You need to know where you are starting and where you are heading and hitting those milestones. Also, be open-minded and willing to pivot when and as needed. Being flexible and allowing your team to bring forward new ideas makes it more of a family decision. I like it that way! When I think about the team, I have in place there is so much synergy and it makes a world of difference. There is nothing like the feeling when you are all driving forward together with the same passion and energy. Having factories that you can work with easily and efficiently are a tremendous help.
  5. BE PREPARED TO GO HEAVY with SALES, MARKETING and PUBLICITY. This is an area that most companies, even outside of fashion, make a big mistake. They create a great product, sometimes put hundreds of thousands into it, create a website and then wonder why nobody is coming to it.

When we created LOVLEI, we put together a strong marketing team and a strategic and diverse marketing and publicity plan. It’s critical to have this all-in place. Your marketing plan should bring in a great ROI and if it’s not, adjust until it is. You just got to keep on keeping on!

Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example? I feel it has improved with being connected with your customers online through social channels so you can really see what they are gravitating to. I also see improvement with technology and being able to use new technology to show your line.

I couldn’t agree with you more. Social media has been a game changer. People post, tag, and repost your brand. You really get to feel the engagement, as opposed to just seeing sales come in. With the latest technology, there is transparency and more trust for influencers and ambassadors, as with us, and many companies like us have access to a portal to see their sales, and gain training through pre-recorded and live videos.

There is much more of a community feel with brands these days and that’s what consumers are wanting. I think the more we go towards creating community and inclusivity and connection with our consumers, the more successful we’ll become. That is the foundation of our brand. There’s an audience for fast fashion brands. Yet, I believe we all crave to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to be a part of something that makes us feel good inside and out, is really where it’s at.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you! I believe we are already creating a movement by helping women on a global level to embrace their beauty inside and out, be a part of an inclusive community who we help to become financially secure through brand opportunities. We are strictly an e-commerce B2C brand and understand that exposure, marketing, influencers, and ambassadors all help us drive the ship, and are instrumental to our success. We took the time to do things right and didn’t rush any steps. We are in for the long haul, and I just can’t wait to see how many women we help along the way.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can find us on our social media sites on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest & Twitter @LovleiLife, or on Facebook at: If someone would like to check out our website, they can do so at

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

No, thank you! This has been so exciting talking about fashion, my family, and my background in the textile industry. I really appreciate your time and consideration with this interview. You asked some great questions. Much appreciated!

Modern Fashion: Robin Hoffman Haack of LOVLEI On The 5 Things You Need To Lead a Successful Fashion was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.