Retail Impresario, Age 15, Someone to ENVIE

March 25, 2011
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At age 15, Luke Schlim has launched his own clothing company.

At age 15, Luke Schlim has launched his own clothing company.

If Jay Leno is the hardest working man in show business, rarely taking a day off, then La Verne’s Luke Schlim is the hardest worker in the clothing business – and he’s just 15.

Besides going to school and logging long hours working at the Utility Board Shop (UBS) in La Verne, he’s invented himself as an edgy entrepreneur and designer of T-shirts by Envie, whose label he hopes in time will grace board shorts, tank tops, pants, sweatshirts and hats and beanies.

Schlim is a loquacious lad, which is understandable given he has six other brothers and sisters. But he doesn’t just want to stand out and be heard in his own family, he wants to stand out in the rag trade and have his company uttered in the same breath as Emerica, Ezekiel, Volcom, Matix and Trespass.

He first got the idea to start his own company when he was 12-years-old, when most kids are thinking about their next Little League game. “I’ve had this name, ‘Envie,’ in my head for years,” he told his brother Brandon over lunch one day. “I actually drew the name up on a napkin and still have it.”

He sat on the idea for a couple of years, but working at UBS and talking to his family and a family friend, Tracy Roberts, motivated him to take that next big step.

“I’m pretty much tired of wearing everybody else’s clothes, I want to represent myself,” Luke said. “I have all these ideas constantly going through my head, but this time I decided to act.”

He started contacting anyone who he thought could literally help him transfer “Envie” to T-shirts. Using his own money, he finally found a silk-screener to make up 200 T-shirts. “I just had to get the name and design out there,” Luke said. “I said, ‘Dang, this is on. I’m doing this.”

UBS owners Jeff and Kevin Sanchez are now talking to Luke about putting his T-shirts in their La Verne store (they own six other UBS shops) as a test run. He’s meeting with a UBS buyer in two weeks, but he’s not even waiting that long.

He already has a Facebook page, and more people are showing up at places like LA Fitness in La Verne donning his logo. It’s subtle, but hard to miss, appearing on both the front and back of T-shirts.

What exactly does Envie mean or express? It’s sort of a tribal code for “You like what I have,” and “I like what you have,” Luke explained. “You want to be wearing what I have.”

One early fan of the T-shirts is his uncle Chuck Dempsey, a competitive off-road racer and former Baja 1000 winner. With Uncle Chuck wearing an Envie T-shirt from time to time, Luke has his first in-house celebrity endorsement.

Luke regularly sponsors artwork contests on his Facebook site ( . Winners get a free shirt. Even if you don’t win, the shirts are priced at a cool and wallet-friendly $10. Once in stores, the price will be $19.99.For now, shirts come in white, black and gray.

“You don’t have to be a millionaire to start your own clothing line,” Luke said, sipping a latte at Starbucks within walking distance of UBS. “Anybody can do it. With the way the economy is going, you have to start out young. Most people start out when they’re 22, or even later. By the time, I’m 22 or 25, I’ll be set.

“When you have a good idea, don’t sit on it.”

Luke ain’t sittin’, he’s selling – to kids at school, to body-conscious people at the gym and complete strangers who want in on the latest La Verne fashion wave. He hopes the snowboard and off-road crowds will catch the fever, too. He’s a retail dynamo who says he doesn’t want to do anything else but serve and hang with customers.

“I’ve only had the shirts since last Thursday, and I’ve already sold more than a hundred,” Luke said. “I’m stoked, it’s cool.”

Luke may be only 15, but he’s already somebody to Envie!

For more information, you can call Envie at (909) 532-2548.

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