Imagine sitting down with a book that begins like an episode of the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and ends with one pondering the pathway taken in life. Then imagine that everything in between educated you on how one should approach life, the calm beauty of West Seattle, the traffic-filled life of Los Angeles, the parallel world of fashion and acting, a little bit of mystery and just a dash of the Obama White House to complete the book’s recipe.
That is what you will get when you read Jeff Stewart’s new book, Lolly: From Fishing to Fashion: Reeling in an Unlikely Fashion Success. The book is a story about the company, Lolly Clothing.
With his trusted dog Chico always near his side and a Mazda van that just might need to be sold off for scrap metal, Stewart writes about his experience shadowing those that make Lolly Clothing what it is. With brothers Todd and Chad Kimball at the helm, the reader is taken through the evolution, from O Gear to Obvious Clothing to the fashion power house it is today as Lolly.
Stewart writes the Lolly story in a way that makes the reader feel like they are sitting down with the Lolly team, listening to the story being told. Whether it is in a coffee shop in West Seattle overlooking Alki Beach, or sitting in a warehouse in Los Angeles watching the creation of clothing in front of your eyes (side note: Lolly Clothing is made in the USA!), the book reads like a conversation with different friends that you have known your whole life. Stewart does not tell all in his book, he also keeps a bit of mystery throughout when he describes interactions he has with a certain friend, whose identity is never revealed.
Stewart also makes the reader wish that they were employed by Lolly! For one, Lolly is company that was really started by fishermen who wanted to make a good investment and in turn invested their life savings into a company because they trusted someone to handle their money, Todd Kimball. Fishing and fashion – who knew?
Lolly is a company that challenges the status quo of a fashion company – with kindness towards others and creating a true sense of family. One of my favorite quotes from the book came from Todd, who says, “…we have people working here who pay their mortgages and take care of their families because of the company. We have to see to it that they are taken care of.” With the way the economy and politics are today, reading Todd impart words of wisdom with how a company should treat its employees was incredibly refreshing. All of the employees of Lolly agree that they are proud of the work that they do and the Kimballs treat them as a member of the family, continually emphasizing that they are a team. Even the name Lolly, comes from Todd and Chad’s grandmother, Eleanor (her nickname was Lolly). Todd describes his wife as his rock, and he would probably shout it from the mountain tops if he could. For both Todd and Chad, their parents had always been their foundation. One story that I loved reading was about Chad (who spends time moonlighting on Broadway), who was nominated for a Tony Award. His mom had been battling a rare form of breast cancer and was declared cancer free the day of his nomination. He brought his mom as his date to the Tony’s, and even though he lost the Tony, he won, because his mom was there by his side.
As a Southern California native myself, who also lived in the Washington, DC area for seven years and now lives in the Seattle area, there were so many parts of the book that I could visually and emotionally relate to. Reading about Stewart describe driving up and down the 5 (as those born and raised in Southern California call it), the horrific Los Angeles traffic at any time of day, looking at the Seattle skyline from Alki Beach, and the sense of excitement one gets when going to the White House to meet the President and the First Lady (although my visit was for a White House ice cream social, not because I was a Broadway star like Chad) – I literally could imagine myself almost as a fly on the wall (or in Stewart’s shaky Mazda) as he traveled and listened to the life stories. I highly recommend reading Lolly: From Fishing to Fashion. It is a quick, fun read and you will learn almost everything there is to know about the fashion world, the world of “acting,” the incredible importance of family and teamwork, and why we should all ask ourselves, “What’s the worst that can happen? People can say no.” Go forth and conquer life – you only live once!
Please click here to purchase a e-copy of the book.
One lucky Miss A reader will win a hard cover, autographed copy of Lolly: From Fishing to Fashion. Comment below on why you love Lolly clothing and a winner will be announced on Friday, April 12.