Jaya Apparel Group: The Transformation of L'Koral – Fashion Manufacturing News
The first thing you notice about Jane Siskin is her shoulder-length pouf of blonde hair, which creates a golden cloud around her tan face.
The second thing you notice is that Siskin, chief executive of Jaya Apparel Group in Vernon, Calif., doesn’t waste time. A ball of energy, she is pushing her more than $150 million apparel company forward, transforming it from its roots as a fast-turn juniors tops manufacturer to a company that grabs the latest apparel opportunity out there. That could be in juniors, moderates, contemporary or on the Web.
“We have 11 or 12 brands as we speak, some owned and some licensed,” said Siskin, sitting inside her vast office, sparsely decorated with little more than a large desk and a conference table. “We have become known as a brand-building company.”
Siskin works on both coasts of the United States. During her 16 years with the apparel venture, she has lived in New York. (She grew up in Long Island.) But three times a month, she flies to Los Angeles to work out of the company headquarters, plotting how to make the brands more successful.
One of the more famous brands the company has been working on is Elizabeth and James, the contemporary label licensed in 2007 from movie stars turned designers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Jaya is also producing the Olsen twins’ denim-oriented Textile Elizabeth and James contemporary sportswear label and their juniors sportswear label, Olsenboye. The label, launched last year, is sold exclusively at JCPenney at retail prices ranging from $24 to $58.
Jaya also designs its own youth-oriented contemporary label, Patterson J. Kincaid, but last year put contemporary label LaROK on hiatus.
Being on the contemporary end of apparel wasn’t how the apparel company started out. Jaya Apparel used to be called L’Koral Industries, a longtime maker of private-label tops for the fast-turn juniors market. The company was started in 1982 by Peter Koral, who went on to become known as the man who in 2000 put 7 For All Mankind in the premium-denim spotlight. He later sold the label to VF Corp. in 2007 for $775 million. During that time, Siskin was the company’s president.
But in 2009, Siskin bought out the rest of Koral’s share of the company, making her and a silent partner the new owners of a venture with 200 employees. Jaya is located in a boxy warehouse in an industrial zone near downtown Los Angeles, where the whiff of coffee wafts over from the nearby Gaviña Gourmet Coffee headquarters. Down the street is sausage maker Farmer John.