The funky Betsey Johnson dresses! The high-heeled clogs! The Rapunzel-esque hair! As a teen, Miami Beach native Chloe Sommer would rock a trend before it was, well, deemed a trend. Influenced by her eccentric artist mother, Sommer’s unconventional style — was most definitely noticed (and the object of much envy) by her fellow basic Gap-clad peers.
So it’s no surprise Sommer recently launched a stylish and whimsical children’s jewelry line, Accessories Squad, with her friends Angela Becker, Amanda Brown (author of “Legally Blonde“) and Patty Penske. “All of our daughters are involved in this venture and it’s been so much fun to watch them learn about making their dreams a reality and wear their namesake bracelets,” Sommer says. Now based in Los Angeles, we chat up the mompreneur on her #inspo, Miami musts, her daughter’s stylish splash in the New York Times and more.
How did you dream up Accessories Squad?
Our daughters were always raiding our jewelry boxes and preferred dressing up in our things. So we set on a mission to elevate the children’s accessories market because there’s no reason that mademoiselle’s accessories shouldn’t be as chic and fun as her mothers!
How do your daughters shape the design process?
Our daughters are the inspiration for our business and proudly wear their namesake bangles. We are all busy moms and have found a way to combine our ultimate love (our children) with another one of our loves, accessories. If they veto a design, it’s a no go. We have a built-in test market. As we go through the design process, they’re an integral part of helping us determine what works and what doesn’t.
You daughter, Paloma, recently made the cover of the New York Times Style section in your ! How do you best describe that feeling?
I loved seeing Paloma in the New York Times Style Section. The late Bill Cunningham photographed and appreciated my late mother Sheila Natasha Simrod Friedman countless times. I vividly recall meeting him outside of Barneys in New York and he told me had a treasure trove of photos of my mom. Seeing Paloma in the New York Times felt like an homage to my mom in many ways. It’s pretty fantastic to make the style section at age 6!
You are a mompreneur that launched a biz at the age of 39 — with this said, what is the best advice you can give budding fashion designers?
JUST DO IT! Find people you love — my business partners are some of my dearest friends — and don’t be afraid to make your dreams a reality. It really is fun to take over the children’s accessories world one bangle at a time. We each bring something so unique to the table. Angela is a music manager and her business sense is always spot on. Amanda is the novelist who wrote Legally Blonde and having my very own built-in Elle Woods has made me a happier adult. Patty is a former model and fashion designer and her chicness know no bounds. We each bring a unique perspective.
When in Miami, what are your go-to haunts?
Whip’n Dip Ice Cream for frozen yogurt in South Miami. Seeing old friends and family. Drive-thru Farm Stores for my beloved coke zero soda — why hasn’t L.A. adopted the drive-thru philosophy? And of course a stop in at Capretto Shoes!
Describe the perfect day:
My perfect day involves cuddling under my canopy bed all day with my amazing husband Kirk and my daughters.