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Four need-to-know names in fashion and beauty

Meet these San Diego experts putting their stamp on the industry

Image Credits Boulevard: Nick Biliotti; Bodyography: Courtesy of Robanda International, Inc.;Jewels with a Purpose: Vincent Knakal; Skin Laundry: Courtesy of Skin Laundry

Since its arrival on La Jolla’s Girard Avenue in fall 2021, resale boutique Boulevard has offered an entirely new way for women to think about dressing. “I really don’t believe in fashion; I believe in unique and individual style,” says owner Kate Whitney, a former L.A.-based screenwriter. “We’re all supposed to be a little different from one another in some way, so Boulevard is dedicated to really helping women find that person, and when they find that person they’re more apt to live the life they’re meant to live and feel really good about themselves.” 

The two-story, 4,000-square-foot space is made to feel like you’re shopping in someone’s (fabulous) closet, and Whitney’s curated offerings range from Chanel to Zara to meet everyone at their price point. Needless to say, then, that it’s not all vintage — some pieces are new with tags — and Whitney gets equally as excited about an ’80s-era menswear-inspired suit as she does a linen and silk floral embellished dress from a recent Zimmermann collection. All are treated like friends rather than customers (Whitney is on a first name basis with many) as they buy, sell, and browse Boulevard’s women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories in addition to select furniture and housewares, but most important to Whitney is that her customers seek pieces that fit their authentic self. “My mission is to really help women let go and be who they’re meant to be, not what the culture wants to conform everyone to be,” she says. “You can tell when a woman is wearing something that’s ‘them’ because you can feel it. That’s what we’re aiming to do here. We don’t have all the answers, but we have the platform to support that with the energy of the store.” boulevardlajolla.com


With a modest beginning as a family-owned business producing and distributing an anti-aging retinol treatment in 1999, San Diego-based Robanda International, Inc. remains a family-owned business, but 23-plus years later, it’s a multi-generationally led parent company of a diverse array of global brands across the professional and retail beauty spectrum for hair, skin, and nails. Tying together every brand under its umbrella is an ethos of safety, sustainability, and consciousness: All are PETA-certified cruelty-free and paraben-free, and among them are products that are 100 percent vegan and gluten-free. “For us, clean beauty is a big part of our business and the industry, and it’s something that’s been a core value to us from the beginning,” says Lori Lieb, Robanda’s VP of Marketing and Brand Development and daughter of co-founder David Lieb. (Robanda is a portmanteau of the names of Lieb brothers and co-founders Anthony and David, plus eldest brother Robert.)

Robanda co-founder David Lieb and VP of Marketing and Brand Development Lori Lieb
Robanda co-founder David Lieb and VP of Marketing and Brand Development Lori Lieb

“Clean,” however, doesn’t mean compromise. “We’re not going to market a product to be clean and natural and organic if it’s not going to perform,” says Lieb. Take Bodyography, a pillar skincare and makeup brand in Robanda’s portfolio that’s crossed over from the professional space and is now available online and at places like Target and Amazon, bringing pro level quality to any beauty lover. 

You’d think a beauty executive would be all-in on layering product after product, but Lieb, who is also Creative Director at Bodyography, says the minimalist look that’s on-trend for spring and summer is the most flattering. “I’m really excited that people are taking a ‘less is more’ approach to beauty, not only with what they’re putting on their skin but how they’re using it, and using products in many different ways,” she says. “Enhance the eyes, enhance the skin, and add a little color.” Lieb says she uses Bodyography’s Fabric Texture Lipstick on the lips, as a cream blush, and even on the eyes for a monochromatic look. To add pop, she says the brand’s best-selling products are Glitter Pigments, shimmer and pearl powders that glide on with your finger. “It’s ethereal, it’s fun, and it’s for any age,” she says. bodyography.com

Anyone who’s ever perused auction items at a charity fundraiser or gala knows that it’s way more fun to bid on items that you truly love. Eliza Friedman, founder of Jewels with a Purpose, agrees. She created the company in 2005 after attending numerous galas where she felt there wasn’t enough of a selection of women’s items up for bidding. “I wanted to do something that did not require sizes, and something that is easy to ship, so I started designing jewelry because it’s something that you cannot have enough of, and women just love accessorizing any outfit, whether it’s casual or an evening gown,” says Friedman. With a background in fashion, the Romanian-born Friedman draws from classic influences and inflects her own unique style to design pieces that are exclusively available for nonprofit partners to sell at fundraising events — all to fulfill her mission to give back. Using sterling silver and sourcing high quality gems, she creates designs locally that are then produced in Europe to her specifications. 

Jewels with a Purpose Global Partnership Director Angie Lasagne and Founder Eliza Friedman
Jewels with a Purpose Global Partnership Director Angie Lasagne and Founder Eliza Friedman

Pieces are sent to charity partners at no cost and delivered in what Friedman calls a “turnkey solution,” where the jewelry is shipped in packaging that doubles as a display to be used at the fundraisers. Following the events, the charities pay the wholesale price for only what was sold, and return any unsold items. As Friedman realized that demand for her pieces often extended the boundaries of charity events, she created a shoppable website where customers can purchase her creations and select from a category of charitable organizations that will then receive a donation of 20 percent of the purchase price. The company has also recently expanded, adding San Diego philanthropist Angie Lasagne as Global Partnership Director to extend its reach into Canada and Europe.

Friedman says she receives about three to five requests a day from organizations wanting to use her jewelry in their auctions. As the jewelry has grown in popularity over the years since the company’s creation, Friedman estimates sales from Jewels with a Purpose have generated millions of dollars for the charities that have sold them. “I knew that no matter what I would choose to do as far as work, it would have an aspect of giving back, and that’s what I did,” she says, though she admits the degree of her success is still surprising. “I’m very positive and when I know that I put all of my soul and energy into what I do, the possibilities are endless, but I never thought I’d come this far because my hope was not how big the business would grow, my hope was always to serve one nonprofit at a time, and I knew that if I just give a little bit every day, it would add up to a lot more.” jewelswithapurpose.com

If you’ve not yet discovered Skin Laundry, a unique chain of clinics offering its signature laser facials that debuted in Del Mar Highlands last September, there’s yet another opportunity to see what you’ve been missing with the recent opening of a second location in Westfield UTC. The sleek-chic clinics boast state-of-the-art laser skin treatments that are identical to those you’d receive in a dermatologist’s office, but with an accessibility that’s anything but. According to Skin Laundry CEO Gregg Throgmartin, the treatments are a fraction of dermatologists’ prices, and the locations — malls and shopping centers rather than medical complexes — offer far more flexible hours. The protocols, which Throgmartin says are equally effective, are modified to require little if any downtime after each service, as opposed to more intense treatments like Fraxel or CO2 lasers. So, while he says many of his clients can afford the premium dermatologist-offered invasive treatments once or twice a year, the appeal of not missing out on regular activity holds tremendous value. Instead, Skin Laundry offers a membership schedule that ensures clients make their skincare part of their monthly routine. “Just like seeing your personal trainer or if you belong to a gym, consistency is key,” explains Throgmartin.

Skin Laundry
Skin Laundry

Like a gym membership, Throgmartin says it’s a misconception to think of this kind of personal care as a simple luxury. “I would say 85 percent of our members are coming in because they have a serious skin condition that they want to correct: acne, melasma, pigmentation, rosacea are the top issues,” he notes. 

With the opening of the UTC clinic, Skin Laundry also launched new, upgraded services that boast even greater strength and faster results with fewer treatments: the Power Signature facial, the Power Signature+, which includes a targeted Thermo Fractional spot treatment, and the Power Duo, which is a more powerful facial plus full-face Thermo Fractional and additional Thermo Spot treatments. Proprietary skincare products are also available on-site that are specifically formulated for post-laser skin, when absorption rates are as high as 90 percent. skinlaundry.com


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