Brooklyn-based Libi Molnar and Miami resident Ashley Liemer are the creators behind Billie Blooms, a line of premium unisex baby bloomers designed with little ones in mind. Made from natural fabrics in Miami, Molnar and Leimer’s bloomers boast adorable patterns from gingham to stripes and deliver both a city and beach friendly vibe.
How did the partnership between the two of you form to launch Billie Blooms?
LM: I’ve known Ashley for about seven years now and I’ve always been inspired by her tenacious spirit for entrepreneurship as well as her style. When the idea began brewing for Billie Blooms, I reached out right away and she jumped on board immediately. We both have full time jobs aside from Billie Blooms which means our commitment to this project had to be fast and furious or else there was no way it would work. Luckily it was one of those partnerships where everything seemed to click into place from the get go and we were able to pull it off – despite the fact that we don’t even live in the same state! Ashley lives and works from Miami while I am in Brooklyn. We are in a long distance business relationship.
What are your backgrounds in fashion?
LM: My first job out of college was assisting fashion designer Nili Lotan. I worked with her out of her Tribeca studio and learned all the ins and outs of starting a successful fashion line from the ground up. After working with her, I went on to assist actress Rachel Weisz and saw a different side of the fashion industry from the celebrity vantage point. On a cover shoot for Vogue with Rachel I met the producers from North Six, which led me the world of photo production. I have been a producer for fashion photographers for about 6 years now. I’m currently a senior producer at CLM in New York.
AL: In college, I studied Entrepreneurship and glass blowing. Upon graduation, I entered the finance world working for my family’s mortgage lending company. Love my family, yet couldn’t stand this occupation. Sink or swim I resigned to become a tailor inside an iconic Miami Beach dry cleaning plant, Marks Quality Cleaners. My fashion mentor is Mika Inatome. Mika is an incredibly talented couture bridal designer in Manhattan. For me, she broke down the barrier of entry into the fashion industry. In the beginning I apprenticed under her in couture bridal, however, today I’ve built my fashion brand literally out of the cleaners. The Noble Experiment brand includes Noble Uniforms, which outfits boutique luxury hospitality venues such as the Soho Beach House and The Marlton. We design, manufacture, tailor, fit garments and offer corporate styling all over the world. We still operate out of the cleaners and offer a full menu of tailoring services in Noble’s Tailor House.
Have you always had design aspirations?
LM: When I was a little girl, I wanted to either be a lawyer, a performer, or a fashion designer. I’ve always had a strong appreciation of aesthetics and design in my life and above all, have always had a desire to create.
AL: Yes, as a creative five-year-old child I decided my calling was lingerie. Determined, I constructed a bra for my mother. It was adorned with beading and an open tip. Needless to say, my mother was shocked! I now have that first “bra” framed in my home.
What was the inspiration behind a line of bloomers?
LM: Short answer – watching the Freshly Picked pitch on “Shark Tank.” Also, I had just come back from visiting my boyfriend’s family in Singapore, where it is incredibly hot and humid and the kids are running around naked all day long. The kids kept getting mosquito bites on their bums and I thought, “What would an easy-to-wear product be for both girls and boys?” This was also compounded with a recent rush of friends having babies and I had been finding it quite difficult to find gifts (especially clothing gifts) that were not completely over the top with glitter and bows and pink for girls at a decent price point. It was a perfect storm of all of these things that sparked the idea of starting a bloomers line that is both affordable and a natural extension of the fabrics I would wear myself.
Where are you currently retailing the collection?
LM: We are currently selling our bloomers exclusively on the website (www.billieblooms.com) and we’re in discussions with several stores for possible retail relationships.
How do you see the line evolving? Into a full children’s line?
LM: The best part about starting a small business that focuses on one product is that there is endless room to grow and evolve. We would love to start doing small run exclusive prints with local artists and people who inspire us and perhaps start introducing other products that we feel a connection to and are relevant to the brand down the line.
Do either of you have children?
LM: Not yet for me! But I do have an adorable godson I cannot wait to meet this summer along with lots of lovely babes being born around me.
AL: Not yet!
The timing of your launch is perfect for summer. What promotional events do you have planned to get all the fashionable babes in your bloomers?
LM: We are in discussions to do a West Coast launch event with the beautiful and talented Valley Brink Road (www.valleybrinkroad.com) They will be featuring Billie Blooms in their upcoming run of new mama/new baby gift boxes that are so incredible it will make you want to have a million babies just so you can keep receiving them as gifts. We will also be doing an event in Miami either this summer or fall. We did our initial launch in Brooklyn, so we have to stay true to our roots and give the beach some BB love as well.
AL: From Brooklyn to Miami Beach and our friends on the West Coast, we’re excited for a summer filled with Billie Blooms and sunshine.