Noticing a void in the intimate markets where affordable luxury and outerwear merged, sisters Celine and Joline Nehoray founded Beverly Hills Lingerie in fall 2018 to fill the gap.
With Celine a recent USC graduate and Joline an incoming freshman at USC, the sisters noticed that girls were struggling to find clothing that mastered the delicate balance between sexy and fashionable. “We’d see some girls pair lace plunging bodysuits, and sheer bralettes with leather jackets as clubwear,” Celine tells me. “The problem was the first option that came to mind would be from mainstream stores like Victoria’s Secret, which didn’t emphasize ‘outerwear’ at the time. From here, our trademarked tagline ‘lingerie for a night in… or night out,’ was born.”
The brand takes inspiration from strong females like Cher and Madonna who would often wear lingerie on stage or out and about. “Since the beginning of the century, women have proven that wearing lingerie makes them feel sexy. Beverly Hills Lingerie embodies that notion, and wants to further reshape the way women wear, think, and feel about lingerie,” explains Joline. “A goal for us and Beverly Hills Lingerie is to inspire ‘ordinary’ women to style lingerie and feel sexy just as their favorite acclaimed icons did.”
The women, who self-funded the brand from saving their incomes from past jobs in public relations and marketing, are first generation Americans with parents from Iran. Born and raised in Beverly Hills the pair have been inspired and challenged by their hometown to pursue the American Dream.
“Beverly Hills is the heart of the pursuit of luxury, and to many this idea of luxury may seem so unattainable and unrelatable,” says Celine. “From the very first day of strategizing for Beverly Hills Lingerie, we worked tirelessly to create a relatable global brand. Beverly Hills is known around the world to be the pinnacle of extravagance and opulence, so it was important to us to be able to create a brand that was approachable. All in all, humans yearn for grandeur and clients stay loyal to brands that instill an emotion within them. Our aim was to instill the same emotions in our customers as Beverly Hills instills and inspires in us. We are devoted to cultivating a world of affordable luxury.”
On what makes their brand unique Joline tells me, “Traditional lingerie brands are either too expensive for the majority of the world, (think La Perla), too unapproachable for the ordinary girl exploring lingerie for the first time, (think Agent Provocateur) or simply, a brand that has lost its elegance and true French tradition—a lingerie requirement, in our eyes,” Joline tells me. “We truly strive to meet an in-between and cater to a wider audience. We aspire to remain at price points that are widely attainable, yet not devaluing to the nature of our high quality.”
With no background in fashion, the pair turned to trusted wholesale designers to help them design and produce their collection. “Our father always taught us there is nothing more valuable than knowledge, and we should go out and find it. Our father has a lot of knowledge and experience with global transactions, which encouraged us to stay knowledgeable, curious, and work to harness business relationships around the globe,” shares Celine.
The sisters traveled from Las Vegas to New York attending trade shows and seminars, all while looking for the perfect manufacturing partner. They even traveled abroad to Hong Kong, Japan, and France to make sure they were up to speed on the latest trends. “There we met designers, suppliers, and retailers. Joline would be up all night focusing on her college homework and then spend extra hours searching for networking events focusing on anything from venture capital, to women in business, to digital advertising, to tech apps and resources, and more,” states Celine. “We attended each and every one of them, no matter how far we had to travel and whatever social events we had to miss.”
A year into their business, the duo began designing their own pieces in Los Angeles’s Fashion District—like their Pierre Underbust Corset. The sisters created two collections—Midnight in Paris and Springtime in Paris that are both inspired by the duality of Paris—a city that is both risque and elegant.
“Midnight in Paris was created as a light, bright, and colorful collection, and Springtime in Paris has an edgier, darker look. Midnight in Paris included a rhinestone denim corset, paying homage to the sparkling Eiffel tower, which sold out in days along with other colorful pieces,” Joline tells me. “Some of the products in this collection were created in multiple colors—our Maxime Top was created in emerald, pink, and the easy-to-wear black and white. Our frilly feminine Marceau Bralette was created in petal pink, white, and black that paid homage to a dainty, playful side of Paris.” The brand’s Springtime in Paris collection dropped this past March. “Just in time for those sexy WFH looks in quarantine,” Jolene adds and includes more sleepwear.
Working with family can occasionally be disastrous. But in speaking with Celine and Joline, it is apparent that their bond is a priority even though they don’t always agree. “Everything in life is bittersweet and there will be nothing more important than the bond of our sisterhood above all else. Although we are naturally and effortlessly best friends, transitioning into a business relationship definitely took a lot of time, understanding, and patience,” explains Celine.
Their five-year age gap also lends itself to differences in perspective. Celine continues, “We definitely feel the generational gap and we sometimes struggle with understanding each other. We both strongly believe that teamwork makes the dream work, and the opportunity to share our ideas and visions with each other are more valuable than working solo. We have experienced the rewards of how much collaborative work pays off, and while we disagree sometimes, this notion hits home and brings our focus back full circle.”