My Native Admission Statement: My name is Marissa Mills and I’m the co-founder of two companies - a global events production agency called Style Firm Events, as well as an activewear clothing line named Style Firm Los Angeles. Style Firm Events started in 2006 - we produce large scale sample sales, awards dinners, fashion shows, beauty product and store retail launches across the country with clients ranging from Chanel, Neiman Marcus, KatVonD Beauty to Project Angel Food. We have produced shows for just about every major fashion brand including: Hermès, Dior, Rodarte and Louis Vuitton. It’s always a wild ride in event production. No day is ever the same, that’s for sure, which is exactly why I love it.
In 2012, we launched Style Firm Los Angeles, a five piece all black collection of shaping activewear coined “The Little Black Dress of Activewear”™️ What sets our fitness line apart from others is that our line lifts the rear, slims the hips and flattens the tummy. It the perfect melding of stylish, yet functional, activewear. It’s truly revolutionary.
How did you get into the industry?
My business partner, Lisa Present, and I both started in our early 20s in the Public Relations department at Macy’s West—we handled events, advertising and press relations for 30 plus stores in Southern California. We were similar to a PR agency within a department store and had the freedom to cultivate an event marketing program that included 100 plus events for all the stores in our region. Macy’s West was a great training ground for starting our own agency and allowed us to gain corporate experience before going out on our own.
Best decision we ever made was leaving corporate life and starting Style Firm. Macy’s is still a client to this day.
Lisa and I started Style Firm Los Angeles because we saw a void; the activewear offerings were limited (way back then!) for women who wanted to look better in their activewear. Our vision was to create a magic pant that would seamlessly take you from barre class to brunch. When I began wearing our very first prototypes on the streets of New York, I would get weird, somewhat aggressive, looks from other women. Their attitude seemed to say you can’t wear that here & now - and I felt as though I was wearing dirty SpongeBob pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Anyway, that’s a whole other story. The collection is the foundation for all the activewear out there now. Style Firm Los Angeles molds your body in all the right places with just the right amount of compression for a comfortable, second skin feel.
When we launched, we produced fitness pop ups (that were unheard of at the time) —all at clever locations like Malibu Wines, SoHo House and Mr. C Hotels! Through those pop ups, we created an organic fitness following that continues to generate monthly fitness events around town.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Being a business owner is a journey. There will be some amazing wins and some great losses. It’s all part of the the ride.
The most important part is to keep pushing boundaries and trying new ideas constantly while believing that it’s alright if the idea doesn’t work—-the cliche, when one door closes, another door opens is absolutely correct in business, but patience and tequila help too.
What's next for the business in the near future?
Style Firm Los Angeles is happily looking forward to an upcoming collaboration residency with an established snowboard brand this winter.
It’s never been done before in this format - so we are incredibly excited to announce that partnership next month!
How do you motivate others?
I love connecting with people - it’s my strength, for sure. Brainstorm meetings get me moving with inspiration, but that’s not possible without at least five shots of espresso - seriously. It’s mutual motivating factors with all my partners, whether it’s a client, vendor, sponsor or a bulldog out for a walk.
What are my aspirations?
The goal is to sell both companies at some point, when we’re ready.
Both businesses are my babies, so I need to be ready to let them go when the time is right.
This life is more than just a read through.
-Can’t Stop by “Red Hot Chili Peppers”
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Copenhagen is my favorite city to date.
The vibe, the people and the endless biking all resonate with me.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Currently obsessed with LED light for the face -it’s detoxifying, relaxing and helps with collagen production.
My Current Passions?
Fitness classes is what I most look forward to in my daily routine. It’s the 1 hour where the phone is away, and I can focus on preparing for the day ahead. I’m currently doing a mix of fitness: hot yoga, Pilates and barre classes.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
The beach — bike rides or walks along the strand from Manhattan to Hermosa.
I hate dining, but I love love Craig’s on Melrose.
I also love Sweetgreen, Erewhon and Earthbar.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Sleeping -I am not a morning person!
10:00 AM - workout class or a client call
12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Custom smoothie at EarthBar
Includes spinach, banana, lemon and ice—my go to daily green drink!
7:00 PM - sound bath or client dinner
11:00 PM - answering work emails - I’m a night owl!
What should everyone try at least once?
Let me be realistic but slightly bleak. There’s a hole in the ground where we will all end up one day. Remember that hole and do great, innovative, interesting & unusual stuff before you get there. I don’t want to leave this earth with a list of things I should have done.