We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Litt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have been in the bridal business my whole life. Lili Bridals in Tarzana, California has been my family’s business since 1958–I am now the third generation to run the business. Bridal is in my blood. Some time around 2012, I had realized that there were simply not enough choices for the plus-size bride. I did have a collection of plus-size dresses in the store, but I never felt it was “enough”. I had also heard many horror stories of plus-size bride’s shopping experiences in other bridal salons: the selections for the plus-size bride mostly consisted of matronly, unattractive dresses, and I also heard stories of horrible customer service toward the curvier brides. The more I spoke with the curvier brides, the more I found out just how anxious and scared plus-size brides were to even set foot in a traditional bridal salon, or even to try on wedding dresses for that matter. One day it came to me, what If I were to open a store ONLY for plus-size brides? Make it a beautiful oasis of calm and body-positivity, with an amazing selection of dresses that not only would actually fit on curvy bodies but also zip up! I would also carry the same stylish designer dresses that the traditional stores carry for the ‘straight size’ brides. So I made a business plan, and…Della Curva came to fruition.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
After graduating from UCLA with a Sociology degree I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had grown up working at my family’s store Lili Bridals & Formals and I worked there biding my time until I knew what I wanted to do for my “real” career. During this time, my dad always told me I was not obligated to take over the business, (yeah, right Dad) but he emphasized to me that he thought that I had a real knack with the brides and also for design. I fought it at first. You know, there’s the stigma of working with your parents that was always around me: Real or imagined. But after awhile, I sort of ‘grew into’ it and I soon told Mom and Dad that I was in for the long haul! I then decided to go back to school to get my degree in Fashion Design from FIDM here in Los Angeles, and for a while began designing beautiful custom made Wedding Gowns and Mother of the Bride dresses. Then, first Dad, and then Mom got sick and I lost them both to Cancer. My world collapsed. What brought me out of the grief and sadness was opening Della Curva. It is my “happy place”. Helping brides who before had been made to feel ‘less than’ feel the most beautiful, comfortable and sexy on their wedding day is a special gift. I have made lifelong friends with my brides and their moms who bought their gowns at Della Curva and it is SO rewarding for me. Since opening in 2013, we have had women come to Della Curva from all over the world to buy their wedding gown. We have had brides from Japan, Italy, Australia, England, Finland, and Canada to name a few. We have grown to become the ‘it’ place to be for curvy, plus-size women to shop for their wedding gown. Della Curva is truly a labor of love for me.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
My favorite restaurant near my stores is Sol Y Luna, –incredible Mexican food and people drive from over an hour away to eat there! For Breakfast – we love CiCi’s but do bring your appetite ( huge portions!) Celebrity sightings: There are certainly celebrities who live in Tarzana, but just 20 minutes away is beautiful Malibu. Known for their spectacular views, beaches, hiking, shopping and people-watching. You will no doubt spot at least one celebrity just strolling the Malibu Country Mart or Farmer’s Market there!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout would be to my good friend, Cheryl Vance, who I met in design school at FIDM. She is a wonderful friend for so many years. She is my “go-to’ for design inspiration and she helps me keep my creativity at the cutting edge, always!