From Mayor to Retailer – Los Angeles Business Journal

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Russ less He grew up in Manhattan. The beach is close to the water and reminds of body surfing and rough waves Pillow a thing. It turned out that most of the work was done Near the beach – literally and figuratively.

Here is his story:

In 1962, he befriended Bill and Bob Meister, famous brothers who owned a smaller store. Dive N’ Surf in Redondo Beach. At that time, the little one was watching. California State University – Long Beach He aims to become an accountant.

“We became friends and they told me they would give me their accounting job when I became a CPA,” Leather recalled. “They did in 1966.”

Years passed, and Little became involved in civic affairs. In the year He served two terms as mayor in 1978 and 1982 as a member of the Manhattan Beach City Council.

“I was asked to run again and I said no, saying, ‘If two elections were enough for George Washington, they would be enough for me,'” he said.

After leaving the city council, he was named managing partner of his CPA firm. From 1986 to 1990, we grew quite a bit and were then one of the largest single-office CPA firms west of the Mississippi River, with 12 partners and over 100 employees. However, I wasn’t having much fun.

Meanwhile, the Mestral twins had come up with something new: they created the first commercially available neoprene wetsuit. This allowed surfers and divers to stay relatively warm in the cold waters of California.

“One day we discussed how to build the business and decided to go into wholesale by making wetsuits and selling them to thrift stores,” Lesser said. “Before that, the only way you could get wetsuits was to go into a dive ‘n surf shop and get measured and buy.”

So, Meistrells bought a factory and began making wetsuits for surf shops under private labels for other retailers. Finally, they decided to take the next step and create their own brand. Body gloveIt still markets wetsuits and related equipment.

In the late 80’s, Body Glove took another step and started licensing items, mainly thanks to the experience gained from working with small Pacific OceanOne of his clients is an accounting firm that has done a good licensing job.

“In 1990, the Meisterls felt they needed some more in-house management, so they gave me the job of president,” said Leather. I didn’t have much fun being a partner (CPA firm) so I accepted the job and was able to buy some stock in Body Glove, making me the sole shareholder other than family members.

From 1990 to 2016, we built the licensing business, signing licenses for many new product categories, including men’s and women’s swimwear and clothing, fins, masks and snorkels, body boards, stand-up paddleboards, eyewear, shoes, socks, underwear, watches and more. Even cell phone cases. Amazingly, that category grew to $50 million in sales.

They also owned the first Dive N’ Surf retail store. In the year In 2016, they sold a controlling interest in the company to a New York investment bank to build a brand licensing business.

“This has worked well for the five members of the Meistrell family (and my wife and I) who still receive a nice check each year.

“We still own the retail store, and I’m the president of the company. However, running Body Gloves was a 60-hour-a-week job, running Dive N’ Surf isn’t as demanding, and I’m in the office about 20 hours a week,” continued Leather.

“I turned 83 on October 28th, but I see no reason to stop working. I am on the board of Reef Check, an organization that helps protect and restore coral reefs around the world, and was elected to the 66th Assembly District Republican Central Committee.

“I don’t want to end up like some people I know who are retired and seem to have no purpose in life,” he said.

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