Jonathan Rick & Julie Sokolower were married on September 28th 1986. They had bunked up twenty years earlier when each, one summer, attended a little camp in Connecticut. They just never knew it.
Although we were both originally from the East Coast, we met when we both coincidentally moved to Los Angeles during the “84’ Olympics.
I became Rooms Manager at the 5 star L’ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills and Julie worked in a showroom at the California Clothing Mart. Deciding to go into real estate I took a break from the hotel business. While studying for my real estate license, through Julie’s garment center connections in New York, I began selling sweaters at a local swap meet and flea market on the weekends.
At this time Julie also made a career change of her own taking a job as a flight attendant. A little over zealous in my sweater buying, and after passing my real estate test, I found myself buried in merchandise that needed to be moved. It was suggested to me to pedal my wares on Ventura Boulevard in an affluent part of the San Fernando Valley outside LA.
According to Julie, I made a fast following with my innate good taste in clothes, paired with an ability to really listen to, and understand what women want in clothing. I started getting invited to participate as a vendor in the many high end charity events held throughout Southern California. In a short time I began to make a name for myself and my real estate career never got out of the gate.
While Julie was flying to NY, and elsewhere, business began to grow, as did my buying. The apartment where we lived became more of a warehouse, filled with all kinds of great fashions. A choice needed to be made. It was either the furniture or the clothes.
Out of necessity we took a small 900 sq. ft. warehouse in an alley in Tarzana which I worked out of for a while. My customers no longer wanted to wait for me to come to them so we decided to open the warehouse to the public by appointment and a couple of times a month.
In 1986 we were married and with more success, decided to convert the warehouse into a store. Named for the first movie that we had ever seen together, “My Fair Lady” (not in a movie theater, VHS is old enough) was founded. The landlord, loving his new retail tenant, started renting to stores only and what once was industrial warehouses became a shopping destination known as "The Alley in the Valley."
Fast forward to the mid 2000's, when there was a strong downturn in the economy. It was very sad to see many of the manufacturers whom we had developed strong business relationships with close down. Subsequently My Fair Lady no longer carried the companies that our store customers loved. Most of these brands produced very casual day wear, often discounted. We still however had lines that were successful at the charity events.
We knew the only way to survive on the charity circuit alone was by finding, and bringing to these events, the most elegant and unique styles, which had to actually look great on real women. Before heading into a luncheon, hundreds of well dressed women would come in to shop and try on our jackets. We learned very quickly which jackets were not only winners in look but also flattered many different body types.
Although the charity boutiques were successful they weren't enough to keep us in business. We finally took the advice from our kids... we built an online store and healvitanuclear.com was born.
It was around the same time iPads became a hit with many shoppers. All of a sudden there was a whole new market of women shopping online with very few websites catering to them.
We are more than proud of the companies we carry. Not only do they make things here in the USA but they are innovative, chic, reasonable, and an absolute pleasure to work with.
We have recently modernized our website, and now that both our kids have graduated college, we are both immersed in keeping up with orders and trying to provide the level of customer service, value, and quality that we have offered for over 25 years.
Thank you for shopping with us and being a part of our little comeback story.
Jon & Julie Rick