Hello. My name is Shari and I’m a Sugar addict. Okay, so I’m not a member of a 12-step program, yet . . . but I need to start one for my latest addiction: Sugar . . . the shop on La Brea Avenue, that is. I immediately fell in love with the vibe of the shop. Everything from its pink-and-lavender walls to its overstuffed couches, antique armoires and Oriental rugs makes me feel like I’m in my own femme fatale fantasy. The jewelry boxes are overflowing with great gifts for mom, vintage Chanel necklaces and Hermes bracelets, and there are racks and stacks of fabulous designer clothes. Sugar carries everyone from Wendy Hill to Susana Monaco and Petro Zillia, among others. Everywhere I look, there’s something that makes me wish I’d brought my good credit card!
I feel absolutely giddy! Then I see them. The real sugar behind Sugar, they’re stunning, and I must have one. Mini cupcakes — Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberries and Cream, and Über Chocolate. I take a bite of heaven and try on some sexy shoes by C label. I love it here. I want to move in.
Co-owners Jeanette Chivvis and Kelley West are every inch as special and fun as the atmosphere they create. I begin to believe they’ll let me live here in exchange for witty banter. Oh, there’s another sneaky fantasy again; like the one where I’m dating Joaquin Phoenix and he — um, never mind.
There’s something about these Texas gals that makes me feel like they’re longtime friends and I can share my secrets with them. They met several years ago in an acting class. Pursuing common goals and a shared spiritual philosophy keeps them on target with their business and each other.
Chivvis calls West a “catalyst for creativity. A life force who attracts people like a magnet. She thinks out of the box. She’s visual, and that translates into fashion. She can pick colors and prints that I’d never think of.” Likewise, West calls Chivvis “a great stylist. Jeanette will pull clothes [for a client] and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, no, she didn’t,’ then I realize the genius behind it all! I was wearing her label, Nay-Nay, before we even thought of starting a business together.”
Jeanette’s Nay-Nay line of halters and shrugs made from vintage scarves is as fresh and adorable as she is. I have to try one on. Chivvis pulls a white, blue and pink floral-and-abstract print for me to wrap around my bosom. I have some trouble figuring out how to put it on, and like a good girlfriend, Chivvis comes into the changing room and to my rescue. She ties a girlie bow in the middle of my boobs, and snaps me in. I feel like a million bucks! Very feminine, sassy and hip all at once. These halters go great with jeans. I am so wearing one on my date tonight with Joaquin . . . And by Joaquin I mean that boring accountant I met.
While I still have on the yummy silky halter, West gets up from the couch and runs over to a bunch of necklaces hanging on an antique iron candlestick. She grabs one with vintage aqua, purple and gold beads and puts it around my neck. “This makes it!” she says to me. I feel like I’m at my best girlfriend’s apartment and we’re playing in her closet!
I ask West and Chivvis, “What’s the philosophy behind Sugar?” They look at each other and say, almost in unison, that Sugar is an extension of who they are and how they see the women of the world. Sugar tells the story of being a powerful woman. A woman who loves who she is, including every curve and feminine nuance.
Changing back into my street clothes, I feel sad. I’m leaving a great visit with close cousins. Before I go, the ladies invite me to “girls’ night.” This is a night for women to gather and dance, gossip, get crazy and meet each other. It’s also to spread the word of their higher purpose — to eat cake!
Sugar, 633 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. (323) 965-0359.
For prevention of withdrawal symptoms, the cakes can be ordered online at https://sugaronlabrea.com. The deliciousness is also sold on Saturdays by the “cup crate” (half-dozen). Nay-Nay halters run from $163 to $189, vintage necklaces from $38 to $125.