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Homegrown designs from another era

88 Orange in Costa Mesa sells premium casual knits, home and body products, all infused with an orange blossom scent.

January 30, 2012|By Alisha Gomez
  • The main room of 88 Orange in Costa Mesa's South Coast Collection. The company is a maker of clothing, body and home products infused with an orange blossom scent.
The main room of 88 Orange in Costa Mesa's South Coast… (88 Orange, Daily…)

Nothing smells lovelier than the scent of orange blossoms.

Just ask Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the many fans of 88 Orange, the Costa Mesa-based maker of clothing, body and home products infused with an orange blossom scent.

"She loves our clothes and is addicted to our fabric softener," said Andy Drakeford, sales and marketing director for 88 Orange.

Actress and model Molly Sims is another fan, according to Drakeford.

Business has been good, she said, noting that the label has had mentions in big-name magazines like Allure and Every Day With Rachael Ray, with more press coming in the spring and summer in Travel & Leisure and Real Simple.

Now 88 Orange has moved its operations to South Coast Collection, known as SOCO. The front of the space is the label's first namesake boutique, with the warehouse and operations behind it. The shop sells all of 88 Orange's products as well as other labels' accessories, such as handbags, jewelry and scarves, or "complementary lifestyle accessories for 88 Orange," according to Drakeford.

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She and business partner Heather Artukovich — the woman behind the company's chic designs — started 88 Orange in March 2008, after expressing frustration with what they felt was lacking in the retail landscape.

"We felt there was a void in the marketplace for more refined knits," Drakeford said. "... and we were frustrated about it. Heather has a design background in knits, and we started talking about doing something on our own to fill that void."

The two met while working at what was then A'Maree's in Newport Beach. They also have a silent partner invested in the business. About 10 people work for them.

The knit products are made domestically — something that was important to Drakeford and Artukovich, both Newport natives who now live in Costa Mesa. Drakeford attended Newport Harbor High School and Artukovich went to Corona del Mar High.

"The cotton we chose is supima cotton, and it's grown in Central California," Drakeford said. "It's 100% fine cotton, and it's milled in Los Angeles. Then we use it to make garments in Orange County."

All of the knits are made in Garden Grove. The body and home products are made in Los Angeles. Clothes sell for about $59 for a cotton-knit tank to $280 for a more sophisticated design.

88 Orange also uses an old photo circa 1928 for its home and body products packaging. The photo is of Artukovich's grandfather and great aunt standing in front of their orange grove in Orange Park Acres.

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