Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom are just a few of the top-shelf brands that rely on Irvine-based Clover to make their retail shops pop. Gresham Taylor and his wife, Dina, started the company in their Irvine apartment in 2013 while Dina studied at UC Irvine.
When the business took off, Dina quickly found herself creating beautiful retail spaces for some of the most fashionable brands in the country – and loving every minute of it.
“There’s never a dull moment here,” she says. “I love what I do. I think it’s so much fun.”
They recently helped with the design of the new Lip Lab at Irvine Spectrum, a customizable beauty bar where customers dream up their own lipsticks. And they helped build out redesigns of such high-profile names as Ray-Ban and Toyota.
How did all of this happen?
Gresham was working for a company redesigning retail space, and he saw an opportunity to create experiential shopping spaces in an artistic way – something shoppers would want to post on Instagram.
He saw that as the future and took a chance.
“I held my breath, took a big leap of faith and started my own company,” he says.
All-women install team
After designing several high-fashion pop-up shops in L.A., Clover earned a reputation for creative designs.
As far as the division of labor, it’s not what you might think. Gresham is head of sales and design while his wife runs the fabrication and construction end of things.
“I come from a pretty tough background, so clients are always stunned that I can design these feminine-based spaces primarily for women,” he says. “At the same time, I can’t read blueprints, and Dina comes from a family of engineers, so it seemed natural for her to run the construction team.”
In addition, Dina’s install team is made up of all women – something that’s been well received by clients.
Many brands are intimidated by contractors, builders and fabricators, much like when you take your car to a mechanic, Gresham says. “So we work hard to make sure they don’t experience anxiety when talking to our team.”
From retail to office space
Clover works out of a 15,000-square-foot Irvine office with an in-house woodshop and metal shop to fabricate everything from its own clothing racks to jewelry displays to furniture.
The mostly female team is one reason the couple chose the city for their headquarters.
“We feel like Irvine is our home,” Dina says. “It’s clean and it’s safe, which is important because we have a lot of young women working for us.”
Nine to be exact, all younger than Dina, who is 36. Clover’s lead designer, assistant designer, project manager, project coordinator, director of operations and business development coordinator are all women.
While their primary focus has been fashion retailers and pop-ups, Clover is now designing Irvine office space, as well.
Irvine Company recently asked Clover to help create fully branded, fully functioning office space known as Flex Workspace+®, so that businesses can move in on day one and get to work. “We closely partner with Irvine Company’s workplace strategist to better understand clients’ needs in order to customize their space,” Dina says. “Then, together, we give them something unique.”
HOW WE DESIGNED INNOVYZE’S OFFICE SPACE
Our goal is always to get a feel for the vibe and energy our client is looking to achieve. With Innovyze, we wanted to emphasize what they do in an interesting and unique way. They’re a world leader in building high-tech software for the water industry, so we utilized imagery and color to achieve this. We also pulled from their website and branding to create a wave-like pattern that flowed through their offices at UCI Research Park. Our goal was to create cool spaces that employees and clients could enjoy – and still stay true to the brand.
We also wanted those in the space to see something from wherever they were. So in addition to the abstract wave wall, we included two large images, some dimensional accent walls in the conference and phone rooms, and paint matching their brand colors to really liven and brighten up the space.
Traditional office design tends to keep everything clean and neutral. Design has shifted away from that, to be more exciting and tailored to the brands occupying them. When brands invest in their spaces, the employees feel as if they’re being invested in as well. That helps bring in the best talent. It really is a great opportunity for brands. And it’s easier than you might think. We work closely with Irvine Company to design its Flex Workspace+® – move-in ready offices with leases starting at six months. Everything is ready the day you move in.