Sheila on Sunset is an artful selection of comfortable shirts, blouses, jackets, and pants with eclectic prints and dynamic cuts. Sheila Speer is Sheila on Sunset’s fearless owner and clothing curator, but before she was in fashion, she was a successful aeronautics sales executive. We know what you’re thinking. How does someone transition from aeronautics to women’s fashion retailing? To explain that, we’ll need to talk a little bit about Sheila.
Sheila’s Early Days
Sheila was born and raised in an eclectic household in Brooklyn, New York. There, she was surrounded by a family of artists and creatives who planted the seeds which would later grow to become Sheila on Sunset. After graduating from high school, her family traded Brooklyn brownstones for the palm tree-lined streets of Burbank, California. There, she enrolled in Valley Junior College where she quickly lost interest in her studies. She stumbled across a help wanted ad for a file clerk at Pacific Airmotive Corporation, one of the world’s leading aeronautical firms. Sheila applied and was quickly hired. It wasn’t long before the promotions began to roll in. In fact, the first one came within her first month on the job!
It wasn’t long until she was promoted to executive sales department head. Sheila was responsible for selling parts and services to national and international airlines, and she traveled all around the world to do it. Though working in sales was the biggest part of what she did at Pacific Airmotive, Sheila was also their internal communications and events coordinator because she had a passion for connecting with people. After nearly six years, Sheila left the company to, in her own words, “sell something fluffy”.
Sheila’s Retail Days Before Sheila on Sunset
Once everyone (including herself) at Pacific Airmotive got over the initial shock of this announcement, she departed with a bang! Everyone at the company attended her farewell party. When one door closes, another door opens. This particular open door lead her straight to the General Store on Bedford and Brighton. Under the strict and well-managed guidance of Catherine Capriotti, Sheila learned the ropes of retail- from merchandising to customer service. She then went on to work with Alan Austin in his clothing shop where she managed thirty employees and learned business savviness.
When she walked through the doors of Holly Harp at Sunset Plaza, Sheila fell in love with Holly’s sense of style and design and the store’s intimate vibe. Fortunately, Holly’s was looking for a store manager at the time and Sheila just happened to be the perfect woman for the job! Sheila quickly stepped into the role and did trunk shows all over the country while managing the Holly Harp Sunset Plaza store!
In the early 80s, she and Jim Harp opened a showroom at Fashion Mart in DTLA and spent two incredible years representing awe-inspiring collections.
As all things must come to an end, so did this portion of Sheila’s life. The doors of the showroom might have closed, but a new door opened soon after.
Before Sheila on Sunset there was Melrose Alley
In 1985, Sheila opened Melrose Alley with her partner, John Williams. Alley was a culmination of Sheila’s artistic upbringing, her desire to connect with people, and her love of fashion. Tucked behind Melrose Place, Melrose Alley espoused a fantastic spread of women’s fashion and accessories and provided patrons with a small getaway from the city.
Customers felt the sounds of traffic fade away as they passed through a courtyard filled with beautiful plants. When they stepped through Melrose Alley’s doors, they found themselves in a cozy space where they could shop Sheila’s collection while sipping wine and enjoying appetizers. After John departed in 1993, Melrose Alley graced the city of Los Angeles for another 25 years. Sheila attributes her success to her loyal customers.
As is the way, yet another chapter of Sheila’s life was about to come to a close. In 2018, her beloved shop was scheduled to be demolished, but her love for Alley and her customers made her resolute. Sheila wanted to keep her shop, but it was time to move on. And so, she returned to Sunset Plaza in a different form.
Sheila on Sunset’s Style
Sheila moved into 8467 Sunset Boulevard in 2018, and is so pleased to be back on the Strip! She curates every piece of her collection based on her fashion industry experience and artistic instincts to ensure that they’re not only fun to wear, but comfortable to move in. Sheila began taking private Argentine tango dance lessons nine years ago under the study of Marcos Questas, a true master of Argentine tango. Her love and passion for the dance style made her realize that clothes look so much better when they move in concert with you.
Sheila on Sunset’s clothing has interesting fabrics that are always soft and dynamically cut, with a unique artistic flair. Sheila features clothing from Planet and Elliott Lauren, as well as gift items like candles, jewelry, picture frames, and other keepsakes from Lisa Carrier.
Shopping at Sheila on Sunset
Walking into Sheila on Sunset is a balm for the soul. Leave the hustle and bustle of Sunset Boulevard at the door and feel free to shop at your leisure! We’ll offer you a drink and small snacks while you peruse the racks. You won’t have to worry about being trailed by salespeople. When you need help, just call!
An available sales associate will guide you to the dressing rooms when you’re ready to try on. Sheila is on-site every day, so she is more than happy to assist in the selection process if you wish. She knows when people are happy with what they’ve chosen for themselves. In fact, her goal is to ensure that every customer who enters her shop, leaves completely satisfied with the choices they made.
Whether you’re looking for a new blouse or trousers for work, refreshing your wardrobe for spring, or searching for a lovely gift, Sheila always has something unique and special in store!