Willy California Brings West Coast Flavor to Men’s Athleisure Wear

Entrepreneur Charles Nelson goes from sweets to sweats.

In 2005, husband and wife team Charles and Candace Nelson opened their first Sprinkles Cupcakes location in Beverly Hills. Since then, everyone from Oprah to Tom Cruise have endorsed the ever-popular confectioner. Now Charles, along with business partner Jeff Sockwell, is moving from sweets to sweats, jumping into the men’s athleisure wear world with Willy California.

With colorways like Hollywood, Mendocino and Venice, the company is leaning into the California aesthetic, and their website lists factory partners in Los Angeles. No item retails for over $100, and the items are mostly sold direct-to-consumer. While it’s Nelson’s first foray into apparel, he’s confident that his investment banking and retail backgrounds will give him the edge he needs.

“People told me not to get into the bakery business. They told me not to get into the restaurant business. And whatever you do, don’t get into the clothing business. I jumped in feet first to all three,” Nelson told Apparel News.

Like many clothiers, Nelson and Sockwell have pivoted their manufacturing in the wake of coronavirus, and donated 250 medical face masks to Torrance Memorial Medical Center. They are also selling $15 non-medical face masks to consumers, and will donate three masks to Torrance Memorial for every mask sold.

To read more about Willy California, click here.