St. Clair continues to be home to multiple businesses, including retail and commercial, in and around the city. It also continues to house the international headquarters for a rapidly expanding business owned and operated by a woman who grew up locally, graduated from St. Clair High School and returned to her hometown to set up shop.
Otis & Maclain is co-owned by Andrea Cheatham Quattlebaum, a 31-year-old entrepreneur who is partnering the creation, marketing and selling of a clothing line with Los Angeles resident Shamani Hall. The duo has been in business together for five years and experienced a 53 percent growth in sales in 2011.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Quattlebaum, who graduated from St. Clair High School in 1999 and from the University of Missouri in 2003. “It’s great doing what I love to do where I love doing it. This has been everything I expected and more. It’s a lot of fun.”
Otis & Maclain is a women’s contemporary high-end clothing company. The line has expanded from its simple beginnings to include four fashion seasons — spring, summer, fall and holiday/resort.
The company website describes the apparel as a “unique clothing line that uses simple, versatile body styles mixed with hand-picked silks and rayons that are easy to wear but fashion forward.”
“We started very small and had just a few basic pieces,” Quattlebaum told The Missourian during a recent interview. “Now, we offer quite a bit of seasonal clothing. It changes throughout the year.
“We saw the need for very versatile, east-to-wear clothing,” Quattlebaum said. “We specialize in clothing that can be worn from day to night and from season to season. ... The clothing is kind of laid back. We feature lots of prints and bright colors.”
Quattlebaum recently returned from a trip to Los Angeles, where she and Hall worked on the spring 2013 clothing line. She said she makes about eight trips to California annually and spends up to two weeks each time there designing the latest fashions.
“The trip went well,” she said late last week. “We’re sticking to some of the best-selling corps clothing, including bright prints and some pastels, but we also will have some new dresses and tops.
“I’m really excited about it.”
Quattlebaum said the clothing is available in various stores from coast to coast and in several countries, including Canada, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Australia. Online ordering also is available at www.otisandmaclain.com. She also said the clothing line is featured in Dash stores, which are owned by the three Kardashian sisters — Kim, Khloe and Kourtney.
Quattlebaum said she always has had an interest in fashion, and she remembers wrapping her mother, Beverly Cheatham, in fabric when she was a child.
“I have photos of me doing that,” she said with a smile.
Her father is John Cheatham.
After her high school graduation, she decided on Mizzou, and it was then that her interest in a fashion career really peaked. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in fashion merchandising and management with a minor in business.
“I did some soul-searching while I was in college,” Quattlebaum said. “I finally realized what I wanted to do.”
Then, she moved to Los Angeles to see how she could jump-start her fashion career. She shared an apartment with a friend from college.
“I knew I needed to broaden my horizons,” Quattlebaum said. “And I knew it was either New York or Los Angeles. I thought L.A. would be better.”
Her first job on the West Coast was as a retail sales associate at a boutique in Beverly Hills. She worked her way up to assistant manager and then manager of the store. Then, in 2006 she was hired to manage Madison, a chain of clothing boutiques in Los Angeles. There, she met Hall.
“I managed her at first,” Quattlebaum said of her partner. “She and I started discussing our futures, and we just started designing clothes. Eventually we figured out what we wanted to do.”
In spring of 2007, Otis & Maclain was born.
The business was named after family members. Otis is the name of Hall’s cousin, and Maclain is the name of Quattlebaum’s godson.
“We started very small by having some clothes inside Madison as well as at some other stores where we knew people,” Quattlebaum said. “We did all the sales ourselves. We still do.”
Today, the duo owns Leftys Showroom in downtown Los Angeles. That’s where Hall spends her time and where Quattlebaum works while she is in California.
“But our world headquarters is in St. Clair,” she said.
Quattlebaum estimated the Otis & Maclain clothing line currently is available in about 100 stores worldwide plus online.
She said the company had solid sales figures last year, but she did not want to reveal the numbers.
“The best thing about this for me is that I’m able to work in my hometown of St. Clair,” she said. “I get to work with my best friend, and I travel to L.A. when I need to. It’s a lot of work, but I’m very lucky.”
Quattlebaum’s local office is in her home. She is married to Tyson Quattlebaum, who manages JGT Enterprises.
She said she and her husband “always knew each other,” even though Tyson is five years older.
“We reconnected at a wedding reception,” Andrea said, adding the two of them had a long-distance relationship for about a year before she returned to St. Clair in 2008.
They married in 2010.
A one-page feature on Otis & Maclain is in the July issue of St. Louis Magazine. The company also recently has been featured in Style magazine.
In addition, the clothing line has appeared in Teen Vogue, Elle, InStyle, Gossip Girl and The Rachel Zoe Project.