The Edmond Sun

Business

November 17, 2012

Simply Southwest owner to retire

Lesta Oliver closes doors after 27 years in Edmond

EDMOND — Simply Southwest in Edmond, a contemporary native clothing, accessory and home decor boutique, will close its doors at the end of January. Owner Lesta Oliver is retiring after 27 years of business in Edmond.

Oliver began her love for retail at 21 years of age doing ribbon work on clothing and later modeling with Fullerton Modeling Agency. She then became a buyer for a boutique in Oklahoma City, Chez Elle, and later started her own business selling Native American clothing and jewelry from her home.

“I would have parties in my home and held fashion shows for churches and ladies organizations across the United States to help them raise money,” Oliver said.

A creative business woman with the help of her husband, Glen, now deceased, and her sons, Wade Albright (also deceased), Neil Albright and Kyle Albright, she was able to open three retail stores first in Tulsa, then the Stockyards and Edmond all stocked with clothes that typified her passion — Western and Native American clothing and jewelry.

“My Edmond and Oklahoma City area customers have been really good to us,” Oliver said. “As a specialty store I would usually buy two or three items of the same design. You might say the things I carry are a cross over for my customers who like Native American clothing. I call the lines I carry contemporary native. A lot depends on accessories for the total look including the type of jewelry that is worn with the clothing.”

From long skirts to vests to easy-to-wear knits, many of the items Oliver has can be changed up by adding a belt, boots or beautiful Indian jewelry.

The other two stores have closed, and the 79-year-old Oliver has been running the Edmond store recently with the help of her youngest son, Kyle.

“We came to Edmond in 1988 and opened in downtown Edmond where Sterling’s is now located and moved to our present location five years later,” Oliver said.

It was while she lived in Pawhuska she perfected her ribbon work that she applied to the edge of skirts or on shirts and started selling her clothing items as a hobby.

“What started as a hobby for me just happened at the right time as Southwest designs became really popular not only to wear but also to decorate with in the home,” Oliver said.

The first clothes she sold were handmade by her and later she had help in making the clothing from other ladies in the town.

She added that she has had a lot of help during her journey from friends and customers.

“I have had so much help from so many people,” Oliver said.

The people who have helped her include Shirley Bellmon and George and Donna Nigh.

“Donna told me she and George were going to do something for me,” Oliver said. “George got me on public television showing how to make ribbon shirts. I had orders coming in from all over.”

Many of the clothing items were Osage inspired with geometric patterns blended on the blouses with tucking and ribbon on a Kiowa-styled blouse, Oliver said. “I also made Cherokee tear dresses, which looked kind of like shifts with ribbon work as well as belts.”

Oliver said the Indian tribes had patterns and colors they were noted for using and the Osage, in addition to using geometric designs, used a lot of purple, turquoise, black and red in their color palette.

In addition to fashion shows and seminars at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and other venues, Oliver was the chairwoman for the Red Earth fashion shows for two years and was a regional director, one of 47 in the world, for National Fashion Group based out of New York.

“I was willing to do anything to further the understanding of the Native American culture,” Oliver said.

Oliver’s love for anything Native American comes naturally since she is an Osage descendent and the family ranch, about 20 miles north of Pawhuska, was given in a land allotment to her grandparents and to this day remains in the family.

As for her retiring, she says it is just time.

“I want to spend more time in Pawhuska at the family ranch and volunteering at the Osage Tribal Museum, the oldest in the state. I want to attend tribal dances and take part in the rich culture and heritage of my family. That part of my life has been put on hold because I work.

“When I go home once I get there I don’t want to leave. It is something that is in your blood.”

Oliver says to make Simply Southwest your Christmas gift headquarters.

Fashion markdowns began Nov. 12, Brighton markdowns began Nov. 19, ladies’, children’s, boots, belts and hats and men’s belts, vests and shirts markdown starts Nov. 26; Native American jewelry markdowns begin Dec. 3, pottery, rugs, kachinas, gifts and Pendleton markdowns start Dec. 10, and everything will be on sale beginning Dec. 17.

Simply Southwest is at 1 N. Broadway in downtown Edmond. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

1
Text Only
Business
  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • pic 2.JPG Energy secretary touts CNG fleet conversion

    Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said the state is leading the way in converting its fleet of vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.
    And, he adds, the state is working to get federal officials engaged in moving its fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma to use CNG.
    Teague made those statements Tuesday during a visit to Champion CNG, 13915 N. Harvey Ave. in Edmond. The visit also coincided with Earth Day.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amber waves turning gray as farms lose younger generation

    Jerry Pfeiffer was thrilled when his 25-year-old son Kelsey announced plans to return to the family’s farm in Orlando.

    April 21, 2014

  • Jolley says Oklahoma common sense needed in Congress

    The conservative values that persuaded voters to elect state Sen. Clark Jolley to the state Legislature 10 years ago have not changed, he said. Jolley will bring the same values to Washington, D.C., if voters elect him to the Congressional 5th District, he said.
    More people today are moving to Oklahoma from Texas than vice versa, Jolley said. State government is solving problems, he added. So what the federal government needs is a lot of Oklahoma common sense solutions, said Jolley, R-Edmond.

    April 21, 2014

  • Edmond up 15 percent in sales tax revenue

    City sales tax receipts for April continued a positive with an increase of 6.03 percent over the same period two years ago, City Manager Larry Stevens said last week.
    The amount received in April 2014 represents sales tax collections from the last half of the month of February and the first half of March according to the office of City Finance Director Ross VanderHamm.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Food Bank’s Leadership Council applications now available

    The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma invites young professionals to submit applications for the nonprofit’s first-ever Leadership Council. The Leadership Council connects young professionals interested in getting involved in their community and state through engagement with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. These dedicated individuals, aged 24 to 35, will volunteer their time and creativity to raise awareness about the issue of hunger and increase the visibility of the Regional Food Bank and its mission of “Fighting Hunger … Feeding Hope” in Oklahoma.

    April 18, 2014

Stocks