LOS ANGELES — Bill Balbinder, an industry veteran and owner of Balbinder Sales, died April 23 at Eisenhower Memorial Hospital in Palm Springs, Calif.
He was 69. The cause of death was leukemia, said his wife Lynn.
At age 19, Balbinder began working for his father, a coat manufacturer in California. After serving in the Korean War, he came home in 1955 and served as vice president of sales for the West Coast division of Jonathan Logan, a knitwear company.
During his 23 years with Logan, Balbinder established his reputation with big stores.
By the early Eighties, he had become president and a partner of KB5, a contemporary company, and from there moved on to serve as president of Dennis Goldsmith, another contemporary firm, which he owned.
He moved to New York in 1988, where he met his wife, who at the time was one of his retail clients. They returned to California in 1990 and Balbinder took the position of vice president of sales for Nygaard Industries.
In 1991, the couple founded Balbinder Sales, which is still thought of today as an industry front-runner.
They began with such lines as Gamma, Qui, and Donna Jessica and eventually took on a number of American designers that had a look of European sophistication.
The Balbinders were known for constantly changing and being one step ahead of the industry.
IIse Metchek, executive director of the California Fashion Association, credits the Balbinders as “having always been creative in establishing their lines. Bill was very well loved and well known.”
His success was also due in part to his ability to establish a strong and loyal customer base, including major stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom. Lynn Balbinder attributed their customers’ trust to consistency and salable items and service in the showroom.
Bill Balbinder served as board member of the Fashion Industry Guild, a charitable group, and was also involved in Pacific Coast Travelers, a sales rep organization.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Marla and Abbie, and a son, Bob, all from a first marriage; two stepsons, Adam and Eric Hofstein, and five grandchildren.
A service will be held in the Fashion Theater at the CaliforniaMart on May 16 at 11 a.m.