[pictured with blogger, Leah Moskowitz]
Hello, hello! In case you haven’t picked up by now, I’ve taken the past couple of weeks to dial back from the blog and recharge. Call it writer’s block, being burned out from this crazy (craziest one yet) year, whatever – I needed a break! Now, I’m back at it and ready more than ever to take on the New Year in style and share it with you guys, one outfit at a time.
Earlier this month, I met with fashion designer, Rebecca Minkoff at Bloomingdale’s Boca Raton. For those of you not familiar with Minkoff, she’s an industry leader in accessible luxury handbags, accessories, footwear and apparel. Her designs are playful yet edgy and can be spotted on young IT girls, celebrities and bloggers alike. Last I checked, her company pulled in nearly $100 million in sales and Minkoff was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 most influential business leaders under 40. She’s also a wife and mom of two kiddos.
Can you say, “powerhouse?” [insert “raising both hands” emoji here]
Naturally, my first question was about her love of dance…
Q: I read that your first love was dance. Mine too! Do you ever find yourself missing it? Do you still find inspiration in dance?
RM: Yes, I miss it everyday and everyday I think, “maybe when I retire, I’ll go back and take contemporary classes at Alvin Ailey…”
Minkoff developed an affinity for dance while in high school.
RM: I choreographed a piece right at the end of my high school career and loved it. I always think about that. Dance is always with me. I just don’t have the time…
Q: Do you go to shows or have a favorite dance company?
RM: Alvin Ailey is my favorite. I love their shows. I haven’t gone in awhile because of work and my kids but I’m absolutely obsessed with Ailey.
Right after high school, Minkoff ventured off to NYC at only 18 years old to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
Q: What was your first internship like in NYC?
RM: It was exciting and terrifying. Tons of hard work. I had this idea in my head that it would glamorous. Instead, I was working in the shipping department wearing a collared t-shirt, working 8-hour shifts every day. In my next job, I reorganized the supply closet. Thereafter, I was in charge of calling stores. While I didn’t like it at the time, I think it gave me a well-rounded experience and helped me learn all aspects of the fashion industry.
In 2001, Minkoff designed a version of the “I Love New York” t-shirt as part of a five-piece collection, which appeared on The Tonight Show and became an overnight sensation.
Q: What was it like when you first launched your line? Were you scared?
RM: No, I wasn’t scared at all because I had no clue what I was getting myself into. Had I known what I know today, things would be different. I sometimes think that was a blessing in disguise.
Q: When did you first gain recognition for your designs?
RM: One of our big breakthroughs happened when appeared on Daily Candy’s blog because they were one of the first blogs on social media. We were also adopted very early on by influential editors, IT girls, bloggers and so on…
In 2005, Minkoff designed her first handbag, which she dubbed “Morning After Bag” aka the “M.A.B.” This bag ignited her career as a handbag designer and inspired her themes for years to come. Her success was further enhanced by her brother (the company’s CEO and co-founder), Uri Minkoff, who helped usher in and pioneer the company’s leading social media efforts.
Q: How has the fashion industry changed since you started?
RM: It’s completely different. We’re now in a digital revolution. Bloggers are powerful. They add another level of disruption. I tell people all the time that there’s a plus and minus to starting a company. Today, you have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur right away. You don’t have to go through all these layers to get there. You can have an e-com business, an app… However, there’s a lot of noise too. You have to figure out, more than ever, how you’re going to break through it and stand out.
Q: From what it seems, you worked with bloggers very early on…
RM: Yes, I think we we’re one of the first to embrace disruption.
After years of designing handbags, Minkoff returned to her roots and introduced her first ready-to-wear collection in 2009. Today, Minkoff’s brand is distributed in over 900 stores worldwide. Um…. Yeah, she’s kind of a big deal.
Q: I’m sure you’ve been through your fair share of hurdles to get to where you are today… How do you stay positive and keep going?
RM: I surround myself with good, positive people. I always keep my eye on the bigger goal.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Any advice for young girls interested in the fashion industry?
RM: That “NO” is just the beginning of “YES.” You’ve got to have this like fire-breathing, animalistic, crazy passion to go for it and be successful. You can’t just hope and pray that it happens. You have to put in effort.
Q: Anything fun on the horizon?
RM: We’re opening a new store in Chicago this February.
Q: And lastly, what’s been your proudest moment so far?
RM: Opening our first store. That was a great feeling. It was like, “you’ve arrived…”
Shop some of my favorite Rebecca Minkoff pieces below (I hear they are having a big sale)!
Thanks for stopping by…