Power House Fashion Designer, Rebecca Minkoff

In 2005, Rebecca designed her first handbag, which she soon dubbed the “Morning After Bag,” a.k.a. the “M.A.B.” This iconic bag ignited Rebecca’s career as a handbag designer and inspired her edgy, feminine creations in the years to come. Rebecca’s success was further enhanced by the support of her brother and the company’s CEO and co-founder, Uri Minkoff, who helped usher in and pioneer the company’s industry-leading social media efforts. After four years of designing statement-making handbags and accessories with her trademark leathers, studs and hardware, Rebecca returned to her roots of apparel design and introduced her first ready-to-wear collection in 2009. Today, Rebecca Minkoff is a global brand with a wide range of apparel, handbags, footwear, jewelry and accessories. The brand has four domestic retail stores, eight international locations, and is distributed in over 900 stores worldwide. In September of 2018, she established the Female Founder Collective, a network of businesses led by women that invests in women’s financial power across the socio- economic spectrum by enabling and empowering female-owned businesses.

Was there a specific life event or reason you chose to become an entrepreneur/investor? 

I think it was always in my blood, if that makes sense? When I moved to New York, it was truly a “make or break” moment for me, I threw myself into designing, networking, and looking for sources of inspiration. 

At the time, I didn’t think of myself as being an “entrepreneur,” I just wanted to have a point of view in the accessories category, and stay true to myself and style instinct. Staying true to myself and vision has undoubtedly helped shape and craft the brand into what it is today, with the help of Uri. It has also allowed me perspective in my own career, to see the spirit of other entrepreneurs (such as Danielle Bernstein, Jessica Alba, and Sarah Blakely) who’s vision and passion I believe in. The more I grew my business, the more I became able to collaborate with other companies and individuals and have a strategy behind who we align with.

What’s one piece of advice, quote, etc. you wish you could tell all entrepreneurs? 

I think in today’s age of Uber and Amazon, people think that they can just click their way to success, but you can’t. The one thing I think that’s still left in the world is that you have to put your head down and work.

What’s mission critical for all investments/business decisions you make? 

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is: what need does this investment or decision help fulfill? 

If you are trying to scale a business, most people will look to investor opportunities to help gain capital to be able to support the business in a larger capacity. This can be a great strategy, however, you might also lose autonomy of your own company in doing so, and have many more people to answer to than just yourself at the end of the day. 

I try to look at every investment opportunity objectively, meaning: what am I giving up, what am I getting in return, and how long will it be until I see the results I hope for, in order to make an intelligent decision.

What’s your favorite question to ask yourself and why? 

“Are you f*cking kidding me???” As an entrepreneur, things happen daily that you can’t even make up.

What’s the single most important reason for your success? 

My determination and persistence. That, and having an amazing team and network of like-minded females to support me. 

I think it takes backbone to have any type of success in life, and the determination of a person is really what guides you when the struggle is real, and the puzzle pieces aren’t fitting together, and your running out of time and capital. 

The determination to keep going and reach your goal is key.

What does a typical day look like for you / how do you structure it? For example, your exact routine or rough percentages on how you typically spend your time. Early to rise or night owl? 

First off, no day is the same or typical (I’m sure many people say that), but truly as a mother, no one day mirrors the other. 

I am not an early to rise kind of girl, but having kids means you don’t sleep in. Ever. 

I like to wake them up, feed them breakfast, and go through my emails each morning. When I can, I will try to fit in a morning workout before heading into the office, but I really am only able to do that once or twice a week. 

Some days I’m meeting with my creative design team, other days my marketing department, and sometimes I’m shooting content with our social team to post. 

I’m always on the go, and take a lot of out of the office meetings throughout the week, and go to events or dinners with friends in the evening. Now that it’s the holiday season, I’ll head to a few different events each night, but I rarely stay out late, I need to tuck my kids in and spend some quality time with the hubs.

Do you have a favourite blog or book you recommend to friends or colleagues? 

I definitely have specific websites that are bookmarked that I check out daily (like WWD.com, NYMag.com, Glossy.co) to get my news, but I honestly love to scroll through my Instagram feed and stories as well, and have favorite influencers that I look at. 

Haven’t read a book in seven years, but I love reading articles and listening to podcasts.

Since being an entrepreneur/investor, what has been your biggest mistake and lesson learned? 

Not listening to my gut. Every time haven’t, I’ve regretted the decision made.

What companies and/or technologies are you paying attention to? Why do they stand out? 

I’m obsessed with health and wellness, so new skincare laser technologies are very interesting to me: red light, blue light, amber light lasers, etc. Similarly, I love a company called HigherDose, which is an infrared sauna spa that offers different light therapy settings while you sweat it out. 

In terms of companies, I always like to stay abreast of brands in my industry (luxury, indie, and mass) to understand our competition in the marketplace. I am also interested in technologies like Nest, that make it easier to have a “control center” for a household, which is super helpful in my own life. 

Also, any apparel company using blockchain technology is forward thinking (it helps to increase transparency of transactions).

How do you think about networking? Is there specific way you prefer to network? (events, coffee, etc.) 

I like networking to feel organic, it’s part of the reason I started the Female Founders Collective. 

I don’t think it matters so much the space/place that you network at, or the specific event, but is much more about the quality or people you come in contact with. 

Some of my best experiences have been talking to people that are completely removed from the fashion industry, and work in totally different fields, however I’m always able to find a common thread that ties us together. 

It all depends on your reason for networking…sometimes it can be as simple as you need someone who has “been there, done that” to help guide you.

Shop the latest collection here.

Follow Rebecca Minkoff on Instagram.

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