“It’s not me in my bathroom right now as part of a brand strategy, that is where I have to be,” Rebecca Minkoff, the founder and Creative Director of global lifestyle brand Rebecca Minkoff, told Ladders this week from her bathroom. Conducting meetings out of her bathroom wasn’t part of her business plan but with three young children at home with her, the bathroom is the only room she can find complete quiet in and so it works for her.
Retail has been one of the hardest-hit industries during the coronavirus pandemic as most companies have had to close their stores and rely entirely on e-commerce. Minkoff’s company was not exempt from these afflictions (she had to furlough some of her staff) but she has made what looks like a seamless pivot to online-only products as well as ramping up her social media presence with more showcasing of products and daily interviews with notable business leaders in various industries. “My brother and I built this company [in 2001] with our blood sweat and tears and we didn’t come from anything. There was every opportunity for us to not make it. So not that we thrive during this period but out of the last recession we grew 548% so when this hit we asked what was that very small company mentality we had and channeled that down and dirty scrappy behavior. We know what that feels like so we can go back there,” she said.
She also has stepped in front of the camera more (Tik-Toks may be coming soon but she is understandably wary) to reassure her community that they will get through this together. Minkoff is sharing the highs and lows of her life and asking those joining her in her daily journey to do the same. In other words, even though she has always been the name and driving force on the brand, she is now, truly the face of the brand.
Don’t wait for the zombies
In addition to being there for her community at large, she is also trying to navigate her team of employees during a volatile period. An increase in meetings with all team leaders has helped with communication and reminding her staff that they are fighting for the ones they had to furlough. “You have to take the emotion out of this because every action we do is geared towards rehiring our staff so we gotta get into a survival mentality where we are fighting and going to make this work and hire everyone back. If we are in the doldrums we will not survive. That’s how I’m approaching it,” she told Ladders.
Keeping up positivity during this time is a struggle for most people, much less those trying to inspire their 915,000 Instagram followers as well as motivate their remote team. In addition to a daily run and the bathroom hideout, Minkoff says, “You can pick two ways to get through this. You can wallow in the awfulness and believe me, I go there but if I stay there I can’t be creative, I can’t have good ideas and I start to tailspin. I know myself well enough to know that everything is a silver lining or an opportunity and I need to stay on the positive otherwise I may as well be Will Smith in I Am Legend and board up my house and wait for the zombies to attack.”
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Saturday check in everybody: I truly want to hear from you after reading this. Not sure about you but my weeks have high and lows I couldn’t have imagined a few weeks ago. I feel for the emergency workers who have no breaks, for those who are sick or have passed, for those trying to stay in business and for those of you that have lost your jobs. Here’s what I am doing to feel more at ease: 1. A few exciting things are in the works to be able to help with masks and supplies. It’s taken a while bc most crews are not working. So had to be patient. • 2. Check my stories for companies that are hiring if you have recently lost your job. • 3. I stopped watching the news and check it once at night. Try it. It’s a def picker upper. • 4. Legos with your kids. You need your hands so you can’t be in your phones. Takes my mind off a lot of this and is a great break. • 5. We will be promoting a charity in stories weekly via the donate button. If you can even give a dollar it all helps! • 6. My IG live. It’s a respite from the negative, a chance to take a break and learn something. Keep tuning in. What’s keeping you sane? XxRM
Helping the ladies
A big part of Minkoff’s company mission has always been to support and encourage women to thrive whether it be in their careers, home life or just feeling confident when they go out in the world to take on the day. In 2019 she launched the Female Founder Collective, a network of women-run businesses. These businesses face many challenges in a normal economic climate and they are even more vulnerable during this devastating pandemic. That is why the Female Founder Collective has partnered with Ladies Get Paid to launch Support Your Ladies, a directory of women-owned businesses worldwide.
The Support Your Ladies Directory aims to shine a light on women-owned businesses and acts as a one-stop-shop for consumers. The directory is comprised of thousands of female-founded and women-led small businesses across wellness, retail, food and beverage, advertising, marketing, and more. “Women-owned small businesses are vital to our society, economy, and communities. As people make purchases during this time, we hope they choose to invest in the awesome community we’ve created through the Support Your Ladies Directory. Every sale counts,” she said.
UBS’s Project Entrepreneur also partnered with Female Founder Collective to help educate women as business owners to keep them as competitive as possible. “The more that these women can be out there and have the tools to stay relevant, have a conversation, serve the customer, the more they are going to be remembered when we get out of this and it is going to end. Whether it’s the resource center we have for all the loans or webinars or the directory, I’m just trying to tackle it on every level so that if she is a sponge for information, we can be there to provide it for her.”