Rebecca Minkoff x Daina Middleton
Shared By Michael Itkoff
Fashionista’s have likely already heard that Rebecca Minkoff’s new book ‘Fearless: The New Rules for Unlocking Creativity, Courage, and Success’ has just been released. Considering Rebecca’s track record of retail innovation and experimentation, we thought it would be a perfect moment to have Britelite’s CEO, Daina Middleton, sit down with Rebecca Minkoff and chat!
Where did your entrepreneurial gene come from?
I learned at an early age that nothing is ever handed to you, it only comes from hard work. I believe my Mom gave me the gift of not handing me everything. I learned how to figure shit out. Make your own food. Work your way through it. It wasn’t just me, my brother was also an entrepreneur at a very early age. He is a partner in her business today. Self sufficiency skills can drive innovation and creativity -- not just at a macro level, but in each situation.
At Britelite, we consider ourselves Veterans of the Future. I know you often talk about your brand being “always first in” which is a really similar concept. The Rebecca Minkoff brand is truly a Veteran of the Future in the retail space. Tell me about this.
A long time ago we recognized that customers had an expectation of blended analog and digital experiences even though the analog spaces were providing most of the interactions. The Mirror experience and partnership with eBay was an acknowledgement of this as well as a nod toward the importance of truly understanding your customer. We wanted to preserve the effective analog engagements to connect with customers and use technology and a tech mindset to improve upon it. This meant using technology user experience to think through a fashion and analog retail experience. That was new and different, but it paid off for the customer and for us. Data is obviously a critical component. We are not a big company trying to gather data in a heavy handed way. We understand that the more data we have, the more ways we can better serve our customers.
Where will Connected Retail go Next -- Post COVID?
We recently launched a borrow button so that customers can try a product before buying it. We recognized that not everyone wants to rent just from one company or just for special occasions. Renting provides affordability and accessibility for individuals. We also understand that some of our customers really care about sustainability and renting satisfies this need.
Let’s shift gears and talk about your new book, 'Fearless: The New Rules for Unlocking Creativity, Courage, and Success'. I understand the labor of love and commitment required to write a book. Tell me what motivated you to write it?
I am not the crazy person who decided to write a book during the pandemic. I signed my deal at the end of 2019. I have 20 years of experience learning successes and failures that could be helpful to other women on their journey.
Working for yourself can be scary. Working for someone else can be scary. Unfortunately, we often let fear call the shots. Fear is a great emotion when you are being chased and need to escape, but it's a terrible emotion for following your dreams. It’s important to acknowledge there will be fear. You are going to have it, but don’t let it stop you.
You have been dedicated to helping women for a long time. Founding the Female Founder Collective, for example. Tell me about that.
I am proud of the work we have done with the Female Founder Collective and we have made a big impact and will continue to do so. I believe in supporting other women entrepreneurs.
There is a quote of yours I found that I love: “Never set out to be a rule breaker, it’s just that the old rules weren’t really working for me, so I had to go out and make my own.” Tell me where this came from:
Certain rules in life can be helpful. I operate in an industry ripe for change. For example, sometimes success is determined by who your family works with, or who you or your parents are connected to. I didn’t have any of these more traditional paths. I could fail, or I could go my own way and create my own set of rules. The key is to use those that work for you, and know when to create your own when they don’t.
What advice would you give to young women entrepreneurs today?
Technology has made a lot of things instantly gratifying. But life isn’t about instant gratification. Your career isn’t going to provide instant gratification three months, six months or even potentially one year in. You need to take the long view and enjoy the journey. My book came out June 15th and I plan on enjoying every minute of the struggle. That’s what’s going to make it worthwhile. Seeing someone else’s success picture on social media doesn’t tell the story of their struggle to get there. My advice is to enjoy the journey. It's what’s going to get you through it.
Huge thanks to Rebecca and Daina for this interview! Be sure to check out Rebecca’s bestselling book here!