Unlocking Creativity, Courage and Success with Rebecca Minkoff
Hey buddy, what's up? It's Chase! Welcome to another episode of the Chase drivers live show here on Creative Live. Amazing episode for you today. Today we have Rebecca Minkoff on the show. If you're not familiar with your work, luxury handbag, designer accessories, footwear, fashion, apparel and so much more. She's a host of an incredible podcast. She got a new book out called Fearless, but less about the what Rebecca Minkoff has achieved and more about the how in fact she Left her home and moved to New York with two suitcases at 18 to pursue her dreams. The fact that when the pandemic hit like so many of you out there, she had to completely reinvent her business. The how what goes into making someone as not just successful on the professional side, but as a parent and as a leader with her female founders collective in inspiring other women entrepreneurs out there. I know you're going to love the story about how Rebecca Minkoff made the living and life that she has for herself, shows t...
he doozy, I can't wait for you to check it out. I'm gonna get out of the way and now Rebecca Minkoff. Mhm, mm hmm. I love you. Rebecca, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. I'm honored to be here with you. Um I, as we were talking before we started recording, our mutual friend Daymond john introduced us and uh I've been a longtime fan of your work from across the country for some time. Congratulations on building something incredible. You've got your, your hands and so many things. That's part of what our audience of creators and entrepreneurs is very interested in the fact that we're all multi hyphenates. But before we get deep into what you're doing today and in your new book, Fearless and all sorts of other things, let's go back for the handful of people who are new to you or your work and give them just a little bit of context. Starting off with you as a young person and bring us up to what you're up to today. But first I want to start at the beginning where your, where your journey started. Yeah. So um born and raised in san Diego California and fell in love with design, not on purpose, but when I was eight years old, I saw a dress that I had to have and when I just assumed blindly that my mom would spend 20 bucks on this dress, um she said no, which shocked me and said I'll teach you how to sew it and most people might think like, oh that's so cute, I bet she was so excited. I was pissed. I have a nine year old when they want something, it's the only thing that, you know is on their minds and they want it now. Um And so I reluctantly let her teach me to, so and then I became like hooked on the idea that I could, you know, make something that was in my head or you know, as I went through my awkward, painful, painful teenage years where I was very, very thin, which I should have been like, hell yes, I'm thin, but instead I was like bullied for it and couldn't fit into clothing and nothing fit me, like I got to make things that fit me, I got to cut up garments that I got a thrift stores and and make them fit me. That gave me so much confidence and so much um just personal satisfaction that I could that I could fix the situation that I couldn't control um And so it just became something that I was, you know, head down, working on as much as I could and when it was around high school um I decided to go to a performing arts high school as a dancer, go with me here and they were like, oh you're too tall and the boys haven't hit puberty yet, you're going to be in the back all the time and instead of, you know, sulking in the back, never going to be the prima ballerina who would be like 6 to 1 point shoes, I was like I'll go work in the costume department and so I really honed my skills there um and when it came time to go to college, you know, I just thought I gotta get to work, I can't do this and so Yeah, you know, I'm condensing a little bit of the story line but I managed to secure an internship with a designer in New York City that my brother had known and went to New York at 18 with two suitcases, nowhere to live, but this internship that paid minimum wage wow, There is a lot to unpack there and I know that's the condenser, we just like walked through like 30 years of your life, 20, years of your life there. But um well there's a couple of things that I would like to unpack at the beginning because I think show us some insights into where well your life and career went, one that who you are today is not who you can be and as you, he's talked about it being awkward. What made you, what gave you the inspiration to do the work to customize your life at such young age. I think that because I was so thin you know, if I went shopping which was like the experience you have as a preteen, your parents drop you off at the mall, you get to go to wet seal and contempo or whatever and hang out there for the day and need some chick fillet like that was a little pre teens life and I couldn't wear anything and that was and then on top of that being made fun of, you know, not just the two skinny the braces, you know the whole thing, we all get to go through that that rite of passage if you will um the minute I could sort of make things to fit me or go to a thrift store because you know, my mom wasn't buying me things and cut up some things and customize them. That just changed how I felt, You know, it changed how I presented myself the confidence that I have and that that feels addicting when you find that thing that does that and was it a fashion? Was that a thing that because it gave you that freedom, that that's what you wanted to explore? Or was there more than that? I think there was more than that. I also remember um you know for Hanukkah, we weren't a typical family, like we would get one gift and so you know, my mom would get us one subscription to a fashion magazine, we'd all have to share it. Um And I just remember my my issue of vogue or w would come and I'd be poring over it so inspired with other designers and like the world that they created. And I just remember thinking like how powerful is it? Most people, you know, don't realize it, like that clothing can make you feel something, you know when a woman purchases my bags is because she's celebrating a true milestone moment in her life. And so that feeling is, is insanely powerful. And so I think I liked that idea that I could help create that. You talked a little bit about being bullied, how much I mean, well we're all a product of our childhood right of of wounds and trauma and and how much of that do you think played into you wanting to be in charge of your own life as an entrepreneur, wanting to be sexy, successful and wanting to um prove the haters wrong? I this has just been a recurring theme. We've done hundreds of shows and whether it's being bullied or realizing that you were the bully and needing to sort of recalibrate your universe. Um just you know, help, help connect us with what looks to be on the outside, an incredibly charmed life, help us understand that part of your childhood experience. So it's funny you say that you could have been bullied or be the bully. Um, and it sort of triggered the idea that when I, we moved to Florida when I was and the minute I found my sort of clique or group, I started being the one to want to leave certain girls out And then at 13 I must have Karma, Karma's a bitch that happened to me where another girl said no, she's not cool, she's awkward, she's nerdy, whatever it is, you know, an alienated my entire friend group. Um, so I've definitely been on both sides. Um, and I don't know that the two for me of wanting to be a designer connected me with bullying, but it definitely, you know, when I was at my most alone and had nothing to do on a friday night, you know me and Martha Stewart got real friendly. I was like the craft queen. And so I think that fueled my desire to design is that I had no other plans. I had no gigs in town except for me and my mod podge, if you know what that is and my sewing machine, this the sewing like that gift for me. My grandfather passed away and gave me his cameras, which completely transformed my life. This idea that uh, you know, the sewing machine empowered you and gave you a ticket to, in, in some ways, you know, your mom by saying no, but giving you something sort of seemed to light a fire. Do you feel like there's something in and everyone's past? Are these just anomalies for both you and I? Or you know when you coach other entrepreneurs who say they have the spirit or the vision of the passion, but don't know the thing. And the reason I'm asking is because there's people all of the world who are listening or watching to this this right now and they are yearning for that thing. You found your thing. I have found my thing. Damon has found his thing. When you get asked by, you know, so many aspiring entrepreneurs where to look what, what do you, what do you tell them? Where do you send them looking into their past or some magic moment or I mean again, for you is probably the sewing machine, but what, you know, what are, what's some advice that you give? I think there's two ways I look at it. If you were to ask me honestly, was my first choice to be a designer, I would say no. My first choice was to be a design dancer or choreographer. Um I started too late, you know, there are very few cases outside of misty copeland where you can start dancing and because it has to deal with your body and the formation of bones and muscles and tendons that you can sort of change things that are innately part of you. Um I didn't have it. I also had a very large chest. I was also very tall, like I didn't you know, as inclusive as the world is today, The dance community isn't quite there yet. And so I really had to take a hard look. Am I going to be a struggling dancer who's a waitress on the side for the rest of my life and then go open up a dance studio, like where can I make the most impact in my life and achieve something that I love? And second of that was costume design and design itself. I was like, you know what doesn't matter what my body looks like for this, I can I can succeed in this arena and so I think for people that are searching or seeking, do you have some innate talent that enables you to do what you do? Um or do you have a passion for something? And then it's about fueling that passion and being as strategic as possible with going after it and knowing it's going to take so much more time than you think, so much more hard work than you think. And so do you love that passion enough that it's worth the late nights, the sacrifices, the risks, the sleeping on egg crates, mattresses, homemade, you know, all the things you're going to have to do to, to go with that dream because no matter whether you are born with it to be the gymnast or the swimmer or whatever or you, you go okay, I'll take my second choice. Um, it's gonna be hard no matter what, so does is that passion big enough to be your north star? It's, it's pretty crazy that we can fail at doing something that other people want us to do and yet we are reluctant to go after the thing that we were put on this earth to do or that we have so much passion or desire or energy for. So assuming that you agree, you can throw rocks at that. But if you do agree, who looking back was there anyone besides that little voice inside your head that actually gave you encouragement? And I'm asking so that you know, the folks who are listening and watching, you know realize that inspiration or support or community or can come in so many forms and ways and I'm wondering where yours came from. You mentioned being alone on friday nights, but did you have some people in your life that you could, you could turn to or was all of the energy? Was that little creative plutonium just just inside of you? Definitely not. Um my mom, I think was a constant source of that. You know, she had this rule that she wouldn't buy us things, but she would pay for the class and the materials. So whether it was clothing or you know jewelry, like I remember she used to sell items at the san Diego flea market and I was like I want to sell something at the flea market and I had a little card table and I tried to sell my puffy paint t shirts and bad artwork I made and no one bought anything but all week I would be so excited about the fact that I got to go to the flea market and showcase what I was making. Um and then, and then you know, I had an almost sister in law who lived with us and when I was going through the worst, most depressing periods of that loneliness, she's like none of this matters. And you're going to be so much more successful than these girls will ever be. Just keep working on your dream. And when I look, I used to write on my bathroom walls like I was in an ani DiFranco kind of Tory emos mindset and I would like right off poetry on my bathroom walls and when I would look back on it, when I go to the time, I was like, man, she was right. You know, and it was her kind of just repeating to me, none of this matters. It's a phase. You'll get through it. Um.