I was in 6th grade when my dad ran for United States Senate as a Democrat in Indiana, a very Republican state. He was ultimately defeated, but spent a year traveling the state telling his story with his family by his side. I now realize that I was transformed by that experience in the most simplistic way – it led me to develop a belief system that I could do anything. If I wanted something, I’d go after it – no matter how steep the climb. So, my childhood reference were parents who took risks, pursued dreams and stood up. Naturally, that trickled into my adulthood. In my late 20’s, after great work experience, I went for it and went out on my own. In hindsight, it was very naïve, no formal business plan, just sheer determination and belief that I embodied the skills it took to build a company and keep it afloat. 12 years later, it’s still standing (proudly).
The best advice we give to our clients is to ‘stay in your lane.’ In our experience, branding that chases a broad range of customers or trends ends up losing the core customer.
The invention of Slack and access to information and communication allows me to be a very “connected” leader. I work 24/7 and love it. We have a very hard-working and tenacious team who tends to see the world through the same lens. As a united team, we are able to maximize the 24-hour international work cycle.
Each person who works at twelveNYC is different – embodying different strengths and weaknesses. It is my job to build confidence, empower and help each individual find their lane. We are a team of unicorns. Each individual has found their way to twelveNYC through a unique path. I relish the opportunity to tap into their hidden strengths and help them each grow within our organization.
Build your team! This team really started with choosing to marry Brandon. Without him, none of this would be possible. We work as a cohesive team and he has supported me, cheered me on and rooted for me since day one. The team has expanded as our needs have grown. We also have wonderful childcare providers and I live across the street from my office, so my kids make frequent appearances in the office.
How do the people close to you describe you? Your husband? Your kids? Co-Workers?
I don’t know, you would have to ask them – ha! Since I can remember, I have always been described as “the redhead”… beyond that I hope they would say I am a “rock”: reliable, forward-thinking, supportive, and determined. My kids would tell you I never cook but make up for it in snuggles… and they better never forget the time I went on the banana boat in our favorite place, Jamaica!
How would you describe what you do at twelveNYC today as opposed to what you were doing when you started?
I wake up each morning with the same drive, passion and hunger that I had on day one. When I started the business, I was doing everything from development to client outreach, relationship-building, sourcing, production and delivery (literally taping up boxes). Growth has allowed me to give up the day-to-day of a few of those responsibilities, however, I never stray too far. I am very involved with each team, ensuring we are moving in the right direction, solving problems, or diving into new challenges. I now have the luxury of a bigger team which means a bigger brain trust. The thrill of the entrepreneurial ride is still as present for me as it was on day one. The ride of the past twelve years has helped me to evolve as a businesswoman and strong leader. I truly believe we are just getting started at twelveNYC!
I really do not believe we have any true competitors. We have diversified our business in a way that allows us to be actively playing across multiple industries while maintaining our creative integrity and processes. We are a unicorn. There will always be emulators, however, I wake up each morning determined to continue to carve an authentic path for twelveNYC. Nothing has happened fast for us – it has always been about showcasing our capabilities through the lens of excellent work, laying one block at a time.
As SVP and Creative Director, I direct the creative vision at twelveNYC — keeping the company’s aesthetic fresh, consistent and on-brand. I translate market and runway trends into merchandise and lifestyle accessories for our private label collections. Each day is different for me – which is one of the reasons I love my job. I spend my days in the market, attending client meetings, preparing creative/trend presentations, and developing new, exciting ways to tell our clients’ (and twelve’s own) stories.
Most recently, it was exploring the Korean market in Seoul, where we found the most inspiring, innovative and exciting ideas. Fast-forward two days later, and we were in our sample room in China working with our team to create real-time merchandise that was influenced by our findings in Seoul.
The culture is unlike anything I have ever experienced (having worked for over a decade in fashion magazines). Each person is encouraged to find their strength and then hone in on it to thrive. It is an extremely collaborative environment — we work in teams in a large, open space. Everyone works hard but is still encouraged to maintain a life outside the office. It’s incredibly telling that after 12 years in business, twelve has never lost an employee! We strive to achieve the same culture in each of our offices. In fact, we currently have a member of our Brooklyn office living in Hong Kong to infuse the HK office with our Brooklyn DNA.
A holographic magazine tote from my first year at twelve. I still love it and get excited when I see people wearing it.
Crystal-covered YSL boots, and mini-bags (worn alone or clipped onto a bigger bag)!
Photos by Stevi Sesin