Tell us about your business before becoming a mama? What was your entrepreneurial journey like?
I started my business in 2002 after graduating from UC Berkeley. I studied Geography and Modern Dance and in order to complete my dance minor I had to work a certain amount of hours in the costume shop. I absolutely fell in love with the process of making costumes and the way the fabric had to move with the dancers and drape around their bodies.
After graduation, my parents bought me a basic sewing machine and I went to town in the dollar bin at the local fabric store. From there I started making dresses for my friends and myself. It was so much fun! A woman I met (who formerly owned a store in LA) complimented me on a dress I was wearing and when I told her I had made it, she asked if I had anything else I could show her. I brought in my bag of laundry from my car and we had a great laugh about it – she loved all of the pieces. This turned into me sending her batches of my original designs to sell in her store. She encouraged me to pursue my own line and it just took off from there!
What would you consider to be your big break?
A year or so into starting my line, Jessica Simpson wore a few of my pieces on MTV and my phone started ringing off of the hook. I always joke that Jessica Simpson bought me a house. This moment really skyrocketed my brand and other celebrities organically hopped on the bandwagon.
Any pinch me moments?
Of course! Every time I see someone wearing Rachel Pally is a pinch me moment. I’ve been in the business for over a decade and have made tens of thousands of garments and yet every time I see someone wearing one of my dresses, I still freak out. When traveling with my husband we always seem to run into someone wearing Rachel Pally – Greece, Mexico, Cambodia, Hawaii. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
How did becoming a mother change you? How did it change your business?
It completely changed my priorities. While my business is still incredibly important to me (I wouldn’t trade it in for anything), nothing means more to me than my family. Since becoming a mother, I find that I work more efficiently so I can rush home to be with my son. I also stopped working on Fridays after he was born so I could spend more time with him and am fortunate to have an amazing team at Rachel Pally that I can rely on.
What are you trying to achieve with the Rachel Pally maternity collection?
I love providing pregnant women with comfortable, stylish clothing that can take them through their pregnancies and beyond. It’s hard to justify spending much money on clothing you will only wear for a few months. Your body changes so fast during pregnancy that what works last month might not work next month. Not having to invest in ‘pregnancy only’ clothing allows women to still dress like themselves and save themselves from spending money on temporary clothes.
What do you think the most important thing is when you are trying to dress your bump?
I have never been comfortable in flowy clothes with a baby bump. I feel more attractive and put together when I show it off. The beginning phases of pregnancy are tough since you don’t have a round belly yet, even though I practically had a beach ball at conception with my second, so draped clothes worked well. Once I started to show more fitted silhouettes seemed to become much more flattering. The most important thing is to be comfortable.
What are 5 things every pregnant woman should own?
1. Maternity jeans
2. a fitted tank dress
3. a fitted long sleeve dress
5. a trendy pair of sneakers
6. a leather jacket.
Why do you think fashion and style are important when you are pregnant?
I’ve found that you generally don’t feel like yourself when you’re pregnant. Since this is the case, it makes sense to at least attempt to look like yourself!
Has your style evolved with the second baby?
I started wearing sneakers. I am NOT a sneaker girl and it has changed my life. I’m so happy that Adidas Stan Smiths are cool right now! My uniform has become a black midi tank dress, a black leather jacket and my Stan Smiths. How did I even survive before?!
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m due with baby #2 in June, so I’m starting to nest and focus on my growing family. However, I plan to get right back at it once he arrives. Onwards and upwards!