June 22, 2018 • #GirlBoss
Real Women, Real Clothes: Rockets of Awesome CEO, Rachel Blumenthal
Earlier this month, we launched our Mommy & Me capsule collection with SCAD and Rockets of Awesome.
(Read more about the partnership here).
One of the key members of this collaboration was Rachel Blumenthal, the Rockets of Awesome CEO and founder.
With her guidance, we were able to produce the very first foray in Draper James clothing for kids.
Her experience as both a businesswoman and a mother truly inspires us; so we decided she’d be a perfect fit for the “Real Women, Real Clothes” feature on the Love, Reese blog.
Hear all about Rachel’s impressive experience in the world of fashion and how she achieves that crucial work-life balance below.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up on Cape Cod, went to school in Boston, and have lived in NYC for the last 16 years—currently, I live in Greenwich Village with my husband, Neil, and our two kids, Griffin (7) and Gemma (3).
I am endlessly inspired by fashion and have worked in the industry my entire career. I launched my first business, a fashion jewelry brand called Rachel Leigh, when I was 23. I grew that business over the course of eight years, 500 stores, and several countries; we were also named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things.
When my son was born, I licensed the brand because I wasn’t learning anymore. I would follow my husband and his Warby Parker co-founders to every tech conference and be fascinated with the community and how innovative people were thinking. Shortly after I launched Cricket’s Circle, which was like a CliffsNotes for what to buy when you have a baby. We grew that business, raised venture funding, learned about our customer’s evolving needs, and ultimately launched Rockets of Awesome to better serve them.
What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?
I am tremendously proud of the brand we built at Rockets of Awesome. The brand not only appeals to both moms and kids, but it’s also one where they both feel like they’re in control and winning (I call it the Jedi-mind trick).
What was your very first job? Do you think it prepared you for where you are now?
I started my career in communications and celebrity dressing at Yves Saint Laurent. It was highly glamorous (Tom Ford’s last seasons at YSL) and highly un-glamorous (I was the messenger, receptionist, organizer, hustler, etc.).
It was also endless hours of relationship building, negotiating, collaboration, and creativity. I learned so much in my time at YSL and had incredible bosses who taught me the ways. I believe that much of my success has been the perfect combination of naiveté and persistence, which are both traits I very much learned at YSL.
How do you balance your work and home lives?
My husband and I have very demanding schedules, but we’re also fortunate to run our own businesses. It’s less about a balance and more about a work-life immersion.
I find it really helpful to be ruthless with my schedule—we also share a Google calendar which makes scheduling personal life commitments easier. I live by my calendar; if it’s not on there, it doesn’t happen.
The mornings are dedicated to my kids until they are dropped off at school; the day is dedicated to working; and then I try to be home for reading, homework, and bedtime at least three nights a week. When I’m home, I’m not on my phone—except to capture videos of my kids being bananas. It’s important to me that time spent at work and at home is focused without distractions; that way it’s as impactful as possible.
In your opinion, what’s the greatest thing about being a mom?
Living life through your kids’ eyes is an incredible opportunity. It’s tremendously rewarding, fascinating, and hysterical to watch how they digest and process information, observe and engage with new sights, sounds, smells, and concepts. While I never intended for my kids to be four years apart, it turned out to be such a gift. I’m grateful I’m able to live two very different lives with them.
What aspect of the Draper James x Rockets of Awesome x SCAD partnership were you most excited about?
I love working with and developing up-and-coming designers and entrepreneurs. I feel responsible to give back, as I know I would never be where I am today without the endless mentors, advisors, friends, and acquaintances who selflessly offered time and advice along the way. I was so impressed with the SCAD students’ talent and the brilliance of the collaboration. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to “twin” with your kids?!