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'Lead With Strength': How Fashion Designer Rebecca Minkoff Overcame Self-Doubt and Launched a Network for Women Entrepreneurs

Rebecca Minkoff's new initiative, The Female Founder Collective, encourages consumers to shop 'female-founded' as a value.
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Founder, Build Like a Woman; Founder/CEO of Grayce & Co
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Rebecca Minkoff is a designer and entrepreneur who began her career with an eponymous clothing line in 2001 and most recently launched The Female Founder Collective in September 2018 in order to empower women entrepreneurs. The Female Founder Collective aims to creates awareness around female-founded businesses so that consumers and investors can support them, as well as provide a valuable community for women business owners to share resources and advice. 

I spoke with Rebecca Minkoff about her ability to pivot and launch The Female Founder Collective after fifteen years in the fashion industry. She shared her ambitions for the widely-acclaimed startup and her hopes that it helps consumers shop ‘female-founded’ as a value. She also opened up about overcoming self-doubt, as well as the importance of creating space for herself by hiring competent staff in order to thrive as a wife and mother -- and to connect with new ideas.

Related: This Fashion Designer Was Always Determined to 'Execute in My Own Way'

“There’s a kind way to go about it, but you have to lead with strength,” she told me. It's this strength that has enabled her to make tough decisions and to stick it out through the highs and lows of scaling a business and launching new endeavors.

In this video produced by Kari Jones, Rebecca Minkoff shows us all that leading with your values and empowering others is a winning game.

Image credit: Courtesy of Rebecca Minkoff

Biography

An industry leader in accessible luxury handbags, accessories, footwear and apparel, Rebecca Minkoff’s playful and subtly edgy designs can be spotted around the world on young women and celebrities alike.

After developing an affinity for design while in the costume department in high school, Rebecca Minkoff moved to New York City at only 18 years old to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. In 2001, Rebecca designed a version of the “I Love New York” t-shirt as part of a five-piece capsule collection, which appeared on The Tonight Show and became an overnight sensation.

In 2005, Rebecca designed her first handbag, which she soon dubbed the “Morning After Bag,” a.k.a. the “M.A.B.” This iconic bag ignited Rebecca’s career as a handbag designer and inspired her edgy, feminine creations in the years to come. Rebecca’s success was further enhanced by the support of her brother and the company’s CEO and co-founder, Uri Minkoff, who helped usher in and pioneer the company’s industry-leading social media efforts.

After four years of designing statement-making handbags and accessories with her trademark leathers, studs and hardware, Rebecca returned to her roots of apparel design and introduced her first ready-to-wear collection in 2009. Today, Rebecca Minkoff is a global brand with a wide range of apparel, handbags, footwear, jewelry and accessories (including tech) as well as men’s accessories under the label Uri Minkoff. 

Image credit: Courtesy of Rebecca Minkoff

In August of 2017, she was announced as a member of the first-ever New York State Council on Women and Girls, in the company of other female industry leaders including Refinery29 founder Christene Barberich, SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan and Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert. Rebecca is dedicated to bringing women together to enact positive change.

In September of 2018, she established the Female Founder Collective, a network of businesses led by women that invests in women’s financial power across the socio-economic spectrum by enabling and empowering female-owned businesses. The Female Founder Collective is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. The community of the collective will enable women to connect with other women in order to give vetted resources around capital, growing their business and operating more efficiently.

Rebecca is married to Gavin Bellour and they reside in Brooklyn with their three children.

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