“The Downtown Romantic,” reads her Twitter profile, and it’s the perfect way to describe the aesthetic of designer Rebecca Minkoff. Her playful, yet slightly edgy designs are some of my favorite go-to handbags, accessories and clothing. Minkoff fell in love with costume design in high school, and shortly after, moved to New York City to pursue a dream of becoming a fashion designer. Her first handbag, 2005’s “Morning After Bag,” ignited her career. Her success has been shared with her brother and the company’s CEO and co-founder, Uri Minkoff, who helped shape the company’s social media efforts.
In 2009, Rebecca returned to her original passion, introducing her first apparel collection. Now, the Rebecca Minkoff brand can be found in 900 stores worldwide, with flagship stores in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles with Chicago slated to open this year. The brand also has free-standing stores in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Japan, and Korea.
Minkoff’s company is known for being very tech-savvy. For example, her New York City store features an interactive video wall, and dressing rooms that let you swap out colors and sizes by simply tapping the mirror. The RM App lets her customers keep track of everything they try on, with a “My Fitting Room” feature. Her notification bracelets, iPhone chargers, Apple Watch bands bring a chic, feminine flair to gadgetry, and are some of my favorite wearables. (Check out the tassled iPhone crossbody bag below that we featured in last week’s Tech on Trend!) We asked this New York-based tastemaker about being at the intersection of style and technology.
What tech is always in your handbag?
Cell phones (iPhone and BlackBerry).
You have a whole section of Designer Tech Accessories. Why did you chose to go in that direction and what are some of the opportunities there?
Through technology I am able to create things that are more than just a want in my customer’s life, but an absolute need that she can benefit from in so many ways. For example, our girl wants to wear bracelets and jewelry. She has this relationship with technology, but for us, we’re adding function into very fashionable items she would choose to buy, whether they were tech-enabled or not. It’s a dual-purpose thing. We’re not forcing her to have a lifestyle change, we’re simply adding dual functionality.
Do you use paper to create your designs, or do it on a computer?
I always sketch on paper. I use the computer to research inspiration and color trends.
The app you insist other people try?
Venmo. (The app that makes easy work of making payments, like splitting the cost of dinner.]
Favorite social media platform, and why?
Snapchat is where it’s at lately! I love the immediacy of it. We learn a lot from what our customers snap and when they view our snaps.
You’re married to director Gavin Bellour, and have a family. How do you balance connecting with tech, but not overdoing it?
I try to not be on my devices when I’m with my kids [son Luca, and daughter, Bowie]. Once I put them to sleep, I’ll usually get back on and keep working.
Your office has the vibe of…
Creative, passionate, enthusiastic and innovative.
Want to read about more entrepreneurs I admire? Recent Admired interviews include Christina Mercando d’Avignon of Ringly | Anne Nelson Sanford of LURK | Suann Song of Appointed | Vicki Fulop from Brooklinen