If any of you ladies are in need of a custom gown; whether its a bridal gown or a gown for gala, Rachel is the lady to go to. She has studied at the University of Utah, L.A. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and studied under one of London’s couture designers. Her designs are thoughtful, unique and completely gorgeous. You can check out her designs at Rachel Elizabeth Designs. As a business owner, sister, seamstress, consultant, and marketer, it only makes sense that she is our Wonderful Woman for this month.
Here are a few questions Rachel answered.
1. What does a typical day look like for you?
I don’t have a typical day; as the owner and designer I could be sewing, sketching, pattern making, and taking consults all in the same day or any variation/combination of that. Really depends on how many gowns we are working on, the amount of staff I have working that day and the time of year.
2. What are all the “hats” you wear e.g. wife, mom, boss etc.)?
I’m primarily a boss and designer but again I could be wearing any “hat” throughout the day (whether that is seamstress, consultant, boss, designer, and pattern maker). I’m not a mum or a wife yet but I do have a younger sister so I guess you could add “big sis” to that list too. She is ten years younger than me and I am very involved in her life; we spend a lot of time together, from just hanging out, shopping, taking her to appointments and of course giving my sisterly wisdom which she just loves you can usually find us together.
3. What do you do professionally?
I am the owner, founder and head designer of a bridal company called Rachel Elizabeth Designs. We design and manufacture wedding gowns and bridal lingerie. All of our gowns are made in our studio to fit our brides and can be made custom; whether that’s minor changes or a completely new design, we do it all! I am also a wedding and event coordinator but I only do it on the side and not very often as I don’t have the time to do it during the workweek with everything else I do.
4. How do you manage your household?
My household really just includes my cat, Tom, and me at the moment; so there isn’t much to do.
5. What do you do to relax?
Finding time to truly relax is a difficult thing in today’s world because work doesn’t really stay at work with the access to technology that we have; so I try very hard to do a couple of things throughout the week to unwind. The first is a hot bath! I love to turn the lights off and let my muscles unwind in a very hot bath. I usually light one of my favorite candles and sometimes watch a movie while in the tub. I try to do this at least once a week, sometimes two! The second is spending time with my family; I know that’s probably a very common answer but just hanging out with my sisters and my parents is pretty relaxing. We have family dinner every Sunday at my parents’ house and sister and brother in law usually bring over a new game that we all play after dinner. They are board games usually but no matter the game we have fun; my family is very competitive and as a result we get into it very easily. The last is designing, yeah I do it all week but when I get to sit down and design a new collection it relaxes me. I believe it’s because I design from a very personal place and doing so allows me to get out what I’m feeling, whether it’s stress, anger, sadness, or love.
6. What keeps you balanced?
My friends and family are a huge part of keeping my world balanced and keeping me from working too much but I also find that simply getting to do what I am passionate about everyday does the job pretty well on its own.
7. What do you do to keep yourself taken care of?
I guess I do the same things most women my age do, I get my hair done, occasionally my nails, I love to go shopping and buy new clothes, etc. Taking time to be pampered makes me feel taken care of and feeling beautiful is empowering and gives me part of the strength I need to do my job. In a health manor, I try to get a little exercise in throughout the week and I try and eat fairly healthily but I will be the first to admit that I love to indulge in a piece of cake and just sit down and watch some TV.
8. What makes you happy?
I can be having the crappiest day and just having a good appointment with a bride will turn my whole day around. I love seeing the joy on their faces and hearing about how their love story. (I.e. how their fiancé proposed, how they met, etc.) The best is seeing that look on their face when they just feel beautiful in a dress! As a bride it can be almost as difficult to find a dress, as it is to find the guy. So that moment when brides find their dress and their family is either beaming with almost as much joy or they are crying, I guarantee you’ll find me doing the same. I remember the first time I cried along with a bride, I was working a wedding show in London and the bride felt so beautiful in the dress she and her two best friends cried with me right along with them. We were a complete mess but it was a beautiful moment!
9. What inspires you?
I’m someone that finds inspiration everywhere I look. When it comes to inspiration to keep moving and growing my business, I find that I look a lot of time to my family and my future family. I want to be a strong woman that my future kids are proud to say is theirs. Moments with my brides like the ones I described above also helps to push me and keep going, even when it seems like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel.
When it comes to inspiration for my designs however, it’s completely different. If I’m designing for a specific bride I like to use, of course, their likes and dislikes of different elements from gowns that they have tried on but I also like to use their personality and the love story that I have gotten to learn about from the consultation we’ve had. I don’t design in a logical way, it all truly comes from my heart and if I try to think about it logically, it simply doesn’t work. Then when it comes to my new collections I like to use music, mood boards, and a story to help inspire me. Every one of my collections tells a story, all of which are in some way or another true. My second collection, A Time Gone By, is an embellished but true story of my five greats grandmother, Elizabeth. My newest collection that we will be releasing in late 2017 is based around things that were going on in my love life and heart around the time that I first started working on it.
10. What advice do you give to other women?
Be passionate. If you aren’t 100% happy with what you are doing in life, then change it. Do something you love because life passes by way to fast not to be doing something we love every day. I wake up excited because I get to go to work and do what I love. If I could wish that upon everyone, I would! Also use your hearts, it sounds a little obvious but there is so much sadness and hate in our world today that if you love something or someone embrace that don’t shy away from it. It can be a very intimidating, scary, and hard to put yourself out there so openly and be so vulnerable but it’s worth it. Every moment that I put myself out there is worth it to me even if it doesn’t work out, at least I tried.