We've been smitten with Jessie Randall for as long as we can remember. In so many ways, she's defined cool girl chic with her incredibly versatile accessories, built for tough, dynamic women with real lives. She was a New Yorker before this city adopted us, and perhaps one of our first New York City fashion crushes.
Jessie created Loeffler Randall in 2004 from her garden in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, with her husband Brian. Fifteen years and three children later, she is still doing what she loves: making distinctive products in small batches with attention to every detail. To say that the passion for what she has built is palpable would be an understatement.
Further, she has done so without a single dollar of outside investment, which in today's start-up world is practically unheard of (and in our opinion, where the true success stories lay). For that, she is our ultimate inspiration to create a sustainable business, built block by block through hard work, consistency, genuine passion, and expertise – Amen!
And have we told you, she's one of the kindest souls you'll ever meet, who ultimately defines her work as "inspiration". Shouldn't we all be so lucky?
But perhaps most importantly, Jessie is someone who acts on her beliefs and core values. Her most recent personal project #hatsforgood speaks volumes about the force for good that is Jessie. Read on for her musings about travel and her very intimate approach to all she contemplates.
WHAT DOES TRAVEL MEAN TO YOU?
I've tended to be a bit of a homebody most of my life. I live in Brooklyn and have a little place out by the beach to go on weekends and I've been happy just being in both of those places. But recently (within the past two years) I've been getting more and more interested in travel and have been doing it a lot for work. I hate the travel involved in getting there, but once I'm in a new place, I get so inspired. The two reasons I travel are family and inspiration. When I travel with my family, we go to Jamaica which is our favorite place on earth. When I travel for inspiration, I love to explore, meet artisans and be exposed to new things. We had a beautiful inspirational trip to Oaxaca last year where I met candle makers and glass blowers and weavers. It was such a special trip.
HOW DOES TRAVEL FIT IN THE BIGGER PICTURE OF WHAT YOU'VE BUILT WITH LOEFFLER RANDALL?
We go to expose ourselves to new cultures and people and to learn about craft techniques. I think travel enhances creativity because it exposes you to new ideas and you begin to expand and think in different ways. We travel twice a year on inspiration trips, and my team goes four times a year to shoot our lookbook. It's so beautiful to see all these different landscapes.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ITEM YOU'VE BROUGHT BACK FROM A SUNNY TRIP THAT HAS SPECIAL MEANING TO YOU?
Oh yes, I love to bring things back from my travels! When I was in Oaxaca, we traveled to meet the woman who runs Mexchic [Mexchic creates objects with integrity, handmade by the most talented Mexican artisans]. I bought a beautiful handwoven duvet and a rug. I also bought hand blown recycled pink glassware there. Beyond Mexico, I got a beautiful pitcher and bowls from Mrs Mandolin in Miami, a vintage men's belt at Thanx God I'm a VIP in Paris, vintage glasses in London, and all our special trinkets from our Jamaica trips. Every year we do a craft fair on our site where we sell the treasure we find on our travels. We have some beautiful pieces coming up this year!
YOU BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF HUMAN TOUCH IN A WORLD DOMINATED BY TECH. TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT...
I'm proud that my company is a beautiful mix of both a real brand with a real story (and a 15 year history) combined with tech enabled capabilities. Lately, it seems there is so much excitement around brands that are digitally native and I think many of them are exciting too. But what I respond to as a consumer are brands that have a story and a real passion and expertise about what they do. But I also appreciate technology and convenience too. So I'm proud that Loeffler Randall is a mix of both. We are really so dedicated to what we do. We like to connect genuinely with our customers and surprise and delight them with our products and our personal touch.
AND FINALLY, YOU'VE BEEN MAKING #HATSFORGOOD TO BENEFIT ACLU, AND THEY'RE SO SPECIAL THAT THERE'S A CONSTANT WAIT LIST FOR THEM. TELL US ABOUT THAT VERY PERSONAL PROJECT.
I was sitting around on the 4th of July with my son doing crafts. I was trimming a straw sun hat and he was making some swords out of pool noodles and duct tape. We had such a nice time crafting together. I took a picture of my hat because I liked the way it turned out and posted a picture to my personal Instagram account and people started asking me to make one for them. I had been feeling very upset about what was happening to children in detention camps near our borders, the fight for women's rights and the devastating loss of protections for LGBTQ Americans. So I thought I could make some hats and donate some of the proceeds to the ACLU, an organization that is doing so much to fight for a lot of the causes I hold near and dear. I took orders and I've been overwhelmed by the response. I've got a very long wait list and am slowly working my way through it!