Rachel Pally is one of those genuine, kind souls – and it’s a bonus for all of us that she’s created a gorgeous, ethical and inclusive clothing brand that we’re obsessed with.
Rachel is also the definition of a hustler, who has been in the biz for 17 years. She started her brand in 2002 right after she graduated college, and fast forward to 2019, she’s built a brand that’s loved by so many. She takes a stand on what she believes in and makes people feel beautiful in her clothing – and that’s why we can’t get enough of Rachel. Take a seat with Rachel Pally, shop our favorite pieces from her site below, and give her a follow on the ‘gram!
Your company is rooted in ethically made and locally manufactured clothing that is most importantly, inclusive. What inspired these core values?
Feeling good about what I do is incredibly important to me! And part of feeling good is knowing that I try to do my best – for myself, for my family, for my planet. I never even thought of my brand as “ethical.” I have always produced the line in LA. I have always worked with family-owned factories with safe and healthy working conditions. I have always paid my team fairly. I have always treated people with respect. I have always aimed to make clothing for women of all shapes and sizes, because women come in all shapes and sizes. I don’t think that makes me a special businessperson, just a decent person! I also think it’s important to use any platform I have to do some good, which is why I am vocal about things I believe in on my social media. Every once in a while, I get a negative comment about staying in my lane, but for the most part I think people understand that I am an actual woman behind this business and being myself is what it’s all about!
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced? How did you overcome them?
One of my biggest challenges has been reinvention. 17 years is a long time to be in business. After a while, I became known as the printed jersey maxi dress designer, and I was so much more! I continued to offer and sell and love those styles, but I also wanted to grow and evolve. I would spend so much time, energy and money developing a line of different bodies and fabrics, and stores would still stick with the tried and true styles. I felt like nobody would give me a chance to evolve, and I was ready to evolve. It was so frustrating, but I stuck with it and now I am so inspired and am making clothing that I want to make and want to wear — and its working. Its been an upward climb to shift the industry’s ideas of what I am able to do, but I have turned a corner and it’s very exciting!
And of course, what are some of the biggest wins and successes that remind you that this is all worth it?
Everytime I see someone in my clothes it reminds me that it’s all worth it. We use clothing to show the world who we are, and how we want to be perceived. When someone chooses to wear my clothing, I know it’s because it makes them feel good. And that makes me feel good!
You’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. In your personal experience, how has social media changed the way consumers approach fashion and buying?
When I started my company, brands didn’t even have websites. We all turned to magazines for fashion inspiration. Now we are inundated by constant imagery. It’s easy to get fatigued and to find that things all start to look the same when we scroll through our feeds. It keeps me on my toes as a designer, knowing the next thing is around the corner every second. It’s totally exhausting! On the other hand, social media has a very accessible element to it that is amazing and exciting. Everyone can be a part of it. Everyone can participate. Everyone can find something they resonate with. Now, with the algorithm, it’s all over the place and often times only a tiny percentage (read: 1/35th of my followers!) even see a post, so I’m not sure it’s really driving sales for me, but my feed allows me to really tell my story, to show my clothing the way I like it to be styled, on women of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds. I love that I’m in control of that narrative.
On top of running your business, you’re a mama! Is work-life balance a real thing?
I really try to mom when I’m at home and work when I’m at work. Trying to do both at the same time is a recipe for disaster. But balance? No. Harmony? Yes. I try to go easy on myself and just do my best. I am proud to show my boys what I have been able to build, although right now they only care that I have a forklift in the warehouse!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, either professionally or personally?
Don’t freak out about things you can’t control – focus on the things you can. That’s my dad’s mantra, and it’s a good one.
What are five things you can’t live without right now?
What’s next for Rachel Pally?
My focus right now is my website (www.rachelpally.com). My web business has been on an amazing incline, and it’s very exciting! I am able to offer so many options for so many women, and I can style the looks myself and make sure everything feels authentic, genuine, and on-brand.