Tell me a bit about yourself & your background prior to launching Beau & Ro. Born & raised in CT, I went to Boston College and graduated with an undergraduate degree in business and a minor in studio arts, no design background! Moved to NYC after college to pursue a career in media.
Is there a story behind the company name? Beau & Ro is made exclusively in the U.S.A, but like many of us Americans, its name pays homage to its heritage, and my parents. Beau, short for Beausoleil, is French for “beautiful sun” and my mother’s maiden name. Ro is short for Rossi, the most common Italian last name, and my family’s name.
You have successfully and oh-so-stylishly revolutionized the free-your-hands bag (fanny pack, who?). Hallelujah! What sparked the idea? The concept of Beau & Ro was derived from enough moments of declaring that I wish I could tie my clutch around my waist.
Your bags are not only inspired by the good ‘ole US of A, but made here, as well. In addition to keeping things local, what was most important to you when launching your company? Beau & Ro has an energy that’s contagious. In the months since launching, customers and friends have been sending photos of Beau & Ro’s adventures from all corners of the world. From India to St. Thomas, Bermuda to Nantucket and Vail to Florence, Beau & Ro has become a trusted travel companion! Owning a Beau & Ro bag makes you part of a club, and where you take your bag becomes part of a much larger story. This brand identity separates Beau & Ro from other businesses, because beyond a product line, it’s a lifestyle.
Between budgeting, pricing, marketing, labor & material costs – to name a few – there are a lot of things to tackle before launching a business. How did you learn the ins and outs of running your own company? It’s impossible to know what to tackle before you launch, so just go for it with 100% and fix the problems as they arise!
Beau & Ro launched in December of last year and has received quite a lot of press. Initially, how did you gain exposure? How have you handled marketing since? Social media and word of mouth have been huge! My friends rock the fanny packs, spread the word and embrace this company as if it were their own.
Your clutches-to-belt-bags fall into three categories: Luxe (metallics!), Sport & Pendleton. Tell me about what was involved in developing your debut line. Being able to source all my materials–from zippers to leather–in the garment district has given me the ability to create such a breadth of styles. The convenience of seeing the bags in production, testing new materials and discussing quality control in person has been instrumental in making Beau & Ro the brand that it has become in just seven months since launching in December, 2013. The garment district has quickly become the most exciting neighborhood in the city for me. I could lose hours hunting for the perfect leather or liner. I feel very lucky to call this vibrant and creative neighborhood home to Beau & Ro.
What is one pearl of wisdom you would share with those considering starting their own business? First, surround yourself with people who believe in you. My friends and family gave me the encouragement to start this company, and since, the courage, guidance and support to overcome the obstacles. They are my models, my PR gurus, my financial advisors, my trend-setters, my fashion consultants. They ask the tough questions and provide feedback, but more importantly they rock fanny packs, spread the word and embrace this company as if it were their own. Any success that comes to Beau & Ro will be a result of two things; hard work and the network of people that surrounds me.
Second, believe in karma. You will not fail because others succeed, and vice versa. Starting out, my former college roommate made introductions and gave me advice that was instrumental to make the brand a success in its first few months. When I said I wasn’t sure how I could ever repay her, she said, “Don’t. When I started out, a mentor helped me and she told me to pay it forward. So just pay it forward.”
Where do you hope to see yourself and Beau & Ro in five years? EVERYWHERE : ) But I would love a strong e-commerce brand, powered through the brand identity, as well as signature bag collaborations with other large retailers.
Song you can’t help but dance to? Mustang Sally.
Cake or pie? Pie.
Favorite NYC eatery? Too many to choose from, but Aquagrill, Butcher’s Daughter and Empellon to name a few.
Guilty pleasure? Nachos.
Favorite Beau & Ro bag? They’re like children, I could never pick a favorite!