Tips from small brands: Che Baez
Start by WGSN is here to help your business thrive. We all know that having a small fashion brand is not an easy task, but we want to inspire your journey from people that are all hands on! We want to know what game plans are essential to make a small fashion brand thrive, and today Che Baez, shares some vital tips.
Tell me a little how you started Reut and the concept behind the brand. Reut was founded by the lovely Reut Ringel, an Israeli-French-American creative director living in New York City. Reut was living here in New York City and noticed a pattern in the singular color New Yorkers were wearing, black, and realized there was no jewelry that was so pigmented and permanent. Hence, the namesake was born, and so was the first permanent 18k black gold on the market. Reut designs with a timeless approach to fine jewelry while playing with opposing elements in material, color, and form. Our pieces are sustainably made-to-order, and are meant to be passed down from generation to generation. What sparked your interest in fashion?
I've had an interest in fashion since I was fairly young--I used to want to be an interiors or fashion designer when I was a child. I ended up going to university and I now hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, which has helped me create the imagery for Reut. I think fashion has interested me for so long because it's a form of art that is wearable, fun, and gives way to another world, almost--the possibilities are seemingly endless.
How has your work evolved since you began Reut?
When I met our founder and creative director Reut, I was still in university--she gave me the opportunity to help her launch the brand and spearhead how it would look in the world. I found that I loved working with jewelry because it didn't have some of the constraints that working in textile based fashion does: I was able to cast diverse models, something that is only slowly becoming the norm (as it should be). As a woman of color, it's incredibly important to me that there is representation in the work I contribute to, and I'm always striving to do better--Reut has allowed me to create a vision of our ideal woman who is as diverse as the world is.
What’s your motto?
I don't live by any motto, but I remind myself everyday to be inquisitive, be kind, and be humble.
What was the biggest mistake you made when just starting out?
Not launching sooner! We wanted everything to be absolutely perfect and I think we could have cut ourselves some slack, because nothing is perfect.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
I think the biggest lesson we've learned is to trust our gut.
What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
I think Reut would say the same thing as me: there's always self-doubt when beginning something new, and especially when that something is a thing you've spent years ideating and creating. We've gone back and forth with so many ideas, but the goal remained the same for the entirety of the pre-launch process: the designs Reut created were beautiful and needed to be seen and worn.
What are your plans for Reut?
We have so many plans for the future! Reut's processes transform the surface of gold on the molecular level for lasting pigmentation and added durability, so we have unlimited possibilities to implement. Additionally, we hope to shed more light on our sustainable models of production as we believe that every company, especially in the fashion industry, should be rethinking their modes of making to be more kind to the earth, and the folks that are a part of our supply chain.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Get your hands into everything: if you love fashion, pick up a camera. If you love designing and making, learn how to write. Being a multi-faceted designer or maker is the best way to make sure that your work is as diverse as possible; everything else will follow.
-Che Baez, Reut