Thank you Jewel Toned for sponsoring today's post. Thank you all for supporting brands that support TCM.
Rachael McCrary is the CEO of the women's fashion brand Jewel Toned, which is revolutionizing shapewear for millennials. She's a lifelong entrepreneur, winning seven pitch competitions, and was the first single female founder to raise $1M in 2015. She's dedicated to changing the psychology around shapewear and empowering other startups as an advisor. In this interview, Rachael shares more about her journey as well as some tips for other entrepreneurs:
Tell us a little bit about your career before starting Jewel Toned?
As a life-long entrepreneur, I’ve always had ideas and started businesses. I majored in Fashion Design in College and started my career in New York. I spent over a decade designing lingerie for large companies and brands, such as Target and Maidenform. I’ve always loved lace and tiny details and it always felt natural to talk about bras and undies all day.
What inspired you to start Jewel Toned?
Through my experience of talking to women about their intimates over the years, I noticed shapewear was bumming them out. Either they apologized for wearing it or they were proud of not wearing it. I started Jewel Toned because I wanted to provide foundations that were more appropriate for contemporary fashion. Our clothes are sheer, lace, crochet, off-shoulder, etc. We wear layers and let details peek out to create our own style. Jewel Toned is sexy, fun and goes easily from day to evening. It’s so rare that comfort meets sexy, so we offer women this rare circumstance. No more throwing our shapewear off on a date!
Why is the body positive movement important to you and how can others get involved?
Being body positive means loving the body you have today. As women, we have a tendency to be hard on ourselves and it becomes so normal, we don’t realize how often we do it. We say things to ourselves when we get ready and hope for a day when we have lost 3 pounds/ have bigger or smaller something/look like our friend. 20 years from now, we will yearn for the body we have today. Healthy goals are great, but we need to appreciate our bodies, all they do for us and be present.'Being body positive means loving the body you have today.'Click To Tweet
Support other women. Support all women, even if they look different or have different beliefs than you do. Diversity makes us beautiful and instead of being competitive or being right, be supportive. There is power in abundance which creates more abundance for all.
What have been the biggest challenges for you as an entrepreneur?
So many people told me I couldn't do this and that I needed a “money guy” as a business partner. They said I couldn’t compete with large brands. We’re still here, gaining new customers every day and have had large companies copy us. Raising venture capital is certainly challenging if you look at the statistics. Only 3% percent of VC raised in the US is by women founded companies, let alone single women. Everyone told me I couldn’t do that and I’ve done it 5 times now.
I’m negatively motivated. When someone tells me I can’t do something, my first response is “watch me.” Entrepreneurs break the rules and norms to be successful. When people tell me statistics, I focus on the minority. If they say 97% of companies cannot raise venture capital, I research the 3% instead of focusing on the number. Even if it’s one percent, that means someone did it, so why can’t the next person be me? If it was no one, why not be the first person? Nothing in business is impossible. There is always a way. It’s probably not door 1, 2 or 3 though. You have to cut down a tree, make it into lumber and build your own door.When someone tells me I can’t do something, my first response is “watch me.”Click To Tweet
What tips do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Always learn first under a mentor. Running a business is usually only 20% your primary skill set and what you like doing. For example, I have two design degrees and three yoga certifications. None of that helps me with most of my day to day duties. I’m the one dealing with the attorneys and accounts and it’s my job to manage them and make sure we’re doing things in a way that works for our company. Make sure you’re ok with that before becoming an entrepreneur. Surround yourself with smart people. When I found a super smart boss, I clung to her through the good and bad. It’s rare to find a true mentor, so when you find it, treasure it and learn all you can. Mentorship only works when it’s cyclical, so make sure you give as much as you get.It’s rare to find a true mentor, so when you find it, treasure it and learn all you can.Click To Tweet
What do you think about work-life balance?
Dr. Douglas Brooks suggested I swap out the word alignment for balance when people ask me that. Work until you feel like working. Play until you feel like playing. Being aligned with what works for your life and body may not fall in a 9-5 schedule. Work is so different these days too. We are always connected, so it's easy to always be working. Make sure you really, truly love that thing and it’s your right path.
Love your career and it will reward you. If you ever look at work like trading time for money, you won’t end up with very much money. Trade results for money and you’ll get more of both. This is why I love startups. If the company works, all employees are rewarded at the end, essentially making all the employees are entrepreneurs. The roller-coaster is long and goes upside down but who wants to be on a merry-go-round?If you ever look at work like trading time for money, you won’t end up with very much money. Click To Tweet
The life of an entrepreneur isn’t always an easy one, how do you stay inspired and focused?
I love innovation, new ideas and thought leaders. I love learning and the ever-changing nature of my startup. Being an entrepreneur is the prime example of the American dream and what’s great about this country.
Do you have any plans or projects in the works?
Yes! New gorgeous products and A-list celebrity collaborations later this year.
Rachael McCrary is the CEO of the women’s fashion ecommerce and wholesale brand, Jewel Toned. A lingerie expert and fashion industry veteran, she is first a life-long entrepreneur. She has a knack for discovering white space in the apparel industry. Her current brand disrupts the entire shapewear industry by doing the opposite of what all others do. With 20 years of experience, she brought the body-positive brand to life.
She is a startup advisor, life coach, yoga teacher and was the first female founder to raise $1Million in 2015. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she turns ideas into brands.