Creating a business is probably one of the most terrifying things you could ever do. You have a dream and a vision of what you want to accomplish, but as much as you want to build something from nothing, the one thing that will be hardest to formulate is the belief in yourself. But once you develop the confidence to follow your gut and truth, the possibilities are endless. At least that’s what happened for today’s Boss Babe. While it took her a bit to form a clear vision, she ended up creating a fashion brand that’s hard to ignore (and will make your wallet weep).
Danielle Ribner always knew she wanted to work in a creative industry. After going to college for history and film in Washington D.C., Ribner decided to go after a career that would not only put money in her pocket but fulfill her soul in an artistic way. She secretly applied to Parson’s School of Design to learn the ins and outs of fashion, and from there, the rest is history. Now Ribner has her own fashion line called Loup in NYC where she creates one-of-a-kind garments for the everyday woman. Her unique perspective has catapulted her career and we’re excited to see what she’s going to do next.
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Ribner at her lovely (and completely dreamy) home to talk all things fashion and business. Meet Danielle Ribner.
Los Angeles, CA
Describe your personal style in three words:
Wannabe French Lady
NYC restaurant that’s been on your radar:
Career goal for the second half of 2017:
Convert more women into Loup pants lovers!
Favorite season to design for:
Must-have summer beauty products:
Item in your closet you couldn’t live without:
Jumpsuits! I have them for every season and occasion.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you began Loup.
I started Loup when I was a couple years out of design school. I’ve always veered towards anything creative and worked on small personal projects, so fashion and owning my own line seemed like a way to pursue that while still having a trade to fall back on. I’m very much a self-starter and knew my best motivation was myself. I started Loup in 2009 in my studio apartment with a 9-piece collection and a lot of youthful energy!
Before you began Loup, you went to the University of Washington to study film and history. Between that time, how did your interests of fashion come to be and do you feel like time in Washington influenced your career path in any which way?
When I went to college, I decided to take a break from the arts and see if anything else interested me as much. By the time I finished school, I realized that I still had that creative drive and that I needed a career path that could pay my bills, but also fulfill me. My favorite hobby at the time was scouring thrift stores and trying to alter clothes to resemble exactly what I wanted them to be. I had always tried to make my own versions of things before finding them in stores, even when I was a child. And studying Film and History just amplified my love for all things vintage and foreign. Fashion seemed like the most logical next step after school because it felt creative, but was also a trade I could pursue in many different ways. Without telling anyone, I quietly applied to Parsons School of Design at the end of my senior year of college, and the rest is history.
After graduating from Parsons, you worked at Jones Apparel, where you were for a year and a half. How did you know it was time to leave and try something new? Was there a specific moment that led you to this decision?
Pretty much the first week of working at Jones, I knew corporate life wasn’t for me; I immediately felt anxious and bored. It was a great company filled with wonderful people, but I saw a future that seemed too monotonous for me. I was twenty-four and needed something a little more exciting. I thought that if I went out on my own, I could always come back and have much more useful experience. Plus, I was young enough that I didn’t have many responsibilities to worry about and could try something risky. I was always told that you have to stay in a job for at least a year, so after about a year I was gone!
What was the process like when you began to create Loup? Did you have a clear vision of your brand and what you wanted to create?
Absolutely not! I started Loup very scared and timid and didn’t really know what the brand would be until a couple years later. I’m lucky I was able to keep it going, and I really advise people starting businesses to form a clear vision with set goals. I’m naturally a shy person, so it took time for me to develop some confidence in what I was doing and believe in myself. The first few years of Loup I tried many different things as a brand, listened to anyone who would talk to me and put myself out in the world in new ways every day. At the end of the day, the best lessons were always learned from my own mistakes and I’m glad I had that time to find my footing.
How does fashion resonate with you on a personal level?
Fashion to me is something that is unexplainable, but at its best, makes you feel like the greatest version of yourself. It’s hard to feel comfortable in your own skin sometimes, and I think fashion can help you find out who you are and what you want to be. I know I immediately feel better when I’m wearing or designing something that feels 100% true to me and the brand.
You’ve also mentioned on your site that everything is made in New York. Why do you feel it’s important to keep your company in New York?
At first, staying in New York was just a necessity as Loup wasn’t big enough to be made abroad. But over the years I’ve developed relationships with factories and suppliers here in New York, and I realized that every job taken away from New York means one less job for people that make this city great. If we don’t make an effort to keep jobs and the industry here, then they will quickly disappear and so will so much community and knowledge.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
I’ve slowly been streamlining Loup over the last couple years and trying to get rid of anything that doesn’t help us grow, or takes up necessary time and space. I’m hoping five years from now that I can continue this and have a team of happy healthy people working on something that enriches all our lives that is more than just a business.
Any advice for future boss babes, especially those looking to work in the fashion industry?
Stay true to what you want to do in this business, and try to avoid all the noise telling you to do something else. You’re going to make mistakes, but learn from them and apply it to your individual needs, not what you think you should be doing. Bigger isn’t always better, so make sure you’re working towards your goal and not someone else’s.
Written by Raven Ishak
Photography via Vanessa Granda