Rachel Goode is the beautiful maker behind our favorite children's accessory brand: Briar Handmade. She has crafted sweet, simple, and elegant baby bonnets (cue the reminiscences of "Little House of the Prairie") that are slowly becoming a baby and toddler essential. Rachel's dedication to her quality of work is transparent and most importantly, she knows how to maintain life as a loving mother to her two children and an incredible leader to her employees.
Your bonnets have been such a trend-setter since its launch. What were some of your hopes for the brand while it was in pre-production? What did you aim for Briar Handmade to become?
My main hope when Briar launched was for the bonnets to be well-received, since there was nothing like them on the market. It’s been quite the learn-as-I-go process; I was not prepared for the overwhelmingly positive response and continue to make adjustments along the way to manage and foster the growth. Originally, I wanted Briar to be an avenue where people could get their hands on some great bonnets. As the company progresses, I’d love for Briar to become, in one customer’s words, “a household name synonymous with the word ‘bonnet.’”
It all began when you started making bonnets for your daughter, but once Briar Handmade expanded, how important was it for you to manufacture in the USA?
It’s never crossed my mind to manufacture anywhere else. Currently, start-to-finish, the manufacturing process happens in-house. Not only do I have greater control of the process and end-product, but I’m able to employ some really wonderful women.
Each style is so simple, sweet, and certainly versatile. How do you gather inspiration for what colors/patterns to use next?
I look for inspiration everywhere, but nature and specific fabrics tend to inspire me the most. For instance, our latest spring collection was inspired by a beautiful sunset I encountered while biking at the beach. Occasionally, I will come across a piece of fabric and will use it to guide the rest of the collection. I am so excited for our fall collection, as it is once again inspired by nature’s finest.
As your brand expands, you're coming out with more and more styles including a new sun bonnet. Aside from the new sun bonnet, would you ever think about making apparel?
Never say never! However, there is nothing in the works and it’s not currently on the radar.
You're a mother of two. Like many entrepreneurs, they have to balance both family life and business. Are there ever times where you would get overwhelmed and had to take back a step or two?
Things definitely get hectic from time to time, but my aim is to manage my company in a way that prevents things from spiraling. It is a conscious effort to not ‘take steps back’ in order to maintain momentum of the growing business, but I’m also aware that I need to be well rested and keep family time a priority. That balance doesn’t always happen, but it’s the goal!
What does your daily routine look like?
My husband leaves early for work, so I’m typically greeted with iced-coffee in bed and then the day starts. After a quick check of emails and social media, I’m up with the kids getting breakfast ready and prepping my seamstress for the day. The morning is usually pretty relaxed: playing with kids, taking care of everyday household duties, or running little errands. My dedicated work time is in the afternoon, while my son is at preschool and my daughter naps. Late afternoons and evenings are spent with family and then it’s usually back to work after the kids are in bed.
If business becomes overwhelming, what is your remedy for a bad day (if you've had any!).
I tell myself a lot, “This too shall pass.” Luckily I don’t have bad days... Sometimes bad moments, or long days, but those are easily remedied with a bath and glass of wine.
Where do you see Briar Handmade in the next year... or five years?
Over the next year, I see Briar continuing to grow as a company all around. We’re working on fine tuning our operational foundation and production efficiencies to facilitate that growth. And for the next five years... So many possibilities!