Dear readers, I would like to introduce my friend- Rebekka Lien. She was born in Hamburg, Germany and has since been an avid traveler to places like: Taiwan, Japan and Australia. She is a fellow FIDM graduate and we met during our volunteer work at UNIQUE Los Angeles a few years back. Since then, I’ve watched her grow in the fashion industry, both as an avant-garde designer and now an entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “Asian Gypsy.” She owns an ebay and store envy store, full of amazingly cute and affordable jewelry, with proceeds going to Stella’s Voice and Compassion International- organizations to fund children’s education and rehabilitate girls saved from human trafficking. She also runs a blog, which you can check out here. Here is my Q&A sesh with her…
LAFS: Tell me a little about your background and why you chose to be in the fashion industry?
RL: I have always been obsessed with fashion magazines as a child and my mom taught me how to sew when I was 12. My mother recently told me that I had made $100 selling toys for two years at my elementary school. I said, “how do you know?” She said, “You told me! You would tell me how much you made each day and you would carry a bag of things to sell after school”. I laughed because I remember she would tell me to be careful because I might get caught for soliciting illegally. That was from the age of 8 to 10. I then went to Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for Fashion Design and Business Management. I worked in every area of fashion- from marketing, designing costumes, import manufacturing, visuals to small business start ups. Gradually, I realized that life is better lived free, so I quit my job and started my own business.
LAFS: What do you like designing?
RL: I like designing one a kind couture gowns that nobody would wear on the street. I love the fantastical feeling of wearing something no one else has. I like shocking people, I like thinking outside the box, recycling, and creating a masterpiece.
LAFS: Tell me about your other entrepreneurial goals? (Like your selling jewelry and stuff, prices and pieces, etc)
RL: I am currently working on my jewelry and accessories business- http://rebekkalien.storenvy.com. I have a very non-conventional approach to earning a living. I trust that a higher being is orchestrating my every source of income and I focus on what I want to do each moment, whether it’s marketing the products, hanging out with people, or simply reading a book. I am expanding my business and hope to start my own t-shirt line. I am also planning to continue my “pop up trunk shop” approach, not only selling through social media, but also carrying my shop everywhere I go. This lines up with my “Asian Gypsy” lifestyle, I hope to open peoples’ eyes to a more simple and uncomplicated lifestyle consisting of recycling and living communally.
LAFS: What have been some of your biggest achievements in the industry?
RL: Depends on what you call achievement. If you call achievement being recognized by big shots or making money- I haven’t made much money from the industry and haven’t really gotten my “big break”. If you want to be your own designer, you simply can’t work for other people. I have enjoyed meeting people in the industry though- that’s my great achievement, meeting people and making lifelong friends.
LAFS: What advice do you have for other budding designers/future business owners?
RL: Be prepared to fail. Failing is a MUST, without failures, there won’t be successes. Follow your heart, if you’re gut tells you something is wrong, back the hell out! Be open to new opportunities, do not pigeon hole yourself to ONE THING that you want to do. Do something different everyday, try something new, because that random thing you decide to do (like go to a new cafe) can lead to a life changing moment or opportunity. You might meet a soul friend or a boyfriend (wink)…Know where you want to go and what you want from life, if you don’t, someone else will. Someone else (your parents, your friends, strangers) will tell you what you should be doing- and of course, how are they supposed to know? They’re not you! So decide now before you end up living someone else’s life.
So as you can see, Rebekka is truly an inspiration to many an aspiring creative and small business owner. The girl’s gonna do amazing things so be on the lookout! In the meantime, I highly suggest picking up a “Snazzy Moustache”ring or feather earrings. Be sure to check out her website!