• Brands We Love: Rachel Ravitch

    "I ride my bike pretty much everywhere and soon found myself avoiding jewelry because I didn't want something heavy hanging around my neck as I biked," Rachel Ravitch tells us from her studio in Seattle. This simple problem became the main catalyst behind Rachel starting her own self-named jewelry line. After studying design at the University of Washington in Seattle and finding herself faced with an accessorizing problem, Rachel got the idea to use rope in her jewelry creations to make them lighter and easier for travel. She began experimenting. While helping a friend out with a line of lambskin handbags, it suddenly occurred to Rachel that covering rope with lambskin would create a soft, luxurious feel without sacrificing the wearability she initially set out to achieve. The first designs she came up with were the Knot Necklace, the Knot Bangle, the Horsehair Necklace, and Shape Necklace, and has only expanded from there.
    Photos by Megumi Arai

    Currently, Rachel works out of a light-filled studio in Seattle, WA. For the most part, she's still the woman behind the brand, but lately she's found herself employing and working with other artists on her ideas. "I'm really happy that I can hire people and pay them at a rate that I see as fair and livable. I'm not willing to outsource my production and will continue to make my jewelry in-house," Rachel says. Even as her brand gains more fans, she's not willing to compromise on own values, and is thrilled that her brand is successful enough to keep on permanent employees. "I prefer to hire people because this adds to the collaborative opportunity in the studio. I currently have two people who work in my studio, a sculptor, Vanessa Lang, who's helping me on a series of jewelry incorporating porcelain, and an illustrator named Kelly Bjork. Both are incredibly talented in their own work. It makes me very proud of my work to be able to work with people who I admire."

    And Rachel's design process isn't just limited to jewelry these days. Small sculptures, drawings, display pieces; they're all relevant. As materials experimentation is a big part of her process, she's happy to play around with whatever materials her and the other artists find themselves intrigued by. Recently, Rachel and Vanessa found themselves working with foam core, which they found fun to use in a different context. "It gave it a new meaning for me," says Rachel. "I loved the color palette we used! I want to continue exploring this palette in paintings and other sculptural objects. Materials experimentation is definitely a big part of my creative process."

    Finding inspiration primarily in conversation, Rachel loves talking about ideas she has with friends. Even simply looking through her friends' sketchbooks has inspired her - after paging through a friend's drawings on the beach, Rachel got the idea to silkscreen her sketches onto lambskin and create a collection together. "I guess I'm a bit of a bullshitter," Rachel laughs. "I love to talk and dream big!"

    While the brand has its fair share of challenges that come with owning a small company (sourcing materials being a main one), the brand is picking up steam and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. When it comes to the future of the brand, Rachel tells us, "I love having the ability to introduce fresh ideas. My greatest hope is for my ideas to inspire others to create."

    We're officially inspired!

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