I recently got to work with a pretty cool company and interview my partner about her involvement with a social enterprise that uses the sale of upcycled sustainable backpacks to fund English language schools in Cambodia. If you are keen to learn about how you can look good and do good with Beekeeper Parade head over to their website. If you’d like to get involved and volunteer with the company send and email to [email protected] So without any further ado the Head of School Partnerships, Rachel Barish.
How did you find out about Beekeeper Parade, what drew you to get involved?
I had moved to Australia looking to get out of corporate fashion and involved with something that I actually cared about…something that would touch my heart and make me passionate about fashion again. What I found was a company that was all about inspiring change and promoting education through their work. I knew in this new stage of my career that I wanted to combine my skills and knowledge in fashion, design and production with my love of education and mentoring. BeeKeeper provided the perfect opportunity to pursue both fashion and education at once without feeling like I had abandoned all of the skills I had worked so hard to perfect in my years in the fashion industry. There aren’t a lot of companies out there that provide the kind of opportunities that BeeKeeper does. This position has given me the chance to not only make a difference but to truly grow as an artist, communicator, collaborator, designer and educator.
What are some of the biggest similarities between your previous fashion jobs and working with Beekeeper Parade?
Honestly, there aren’t very many similarities. BeeKeeper is such a unique brand with an incredibly different way of running things. BK focuses on positivity and happiness, two things that are severely lacking in the fashion industry, especially in NYC where I’ve held most of my positions. BK is all about the well being of its volunteers and employees. The simple fact that our founder keeping a “happiness index” for all of our projects should show that people in this brand really care about one another. There is so much support and love at Beekeeper. I will say that BK faces a lot of the communication issues that any multi-national fashion brand does. When you produce your products in one country and have much of your staff working from another, communication issues are bound to arise. With that in mind, a lot of my role is about effectively communicating and delegating, which are skills I’ve learned and practiced throughout all of my jobs in the industry.
Like I said, BK is a very unique company, and a very small one at the moment. Throughout my career so far, I have worked for the highest grossing fashion label in the world, a small, luxury celebrity brand, mid-sized contemporary NYC labels and a global, European-based company. All of these companies had their advantages and disadvantages, but most of all they were companies looking to sell clothing…nothing more. BK is looking to promote change in this world through selling products that fund the education of disadvantaged youths. It’s totally different from anything I’ve ever done! And I am so lucky to be a part of it.
What are you heading up right now with the organisation?
I am currently the head of our school partnerships division, which focuses on building relationships with schools (in Australia and around the globe) to promote awareness of our brand’s message as well sustainability and education. We are currently working with textile students at RMIT to design new sustainably minded products and systems that could be implemented through BK production! These ideas will be presented at our upcoming event at Melbourne Central during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (August 31st – September 4th).
How do you see the organisation growing in the next few years, and how do you see yourself involved with it?
Right now I split my time between working with BK and running my own small, handmade goods based business, Born & Raised. Looking into the future, I would like to continue to grow my business while helping to grow BK and spread our message and products all around the world, specifically in the US where I am from originally. I see us blooming into a beautiful, well renowned brand and being able to continue to build more schools, not only in Cambodia but in other countries where education is needed. As for my part, I always see myself being a part of BK, and continuing to educate about our brand and our message.