Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

The frilly, ruffly, and pink aesthetic of LoveShackFancy is everywhere these days. Founder Rebecca Hessel Cohen started her business selling dresses out of the trunk of her car, and now helms one of today’s most recognizable brands. Her clients adore her vision of playful dresses with vintage-inspired details and flattering silhouettes that she has expanded into many categories, so they can fill their entire lives with LoveShackFancy. To celebrate her new boutique opening in Sag Harbor, she speaks to us about starting her career, the challenges she faced along the way, and what’s next.

You started your career as an editor at Cosmopolitan. What inspired you to leave magazines and start LoveShackFancy?

I never set out to start a fashion line, it actually began when I designed my bridesmaid dresses. I wanted a dress that looked good on everyone, from the beach to the ballroom, and would be your best dancing partner. This then became our first dress, The Love Dress! I always have had a passion for storytelling which led to my career in editorial, but I’ve since brought that storytelling passion with me in creating my own brand.

What do you envision LoveShackFancy (or a future venture) looking like 10 years down the line?

Ten years from now I expect LoveShackFancy to continue to evolve with our lives and our customers’ lives as it has from the very beginning. What’s so special about this brand is that it has naturally progressed as my life has, from my wedding to having kids, creating mommy and me clothing and homeware. It’s been a constant evolution and I think it will evolve into so much more as our lives go on.

How did you launch LoveShackFancy?

The concept of the brand flourished into eight timeless dresses: Ruffle Mini, Racerback Tank, The Love Dress, The Fancy Dress, and The Shack Dress. When we first started out, we hosted pop-ups and trunk shows in The Hamptons. We began selling at department stores and then we opened our first LoveShackFancy boutique in Sag Harbor.

What makes your pieces special?

I’ve always been a lover of vintage fashion which became a huge inspiration for this brand. Each piece is rich in exceptional detail from intricate lace to custom embroideries, motifs, tulle with whimsical hand-dyed fabrics, and vintage-inspired prints. These pieces represent unabashed femininity and serve as timeless keepsakes designed to pass from generation to generation.

What is the inspiration behind the name?

My mom actually gave me the idea. As collectors of vintage, we were going to start a prop-styling business online out of her house in Bridgehampton. My mom would style different houses and call them love shacks. We did a shoot with British Magazine and someone had said it’s love shack, but it’s love shack fancy and she loved that. When I was starting this brand I was thinking of a million names and nothing felt right except for LoveShackFancy.

Does LoveShackFancy have a specific message that you want to share with the world?

We believe in embracing unabashed femininity, remaining true to yourself, and celebrating being a woman! Living each day to its fullest while forever feeling empowered and that is what we hope wearing our clothes brings to you.

What challenges did you experience in launching LoveShackFancy?

Every turning point when launching this brand was challenging, but ultimately led to our growth and success. One challenge I struggled with was being at the mercy of department stores. I had so many ideas and designs I wanted to create and what we sold was up to these department stores. Fear was also a huge factor in the beginning, I was selling dresses out of the back of our car and I constantly questioned if it was worth it. But what got me to the point we’re at now, was about surrounding myself with people who believed in me and my vision, who pushed me to see past the obstacles and succeed.

What has been your pinch-me moment since starting your brand?

There have been so many… I would say probably our Spring Presentation during September Fashion Week because it was so incredible seeing the collection brought to life and having all our supporters together to celebrate in one place. Also, more recently I’d have to say our New York Times article! It was truly the most surreal moment for me and one I’ll cherish forever.

You’re expanding by opening many new stores. What prompted this expansion?

The demand from our customers! It’s been so amazing and rewarding having the opportunity to share our brand with so many cities around the country. The growth of this community over the years has been incredible. Opening a new store in a new city and seeing all the fans that come out to support and who are obsessed with the brand is still so surreal. We’re so grateful.

How do you express the LoveShackFancy universe through retail?

So much of who we are and how we share that is through our stores. Each store is unique to its city, but fully embodies the world of LoveShackFancy with feminine pink walls, fresh florals all over, and special pieces curated for each individual boutique. Our stores allow us to build a close-knit community and relationship with our customers.

You describe your retail stores as experiential. What does this mean to you?

Our stores are an all-encompassing LoveShackFancy experience. When customers come into the store they are stepping into our world. They allow us to express who we are and what inspires us. In each store we have elements and pieces unique to the city it’s in, for example in our latest Nashville shop we have one-of-a-kind bespoke vintage Nashville t-shirts. I also love to lend support to smaller designers and brands by hosting trunk shows from them weekly in our store.

What are your most popular categories?

Our most popular category would definitely be our dresses and skirts! They’re so timeless and special. Each piece is truly designed for every generation to love.

Do you have plans to expand into new categories?

We are currently gearing up to launch a new expansion on our home collection this month that I cannot wait to share! We’ll also be dropping the cutest sunglasses this summer too. There are a few other exciting collaborations in the works that we can’t announce yet, but hopefully soon!

What are your most iconic designs?

Our most iconic designs I’d have to say would definitely be our Natasha Mini Dress and our Ruffle Mini Skirt – they are our fan favorites for sure!

What do you wish you had known when you first started out?

If I could go back and talk to myself when I was starting out I would tell her to trust her gut and believe in herself fully. There’s a lot of noise when starting a brand of all different people telling you what to do and what not to do and I think sticking to your vision and what you believe in is the key to success.

You went viral on TikTok through sorority rush videos. What did this mean for your business?

At first, when I saw it, I didn’t want to show it to anyone, because I didn’t want to get pigeonholed. But after sitting with it for a bit I realized it was so inspiring that a whole new age group and customers we weren’t originally exposed to are so into the brand. It’s given us major growth and building our presence on the app is something we are continuing to build.

You’re opening a boutique in Sag Harbor. What does this store mean to you? How do you see it fitting into the local community?

Our shop in Sag Harbor was the first-ever boutique we opened that truly launched our brand! I grew up going to Sag Harbor and the community is one that’s so close to my heart, so having a LoveShackFancy home here has always been important. This new store is a major signifier of our growth! We want to bring an even larger, more special space that represents the all-encompassing world of LoveShackFancy. The Sag Harbor community has stood by the brand and plays a huge part in who we are as a brand so we’re grateful to be able to continue to grow here and hope this is a place that can bring our community together even more.

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