Meet Rowell Concepcion, the California native behind downtown NY sales showroom, Creative Projects Division and designer of jewelry line, Rowell Concepcion.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Southern California, and I moved to New York in 2010 to pursue the dream of running a fashion business. I have been working on the sales/pr side of the industry prior to launching my showroom, Creative Projects Division, and my fine jewelry line, Rowell Concepcion Jewelry. The journey has been a whirlwind, but always gratifying.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
While I was attending university to double major in psychology and public policy, I ran a fashion blog, consistently volunteered at LA Fashion Week, and took fashion courses at a local JC. In the middle of applying to grad schools, I secretly applied to FIT’s one year program and got in! I landed a design & production internship at Haus Alkire (formerly Julie Haus) my first week of living in NYC, and that lead to sales stints at Balenciaga & Alexander Wang.
You formed your own sales showroom, Creative Projects Division, two years ago, how did that come about? Was that always the goal?
Two years ago, a boutique in Brooklyn asked me if I would take on a client as an independent agent. I took the meeting, and it worked out. Once word spread that I was starting my own agency, referrals started coming in, and I was able to launch Creative Projects Division. My goal was always to have longevity in fashion with the skills I am best at.
What do you like about the sales side of the industry?
Sales is tough, especially in today’s climate. It takes an incredible amount of persistence, hard work, and creative marketing. When a PO comes in, the product is shipped, and sell thru is there…it is the most rewarding feeling in the world.
You also recently launched your own line of jewelry, Rowell Concepcion Jewelry, what’s that been like for you? Has knowing the sales side of the business been helpful in building your own line?
It’s been a lot of smiles, tears, and everything in between. I am completely drained, but it’s still worthwhile. Knowing the sales side of the business has been advantageous, both for financial planning and buyer outreach.
What inspires your jewelry line?
It is inspired by a bicoastal lifestyle and informed by playful luxury. Each piece fuses traditional elements with clean graphic shapes to create modern fine jewelry.
What are your hopes for the future – what is the ideal trajectory of your career in the next five years?
In the next five years, I hope for the showroom to continue growing and my line to gain a following.
Retail has gone through some difficult times recently, what do you think the future of retail will be?
I think there will definitely be more emphasis for businesses to have a better online & social media presence. Multi-label boutiques with brick & mortar shops that have a clear cut vision are here to ride the rough patch.
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about launching their own line?
It’s beneficial to gain some experience in the industry prior to launching.
Check out Rowell's Playlist:
Interview: Emily Saunders - @thesaunder
Photography: Allie Sarachene - @alliesarachene