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Meet the women-led brand that advocates longevity over fleeting trends: Raven + Lily
Buying a cheap leather bag and wearing it twice? Not the thing anymore. How would you feel knowing that your choice supports local artisan craftsmanship from Ethiopia and provides jobs to locals? Pretty cool right? We talked about the business of sustainability, the impact of a dedicated team, new arrivals, and much more with Raven + Lily.’s VP of Brand Operations. Meet Mercedez Pérez-García!
We chatted with Mercedez Pérez-García, Raven + Lily’s VP of Brand Operations to discuss the vision behind Raven + Lily, how the team was formed, and what the future has in store for the brand. Finally, she gave her advice for brands that are just starting to approach sustainability.
Born from years of experience in the nonprofit world, Raven + Lily is a deeply caring, women-led brand with a sense of community at its core. Raven + Lily evolved over time to become a B Corp-certified brand (2014) that strives to create beautiful accessories and ensures to be accessible to a wide market. Now, the brand is the proud award winner of the 2022 Best of the World by B Corp, ranking Raven + Lily in the top 5% of brands their size.
“We work really hard to create accessories that stay true to local artisan craftsmanship while utilizing local raw materials. All while maintaining a fresh design perspective within the sustainable market” Mercedez explained.
“We have an incredible team! I’m thankful every day”
Everyone on the team left corporate or luxury brands looking for a better way to contribute. Contractors and creative contributors as well as others reached out to Raven + Lily because of their mission and aesthetic. Mercedez goes on to say “I think most of us came to work here in the same way I did: looking for a meaningful work environment, we came across the brand and saw an amazing path forward for what fashion could be.”
The shift to sustainable fashion was a gradual process. During her work, she had the opportunity to learn about craftsmanship, design, and beautiful materials, but became a bit disillusioned with the drive of the traditional luxury industry. “I started thinking about how the ideas of quality, high-functioning design, and long-term appeal could be applied outside of luxury and found a lot of alignment in the concept of sustainable production. Consuming responsibly was a natural flow from here, and not just in fashion, with grocery shopping, how I travel… it’s all connected for me.” Mercedez explained.
“I’m the most excited about our product growth as well as the initiatives we’re taking on the employee side”
Raven + Lily is coming out with an expanded jewelry line that includes gold plating, mixed materials of beadwork + semi-precious stones, sculptured upcycled brass elements, and so much more. Kristen Caron, the creative director, has been leading the charge and working with artisan partners in designing products that are distinct to the market.
The brand is also focused on bringing new handbag designs. “No one does leather work like Yami Mengistu and her team. The colors, materials, and new designs that she is producing for us are stellar – I can’t wait for the world to see them.” Mercedez added.
Mercedez goes on to say that “on the team side, our CEO Kina Lincoln has been an incredible force in reshaping what traditional company structure looks like. Not only is our team supported in a healthy work environment, but she’s ensuring our team (both full-time and creative contractors) have equity in the company, without compromising on our quality of life.”
Lastly, Raven + Lily is expanding their private label. It’s been a silent, yet, super steady part of the business and “was a great way to grow during the tough years of the pandemic” she added. As they’re working with new artisans, Raven + Lily is excited to bring in new clients with a larger market reach. Mercedez told us that “the quality of the materials and the craftsmanship is super elevated, beautifully designed, and able to sit in a variety of markets.”
We concluded the interview with Mercedez by asking her what advice would she give to anyone embarking on the journey of sustainability. She told us “Do your research, don’t get overwhelmed, and not one brand is going to be the perfect fit, and that’s okay!”
How does this type of information make you feel? Would you like to see more brands open up about their production processes and future goals? Let us know in the comment section 💬😊
Raven + Lily is one of the brands you can find on Renoon. To discover more about its values, you can find and follow them on Renoon & add it to your feed, discover their products and continue exploring more emerging, responsible designers!
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