We’ll admit that we have more than a subtle girl-crush on Jessie Randall. Not only is her style a representation of everything we’ve ever wanted to wear (the dresses! The colour! The accessories!), but she’s also one of those women that somehow blends cool and kind with inimitable ease…
Loeffler Randall, the accessories brand she founded with husband Brian, is going from strength to strength thanks to their unique and playful offering in the world of bags and shoes, and her own personal style is a welcome reminder that fashion can, and should, be about fun as well as looking good. “I’m always designing what I want to wear myself so my personal style is always reflected in our designs. I like to wear things that are easy, chic and have a bit of a twist: all things I hope to achieve with my designs at LR.” Jessie is also a mum to 11-year-old twins, Clementine and Casper, and 7-year-old son Harry, so is well versed in the working-mum juggle, which she is refreshingly honest about in our interview, reminding us that as kids get older, things don’t necessarily get easier, just different. “I always wanted to scream when I was struggling with the twins and someone would come up and say “little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems!” It felt so hard then, how could it get worse?!? Well, I really hate to say that it does get harder. I would say the early years are harder physically (lugging the double stroller upstairs, carrying two car seats through an airport, etc) but the older years are trickier emotionally and sometimes the social drama will just feel like a punch in the stomach.” Read on for more insight into Jessie’s life as a mum, businesswoman, wife and creative in our first Behind The Brand feature, and if you feel compelled to buy a new pair of heels after poring over the beautiful images, well, we won’t tell if you don’t… Photography: Kelsey Rose | www.loefflerrandall.com
Can you tell us a little about how LR started?
I founded Loeffler Randall with my husband, Brian, almost 15 years ago now! We met working in advertising but I have always had a deep love of fashion and decided to go back to school to study design shortly after we met. The process of crafting and making things is so personally rewarding and is so important to everyone on the LR team—it’s what inspired me to change course at the time and what still inspires us to this day as we design our collections. I’ve also always had a passion for shoes, so after a few years designing handbags for other brands, Brian and I decided to take the leap and start a label together. We were very lucky to sell to Bergdorf Goodman our first season. Now, years later we are so pleased with the brand’s success. I love designing the things I want to have in my own wardrobe each season.
Have you always had a connection to shoes and bags?
Shoes have always been my first love—ever since I was a little girl! I used to take ballet lessons purely so I could get a new pair of Capezio’s each season.
You have such a distinct aesthetic and your shoes often become iconic, what inspires you?
My love of making beautiful things and my passion for shoes. I like to keep my mind flexible and exposed to all different things. I think it makes me better at my job. Right now, I’m taking sewing lessons and a memoir writing class.
Your designs always have an element of fun and light-heartedness to them, would you say that is true and respective of your personal style?
Thank you! Yes, I’m always designing what I want to wear myself so my personal style is always reflected in our designs. I like to wear things that are easy, chic and have a bit of a twist: all things I hope to achieve with my designs at LR.
You run LR with your husband, Brian. What’s it like working so closely together?
It’s not always easy, but we’ve found a balance that works for us. Over the years, I’ve had to let go of being so hands-on with the creative so I could take on a bigger role in the marketing and branding, and have the creative headspace to get inspired. Brian is an entrepreneur and more naturally optimistic than I am. I’m generally more rational and risk adverse. I think our differences are what makes the partnership work. Brian is able to be tougher than I am in a lot of situations, but in times when he’s less strong, I’m able to step up and make hard decisions. We’re good at dividing and conquering. I always say that without Brian, I’d be hand-making shoes in my kitchen—he’s the one who has the big business drive and mindset, and I’m the one that helps to make the product special.
You have three kids, how do you balance both motherhood and career?
It’s so hard! It was almost easier when they were little, now they have so much going on. It’s a lot to coordinate. I want to be present and support them for everything they need and I also need to focus on our company. So it’s a big juggle. Luckily, everything we do, we do for them, so it keeps me and my husband super focused on our goals.
Describe a typical morning in your household?
It’s very hectic! I usually get woken up very very early by my youngest Harry. He climbs into my bed and we snuggle and it’s my most favourite part of the day. I quickly get ready, get everyone fed. Usually my daughter (11 year old Clementine) comes down in about 5 different outfits and we have to negotiate which one is appropriate for the weather. Then we get everyone packed up and I usually take Harry to school. I like to spend time with him in the mornings one on one. I took my twins to school every morning for many many years and I want to make sure he gets that same time. We take the city bus to his school and then go to the library at his school to read together. A lot of times he runs off and wants to just play with his friends in the yard! Then I get back onto the subway and head into Soho.
What has been the most difficult part of motherhood so far for you?
I think the most difficult part of being a parent is watching your children go through emotionally difficult things, things where they could get hurt emotionally and being powerless to stop it. Also the first year of twins was no joke!
What’s the best part of motherhood so far?
All of it. I love my kids more than anything. I never make any plans on the weekends. I just want to be with my kids, no one else. I adore them. It’s also so wonderful to see how they have talents and know things beyond my wildest dreams. My son is on the debate team and knows how to speak Spanish (I am terrible at foreign language and it just amazes me what he can do). My daughter has a serious talent for fashion, I love how she puts things together. She is starring in her school’s musical in a couple weeks (I can’t carry a tune). And my little guy is so bright and so hilarious. He makes me laugh so much. Above all, I think they are all kind human beings and that makes me very proud.
How do you handle the more stressful parts of motherhood?
I take a bath with Himalayan bath salts. Baths have saved me during the stressful times.
What kind of mum are you – relaxed, strict, routine?
I really hope that my kids would say that I am very, very affectionate. I grew up in a house that was full of love but not always tons of affection. I hug and kiss my kids constantly. I want to snuggle them every second so they have that human touch and physical expression of how much I love them. I’m also probably considered a bit of a strict parent. We don’t allow our kids to have phones and that bums them out. I want my kids sewing and making things with their hands, reading, having actual conversations vs. being on a phone. We are going to try to hold off on that as long as humanly possible. I hope to be considered a fair parent. I try to listen to my kids and hear them out.
Do you have any tried and tested mum-hacks that make getting out the door each day a little easier?
Dry shampoo is number one. Getting a blow out once or twice a week so I have to do my hair fewer times, saves time. Planning my outfit in advance. Letting the kids sleep as late as possible so we have less time in the morning because when we have a lot of time it gets very chaotic and the kids can start fighting.
How do you make time for your marriage outside of work and kids – do you have regular date nights or similar?
We are terrible at this! We’ve basically never been away without the kids (except for work and my grandfather’s funeral – not fun). We are together all day at work. My new plan is to just book a vacation with my husband and not tell him until the day before. We are also supposed to be going to Italy this summer to celebrate our 15-year wedding anniversary one year late.
Let’s talk style – what sort of brands do you love to wear and where do you often shop?
I love supporting my friends’ brands and finding pieces that feel really special! Right now, I’m reaching for knitwear by Baaba, pretty holiday dresses from my friends at Loveshackfancy and Warm, my favourite B-Sides jeans, and the beautiful Lizzie Fortunato pieces in our LR Craft Fair. I also do a lot of shopping on Etsy for vintage dresses and tops—there are so many great one-of-a-kind pieces if you know how to search for them!
What about kids’ clothes? Your daughter Clementine has better style than most adults!
Oh thank you so much! Clementine is amazing. I get such a kick out of what she puts together. She’s so much more sporty than I am. She takes a lot of style cues from her dad and her style is almost a mash up of both of our styles. I feel like the one thing I’ve learned over the years is that I would prefer fewer, nicer things for the kids as opposed to a bunch of junk. Brands like Patagonia make items that I can buy a few sizes too big and hold up well year after year. I love to splurge on special things for Clementine, like dresses and tops from Innika Choo and bathing suits from Minnow swim. Clementine now fits a women’s size 5 in LR so it’s so fun to have her wear the brand! And of course she is obsessed with Brandy Melville and a lot of athletic brands like Champion, Fila and Adidas. For my boys I tend to buy a lot of Nike and Adidas online and Crewcuts for special events.
Would LR ever expand into womenswear at any point?
It would be such a dream! I love dresses and swim and it would be so fun to design. It’s a lot of work and we are so busy with our growing accessories business at the moment but it’s a dream of mine. Someday!
Describe a failsafe outfit you always have on standby when you don’t have much time in the morning.
Putting a turtleneck under a dress and wearing our Gia tall boots is my go- to. So easy and chic.
What’s your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?
I am terrible at self-care. I could do self-care, but then I wouldn’t get enough time for my kids. The few ways I fit it in are: taking classes to keep myself inspired (currently taking sewing lessons and taking a memoir class), eating healthfully (I just completed Whole 30) and I do work out a lot in the summer when I have more vacation time and it’s easier to get to class.
What’s something you wish you had more time for outside work and motherhood?
Working out. I really would love to be able to get a workout in every day without it taking away from morning or night time with my kids.
They say the first year of motherhood is the hardest – how would you describe motherhood now that the early years are behind you?
I always wanted to scream when I was struggling with the twins and someone would come up and say “little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems!” It felt so hard then, how could it get worse?!? Well, I really hate to say that it does get harder. I would say the early years are harder physically (lugging the double stroller upstairs, carrying two car seats through an airport, etc) but the older years are trickier emotionally and sometimes the social drama will just feel like a punch in the stomach. I try to enjoy each stage. I love these kiddos so much and I feel like they grow up way too fast.
Jessie’s Little List of Loves
Ellie Kemper’s new memoir Hoop earrings Our tall Gia boots Travelling as much as I can Sweaters from Baaba Long, hot baths with Aesop products Glossier brow boy to define my patchy eyebrows Handmade ceramics Vintage pink glassware Hunza G bathing suits Paintings by Kate Zimmerman Turpin All the special gifts in our LR craft fair including our leopard scrunchies!