Celebrating women at MacKenzie-Childs
March 20, 2018
During the month of March, we’re reminded that women are smart, talented, and brave, and have been pivotal in the story of our nation. That’s because since 1987, March has officially been designated National Women’s History Month, an observance that traces its roots to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. Marked annually on March 8, International Women’s Day has evolved into a global celebration of the achievements of women as well as a call to accelerate gender parity.
Here at MacKenzie-Childs, it’s probably no surprise that women play a vital role. Our workforce is more than 60 percent female, with many in managerial and executive positions. Plus, most of our customers are women. We asked Rebecca Proctor, our creative director and chief brand officer (and one of the most amazing women that we know), for her thoughts on how the brand speaks to and celebrates women, and to share a little of her own personal journey.
On how the MacKenzie-Childs brand celebrates women:
“No doubt about it, MacKenzie-Childs is clearly a women’s brand,” Rebecca says, noting there are three key reasons for that.
First, the brand celebrates home and family. “Home is a place of tranquility and beauty, and being the center of everything that’s driven, organized, and usually run by women, the brand relates to that,” Rebecca says.
Secondly, our brand makes people happy and brings kindred spirits together. “It seems to shore up bonds between people,” Rebecca says. “Sisters love to give it to each other. Mothers and daughters love to give it. …It’s a centerpiece in a lot of relationships.”
And finally, with its irreverent take on decor, the brand celebrates what’s brave and bold. “It takes a certain amount of bravery to embrace our brand. We’re fearless in terms of the crazy combinations that we put together,” says Rebecca. “Women like to celebrate positive things. Our brand is strong, it’s bold, and we love to share it.”
An example of this boldness can be seen in one of our newest furniture lines—Queen Bee, which features—you guessed it—a bold yellow, gray, and black color palette, plus honeycomb and bee motifs. Says Rebecca, “The line is deliberate and it’s so much fun…it’s for someone who is brave and bold, intelligent, organized, and in charge.”
On her female mentors:
Rebecca says she’s been fortunate to have had several strong and smart women in her life, starting with her mother and her paternal grandmother. She also attended Garrison Forest School, an all-girls’ school founded in 1910 in Baltimore, Md., where, she says, creativity and confidence were equally encouraged.
At the age of 17, Rebecca became the “go-to girl” for Carrington Hooper, whom she describes as “a force in the Baltimore design community,” who taught her the ropes of the industry. From there, Rebecca studied art history and owned a clothing store with a female best friend. In 1991, she came to MacKenzie-Childs, where she had the opportunity to work with and learn from two “incredible” female mentors.
The first was Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, one of the founders of the company. “She was a real dynamo, a real powerhouse, full of positivity and unstoppable,” says Rebecca. “She was the one who taught me about finding beauty in the everyday.”
Her second mentor was Pleasant Rowland, who owned MacKenzie-Childs from 2001 to 2008 and had previously created the American Girl brand. “Working with her was incredibly inspiring,” Rebecca says of Pleasant. “She has such attention to detail, and her work ethic is like no one I’ve ever seen in my life. She leaves everything she touches in a much improved state. It’s really her gift. She’s amazing.”
On her advice to young women:
Rebecca plans to return to her Baltimore alma mater later this month to speak to the students at Garrison Forest. What will she tell them?
“My message is you are exactly where you need to be. Look through every window. If an opportunity presents itself, explore it and pay attention,” she says. “Don’t wait for someone to make it happen for you. Be the leader you’ve been waiting for.”