As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about women who turned their passion into success with their incredible ideas, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacquie Lowe.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
Jacquie Lowe is the founder of a luxury, Los Angeles-based women’s hat brand called Heron & Pine. She was graduated from USC with a degree in Industrial and Systems engineering. She got a job at a small technology consulting firm.
From a very young age, she knew that she wants to be an inspiring women entrepreneur, but things didn’t seem that way; after her grandmother passed, she realized that life is too short to keep putting off her dream. Shortly after that, at the age of 27, with little experience in fashion and e-commerce, she started her own brand Heron & Pine.
Many thanks for doing this for us; please let our users know about yourself and Heron & Pine?
I am the founder of a luxury, Los Angeles-based women’s hat brand called Heron & Pine. I am an LA native with a passion for entrepreneurship and fashion.
All of our hats are thoughtfully designed and made from 100% Australian wool. From start to finish, we ensure each detail is perfect, bringing our customers a high-quality hat that is chic and versatile. We offer a variety of styles, including fedoras to boaters, with firm brims, luxe satin lining, and customizable sizing for the perfect fit. With simplicity and sophistication at the forefront of our designs, our hats are the perfect accessory for everyday wear for all women: the seasoned hat lover or the novice hat wearer.
As for our name, “Heron” and “Pine” symbolize ‘path’ and ‘resilience.’ We are inspired by all the confident and resilient women blazing their own paths. Our mission is to give women more confidence to bet on themselves every time.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My professional career started after receiving a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from The University of Southern California.
I started working at a small technology consulting company, where I functioned in a project management capacity. While I loved the fast learning and acquired many skills, I still had a hunger for something more.
I saw women around me achieving amazing things on their entrepreneurial journeys and aspired to build my own company from the ground up. Being raised in a more traditional family, I grew up with a mindset that was much more risk-averse. It wasn’t until my grandmother passed that I realized life is too short to keep putting off my dreams.
Shortly after that time, I was on the search for a high-quality and chic hat that wouldn’t break the bank. That’s when the idea hit me. What if I started my own hat label? I started researching manufacturers, creating designs, and building my brand. At the age of 27, with no experience in fashion or eCommerce, I finally bet on myself and made my dream a reality. Working on Heron & Pine has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I have done in my life.
What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?
- With a team of one, I wear a lot of hats. I own the design, supply chain, branding, marketing, online store, pop-up events, and the list goes on.
- I have had to learn that there are only so many hours in a day, and prioritization is key. Everything doesn’t need to be perfect, and it will come together by taking it one step at a time.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
A fun fact about me is that I love easy-to-watch, feel-good television. A show that I used to regularly indulge in is The Bachelorette. When I launched my brand, I reached out to some of the prior contestants with little expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when my favorite bachelorette, Becca Kufrin, responded and was beyond complimentary of our brand. When I gifted her a few hats, she shared them on her social media and has worn them several times since. When I got the notification, I was beyond happy. It felt surreal knowing someone I admired loved the product that I was putting out there.
What challenges did you face at the start of your business? What lesson did you learn from that?
Without prior sourcing experience, finding a manufacturer that met my expectations was challenging. It took lots of research, many failed samples, and hundreds of questions to get it right.
I learned a few key things from this. For one, asking questions is crucial. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who have done this before. It will save you a lot of time and help you feel confident in your decisions. Second, don’t compromise on your quality or designs. After many samples not aligning with your vision, it can feel discouraging. Keep persisting, and it will come together.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
In moments of self-doubt, I take a step back and strategize what I can do to push forward. I make a list of actionable tasks, prioritize them, and start chipping away. By completing some tasks (no matter how small), I feel like I am contributing to my brand and pushing it forward.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?
- Perseverance is key! You will hear ‘no’ more times than you can count when trying to get your product out there. And that’s okay! Keep persevering, and the building blocks will come together. Just one ‘yes’ can make all the difference.
- Be passionate! If you find something that you are passionate about, go for it. Being an entrepreneur takes long hours and commitment. If you are passionate about what you’re working on, those hours will feel invigorating rather than daunting.
- Stay organized! There are a lot of moving pieces to run a business. Keeping clean documentation will save you a lot of time in the long run.
For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?
- For one – before launching your business, create a detailed go-to-market strategy. Just by making your site available, people won’t start flowing in on their own. You need to create lead channels and drive that traffic.
- Second – Stay true to your brand and be consistent. I have found a lot of success by leveraging social media to grow my audience. By posting engaging content regularly and leveraging influencer marketing, I was able to grow my social following from 0 to over 2,500 in 6 months.
What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
From a marketing standpoint, we have started attending more in-person events in the Los Angeles area, which has improved our brand awareness. We will continue to take part in these events. We love meeting all of our amazing customers! We are also focusing more on Instagram and Pinterest channels as well as continued influencer marketing.
From a product perspective, we are currently working on expanding our product line. We will be selling an accessory that makes it easier to travel with your hat. We are also exploring a straw hat line release. Stay tuned!
There is no shortage of good ideas out there, but people struggle to take a good idea and translate it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
Just get started! I had a bunch of ideas prior to Heron & Pine over the years and never did anything about it. It wasn’t until I decided to start research and take action that it came to life. It may seem intimidating, but small steps and consistency will get your idea off the ground and eventually translate into a business.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Don’t be afraid of “No.” Whether you are trying to get your product featured or building a partnership, there will be times when you are rejected. Don’t let that discourage you from pushing on. This is a great opportunity to make adjustments if needed.
- Make time for self-care. It is easy to get sucked into the crazy hours of building your business. For me, as I started working more and more on my brand, my self-care kept moving further down my priority list. Even if it’s as little as an hour a day, make time for yourself, whether that’s going on a hike, working out, or reading a book.
- Remember your “why.” With so many moving pieces and logistics of running your business, it is easy to forget why you started in the first place. Remind yourself where you started, what you have built, and why. That is key to staying motivated.
- Leverage your network. In the beginning, I tried to figure out a lot of things on my own. As I hit roadblocks, I started reaching out to people in my network who had experience in those areas, and I was so surprised at how much people wanted to help. The advice I received saved me time overall and was invaluable to getting my brand off the ground.
- You will make mistakes. Starting your own business is hard. That is why it is inevitable that you will make mistakes, and that is okay! Learn from your mistakes, pivot direction, and march on.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself, “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?
Honestly, there wasn’t. When I first started Heron & Pine, I was still working my full-time consulting job. It was a difficult balance, but the feeling of building your own company is well worth it.
What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
If I’m in a rut, I take a break and go on a walk or drive. It is always at times when I can clear my mind that inspiration hits. Most of my ideas have come to me when I’m in the shower, not actively trying to brainstorm. Don’t rush your creativity; it will come!
What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?
I am a huge believer in manifestation and positive affirmations. One basic manifestation that I say is, “Everything will work out.” Even if things don’t turn out the way I had envisioned, I always find a way to make it work. Be consistent, keep pushing on, and stay positive.
What does success mean to you?
I define success as building something that makes me feel proud, excited, and fulfilled. The fulfillment I get from running Heron & Pine is unlike anything I’ve felt before. If you’re on your entrepreneurial journey, keep persevering and blazing your path forward!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.