Spirited Conversation

Straight Talk. Served Neat.

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Looking Fabulous!: A Spirited Conversation with Fashion Designer, Rubin Singer

My introduction to Rubin Singer came through my Chief Communication Officer, and business partner, Roxanne. She met Rubin at a Neiman Marcus annual meeting in Dallas. She saw his collection and was instantly hooked. Roxanne set out to get his collection into Neiman Marcus and, with the help of a grassroots campaign to present him to decision-makers, as well as her own massively successful Rubin Singer trunk show, Neiman Marcus expanded their buy significantly and rolled his line out to several new doors the following season. 

Fast forward to a dinner with Rubin and Roxanne at the beautiful Rosewood in Palo Alto, California.  I couldn’t believe the story Rubin laid out. A family history that stretched back to World War II Russia, people determined to provide a better life for their family, and a journey that brought the family name to New York. Rubin was born into and raised in the fashion business; he was destined to make his own mark on the world. 

So I was ecstatic that Rubin gave me a few moments for a fascinating tête-à-tête and to share a special spirit at Wingtip in San Francisco. I was eager to pick up where we had left off at Rosewood, and to ask him a few questions about his meteoric success - not just as a designer but as the head of a major design house.

To kick things off, I paired Rubin with a 17-yr Nikka Taketsuru Japanese whisky. I chose the Nikka because of the unique story of Masataka Taketsuru – a man who came from a rich tradition of sake makers but who loved whisky and wanted to craft a traditional Scottish blend out of Japan.   The determination to craft something perfect, well-balanced, and elegant is a direct reflection of Rubin’s approach to design, family history and power.  The sip was incredible; you get a well-balanced feel highlighted with plum notes but not overpowering on the sweet. Extremely tight and well structured. Click here for more tasting notes from the Whisky Shop.

Rubin’s growth strategy, like many start-ups, was built on sacrifice. He not only has to come up with new designs four times a year to meet the rigorous and competitive fashion industry deadlines; he also had to learn how to scale a business. Rubin has had his challenges and after lots of preparation and several setbacks, he got his big break with the 2013 Superbowl halftime show highlighted by Beyoncé. Rubin styled her, and the entire entourage, with a result of never-before-seen success. Check out the show here.   

When you experience a massive shift in your business comparable to Rubin's, knowing how to handle the new paradigm of normal can be overwhelming. Yes, there were orders from major luxury retailers, but the Beyoncé effect turned his world upside down overnight. Not only did he have to re-think his operations model, but he had to quickly make some hard decisions as he experienced this huge growth phase in his business.

Rubin continues to introduce bold designs and differentiate himself from the competition. Rubin has definitely exercised his business muscle while maintaining his creative prowess.  He is a fantastic example of how form combines with fashion to craft a successful business and unique customer experience. 

Watch my full interview with Rubin Singer below.