It's a New Year and this means more exciting Chit Chat Friday interviews! There is so much amazing talent out there right now and I can't wait to share it with you. So let's talk about our next guest shall we? I had the pleasure of chatting with Ellen Uzarowicz, owner and designer of Right Bank Babies based in Los Angeles, California! With no formal training, Ellen pulled out her sewing machine and got to it. Taking inspiration from old photographs of her family and friends, her surroundings when she was living in Paris and her daughters, she has created a timeless collection with beautiful fabrics for the little ladies to enjoy. Something you should know about her garments, most of them are reversible, two garments in one, this is exactly what us moms need in our child's wardrobe. Less packing when traveling or less laundry to do at the house is winner in my book!
Check out Right Bank Babies Collection here: http://www.rightbankbabies.com
1. TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF? WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I grew up in Memphis, TN. I have no design training – totally self taught but I have always been an artist and come from a family of artists. I went to graduate school in International Business in Paris, France where I met my husband. We lived in Chicago for 8 years, then moved to Los Angeles and have 2 little girls, ages 8 and 9. We just moved to a 1920’s fixer-upper in the Hollywood Hills and love it here. We’ll be remodeling it over the next few years.
2. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START RIGHT BANK BABIES?
When my first daughter was tiny I taught myself to sew and began making dresses and rompers like my mother made for me but in bright quilting fabrics and reversible. I had this nostalgia for these vintage style silhouettes and at the time the clothes were all little “mini-me” type outfits. EVERY time we went out in them I was stopped! I knew I was on to something. I had always wanted to start my own business and I began literally working at night and during naps out of my garage and hired the nanny as my assistant. She worked for RBB for 7 years!
3. WHERE DOES THE NAME RIGHT BANK BABIES COME FROM?
It comes from the fashion district in Paris, the Right Bank of the Seine River – I love how Parisians, and Europeans in general, mix and match patterns and layer their children’s clothes.
4. WHAT INSPIRES YOUR COLLECTIONS?
Well obviously European fashion but I’ve come to love Japanese as well.
I love their playfulness with design. Sometimes I will draw inspiration from my own clothing but lately with my own daughters I have been watching what they are drawn too. They are both very artistic and one is more classic/traditional in her styling while the other one leans toward punk. It’s fun to see how they put things together and which of my patterns and styles they like.
5. WHERE DO YOU GAIN INSPIRATION? DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSEUM, CAFÉ, GALLERY, ETC YOU GO TO FOR INSPIRATION?
Rather than a museum I will go through vintage fashion books, costuming books, sketch books. I will search vintage markets and shops and then sketch and re-sketch and collaborate and analyze fit. My designs may seem simple but there are a lot of technical things I’m trying to address – how will the child get it on and off? Will is itch? Will the child be able to layer it, will it grow with them? I will also walk around the fabric district downtown and let the fabric inspire me – sometimes it takes the feel and weight of it to tell you what to do.
6. DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU ARE DESIGNING, IF YES, WHO IS ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW?
I’m afraid I’m in another world when I design, I let my girls, my husband and pandora handle the music so I end up listening to Frank Sinatra, A3, Katie Perry, Lourd, Robbie Williams…
7. IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD THIS BE? WHY?
Oh wow. That’s so hard. Maybe Bonnie Young – her dresses are amazing. I’m lucky, being in LA I get to meet so many talented designers and costumers.
8. DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO OR RESPECT, SOMEONE YOU INSPIRE TO?
There are just too many to name. My Mom – she is genius with fashion. I aspire to have my friend Ryam’s faith, optimism, and perseverance. She worked with me at RBB for a few years and is starting her own company called Wild and Whimsy. Another amazing lady is my friend Patrice who works tirelessly to help victims of the sex trade through her nonprofit, Missionary Position Ministries. Her faith and generosity at times are overwhelming and I hope I can touch people’s lives as she has.
9. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
I’ve received some great advice over the years – had some wonderful people stand by me and help me. But there are two things that I always repeat to myself. I leave work at the office. I don’t check email on the weekends and when I’m home I spend the time with my family. My mom said to me after hearing about a friend’s scary health diagnosis “If all your worried about is money, then you have nothing to worry about.” It puts it in perspective.
10. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR US?
Spend the money and hire a business expert/consultant – you can’t do everything yourself. Also, don’t hire your friends – they are rarely the most qualified for the job.
11. ANY EXCITING NEWS OR PLANS FOR RIGHT BANK BABIES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?
Oh yes, just yesterday we had an amazing meeting but I can’t say anything yet. Let’s just say it’s exciting!
12. WHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
I hate New Year’s Resolutions! There is just too much going on at that time of year to add something to my plate – it has to be a mid-January resolution to have any chance for me. I think this year it will be to give up the diet coke. (It hurts to even write that).