Today we’d like to introduce you to Deirdra Mongan Jones.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in New Hampshire and was always fascinated by fashion and design. Quite often, I would get into trouble at school for drawing instead of paying attention.
I went to college at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, and from there began my career in NYC’s fashion industry, which ended up spanning 15 years.
I learned all different aspects of the industry in freelance positions, from trend forecasting to production, and fashion design, and then finally technical design. I ended up loving the engineering and mathematical aspects of tech design and held that position at a company called Steven Alan for about six years.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were a ton of challenges and struggles. I think facing down all kinds of different fears and deciding to push through it, despite the discomfort has been the most challenging and by far the most rewarding part of this journey. Once you can do that, you’re truly free.
I’m not sure if there’s a smooth path to anything worthwhile….consistently doing the work and being introspective is key. If you can do that, you can really manage anything life throws at you.
Navigating through NYC’s fashion industry is no joke, it’s a really competitive and fast-paced space.
Please tell us about Rendall Co.
In NYC, I started a brand called Jones of Boerum Hill with my then partner in 2012. JOBH created premium and bespoke workwear and uniforms for the hospitality and retail industries, and I manufactured it mostly in NYC. We ended up with a lot of amazing customers, including Le Labo, Eataly, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and a number of notable chefs and restaurants like Marcus Samuelsson, Thomas Keller, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
When the partnership (and marriage) failed, I had moved our manufacturing to LA and was bouncing back and forth between NYC and the West Coast. I ultimately fell in love with LA and moved here in September 2019.
Early in 2020, I launched a new brand called Rendall Co. It was meant to be a West Coast-based workwear company. Of course, then pandemic struck. My factory closed down, and so did most of my customer base (the hospitality industry). I wanted to get the factory running again, and help out in some small way.
I decided at that point to pour all of my energy into making a premium, great-fitting, and functional cotton mask that my now empty factory could produce locally. I spent the first two weeks of the lockdown prototyping about 12 different masks.
Because of my local contacts here in LA and some really incredible collaborators, I was able to launch within about four weeks of inception of the brand.
The response was overwhelming, and we quickly put together a team of people to help deal with the demand and the stresses of running the company. We started with one factory and were able to rev up production to eight factories at one point, churning out about 30,000 masks a week.
We’re two months into the new company, and it’s been a total rollercoaster. We’ve had lots of hiccups, and also lots of triumphs. All while trying to operate under a lockdown.
My company, Rendall Co, is donating 1 mask for every mask purchased. A few of my favorite places we were able to donate to are the Downtown Women’s Center in DTLA (1,000 masks), and the Skid Row Brigade (5,000) masks.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Nothing! I believe all of the mistakes and problems along the way were necessary learning experiences. They all lead to where I am now, and there really was no other way to do it that would have allowed me the clarity and understanding to move forward.
- Website: www.rendallco.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org