The Launchmetrics 5 Questions With… interview series provides a way to connect industry leaders from the fashion, luxury, and beauty industries, and gives a platform for them to share their best advice and expertise. For this episode of the series, we spoke with Christina Ripley, the Brand & Strategy Director at Christopher John Rogers.
Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Christina Ripley always had a pointed interest in the intersections of fashion and business, which led her to enroll in the Savannah College of Art in Design where she graduated with a BFA in Fashion Marketing and Management in 2016. During her time in university, she held internship positions at Giorgio Armani and Lanvin in New York City where she dove into her interests in luxury fashion and gained a stronger understanding of branding and communications. Upon graduation, she moved to NYC where she formally began her career, starting out in retail and freelancing in event production with Bureau Betak. Her first full time position was with then-emerging jewelry brand Mateo, where she learned how to run a company from the ground up and the importance of being selective and intentional when building a brand. While holding this position she worked with Christopher on the side to help build the Christopher John Rogers brand and was hired to work with the brand full time in 2020. Today she holds the position of Brand & Strategy Director where she oversees PR, Marketing, Wholesale, Shipping / Logistics, and Art Direction for the company.
What do you love about your job?
What I love most about my job is that I built it with three of my friends from university, so it doesn’t feel like I’m coming to work every day. I also really love that I get to highlight the hard work and vision of people that I’m really inspired by so it feels really special.
What matters when creating a strong brand strategy today?
When creating a strong brand strategy today, I think the most important thing is authenticity. Doing what feels true to you and is reflective of your vision and where you want to be. There is a lot of noise happening with lots of people sharing different content and I think in order for you to really build that relationship with the consumer and the audience you have to be consistent and clear in your messaging and understanding the intention behind everything that you do is really important.
What lessons have you learned from this new virtual world we have had to adapt to?
This new virtual world has taught us a lot of different lessons but I think the most important one was that as a young brand you have more power than you think you do. Looking back to pre-pandemic times, it was this endless cycle and an unsustainable calendar for some with media and retail controlling how and when you release collections. I think now as the lockdown has proven you really have freedom to do things on your own time and do what makes the most sense for you. That’s been really important.
What’s your strongest memory of working at Christopher John Rogers? Is there one moment that you’re most proud of?
I think my strongest memory of working at Christopher John Rogers is back in 2019, when we were in this CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund and we were all still working other jobs at the time and just scrambling around trying to do what we could to make the brand a reality. We were doing our first runway show on the calendar and we wanted to make a statement. I don’t have a formal PR background and we were in conversation with Bridget Foley from WWD and she was emailing for quotes from Christopher and we were talking as a team thinking how we can make an impact at Fashion Week. I decided to pitch Bridget behind the scenes an exclusive look at the collection to run as a cover story, which I didn’t know if it was actually gonna run as a cover and then the day of our show the cover came out and we were on the cover of the New York collection, which was really exciting. That’s probably one of the moments I am most proud of because it really sums up that era back when we were just trying to do what we believed in at that moment.
What’s one tip you would give your younger self?
The one tip I would give my younger self is to be patient. When you are starting out it’s really hard not to compare yourself to others and where other people are at the industry. I think it’s important to realize that there isn’t only one path or one way to get to where you want and sometimes you take lots of different journeys. Just enjoy the moment you are in and take everything you can from that and learn and grow from those experiences.