This week, we shine light on Rosa Halpern, the total boss babe behind By The Namesake.
Give us your elevator pitch — tell us a bit about yourself. We want to know what you’re all about.
#LocalLove is all about showing love to bad-ass bosses like yourself. Can you share with us what you do for work and how you make an impact?
By The Namesake is a custom leather atelier focused on reinventing the iconic leather jacket. We make custom leather jackets for women (and now men) of every shape, size, and style by involving our customers in the actual design process through these simple steps:
- Pick your base style
- Pick your leather
- Pick your hardware
- Pick your add-ons/embellishments (think paint, fringe, studs, etc.)
- Pick your lining
- Receive full custom fit alterations to your exact measurements
Namesake’s core mission is to empower women through clothing – there’s nothing that can make you feel quite as badass as a good leather jacket, and there’s nothing we love more than making women feel like their best and baddest-selves!
At By The Namesake, we also try and make an impact through our production practices. We only use leather that is a direct byproduct of the food-industry and every piece is made-to-order so there is no overstock or wasted materials.
How did you get into this line of work?
I have been involved in the fashion industry my entire life (I learned to sew/basic patterning at age 10 and my first internship was at age 16). I fell into what I am doing now very organically and sort of by accident when a friend of mine couldn’t find a leather jacket that worked for her and asked me to make her one… a few of her friends wanted one, and a few more, and a few more… until I had a waiting list of people interested in custom leather jackets. It occurred to me that I may be onto something and after a little research I realized that I had found an untapped niche in the market… and here we are.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (career or otherwise)?
“It’s not work if you love what you do!” – My Grandfather, age 90, who still goes to “work” everyday.
How about the worst?
I can’t think of one specific piece of bad advice, however, I feel like there’s a major preoccupation with having a 5 year/10 year plan. By focusing so much on the future we miss what is happening in the present. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be running a custom leather jacket business in Toronto my answer would have been “HELL NO!” Thank goodness I didn’t worry about my “plan”, and instead took (and listened) to the opportunities that presented themselves.
If you could paint your ideal life, what would that look like in 5-10 years from now?
As I explained above, I don’t like to plan out too many years ahead and instead feel like it’s most important to listen to the business as it grows and to grow WITH IT. That being said, of course I have goals and plans (both personally and professionally) for where I would like to be in 5-10 years. I want to still love what I do and look forward to work every-day, I want to be able to travel more (perhaps run my business bi-coastally), and I want to have made infinite more customers feel their best selves!
What are your favourite resources that you’ve come across over the years (e.g., email extensions, design apps etc.)?
I love listening to the “How I Built This with Guy Raz” podcast. It outlines the journeys of well-known entrepreneurs and their journey to success. As well as providing nuggets of advice, I get a huge sense of relief to know that the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur are often universal and that my mistakes are shared with some of the people I admire the most.
I am iPad/iPencil OBSESSED. I have always been a note-taker and typed notes just don’t cut it for me. The iPad/iPencil combo have been life-changing for me as I have one single place to keep my ever-evolving to-do lists in a way that is much more organized than covering every surface of my life with scribbles on sticky notes.
Lastly, I do all of our social myself (it’s something I just can’t let go of) and love both the Preview App as well as Unfold App. They are great tools to streamline and polish cohesive social collateral.
Who are 3 of your favourite Canadian entrepreneurs that our readers should absolutely be in the know about?
I am BEYOND lucky that so many of my closest friends are also my collaborators and colleagues in this crazy world of entrepreneurship… I have so many to name but gotta give love to :
- Kara Wark – founder of Bad Girls Collective (In addition to being at the helm of the baddest women’s collective around, Kara is also one of the most talented creatives I know.)
- Louisa Nicolaou – photographer extraordinaire (Louisa has taken every By The Namesake photo since day one, and our businesses have grown side-by-side.)
- Emilie Nolan – Founder of Gemmie (and serial entrepreneur, Emilie is my sounding board and reminds me to never stop dreaming!)
Explore our #LocalLove highlight here.