Rebecca McGeoch’s entry into the fashion world was a natural progression from her education at Sydney University, where her economics degree combined with a multitude of short courses in design provided the business and fashion drive and knowledge to launch Gasparre Cashmere.
Having spent her childhood back and forth between her hometown of Sydney, Australia and extended family in Italy, a young Rebecca developed her personal aesthetic based on a marriage of the two cultures: the casual beauty of Australia and the historical elegance of Italy. In combining the two style philosophies Gasparre Cashmere focuses on the trans-seasonal traits of the cashmere fibre and its ability to be worn year round.
Rebecca launched Gasparre Cashmere after travelling with a lightweight cashmere shawl during her Honeymoon in Egypt, which helped her to realize cashmere’s ability to keep one cool during the day and warm at night. Since then Rebecca has found a niche within the Australian market for designing fashion forward cashmere garments. Gasparre Cashmere’s philosophy is all about a little bit of luxury for everyday life.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Loving, Tenacious, Generous.
What is your life motto? Take the good with the bad, Forgive but never forget, learn from your mistakes and dream more than others think is practical
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? I started pursing my career shortly after I returned home from my honeymoon in Egypt. The idea was sparked by a beautiful cashmere scarf that I always carried with me to use for modest dress. It was then that I realized the merits of cashmere and its ability to keep one cool during the day and warm at night. When I returned home I did a lot of research looking for more items and I noticed that there was a gap in the market for fashionable cashmere garments. I spent the following six months researching and testing, and went on to launch the label in August 2010. Gasparre Cashmere is now stocked in over 50 high end boutiques Australia wide, and we also just showed internationally at Hong Kong Fashion Week .
How much time and effort did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? It’s hard to put a figure on that. I can tell you it is now a 24/7 commitment, which can be a little frustrating at times, but at the end of the day I love it and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
What are the challenges in your line of work? The current retail environment is very tough, along with the fickle nature of fashion trends. We strive to make garments that last the test of time from a both a trend and quality perspective, and try not to get too caught up in the latest fads.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? Keep your paperwork sharp and up to date. The admin involved in business takes up more time than the design side of things, which is the fun part. You never know when you will need to track down a lost package or follow up on a contact etc.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Don’t make financial gains your primary goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that financial success follows. I feel that you can only become completely immersed in something you love, and in doing so that that makes you come alive. Find out what that passion is, and strive to make that your source of income.
In your mind, is formal training essential? I don’t think formal training is essential at all. I completed an economics degree at Sydney University. During this time all I thought about was fashion and design. I have completed short courses in fashion since then, but essentially started in fashion with no formal training. I think it is definitely a positive to do some training throughout your career, with both admin and design equally important. I am currently doing a fashion illustration class, and also love to go to the relevant seminars and learn about any innovation in knitwear etc – So I guess you could say that training is ongoing.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Mentors are essential. Everyone in this industry is time poor, but getting the time to go for a coffee or dinner with a relevant mentor is priceless. Always go well prepared so you can access the information that is most important to you. Throughout my career I have learnt the most from the people that I have daily access to, which includes; my team at the factory, in particular our technical guys, as well as our public relations team, and even those closest to me in my family.
What are some steps those starting out can take to start/further their career? Make sure you have the full support of your family & partner because you don’t have the budget to have employees early on and as such you have to do everything yourself. It was more work than I could have imagined and you will need help at all times. Furthermore, never underestimate the power of networking, you need to have the courage to really put yourself out there.
What kept you going when you weren’t at your best? A nice dinner & glass of wine, cuddles with my hubby and dog whilst on the couch, and a good night’s sleep to wake up and start a fresh in the morning. We all have our challenges; its how you deal with them that defines you.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? I don’t believe in Luck or ‘right place, right time’. I feel like you can create your own luck and right place/right time situations. Every time I attend a conference, seminar, trade fair exhibition I meet amazing people that help me get ahead in some way. I may not need them at that particular time but down the track I have got in touch them and they all help in some way. I love this quote “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Gary Player