We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacquie Lowe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacquie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
It is so hard to narrow it down to one factor that has led to my brand’s success. If I had to choose one, I’d say persistence is key.
Prior to launching my women’s hat company, Heron & Pine, I had no experience in the e-commerce or fashion industry. My background is in engineering, so there was a steep learning curve to get up to speed. After ending my 9 to 5 job everyday, I would get right to researching hat manufacturers. I knew I wanted my product to be the highest quality, and I really cared about each and every detail. I reached out to countless manufacturers to see if they could make my designs and many were not up to the caliber I wanted. Although it took several months to find the right manufacturer, which was frustrating at times, it also was an exciting learning experience. By being persistent with research and outreach, I was able to make my dream product a reality.
Another obstacle I overcame was packaging. With women’s fedoras and boaters, I wanted to ensure the brims were not damaged upon delivery, which would require a custom and high-quality box. I reached out to numerous box manufacturers, many of whom couldn’t create the custom design I was hoping for and for those that could, the cost was extremely high. After many phone calls and emails, I finally found a small box producer in my local area that was beyond helpful ensuring the packaging met all of my needs and even provided recommendations on how to make it better. I love being able to support another local business. By persisting, doing a lot of research, and not compromising on quality, I was able to get the perfect box created for my customers.
One of the next areas I focused on was building brand awareness through social media and specifically, Instagram. Starting with 0 followers and growing to over 2k in a few months was not easy, but again, the key was persistence. I reached out to many influencers and other brands and received a lot of rejection at first with my small following. It definitely was discouraging, but I kept pushing on, regularly posting on my social accounts, and continuing to reach out to others.
Then I slowly received some Yes’s that gave me the most rewarding feeling. These were people who were interested in my product and wanted to give it a try. Seeing my hat on people I’d admired, like Becca Kufrin from The Bachelorette and Lindsay Arnold Cusick from Dancing with the Stars (to name a few), made all the rejection and doubt worth it! These were strong women who believed in my brand and were helping me get the word out. It just reaffirmed that being persistent and not letting a string of No’s discourage you can make all the difference.
There were weeks when I received very few orders even though I was posting on social regularly and investing in Facebook ads. It’s important to remember that it can take a customer up to 8 interactions with your brand before making a purchase. It takes consistency to let customers learn about and trust in your product. Although the financial component plays a part, the more prominent reason slow weeks can be difficult is because as a small business owner, you put your love and soul into your brand. For me, I built Heron & Pine from a place of admiration of strong women in my life who were blazing their own paths, primarily my grandmother. She was a Chinese immigrant who came to America, pursued a college education and persevered to make a name for herself in real estate. I wanted to make myself and her proud. I am grateful for the success I have seen through my persistent efforts and support from my customers.
Overall, persistence has been the key to my success and something I continue to employ as I move forward. For anyone starting their own business, keep pushing; you got this!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Heron & Pine is a female-founded, women’s hat company selling through our online store at www.heronandpine.com. All of our hats are thoughtfully designed and made from 100% Australian wool. From start to finish, we ensure each detail is perfect, bringing you a high quality hat that is chic and versatile. We offer a variety of colors and styles for any occasion. Our hats stand out with luxe satin lining in many of the fedoras and firm brims to ensure a sturdy and quality product. All of our hats feature an adjustable strap under the sweatband, which allows for a customized fit.
I also wanted to share a little bit about my story and how my brand was started. I graduated from USC with a degree in Industrial and Systems engineering and got a job at a small technology consulting firm. While I loved working hard and solving problems, I always admired women I knew pursuing personal ventures. From a young age, I aspired to be an entrepreneur. I came up with excuses for why it wasn’t the right time to take the risk and invest in myself. When my grandmother passed, I realized life is too short to keep putting off my dream.
Shortly after that, I was on the search for a high-quality hat that wouldn’t break the bank and wasn’t having much luck finding one. That’s when I started exploring if I could find a way to manufacture the product myself. At the age of 27 with no experience in fashion or ecommerce, I finally bet on myself and made my dream a reality. After lots of hard work, research, and networking, I launched Heron & Pine.
When working on our branding, I knew I wanted to pay ode to my grandmother. She had a picture of herons and pine trees in her home, which inspired our name. It is fitting that “heron” and “pine” symbolize ‘path’ and ‘resilience’, because we are inspired by all the self-determined and resilient women blazing their own paths. We hope that our hats can give women more confidence to bet on themselves every time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and continue to live here today. Some of my favorite places in the city revolve around good food and fun adventures. If a friend visited for a week, this would be my ideal itinerary:
– Monday: Take a hike at Griffith Observatory and grab dinner at Gjelina in Venice
– Tuesday: Grab lunch at Playa Provisions and head to Manhattan Beach for a casual beach day
– Wednesday: Shop at Century City Mall and eat at Din Tai Fung
– Thursday: Enjoy the art at LACMA and grab Korean BBQ at Quarters
– Friday: Do a fun SoulCycle workout class and splurge on a fine dining meal at n/naka
– Saturday: Wine taste and picnic at Malibu Wines
– Sunday: Stroll through the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens and eat at Osawa
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so grateful for the support from the small business community. I have met so many amazing women business owners by attending local pop-ups, including Sun & Sea Collective. The support and love they have shown has been a great motivator and support system.
Abbey Pickett Studios