We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Topping and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachel, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Ever since I was little, I’ve always been a creator. When I didn’t see the things I wanted, I made them. I would make my own children’s books, writing the chapters and illustrating myself. I’d cut up, tie-dye, alter my own clothes. Things didn’t change when I entered into corporate America. I saw things I liked, and things I didn’t. Naturally, I always had the desire to create a better space for myself and people like me. Entrepreneurship and ownership was always a goal for me. Funny enough, even with such specific goals for my future, Nappy Head Club wasn’t a targeted effort to build a business. Nappy Head Club arose out of a genuine desire that I and my close circle had for more representation. It started off as a hobby project to help me heal, and during that journey, I realized that this was the brand I’d been dreaming of building all along.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve spent my career as a Graphic Designer / Creative Director dancing around the Music / Entertainment and Fashion Industries. I’ve always been such a lover of culture, and being able to design in that world has always been my way of contributing.
From Complex Magazine, to Roc Nation, to Tamara Mellon, Combs Enterprises and more my career has been a kaleidoscope of hard work and a bit of chance. Being a Black, Female creative has not been easy. There is a hyper-awareness of the otherism that you feel as well as the added pressure of proving your worth in those spaces.
My advice for anyone in the creative field is to make good work as your priority, and let that speak for you.
On reflecting on Nappy Head Club I realize that everything I’ve put in place is based on the best pieces of my career mixed with the things I wanted to be different. Of course, there is the very obvious product, where all the experience in design comes into play. But on the inside, the culture that I’m trying to build with Nappy Head Club, is just as important to me. I want to build a space that allows people to be their best selves. Free from micro-aggressions, misogyny and glass ceilings.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Though I’m not native to LA, I have found some spots that remind me of the east and “home.” When people come from out of town, I love to show them the side of LA that I fell in love with, especially the Black-Owned businesses sprawled across the city. We’d start with brunch at My 2 Cents, and then check out the newest exhibits at Underground Museum, picking up a few coffee table books. We’d catch an early morning beach day at El Matador before it gets crowded. I’d show them around Leimert Park on a Sunday and pick up some groceries from SUPRMARKT. I’d tour them around the beautiful retro homes in Ladera Heights and grab food at Simply Wholesome. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout my sister Rikki. Ever since we were little we’ve been able to bounce off of each other creatively, sharing our interest in Fashion, Photography, Film, etc. We’ve always created together. She’s been an integral part of Nappy Head Club since the beginning, and that creative flow is what has made us so successful to date.
I’d like to also shoutout Tamara Mellon. Working for her name-sake brand after she left Jimmy Choo was really inspiring for me. Seeing her step out of the shadows of Choo and take a chance to rebuild from the ground up made me feel like I could also take a leap of faith. I learned a lot about design, strategy and creative process from my time there.
Rikki Richelle, Learon Coleman, Chioma Obiegbu, Curt Saunders, Micha B, Osmond Orisakwe