Behind The Brand: Jillian Beed Of Rue Stiic
Created with the ethos for the lust to wander, fresh brand Rue Stiic embodies and screams everything bohemian and coastal lifestyle. Founded in 2013 on the shores of Venice Beach, California by director and head designer Jillian Beed, the label soon moved across the Pacific to its new homes of Byron Bay and Bali – and things couldn’t be better.
The brands message is quite simple, “to embrace a travel lusting lifestyle with pieces that will take you from city to surf, to wherever your travel desires take you”, which, after laying eyes on the new collections fabrics, textures and fits, is the perfect introduction and description of what Rue Stiic is all about.
To learn more about the standout brand, we caught up with the founder, Jillian Beed. Join us for the Rue Stiic journey!
Hey Jillian, thanks so much for catching up with us today! Firstly, could you give us a little overview of how Rue Stiic came to fruition?
I created the concept of Rue Stiic whilst living in Venice Beach, California around 6 years ago. I wanted Rue Stiic to embrace a cultural, creative lifestyle with the influences of modern travel, surf, and laidback style. I envisioned a brand that had soul behind each piece – with a modern bohemian aesthetic for the girls who go from city to surf and vice versa.
I started very small and organically with six basic staple styles. The brand has since grown to include collection, accessories, and swim – everything a modern traveller desires.
What was the inspiration behind creating the brand, and the name ‘Rue Stiic’?
The name Rue Stiic (pronounced Roo Steek) draws inspiration from my days spent wandering around Abbot Kinney. I completely fell in love with the art hidden throughout the backstreets, the mix of classic and modern architecture, the independently run boutiques and galleries, and the whole creative vibe that was taking place in this evolving little city by the sea.
After I moved to Australia, and discovering even more creative hubs and dreamy locations, I took my vision to Bali on my travels and Rue Stiic was created.
As the designer and director, what does a typical day involve for yourself and your team?
I start the day around two hours earlier than the rest of the team so I can ease into the day and plan what I need to accomplish. I try to get most of my creative work done in the early hours before I start running the business and helping with the operations. Part of my team is based in Byron, another part in Bali, and our showrooms in Los Angeles and Sydney, so we’re always working with a certain part of the world at designated times. When the Operations and Sales team arrive in the Byron HQ, we start with work and communication with the States. Around noon, we start conversing with our Bali team, and from there, let the day take us in all directions.
As you said, half the Rue Stiic is based in Byron Bay. How does Byron compare to your old stomping ground of Venice Beach in California?
Byron Bay is the closest feel to California out of all Australian cities I’ve lived in. Byron and Venice both have a beach culture history which I love to immerse myself in. Venice is definitely a little more fast moving and rock n roll, but Byron is so nice to kick back, relax, and be healthy.
How important is it to you to be based in such a culturally rich and diverse area?
It’s incredibly important to me. Culture drives my inspiration – and not just one culture, but a mix of cultures. Surrounding surf culture, fashion culture, food culture, art culture – each destination has it’s own, but being in Byron and occasionally Bali is just such a perfect mix of all.
With creative inspiration lurking around every corner, what would you say is the most memorable or unexpected source of inspiration that has stuck with you over the years?
The architecture around Abbot Kinney in Venice has probably been the standout inspo that has never left my aesthetic. I’m so in love with the coastal design mix of vintage craftsmanship and textured modern. Also, the seaside rolling hills and long grass of Byron Bay has left a lasting impression that I don’t think will ever disappear.
What is your creative process, from beginning to end, for developing and launching new products?
If I can actually just hop on a plane somewhere, most of the time my creative ideas start flowing. I actually developed the new TRAVEL range on a plane last year, after finding that I couldn’t find a strong travel range of products for girls on the go.
If don’t have time to travel and am in Byron or Bali, I have to actually step away from business for a few days, take in my surroundings, go for a drive, and a little beach, and just let my mind wander.
After I create the concept and story, I draw, develop, and put together the range and then sample.
Once sampled, I put together our campaign team – finding the perfect photographer and model to tell our collection story. During the shoot, I re-create the story so we can tell a cool story through the brand.
We then sell the range, produce the orders, and in about 4-5 months after selling, we launch the campaign and new products.
Describe your workplace.
In Byron Bay, we have a beautiful two level, open loft warehouse. With bare concrete floors, white walls, black iron, wooden stairs and railing, the HQ is our little slice of heaven. Some days the floors may be filled with new deliveries, other days, it’s just clean and beautiful. It really depends on the time of the season.
In Bali, we have a 2 story Balinese house in Canggu. It’s pretty kitschy – yellow exterior, stairs built bigger than any human would need, no pool but a nice rice paddy view. It’s not Bali luxe in any way, but it’s warm and welcoming and we love working with our team there.
What are some of the best and ‘not so great’ experiences, or life lessons, that you’ve come across whilst running Rue Stiic?
Let’s start with best – Honestly, the last 3-4 years have just all been the best experience for me. I’ve definitely learned how to strategically develop and grow a startup lifestyle label from nothing, and it’s such an accomplished feeling. Starting the brand from money I put aside while working in a boutique full time, and learning how to double my funding by selling a one size fits all tunic shirt through social marketing, has been the most amazing event to experience and watch. Now, I get to experience working with an amazing team, some of my favorite creatives, and travel to beautiful locations for campaign shoots.
Worst – I wouldn’t say any of my ‘bad’ experiences were really the ‘worst’, as I think I have grown so much from them and I wouldn’t be where I am today. I think one of my biggest learning experiences was when I first launched the swimwear, we actually received huge orders from some stores in the States, and I was producing with this supplier whom I really didn’t feel good about. When the orders came in, they couldn’t produce even half of it and stole a lot of money. It took me over a year to redevelop with another supplier, and it just put us behind. I learned from this, to really trust my instincts about doing business with people, and choose the right people to give my business to.
Do you have any advice for anyone out there looking to start their own label?
Yes definitely. You definitely must have the perfect balance of creativity and business sense. Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before, get your hands dirty, experience amazing ups and of course the downs. Don’t take no as a negative, but as a reason to restructure, refine, and become stronger. Do it because you love it!
What is next for Jillian Beed and Rue Stiic?
To continue to grow Rue Stiic and bring new innovative coastal lifestyle products and designs to the evolving market. We are redeveloping our swimwear and seaside products right now – I’m so excited to launch our pieces for Australian Spring 2017. For myself personally, I’m dreaming for the day when I have an actual set time to go on an actual holiday and go for a surf.