Check out Karlo’s recent interview with GLAM Magazine!
Rebeca Riofrio is CEO & Founder of Art In Fusion TV, and contributing Fashion Editor for GLAM Magazine.
1. Please could you tell us about your background and how it leads to the work you do today?
I myself am English however grew up in Germany were I after graduating high-school started working for the special police force for 1 1/2 years going through intense training and long working hours. Even though I loved my job – my job was everything I had – no social life at all. Secrets all the time and very strict rules to follow. After considering for a long time I finally decided to quit my job and travel to New Zealand instead. This set me off – from then on living in 6 countries, traveling to over 35 countries, finally ending up in the UK – back at my routes where I decided to go back into studying doing a 4 year International Business Management Degree. During my travels I worked in various jobs which got me predominantly into fashion, working as a commercial and fitness model as well as an actor. Working in the industry helped me understand the ins and outs whilst also revealing a very dark side, an industry that is known to exploit models, workers, manufacturers, suppliers with a very few people at the top making big bucks with most entry positions being voluntary. This is one of the main reasons I went back into education, to learn, understand how to run a business and make a real difference rather than just be the end product of something called Fashion.
I then met Aaron Jones now friend, and Founder of Fikay Fashion, at an entrepreneurs conference called NACUE. Him using is entrepreneurial experience and background in business start ups combined with my fashion, knowledge, experience and contacts decided to join hands and refresh Fikay and bring new life into the business – creating a brand that was ethical whilst still staying relevant and stylish. Our recent fashion shoots with magazines such as IKON and Curva reflect the direction we are heading into. One that people love and can connect with whilst feeling good about themselves due to ethical credentials.
2. Where are you based ?
We currently have two offices, one in Camden near Mornington Crescent Station and another new office in Shadwell next to Bank. We only moved in there 4 weeks ago.
3. How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
Hands on hands on hands on. My official role is Sales & Marketing Director however in a relatively small start up like Fikay one ends up doing all sorts of jobs, from making the coffee, training interns, generating leads, filling in sales orders or creating marketing strategies fitting the season.
4. Who else it’s behind your brand?
We have a great team of people who all work hard for the brand and create an all rounded and strong Fikay! We have a core team of 5 people including Aaron and myself, Amalia our video editor, 2 great interns, as well as a few photographers who help out add hoc. We also have a great board of advisors who are all experienced business people most of them having a successful track record of setting up several businesses over the last 30 years. Not to forget we also work with over 10 adults with learning disabilities who work in our warehouse. We let them join our 4 month training course which allows them to enter full time employment again once completed. (it definitely never gets boring in there! 😉 )
More recently we have had a team of 6 developers join us who now work with us on various parts of the business especially the new platform we are developing using our supply chain that allows up and coming designers to get to market. Finally we work with over 30 men and women in Cambodia via corporatives who make all our accessories for us. We pay them upfront for each product they make for us allowing them a fair wage and a better future.
5. What or who has been the biggest singular influence on your work?
I will have to say it is the individuals who work with us. Being able to employ and help one person at a time is the biggest joy for us. Changing one life at a time is our motto. Seeing their lives totally transform by what we do inspires us and keeps us going even during the hard times.
6. Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
I could probably name you various collaborations we have done in the past however I think the single most fun, hard however satisfying experience was the period when we set up our Fikay Foundation last year celebrating this with a great Fashion Show and Brand Presentation in Fulham at the Private Members Club called Broadway House. 3 storeys of madness with drinks and food, photographers, price giveaways and more. This event was purely non for profit. With the money we raised we were able to employ 3 full time teachers for a period of 2 years! Loved it!
7. What’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’? The latest government reports revealing that only about 1% of all brands worldwide are ethical! SHOCKING to me especially now being in 2015! More needs to be done! People need to understand that you can be ethical, fun, stylish and still be successful! We definitely will be pioneering this in the future! No other way!
8. Who has been the most famous person you have work with?
Within the fashion world I would probably admit that we are still lacking so called “celebs” however in the corporate world we have been involved with a whole range of great entrepreneurs and business owners such as Trevor, now retired partner at G4S as well as Adam Zentner, in charge of HTS Global Banking and Markets at HSBC just to name a few.
With this I really do want express our interest to collaborate with more celebrities in the future. Anyone who knows of us, loves what we do and would like to know more about how to collaborate please let me know. We have a voice and want it to be heard!
9. Where people can find more about you and your future projects ?
Our main brand new website is at: www.fikay.co.uk has all the latest news!
People can also sign up to our newsletter to get the latest news before anyone else does via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/FikayEcoFashion/app_100265896690345
We also have our social media channels which include:
We have also been featured in several press magazines as well as having produced a 3 part video documentary with our official media partner ALIBABA.