Rachael Ray may be known best as a celebrity chef, but she has added a new title to her diverse professional portfolio: Fashion Entrepreneur. The chef recently launched Moxie Made, a fashion e-commerce platform featuring goods of brands that have female founders. Exclusive to Moxie Made, Ray also just launched her very on handbag brand, Convalore.
“I am passionate about supporting female creatives because I am one,” Ray said. “We have been hearing for years how women do not feel supported by other women in the workplace. But thankfully, I have experienced the polar opposite. I know a lot of women that are incredibly supportive of each other, and I wanted to continue exemplifying that in my work by launching Moxie Made.”
Ray is aiming for Moxie Made to stand out from the other e-commerce platforms by not just offering product, but creating a community.
“I think Moxie Made has a very unique offering, but I don’t describe it as a marketplace,” Ray said. “To me, it is more like a community board for women that are active, who like high-quality products at a fair price. The site reflects that well and features women we admire.”
Moxie Made features products ranging from hats to sundresses, to the complete Convalore bag and belt collection.
“I want Moxie Made to be the source for more of our own products as we expand our line,” Ray said. “We are very aggressively working on that. We already have two more seasons of Convalore planned, and I want the line to get more into the essentials for travel.
“As for other vendors or designers, me and all my friends involved in Moxie Made are constantly talking with each other and sending each other links to brands or designs we like or that inspire us. I’m am always discovery lifestyle products that I think could be perfect for Moxie Made, especially when I travel.”
Ray’s handbag line Convalore, was inspired by its Italian name, which means “with valor.” The pieces are handmade in Italy, and vegetable dyed, in a farm-to-bag manufacturing approach.
“I think that everyone should live a bold and courageous life,” Ray said. “I wanted to express an idea that these are bags you can take out in the rain, these are bags that will last, these are bags that do more than one thing, these are bags that are sold at a great value. To me, Convalore says all that….live with valor. I say all the time that everyday should be an adventure.”
Ray said her design inspiration has come from every other bag she has ever owned and criticized in one way or another.
“I took out all the bag I had or that anyone’s ever gifted me, and I said, “Well I never wear this because it’s too heavy or I never wear this one because it doesn’t have any pockets,’” Ray said. “So I started by just trying to solve those problems and that is how I design. It’s exactly the same approach I take with my furniture, kitchen products and TV shows – identify the problems and solve them. I saw bags not doing their full job and I fixed that.”
Ray is thrilled to branch out beyond food and lifestyle products.
“Moving my brand outside of cooking and food is just a natural extension of who I have always been,” Ray said. “When I was a little girl, I loved to draw as much as I loved to be in the kitchen. As I said, I like to problem solve. It’s fun for me. No one should be afraid to try anything they’re interested in, if you’re still breathing. I don’t think there is a certain age when you must stop trying new things. So, when the opportunity presents itself, I go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work? And I’d go back to who I was before.”
Vivienne Decker is a journalist, speaker, startup executive and consultant. She covers Millennial entrepreneurs and DTC modern luxury brands on Forbes.com.