Pulse of the Alley: Reese Fernandez, CEO of Rags2Riches


Today, we speak with Reese Fernandez, Co-Founder & CEO of Rags2Riches, a company that believes that style and sustainability go hand in hand. Reese was recently selected as a 2013 NYC Venture Fellow.


“R2R primarily uses upcycled fabric scraps purchased from garment manufacturers, as well as organic and native weaves sourced from indigenous communities, and transforms them into unique home and fashion accessories.” Reese was recently selected as a 2013 NYC Venture Fellow.

Reese Fernandez

What is your take on the current scene in New York today?

New York for me has always been a place brimming with life, new energy, art, and innovation. And while the city has gone through a lot of pain and changes for the past couple of years, I would like to believe that it never lost its spirit. And today is a good day to be in New York. The city is radiating with optimism and openness to new opportunities and discoveries! We can feel the energy even if we are oceans away!

What do you see happening over the next 3-5 years?

There is just so much space to grow! My prediction (and from the looks of it, a lot of people agree) is that the next 3-5 years will witness innovation like never before. Entrepreneurs and innovators will come up with amazing ideas, technologies, and designs that will challenge the rest of the world and propel it to move forward.

What do you see as challenges?

The challenge with progress is the idea of progress itself and the notion that progress is equal to success. We have to always go back to why we are striving for more and why we want better lives. The end answer to all our endless whys will almost always be about happiness and finding our purpose.

Our purpose is about the positive impact our existence and actions create in our community, country and world. We should not lose sight of what’s important. This is why inventions, businesses, projects, and, quite simply, decisions, should consider the “greater scheme of things”.

Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?

Our company, Rags2Riches, is creating a stylish social statement. We believe that we can put together world-class design, artisanal skills, up-cycled materials, and traditional materials, to come up with fashion and home accessories that reflect a purposeful lifestyle. We believe in our interconnectivity and the power we can realize if we understand this. If only we can know the names and faces behind the things we buy and support, our purchase will be more than just because of a desire to consume. It will also be because of our desire to make a difference. Rags2Riches do not just provide our partner artisans with access to a market and a viable pathway out of poverty; we are also creating the bridge for more people around the world to create positive impact.

As a company that believes in the convergence of great design, artisanal crafts, and innovative materials, we can thrive in a city with such an amazing creative soul. But more than that, the causes we stand for and live for can be constant reminders of the higher purpose we are all called to have.

Rags2Riches could be a collaborator, a business partner, a brand partner, or even a lifestyle to people and companies in New York and all around the world. No matter what form the partnership takes, it will surely be fruitful, inspiring and meaningful.

Read what other thought leaders are saying in the “Pulse of the Alley”.

About the author: AlleyWatch

AlleyWatch is the destination for startup news; opinions and reviews; investment and product information; events reported, experienced, seen, heard and overheard here in New York. But it’s who we are that makes us different: we’re the writers and the entrepreneurs; the investors and the mentors; the lawyers and the marketers; the realtors and the recruiters – the people who work in the industry.

You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in New York Tech!

Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today.