Rachel Lubchansky, founder of FunkyFrum.com, and Regine Tessone, founder of Aqua Modesta, did just that. Both are graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Lubchansky has a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, and Tessone has an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising.
Lubchansky was becoming more observant when she couldn’t find fashionable, modest clothing outside of the greater New York City area. “I moved back to my hometown, St. Louis, and my friends loved my “New York wardrobe,” she reminisces. “I recognized that there was a need for stylish modest clothing, not just in St. Louis, but across the country.
Tessone was also becoming more observant when she created her first piece of modest swimwear. For her, a love of swimming was the main motivator. “I love swimming. I love the water,” exclaims Tessone, who initially created a bathing suit cover up, which people loved. “I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the swim wear was in it?”
And thus, two thriving businesses were born.
FunkyFrum.com opened its virtual doors in August of 2005. Carrying an extensive line of women’s separates, Funky Frum’s customer base is wide. “We cross the boundaries of religion, state, and countries. “We have customers in 49 states, London, Australia, and Canada (to name a few),” says Lubchansky. “We hae a lot of Jewish customers, but we also have many Christian customers. Anyone who is a little more religious usually wants to dress a little more modestly.”
Lubchansky gets her merchandise from the same markets as high-end boutiques. She’s been to trunk shows and vendors in Las Angeles, Chicago, New York and Las Vegas. “I like to cull through all the lines and put together a collection that’s unique and filled with (prospects) for our niche,” she said. Top sellers include three-quarter and long-sleeve t-shirts as well as other layering basics. Denim is also a key item. “We have great denim, very stylish with flair,” bubbles Lubchansky. “We have something for everyone and we’ll help find what works for them.”
Fashion is constantly changing, and keeping in tune with current trends gives Funky Frum an edge. “I read trade publications and fashion magazines. I see what’s coming off the runways, and down from the major fashion houses. I find what’s wearable for our clientele, and I take the key ideas and add accessories.” Popular trends include belts, polka dots, and pin stripes.
“There’s a special feel of Funky Frum that makes women feel like they’re going to a boutique,” says Lubchansky. “The internet is a convenience for working women and women with children.” It’s no coincidence that many orders are processed in the “wee hours of the morning” by women who have managed to steal some time for themselves. “It’s very difficult to find great, modest wear, whether it be everyday, bridal, special occasion, or maternity,” she says.
For Funky Frum’s Lubchansky, “It’s been an amazing experience. It’s so rewarding to work with women across the country. The best business to be in is one that you’re passionate about.”
The Jewish Star
March 30, 2007